In my 200-level special topics course, Science Fiction, each student creates a deconstructed essay, an essay in Prezi (a web presentation tool). This assignment provides the opportunity for students to visualize their arguments, engage in digital writing, creating an evidence-based argument using primary and secondary sources.
Using one novel, two films, three short stories and secondary sources in their essays, students are assessed using the following rubric:
The following essays demonstrate effective visual arguments in Prezi:
When Siri Gets Serious: Artificial Intelligence in the Modern World: Films like 2001: A Space Odyssey show stories of the machines that run our lives beginning to outsmart and enslave us; whereas films like Her and novels like Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” demonstrate these machines’ hold on our lives without outwardly controlling us.
Heroes Like You and Me: An Examination of Byronic Heroes in Science Fiction: Byronic heroes, coined for their first appearance in the works of the great Romantic writer Lord Byron, possess questionable ability or will and a weakness for a loved one, yet have exceptional qualities that enable them to achieve heroic feats. These characteristics are conveyed in protagonists of Star Wars, Ender’s Game, and Blade Runner.
Free to Choose? An Analysis of Freedom of Choice in Science Fiction Works: The exclusion of freedom of choice through Science Fiction works comments on the importance of individualism in humans, and, by extension, shows that freedom of choice is the most imperative aspect of human life. Inception, Shutter Island, and A Clockwork Orange effectively portray this importance.
The Cold War: The Great Inspiration for Science Fiction: Science Fiction literature took a turn towards the ‘what if’s’ of nuclear conflict. Science Fiction authors played with the fears of Cold War by presenting stories and films of apocalyptic destruction, invasion of outsiders and different thinkers, and developing the fear surrounding the icon of the Cold War–the nuclear bomb.