Midterm Notes/Class Notes for 3/26

Tried to get mostly everything down. Hope the notes help somewhat. -Donovan

Midterm Next Week!!!

Free writing assignment in class
First part reflecting on Project 1: What are you struggling with as a writer
Second part: What do you want to explore more in terms of texts, content, and themes
How do you think you are doing in the class?

Remember that the essay is entirely your opinion. Your data is not outside sources, it close reading of THE TEXT

Class Opinions/Struggles of the Writing Process

– Confusion about peer review process
– Using references and links did helped to make revisions
– Not using outside sources was difficult
– Keeping track of all the info provided by prof. was confusing and almost too much
– Coming up with a topic to write about was difficult
– It was Stressful
– Writing essay was like writing science paper (using data to back up thesis)

Class Question: Is there no wrong answer if it’s an argumentative essay (personal opinion?)
– You set up the terms to make a claim. You must have your reader believe your claim by clearly defining your terms and backing up your statements with evidence from the text.
– Be aware of the entire text (not just snippets) and examples that may counter your argument.

When you enter in a communicative relationship with someone (writing, speech), you must be ethical. In rhetoric, goal of being an ethical communicator is to be FAIR.

Karl: Don’t you leave it up to the reader to make a decision?
Prof. Response:
– Do not misrepresent the text by cherry-picking and selectively leave out certain points that may counter your argument.
– It’s always more persuasive to offer a counter-argument for the reader to think about.
– Beware of Rhetorical Fallacy (unethical/misrepresentative writing)
– Come across as a credible writer (believable)
– Fact + significance = a good topic sentence

When proofreading, do not make any comments on the first reading. See the whole scope of the paper. Sometimes most of what you want to say is there, you just have to fix the order.

SIDE NOTE: Very important, BAD HUNGRY PLACE aka BHP. Beware!!! If you don’t eat, you get cranky like prof. does.


Everything we’ve done is fair game!!!

Main things that will be addressed in the midterm

– Ability to understand the texts and movies we’ve watched
o Mainly discussions of science fiction terms

– Applied Questions/Themes and concepts
o Think about the themes, conflicts, values (i.e post humanisms, prosthesis, what it means to be human, etc.) and be able to say something critical about them

– Elements of Fiction (i.e. setting, plot, characters, symbolism, point of view, etc)

– Part of the midterm may or may not be about writing critically/the writing process

It’s not make or brake (10% of term grade), but still important

*** Characters, Conflicts, Values, Themes ***



– Man vs Machine conflict

– Religion

– Authenticity

– Lack of communication (face to face)- mediation

– Fear (i.e. machine stops)

– Following other people/control/obedience/leadership

– Importance of animals

– Isolation

– Technological Determinism: a belief (now a very overly simplistic belief/not very popular) that technology determines what happens in culture and society.

– Agency/responsibility for what is done with technology

– Setting (an element of fiction) i.e. postwar/post-apocalyptic setting

– Apocalypse: destruction/radical break where something new occurs

– Conflict of Man vs. nature

– Human crisis/ existential crisis: question of existence/place of man in the world

– Boundaries: What is the distinction between different entities?

– Simulation

– Ersatz

– What is genuine?

– Power (Roy with Tyrell, Machine Stops, Metropolis, Religion)

– Freedom is limited (i.e. Machine Stops they cannot leave the machine/Metropolis they must work for the machine/In Androids the Andy’s can’t leave Mars)

– Questions of individuality

– Whether or not you can retain free will in a world dominated by technology

– Emotional Aspect (i.e. empathy, sympathy, ability to identify with something different)

– Marginalization

– Identity Crisis (i.e. implanted memories, can andys have an identity without past experiences?)

– Conformity: To be the same as everyone else/to fit in
Tied in to the idea of norms
Can lead to solidarity (feeling of belonging to a whole group)

– Classes/Hierarchy

– Status/Appearance

– Consequences of technology
o Think about certain decisions and/or actions we make based on technology
o Causes us to look at ethical problems/possible solutions

– Cyborg (cybernetic organism)- Middle ground between machine and man (i.e. android is a merging of man and machine)

– Prosthesis: mechanical extension of a human (i.e. mechanical arms/limbs)
o Forces us to question authenticity

– What is the purpose of science fiction?
o Critiques on society
o Alternative thinking
o Extrapolations: Take facts and observations about a present or known situation and use them to make a prediction about what might eventually happen.
o The “what if”
o Thought experiments


Class Notes for January 29, 2015

First Impressions:

The first thing we did was pull out 3 pieces of paper. On the first sheet of paper, we drew a picture of the first thing we think of when we hear the word science fiction.

