Compsci 82, Fall 2009, Optional Paper

A paper is required to get an A+. In general writing a paper has the potential to increase your grade on the standard 4.0/gap scale by 0.5 to 1.0 points. The increase depends on the quality of your paper.

Papers should be roughly 10 pages, must include at least five references (that you read) that are not simply URLs and that are not from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a great place to read, get background, and get references; but please find sources from Wikipedia rather than using it as a source. You can write about anything related to technical and social foundations of the Internet, you can write with a partner, and you must deliver the paper to Owen Astrachan in person and be prepared to discuss it for 10 minutes. If you write with a partner, I'll expect more than the 10/5 paper/references outline above -- consider the 10/5 guideline as roughly per-person, though that's a guideline rather than a requirement.

The length of the paper and number of references are guidelines, you must show that you've thought seriously, done some research, and written about what you've found.

The idea is to either take a topic from class and explore it more deeply or to use something you're interested in, that relates to technical and social foundations of the Internet and explore it.

Turning in a paper does not guarantee an A+, nor does it guarantee that your grade will go up. For that to happen I expect to see both real effort and a real accomplishment -- something that shows you've thought more than superficially about a topic. I don't expect a huge project, but I expect more than a summary and your reaction; in other words more than a synopsis.

You must clear your topic with me ahead of time and provide a roughly one paragraph summary of the area you will explore and write about. I must have this summary before Thursday, Nov 19 or you cannot write the paper for class.

If you send me email about the paper, please include "final paper" or some other identifying subject as part of the email.