113A Review Assignment

Engl. 113A: Approaches to University Writing

Fall 2017

 Review Essay Assignment

For your first essay in English 113A, you will formally enter the conversation we have begun in our readings and class discussions about digital technologies. You will present a focused and critical analytical review of a selection of texts we have covered in this progression (BBC documentary, Next Future Robotics Technology; Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google making Us Stupid”; Clive Thompson’s “Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better”; and Kevin Kelly’s “Better than Human: Why Robots will—and Must—Take our Jobs”).

More specifically, you will write a 4-page essay in which you critically review three texts from the progression and add one outside source of your own choosing (total sources, 4). You will limit and focus your discussion by organizing your essay around one or two questions that you will use to interrogate each of your texts. This is an argumentative paper—you are arguing for a particular way of understanding your group of texts. You should assume you are writing to an academic audience who may or may not have read your sources.

Do not think of this as a research paper (although in writing it, we are practicing skills crucial to such writing); rather, try to think of the texts you have selected as a conversation that you are actively entering into. Your voice will dominate the discussion. While preparing to write, you will need to ask yourself certain questions about your texts: In what ways do these texts present similar pictures of the world? In what ways do they contradict each other? What questions or problems do they produce? Are there ways in which you very much disagree or very much agree? What are the relationships between texts? Do you see one text as central and the others subordinate to it? Do you see “sides” forming?

Your discussion of these texts will move beyond summary and beyond what has been said in our class discussions; you will give your own, original take on the texts you have chosen.


  • 4 pages,
  • Word-processed (12 point font),
  • MLA in-text citation and works cited page,
  • Carefully edited.

Final Draft Due: Monday, September 25, 2017