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April 25, 2007
Lecture: How can we control technology?
Key concepts: utopian, dystopian, technological utopianism/dystopianism (cont'd from last class), technological prefixes/epithets and institutional transformations
Examples: Clinton/Gore speeches about the Internet, Office Space, The Apple Macintosh "1984" Ad, Civilization IV
Textbook: 1984 -- part two, sections 5-10
Read the PART TWO, SECTIONS 5-10 of Orwell, George. 1984.
Assignment: BLOG POST: Civilization Lab #2
This assignment involves the class game: Civilization IV. See the game page for all of the information about how to obtain and play the class game.
For this blog post, you will use the game Civilization IV as a way to review for the final exam.
Part I. First, look at the sign-up sheet for this assignment and choose a course concept or idea from the class. IMPORTANT: In order to help you review, you must choose something you have not written about before. Choose something that is unfamiliar to you. Do not choose to write on a lecture or a reading that has already been the subject of one of your blog posts.
Part II. Play the class game Civilization IV as a simulation of society. Try to discover how the class material you chose functions in the game. Describe the way that the class game simulates the class material. For example: "Ch. 2 of the Media Now textbook explains that there are a small number of basic functions that the media perform in any society. In the game, these functions are represented by..."
Part III. Use the correct definitions and concepts from the class to assess the game. You could consider: What is the correct definition of the material or concept? What parts of the game did a good job simulating what we know about that class concept? What parts of the game did a poor job simulating what we know about that class concept?
- Refer to at least one specific example from YOUR gameplay to support your arguments
- include at least one screenshot to show what you mean
- even though the sign-up sheet gives you some sources, you should still cite the exact source of the class material that you are reviewing (with direct quotations if this is helpful) [NOTE that no direct quotations are required from lectures.]
- finally, upload your most relevant or most recent saved game file to your blog post so that readers can see what you did (saved game files are files with the extension ".Civ4SavedGame").
TIPS and ADVICE:
- To receive credit for this assignment, use enough detail in your writing that it is clear you understand the operation of both the class material and the game.
- These class concepts are chosen carefully -- connections can be made between all of them and the game material. (In other words: "This doesn't appear in the game at all" is not an answer to this assignment.)
- Remember that you may not write about the same game features as you did for the last blog post.
- One way to get ideas for this assignment is to look at other class member blogs to see what they found out in the last blog assignment. Their descriptions of game features could save you time exploring the game.
DEADLINE: Post your blog entry by 11 a.m. -- one hour before class begins. (You may want to select your topic as soon as you can.)
This is the Web site for SPCM 199, Communication Technology and Society, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.