Instructions for quick reference (the instructions are also under Course Content). I want to point out that your first draft of wa1 should be a

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Class:  Please make sure that you understand the objective of your first writing assignment - the response essay.  Listed below are the instructions for quick reference (the instructions are also under Course Content).  I want to point out that your first draft of WA1 should be acompleted draftIn other words, your first draft should be one that you would be comfortable submitting for a grade.  Therefore, your first draft must be formatted according to APA guidelines and include a title page and a references page.  Writer's Help provides examples of what your draft should look like. 

In addition, I want to remind you that your response essay should not include a discussion of sources other than those from your textbook.  In other words, you are not being asked to include any articles that you have already started retrieving from the library databases (you will do that in WA2).

I have attached some audio comments with more details.  Feel free to respond to this note with any questions or concerns about the response essay.


WRTG 291 – Writing Assignment #1: The Response Essay

Courses that fulfill the General Education Requirements (GERs) at UMUC all have a common theme—technological transformations.  In following this theme this semester in WRTG291, we are reading about the impacts of technology on various parts of society. You will use some of these readings to help you to complete this essay.

The response essay asks you to examine a source or a group of sources and discuss your reactions to it.  The essay will incorporate source material summary into its discussion but will also integrate your reactions to the source material.

According to your textbook, Research Writing, a response essay asks a writer to “examine, explain, and often defend” a response to a particular piece of writing. Response essays require close reading of the article (p. 1). Often, it is a good idea to read with questions already in mind.

In your response essay, you will write a response to a set of essays on pages 89-120 from your textbookResearch Writing.    The essays are divided into three themes:

a)      How are online technologies changing the way we live? (pp. 89-102)

b)      How is technology changing our definition of what it means to be human? (pp. 103-113)

c)      What role should technology play in education? (pp. 113-120)

You will pick one theme among the three themes listed above.  You will write your response essay to the set of essays that represent that theme.

Your essay will incorporate source material summary into its discussion and your reactions to the source material.  In other words, you will use paraphrases and direct quotations in your essay.  In addition, please note that you need to use beginning and ending quotation marks and page numbers (in parentheses) following the direct quotations. 

Organizing your Response Essay:

You can find suggestions for organizing response essays on the following pages:

Cahill, Kathleen. Writing a Reaction or Response Essay. LEO: Literacy Education Online. April 6, 1999.

Writing@CSU. Writing Effective Summary and Response Essays. Colorado State University, 1993-2012.

Alberdeston, J. Guidelines for Effective Response Essays.  2009.

Samples and further explanations of response essays:

McGee, Chris. Sample Response Essays. Longwood University, Virginia. July 3, 2012.

Avila, Melissa Marie. Trapped in the Middle: A Close Reading and Response to Gloria Anzaldua’s The Homeland.Tammi Bob’s Faculty Page. College of Du Page. July 12, 2012



·         The first draft is due by 11:59 P.M. on June 16 and should be submitted in your Study Group folder.  Please note:  only your final draft of WA1 will be submitted in your Assignments folder.

·         After you have submitted the first draft of WA1, your instructor will then provide feedback and suggestions for revising the final draft that you will submit for grading. 

·         While you are encouraged to revise and submit your final draft once you have received feedback from your instructor, you will have until July 21 to submit the final draft for grading.

·         Please note: twenty (20) penalty points will be imposed on the final graded draft if a student fails to submit the required first draft.


The final draft should be approximately 500-800 words and should follow standard APA guidelines in citing the sources, which includes a “References” page at the end of the essay to list the sources.  You can review general APA guidelines and essay examples in Writer’s Help.

Greetings, class! Below is my response to the assignment provided.

1) How Are Online Technologies Changing the Way We Live?

Article:  Nicholas Carr: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (pp. 92-94)

Prompt:  What is the main point of the article? Is the author successful in his argument? Why or why not? What evidence does the author present to make his point?

The main point of the article is technology (in this case, the internet) is fundamentally changing way the author thinks.  The change is not a good one, according to Carr.

The author is successful in his argument, despite the lack of empirical evidence to support it, because he combines his own personal experiences with the arguments made by other noted authors to make his case. He adds two studies he feels are connected to his personal observations.  In other words, he does not make outlandish claims that are created in his mind and not experienced by other people i.e. fantasy or fiction.  I am not ready to accept his argument as “truth” but I am able to accept the possibility of his argument being correct.

The evidence he presents is comprised from his personal experiences and the knowledge passed by great thinkers of past eras.  He also interjects evidence in the form of two studies that he feels is closely related to the argument. He experienced not being able to immerse himself into a long book because he is now used to reading online, and online he can read multiple things in small amount of time. He then introduces “wisdom” from the likes of Marshall McLuhan and Socrates, both of whom objected to new technologies because of the fundamental changes to epistemology of their times. 

He also points out two separate studies.  The first is a study that highlights the fundamental differences in the brains of people who read characters (Chinese) and people who read an alphabet.  He makes the parallel between this study and what we may expect when studies are done between reading from books and reading online.  The second study describes how people who read online are “power browsers” and not deep readers which is essentially what he was experiencing himself.



Article:  Nicholas Carr: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (pp. 92-94)


What is the main point of the article? Is the author successful in his argument? Why or why not? What evidence does the author present to make his point?


The main point of the article is that although the internet and digital media are extremely convenient and accessible they may be encouraging and allowing us to not use our capabilities and brains as much as we could and should. I think that the author is successful in his argument because as I read the article I found myself agreeing with him. I love to read for pleasure and relaxation but I find it so difficult to read a textbook and not be distracted. I wonder if there is somewhere on the internet I can go to find a summary or simply skim through the chapter and try to catch the highlights. I think the times we live in have made us lazy and take short cuts. It makes me think of the AT&T commercials with the kids that “we want more, we want more”. I think that sums up our way of thinking and doing things, we want more and faster, with better results and less work. We don’t have to put near as much effort into finding the information we want or need as our ancestors did. I have a hard time watching a movie for an hour and half without grabbing my phone to follow facebook or play a game online, I think our attention span is increasingly becoming less. Evidence that the author presents is using his friends as examples that have had similar experiences when trying to stay focused reading long books or even blogs.

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