For this course you will complete two essays. Essays are expected to be formal academic writing pieces, and should develop ideas of your own in depth and support them with evidence. The mid-term and final essays are the key assignments for this course, and should be where the student demonstrates her mastery and synthesis of the written material and class discussions.
Students are asked to select their own topic for this essay. You have a free choice of topic, but the topic selected must respond to the course readings and discussions. Here are some suggestions for methods to accomplish this:
• Counter-argument: Write a refutation of one of our author’s arguments. Explain, using your own reasoning, why you believe this author’s argument to be incorrect. Use evidence drawn from the piece you are refuting, as well as other authors we read who provided opposing views.
• Compare and Contrast: Explain how two authors we read on a similar topic present slightly different takes on the same idea. Use details drawn from each piece and your own reasoning to show what the most important differences between the two positions are. Explain how this comparison teaches us something about hacker culture.
• Theme Analysis: Choose a specific theme that unites several of our class readings. Show how each of the readings is connected to this common theme, and analyze how each author engages with the theme in his or her own unique way. Explain what you think this theme reveals about hacker culture.
To fulfill the requirements of this assignment, essays must:
• Be 1500-2000 words in length
• Cite at least two of our course readings in depth
• Use MLA or APA style
• Consist entirely of the student’s own words and properly attributed quotes
• Not include large sections of paraphrasing or over-long block quotes
• Be submitted in one of the following formats: Adobe PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Rich Text format (.rtf) or Open Office text document (.odt)
Essays will be evaluated based on the rubric below:
Criteria Not Satisfactory Satisfactory Good Excellent
Argument The piece does not make a clear argument in response to the research question. The thesis statement is missing or unclear, or the supporting arguments are incoherent. The piece attempts to make a clear argument. The thesis statement is trite or shallow, or some supporting arguments are unclear or contradict the thesis statement. The piece makes a clear, but basic argument. The thesis statement is clear and meaningful, but not particularly nuanced or insightful. The supporting arguments are sufficient. The piece makes a clear, coherent, nuanced, insightful argument. All supporting arguments are clearly stated and logically supported.
Evidence The piece fails to cite any evidence in support of its argument. The piece cites evidence in support of its argument, but does not cite evidence for all statements of fact, or cites some very low quality sources. The piece consistently cites the required sources, providing appropriate evidence for all of the supporting arguments. The piece cites the required sources of evidence in a consistent way, and the citations chosen show a careful, nuanced understanding of the source material.
Course Content The student demonstrates little or no awareness of course content. The student demonstrates an awareness of course content. His or her essay contains at least some clear references to course readings and discussions. The student demonstrates a strong awareness of course content. His or her essay demonstrates an understanding of what key course concepts are, in a broad sense. The student demonstrates a mastery of course content. His or her essay demonstrates a detailed and nuanced knowledge of key course concepts.
Grammar/Usage The piece has large errors in grammar and usage that obscure understanding. The piece has many small errors in grammar and usage. The piece has only a few small grammatical errors. The piece demonstrates a mastery of English grammar and usage.
Class Readings and links:
READ: Hacker Politics and Publics, Our Weirdness Is Free, The logic of Anonymous—online army, agent of chaos, and seeker of justice and Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls and the Politics of Transgression and Spectacleby Gabriella Coleman.
READ: From Joseph Reagle’s Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia. Chapter 1: Nazis and Norms, and Chapter 2: The Pursuit of the Universal Encyclopedia
Week 11 Hacking Knowledge 2
READ: Wikipedia Policy Pages: What Wikipedia is Not, Neutral Point of View, Articles for Deletion (click through and investigate some of the recent deletion debates listed on this page), Meta-Wiki Document on Participation (click through and read all three subsections: Participants of Wikimedia Projects, Drivers of Participation, Attracting New Participants and Retaining Existing Participants).
Week 12 Hacking Expression
READ: From Lessig’s Remix Chapters 1-4 (Optional read “Introduction” as well for further context.