Imagining a Brave New World



Step 1: Choose your topic. I will go down the list and take a show of hands about how many students are interested in each. I will ask if students have questions about each topic, and I will try to answer them in the time allowed; if questions are very complicated, I will suggest links for further information at the end of class. If a student wants to focus on a topic that is not on the list they can suggest one during this time. Topics should be chosen by the end of the day, but if a student wants to change their topic later in the process they may do so as long as they approve it with me first.

Step 2: After choosing your topic I will give you a list of links that will be useful in researching your topic. For instance, if you are writing a paper about the future effects of immigration, then you will need statistics about current and previous immigration rates, federal and state policies about immigration, news articles about the effects of immigration, etc. You should use these links, but you are encouraged to find others on your own. However, please be careful about which sites are trustworthy. If you have questions about the accuracy or credibility of a website, please ask me. Points will be taken off for false or misleading information. Your goal is to make a convincing argument, and that requires that your sources be accurate.

Step 3: On a piece of paper, write as much as you can about your issue before you begin your research or during the early stages of your research. What do you know so far? What are the gaps in your knowledge? What are you hoping to learn? You will turn in this piece of paper to me the day after the project is assigned. I am not looking for any specific answers at this point, and it is OK if you know almost nothing about the issue right now. At the end of the project, we can look back and see how much you have learned since you wrote this.

Step 4: Research, research, research. Time will be provided during class in the computer lab or library. It is important that you gain a good understanding of the issue. You are not expected to become an expert by the end of this project, but you are expected to make a convincing argument about what possible effects can result from your issue and what we can do as citizens to ensure a better future.

Step 5: Rough draft. The rough draft should be about three pages and will be due a week after the project is assigned. At this point you need to show me that you are working on your argument. Remember, your goal is to argue what the world and/or this nation will look like in thirty years because of this specific issue.  Think about current trends and what the future consequences will be because of them. What direction will immigration policy go in? Is it becoming too strict, or too relaxed? What will it look like thirty years from now? What will be the positive and negative effects of this trend? How should we change immigration policy to maximize positive effects and minimize negative effects?

This draft should contain references to at least one source, so that I know you are thinking about the facts available and using them to form your opinion.

Step 6: Final draft. This will be due in two weeks. In the final draft,  you should have a complete argument showing 1) current trends, 2) how these trends will change or stay the same thirty years from now, 3) the social consequences of these trends, and 4) what, if anything, we should do in order to avoid negative consequences.  Remember, you should not mention only positive or negative consequences; you should refer to both. For instance, in "Brave New World," people do seem mostly happy and cooperative at first, but they are really unfulfilled and seem to want more out of life. At the same time, your paper should focus on potential problems and recommend solutions.

Remember, you are focusing on only ONE topic for this paper, not painting a complete picture of the future. You can mention other issues in your paper IF doing so will strengthen your argument, but you should focus only on one issue. 

The final draft should be about 4-6 pages long and should include at least three sources, though feel free to include more if you think that they will improve your argument.

One more thing: since this project requires proper research and discussion of potentially sensitive issues, please make sure you ask me about anything you might have questions on. I will make every effort to check your understanding of the issues and how to go about the project during our time in the lab. You can also e-mail me questions and I will try to answer before we meet again if possible. 

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