CS492/692 - Winter 2007 - Assignment 4

Impact of a new computerized technology


Assignment 4 is due on Thursday March 29, in class. It should be roughly 2000 words in length and is worth 20 marks. This is an individual mini-research-project or field study, due at the end of the term. Students will bring TWO copies of their assignment to class on March 29 and we will swap copies (see assignment 6B), so that students will have the opportunity to learn new information of relevance to the course.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of new computerized innovations on the scene: blogs, electronic tax filing, MP3 files for music, on-line dating services, to name but a few.

Select one specific computerized technology that has emerged in recent history (on the order of within the past 15 years). The purpose of this assignment is to investigate the impact of this new advance, first describing the technology and clarifying the computerized aspects, then identifying which segments of society have been impacted by this technology, outlining both positive and negative consequences. End the project with some reflection on how best to make use of the technology in the years to come.

Be sure to conduct research as part of this project, backing up your arguments about impacts with references on the subject.


This assignment comprises several subtopics addressed in the course including computers and work, reliability, communication with those who are less technically experienced, etc. The aim is to have students go beyond merely thinking of some of the issues, to actually researching issues more thoroughly (possibly including primary sources, such as interviewing and surveying and definitely including secondary sources such as published papers and studies). For graduate students only, primary research will be a requirement and an appendix must be added to the project which clearly indicates the questions asked during primary research. For undergraduate students, primary research is not required. It is merely an option for those topics where primary subjects are readily available. Researching written material already published should be done for this assignment, as was the expectation for earlier assignments.

Last updated January 3, 2007.