On the next piece of paper, we wrote the first word that came to mind when we think of science fiction.

On the third piece of paper, we answered questions, using free writing, and writing whatever first pops into our minds, which are usually stereotypes or assumptions.

The questions were:

What is science fictions?

Who is science?

What is fiction?

Who writes science fiction?

Who reads science fiction?

Why is our class dominated by males?

Why is the professor female?

Why are we taking this subject? Because we like it? Did we have to take it?

Is science fiction actually “literature?”

Who are some of our favorite science fiction writers or favorite science fiction entertainment like movies, tv, etc?

After writing for 15 minutes answering these questions, we then got into groups of four. Our pictures were given to the person on our right, and the word we chose was given to the person on our left. We then introduced ourselves to each other, and then exchanged information. We then discussed what we each wrote for the questions and then drew pictures and wrote words/phrases on a poster sheet. We then took a five minute break.

When the break ended, we got into a lopsided circle, and went around the room introducing ourselves to everyone, and talking about what we put on the posters. To start off, Professor Belli gave us a little background on herself. She has her doctorate and focuses on utopian studies for her research. She is the Co-Chair of the OpenLab site. She has played violin since the age of two, and used to play ice hockey, and is Sicilian, so she is not one to be messed with. A few of us questioned as to why she chose this course, and her response was that she requested to teach this course as Utopian studies often play a role in science fiction.

After Professor Belli introduced herself, the first group gave their introductions. The first group consisted of Leonel, Aaron, Zack, and Louis. Leonel and Zack are both in the Entertainment technologies major. Aaron lives in Brooklyn and is in Communication Designs. Louis in in Facilities Management and is a project manager for Con Edison.

The next group was comprised of Carl, Peter, Renee, and Jonathan. Carl is in Advertising/Communications Design and has a love of science fiction that stems from first reading HP Lovecraft. Peter is a polish Communications  Major who enjoys things created by Tolkien, particularly the Hobbit. Renee is a Graphics Design Major who enjoys Game Design, and likes the color red. Jonathan is a Hospitality Major but unfortunately has broken his glasses recently and is having trouble seeing.

Andrew, Donavon, Jonathan, and Serge made up the next group. Andrew is a Communications/Design Major and took this class because he liked the description and enjoys scifi. Jonathan and Donavon are both in Entertainment technology. Jonathan wants to work in lighting/be a gaffer, and also took the class because he enjoys scifi. Donavon likes science fiction as well. He plays piano classically. Serge is a Chemistry Major, and loves science fiction, mainly scifi movies. He is a fan of metal, flamenco, and classical music.

In our group, Randy is a Computer Systems Technology major.  Joel, Jose, and Chris are all in the Computer Engineering Technology Major. Joel loves scifi. Chris also loves scifi, particularly robots and the like. Jose is a Viola player but now plays the Guitar. Tahir is a Mechanical Engineering Technology major and is a coach/mentor for a robotics team.

The final gorup is made up of John, Eugene, Daniel, and Genesis. John is in the Architectural major and actually works in the field already. Eugene is a Computer Systems Technology major and is only taking this class because it is the only open class. He wants to get a hair cut, but doesn’t want to go to the barber. Daniel is in the Entertainment Technology Major. He enjoys making his own music and for a fun fact, his shoe size, is 11! Finally, Genesis, who is in Electrical Engineering, but is making a change to the Professional and Technical writing major. His favorite color is red.

After each saying what word we chose, the major theme seemed to be Space.

Once everyone went around the circle, the professor discussed the Syllabus.

Our booklist for the class will be posted online. We need to print out the short stories to be read in class.  Most of our grade will be based on our interactions and work done using OpenLab. When writing our blog notes, we need to be critical and analytical in our writings. Professor Belli then showed us how to navigate OpenLab to the courses home page, and the tabs. In the final minutes of class, we discussed what was needed to be done for homework and what was required for the next class.


Apologies for any misspelling with the names.



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