LIU English Dept John B Killoran Contact
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In-Class Essay 5: Nicholas Carr's The Shallows

Summary

Select one of the following three prompts and write an in-class essay:
  1. Explain how Carr uses scientific evidence to advance his arguments in The Shallows.
  2. Explain the role of our pre-Internet heritage in Carr's The Shallows.
  3. Contrast Carr's arguments in The Shallows with counter-arguments from our readings.

1. Explain how Carr uses scientific evidence to advance his arguments in The Shallows

Some--though by no means all--of Carr's arguments rely on scientific evidence. Write an essay that explains the role of this evidence in advancing Carr's arguments in at least three different chapters of The Shallows. If there might be some uncertainty or disagreement about whether a piece of Carr's evidence constitutes "science," you might define "science" by citing a credible online source and apply that definition to the piece of evidence.

2. Explain the role of our pre-digital heritage in Carr's The Shallows

Though Carr's book focuses on how we are affected by digital technologies, most chapters include some discussion of people, objects, technologies, events, and/or ideas that originated before digital technologies themselves originated, in some cases several centuries or even millenia before. Write an essay that explains the role that (some of) this pre-digital heritage has in helping Carr advance his arguments about our digital era.

3. Contrast Carr's arguments in The Shallows with counter-arguments from our readings

Some of our readings throughout the course have offered explicit and/or implicit counter-arguments against some of Carr's arguments in The Shallows. Write an essay focusing on these points of contrast. Explore the opposing arguments and evidence and develop a thesis that takes a side in this "debate." However, in your essay, be fair to each side; that is, do not short-change the arguments and evidence of the opposing side so that your side easily "wins." In your essay, cite The Shallows and at least three readings that explicitly and/or implicitly counter-argue against some of Carr's argument.

Citing and documenting your sources

This is an open-book essay: you should use Nicholas Carr's The Shallows and, where relevant, our other course readings and online sources such as a dictionary. But you should also cite and document all sources:
  • Cite Carr's book and any other sources using the MLA system, with the page number in parenthesis at the point where the source is quoted or paraphrased.
  • Document your source(s) by create a Work(s) Cited section at the bottom of the essay and, depending on whether your copy of Carr's book is a print book or an eBook, list it in one of the two following ways:
    • Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. New York: Norton, 2010. Print.
    • Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. New York: Norton, 2010. eBook.
  • You may copy references to our other course readings from the course schedule.

Specifications

Compose your essay with the intellectual and rhetorical depth equivalent to our 800-to-1200-word Essays #1 and #2. Instead of crafting an elaborate introductory paragraph, you may opt to transform one of the above In-Class Essay #5 tasks into a question, and then proceed immediately to answer it.

As this is an in-class essay, you may write it only in class during the two class sessions scheduled for this essay. By the end of each class session, you should post your draft to our course Blackboard site. Between the two class sessions, you are encouraged to re-read parts of Carr's book and to make notes, which you may consult in class. However, whereas notes are okay, consulting fully composed passages that you wrote outside of class is not okay. Drafts that suddenly grow very abruptly from session #1 to session #2 may not be accepted.

Also not okay is copying passages you wrote from our other course assignments. If you find yourself writing about some of the same ideas that you wrote about in another assignment, express those ideas in a fresh way.

Name your file "[Surname], Essay 5.docx" and post it on our course Blackboard site.

ENG 16 Syllabus Schedule Assignments Site Map
LIU English Dept John B Killoran Contact