Evolution of Technology (TEC 154 2014S) : Handouts

Review Sheet for Midsemester Examination

Our midsemester examination will be held on two days: Wednesday, 5 March 2014 and Friday, 7 March 2014.

Sample versions of the short questions and the essay questions have been distributed and are available in the Handouts section of the course web.

You may bring one page (8.5x11, double-sided) of hand-written notes to each examination. You must turn in the notes with each part of the exam. (You may photocopy your notes in advance if you wish to use the same set for both parts.)

As you prepare for the examination and review session, I recommend that you (1) summarize the important parts of each reading and lecture, (2) identify commonalities between readings, (3) make a list of important terms; and (4) identify key ideas from the semester. Further details follow.

Note that I give examinations for two very different reasons. First, I believe that by giving you an examination, I encourage you to reflect back upon the material that we've covered so far this semester. Most students, without the incentive of an examination, will not sit down to review and summarize readings and discussions. Second, I need a way to assess you for a grade and the end of the semester, and examinations are a traditional technology for such assessment. (Some folks also want a way to distinguish between students. I care less about such issues. If you can all show me A-level mastery, I'll be very happy.)

1. Summarize Readings and Presentations

For each of the following readings or presentations, identify (a) the author's main point, in your words; (b) the author's main point, in his or her own words; (c) two secondary points from the author; (d) the author's definition of technology (implicit or explicit); and (e) a question that author would recommend you ask about a new technology that you are evaluating.

2. Identify Commonalities

As you have no doubt noted, many of our authors share common themes. For example, a number of pieces speak to the relationship of technology and democracy, or to the cycle of unintended consequences, in which a new technology is needed to resolve the problems caused by a previous technology.

Identify at least five common themes and the authors who share those themes. Note the differences between the ways the authors approach each theme. (Doing this task will certainly help you understand the authors better, and will prepare you to write some of the comparative essay questions.)

3. List and Review Terms

We've seen a wide variety of terms this semester, from everyday terms, like "technology", "science", and "engineering", to more discipline-specific terms, like "technological determinism", "socially constructed", "laissez innover", and "affordance". Make a list of important terms and be sure that you can describe all of them. (We may do this as a group.)

4. Review Concepts, Typically Through Eboards

In most cases, we've put the major points from the class period on the eboard. It can be worthwhile looking for/at those points. You should also review your own notes on each day's class.

Copyright (c) 2014 Samuel A. Rebelsky.

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