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RWS 100- Fall 2018

Assignment #1 Prompt

The Reading:“Public Thinking,” an excerpt from Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.

Public Thinking” is a chapter that explores the impact that the internet and Social Media has had on our minds. While some have suggested that social media is causing a decline in literacy, Thompson claims that social media is improving the way we write, think, argue, and share ideas. In this essay you will analyze and evaluate Thompson’s argument. Your paper should do the following:


Describe Thompson’s project and argument, and his most important or interesting claims.

Examine the audience and the assumptions the author makes about them.

Analyze and evaluate the extent to which evidence and reasoning support the argument.

Examine how opposing views are handled.

Use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next and be thoroughly edited so that sentences are readable and appropriate for an academic audience.

Due Dates

Rough Draft: Wednesday, September 26th(9/26)

Final Draft: Monday, October 8th(10/8)


5-8 Pages

Must adhere to MLA format(Size 12 Font, Times New Roman, Double Spaced, 1 inch margins, etc.)

Quotations are appropriately credited following MLA guidelines

See Purdue OWL for any questions


Introduction: Introduce the text to your audience.

What is the rhetorical situation? (Identify the author, audience, context, and genre)

What is your project? Briefly explain what you will be doing in your essay, offering a “road map” for the reader.

Body: Accomplishing the goals of the assignment.

Identify Thompson’s project (the goal or purpose of the text) and his argument (the thesis or main point of the text).

Describe the audience, as well as the assumptions (the beliefs and values the author takes for granted) that can be drawn from the text. Discuss what the assumptions say about what Thompson believes and what he thinks about his audience.

Evaluate and explain three different claims (the assertions that support the argument). For each claim you will:

Identify the claim that Thompson is making. Use textual support and/or a quotation to help identify this claim.

Identify evidence that Thompson uses to support his claim. There are several different types of evidence, and the more you identify the better.

Evaluate Thompson’s claims and his use of evidence. Do you find that they are compelling? Insufficient? Explain your evaluation using critical thinking and sound reasoning.

Examine how Thompson handles opposing views.

Identify at least one rebuttal (where the author addresses objections, opposing arguments, and questions that skeptical readers may have) in Thompson’s essay. Use a direct quotation to identify the rebuttal.

Evaluate his rebuttal. Does it sufficiently address a skeptical point of view? Does it inaccurately respond to or represent an opposing viewpoint? Explain your evaluation using critical thinking and sound reasoning.

Conclusion: Tie things up and look forward.

On a larger scale, evaluate Thompson’s text. What did you find compelling about it? What didn’t resonate with you?

Do you agree with his argument? Why or why not?

This should not present all new information but should refer back to some of the things you have already mentioned in your text. (ex. “Thompson’s assumptions do not work for me because…”; “As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed Thompson’s use of evidence because…”)

Why is (or isn’t) this an important text to read in 2018? What do you think it says about us as our society moves forward?

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