Comments on COS 109 Writing Assignment

Here are some general comments on problem set 8, the writing assignment. Popular topics included viruses, Napster and MP3, other on-line threats and issues, the Enigma machine, and analog versus digital. Aside from the conventional essay, the most frequent literary form was the letter home; it would be interesting to learn how many of those did get sent, and what the family response was. A tip of the hat to the Doctor Seuss poem and a short play.

For future reference, it's tactically unsound to send viruses to someone who is grading your work in a course that has stressed the risks and how to defend against them. I got two this time, though both were caught by my virus-detection software. Please make sure that your machine is clean and protected.

There were some really interesting and enjoyable papers, a goodly number that were well done, and some that definitely needed another couple of revisions to improve content, organization and writing.

Grades ranged from 18 to 40 (out of 40); the median was 30. These criteria were at least in the back of my mind while reading and evaluating; a paper that matches the top of each list would do well, while one near the bottom of many categories would not.