brunel team                    History 122:
History, Technology, and Society
Fall 2005, Section 300
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Instructor: Dr. Pamela E. Mack

Objectives: Requirements:  In this course numerical grades out of 100 will be converted to final letter grades by the system 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, below 60=F.  

The attendance policy for this course is as follows: 5 absences allowed without penalty, 3 points off the final grade for the course for each additional absence.  Excuses will be accepted only for major problems; students are expected to use their allowed absences wisely to cover special activities, minor illnesses, and car problems. When an excused absence is requested the absence must be documented and beyond the student's control.  Lateness will be dealt with in the following way: no penalty for up to five minutes, one half absence after 5 minutes. Please speak to the professor in advance if you must leave early.  If the professor or a substitute does not arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled starting time of the class students may leave.

Fairly detailed lecture notes for this class are posted on the web (access them by clicking on the lecture title in the schedule below).  Hopefully, you will find that this allows you to listen and think about the material presented in class rather than struggling to write down the details.  However, think about whether you are a person who doesn't remember something unless you write it down; you may decide that you need to take detailed notes yourself rather than simply annotate the notes posted on the web.   When you are listening to lectures concentrate on the ideas and connections presented; this course is not about learning a set of facts but about learning how to analyze the connection between technology and society.

Blackboard discussion questions will be posted weekly on the Blackboard learning system.  You must go to the discussion board for your group to find the graded questions (you will be assigned to one of four groups during the first full week of classes).  This is a required assignment for the course, rather like the journals some other courses assign.   The goal of the Blackboard discussion is to allow more discussion of the reading and the lectures than is possible in class. You can read comments left by others and add your own for everyone to read. I will place a new discussion topic on the system each week. To a limited extent you will be able to go back and comment on topics from previous weeks, but topics will be closed to further comments after two weeks.

Your participation in this system will be graded on the basis both of quality and quantity. Contributions to the Blackboard discussion should be thoughtful comments on the reading and/or the material presented in class and/or the comments of other students, usually one or two paragraphs long (not less than 8 lines or more than two screens).  To get an A you need to say something new and worthwhile about the question (not just repeat what other students have said).  Personal experience is appropriate and grammar and spelling do not matter so long as your point is clear.  Blackboard discussion grades will available on Blackboard before the middle of the term so that you can see how you are doing. Your final grade on the listserv will be the average of your quality grade (grading your replies to each topic) and your quantity grade (8 points per topic answered up to a maximum of  104 points).  You will get only one grade per topic, but all your posts on a topic will be taken into account in deciding your grade for the topic.

Quizzes will be short multiple choice tests based on the reading and key isues from class.  A quiz or some other hands-on assignment will be given in class every Wednesday using Blackboard.  If you do not have a working laptop with you, you will not be able to get credit for the quiz.  The in-class quiz will be closed book.  You will have a second chance to take the quiz, untimed and open book, and the two grades will be averaged together.  There will be 10 quizzes or other assignments that count as quizzes for a total of 10% of your grade.

Two in-class tests will be administered September 16 and November 4.  The final exam is scheduled for December 14 at 8 am. Both the in-class tests and the final will be essay tests and open books and notes will be permitted.  They may be written either on your laptop or on paper.  On the in-class tests you will write one essay of 500 to 1000 words from a choice of two questions.  There is advice on taking this kind of test at: and there are study questions at:  Makeup exams will be available only for students who can document that they missed the test for reasons beyond their control.  In other cases there will be a mechanism to get partial credit.

The argument paper will consist of a paper of about 4 pages that will take a stand on a controversial aspect of the relationship between technology and society. Topic assignments will be posted at Argument paper assignment . The higher grades will go to papers that exhibit logical thinking, an analytical framework, specific evidence, the ability to inform and communicate, sound organization, and a concise and coherent argument. In this paper the premium will go to those that make a persuasive argument. This paper is due on October .  Papers will be handed in via Blackboard and screened by the Turnitin plagiarism detection system.  (This system does keep a copy of your paper--if you have a problem with that please speak to the professor.)  Late papers will be penalized one point for each calendar day late.  Very late papers will be penalized no lower than a 65 if the paper merits at least a 75.

Extra credit.  If you attend one of the extra credit events and hand in a page of reasonable notes (or a written discussion of what you learned if notetaking is impractical) you will get one point extra credit on your final grade.  There will be a number of opportunities, but I will only give one point of extra credit (you can't go to more events and get more points).  Please only go to on-campus lectures if you can stay for the whole event (usually an hour and a half); it is important that we all behave politely when we have outside speakers visiting.  

Academic Integrity:  As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of this institution as a ‘high seminary of learning.’  Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others.  Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree.  Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.  This includes representing someone else's work as your own or handing in the same paper to two different courses without permission of the instructors.  Be careful to avoid plagiarism--text you take from a web site, from a book, or from the online class notes must be either quoted with the source given or restated almost entirely in your own words, with the source given.

Laptop Etiquette: Turn off sound in class or group situations.  You may use your laptop only for tasks related to this course.  That means that in addition to tasks the professor asks you to do on your laptop you may use it to take notes, to view the course notes, or to browse to web sites related to the material being discussed in class.  Do not email, instant message, do homework, download music, or play games during class.   Students using their computers for non-class related purposes will receive one warning.  If there is a second offense during the same class period that student will be marked absent.

Required Books: Reading should be done before the class day for which an assignment is listed.  Underlined readings are on the World Wide Web. Two books are assigned: Samuel C. Florman, The Civilized Engineer, and Ruth Schwartz Cowan, A Social History of American Technology.   The books extend rather than repeat the material discussed in class--you are responsible for integrating what you read with what you learn in class.

Class Schedule:
If you click on the underlined lecture title on the on-line syllabus that will take you to the notes for that day's class.  Whatever follows the lecture title is the assigned reading that should be completed before class that day.


  November: December

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This page last updated Nov. 13, 2005