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Investigating Cyberculture
STS 316 - SUNY Morrisville College
Professor Kurt Reymers

Review Papers

The Cyberculture Blog

Cyberculture Review Paper Assignments

Click for a brief explanation, example, and writing tips

What is Critical Thinking?
Click here for a mini-guide on critical thinking

Four papers will be due during the semester, each one examining a different topical section of the course. The papers will be 600-800 words (2-3 pages) and will critically review the required reading material and any material provided in notes or done from suggested readings or comment/blog posts on the Blackboard site (or found via individual initiative).

Review papers will be due on the Tuesday class meeting following the end of the section (due dates follow). The papers must be titled, typed, double-spaced, and have 1” margins.

Submission: the papers should be typed and turned in as a hard copy oin class, AS WELL AS saved in PDF format and sent by email to reymers@morrisville.edu before the due date.

The form should be a standard critical review essay. In the essay you should:
- Identify the specific thesis which you are arguing -- this should relate to a topic/issue common to all of the resources being reviewed;
- Briefly review the literature you have read;
- Critically analyze the literature and add your own response;
- Conclude with a description of how the cyber-issue at hand connects to the “real world,” particularly in relation to the social issue to which it connects.
- See this site for more info on critical essays

Review Topic Paper due dates and review ideas:

Section / Date Section Concept Paper Due Date
TOPIC 1: History and Culture of the Internet

Click here for Reading Questions Worksheet
for Weeks 1-4

Feb 14

TOPIC 2: The Internet and Identity/Community

Click here for Reading Questions Worksheet
for Weeks 1-4

Feb 28

TOPIC 3: Virtual Community/Privacy

Virtual Community and Online Privacy

- In what ways are online communities the same as and different from face-to-face communities? (see Rheingold reading)
- How are boundaries and group norms decided upon in online communities? (see all readings)
- What is the place of rules and roles in virtual worlds? (see I, Avatar)
- What is the place of rituals and archetypes in virtual worlds? (see I, Avatar)
- How has the nature of human connection changed? (see Mulgan reading)
- What are the three laws of change that have had an impact on the nature of our connection to one another? (see Mulgan reading)




Mar 21


Write a review paper for one of the four topics: a, b, c, or d.

(a) Cyberpower: Politics Online

- What were the main themes of Barlow's 1996 Declaration of Cyberspace Independence?
- How did the techno-elite respond to the emerging real-world governance over the emerging public Internet in the 1990s?
- What was the outcome of the confrontation between Optic Phiber/Acid Phreak and John Perry Barlow in the WELL?
- Is STUXNET the next step toward cyberwarfare?
- What's the difference between "netwar" and "cyberwar"?
due by Apr 4

(b) Economies Online
due by Apr 18

(c) Religion Online
due by Apr 25

(d) Education Online
due by May 2







(a) Apr 4

(b) Apr 18

(c) Apr 25

(d) May 2


The Cyberculture Blog (Blackboard)

The Blog will be your opportunity to demonstrate original research and analysis. You will be responsible for writing four posts on the course weblog, available on the course Blackboard page. I have provided an example as the first post on the blog. Find something interesting that you have found online about the cybercultural world and relevant to one of the themes in the class (one we have already covered or one to come).

You can submit your 4 blog entries for the semester any time within the following submission periods:

BLOG 1: Feb 12 - Feb 19
BLOG 2: Feb 20 - Mar 7
BLOG 3: Mar 18 - Mar 28
BLOG 4: Mar 29 - Apr 11

Rubric: Post a hyperlink and at least one-paragraph description of the hyperlink content (images/video are okay too, but do not count as the paragraph), and then at least one more paragraph of critical sociological analysis of the content (click here to teach yourself critical analysis). Remember, critically analytical writing attempts to:

 get under the surface of a particular situation or problem related to cyber-technology sand culture/society;
 discover the possible reasons / explanations / situations behind or underlying the situation or problemit;
 break it down into the various facts and questions of which it essentially consists -- use a sociological analysis;
 examine the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas about it, and any evidence relating to it.

The blog post will be evaluated on a basis of 1 (weak presentation and analysis) to 4 (strong presentation and analysis). Posts should be made once every other week starting in Week 4 and ending in Week 12 (for a total of 4 complete blog posts). There will be instructions provided in class as to how these will be graded.




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