EECS 129B & 189B Contemporary Issues


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Before the lab on 1/24-26:

  1. Look at some of the advertisements on net neutrality that were placed in publications commonly read by congressional staffers.

  2. View some of the Internet video pieces on net neutrality.

  3. Read some of the media coverage of net neutrality.

  4. Before coming to a lab section on 1/24-26, complete "Step 1: Define the Problem" for net neutrality (as described in the textbook and in the lecture on 1/19). Bring your problem definition to the lab section.

In the lab section on 1/24-26, you will work on Steps 1-3 for net neutrality. I will be present to give you additional background information, lead a discussion of your ideas, and answer questions. Both the preparation for the lab and the assignment to follow can be worked on in groups of 4 students or less. These do not have to be the same groups as you are using for your design project; indeed, I would recommend mixing computer engineering and electrical engineering students in your group.

 

Net neutrality report, to be completed after the lab on 1/24-26, due 2/4:

Groups: The assignment can be worked on in groups of 4 students or less. These do not have to be the same groups as you are using for your design project. I recommend mixing computer engineering and electrical engineering students in your group. In addition, you might find it beneficial to include someone who has taken EECS 148 and/or someone who has taken an economics course, if possible. The group is responsible for making sure that every member does their fair share of work, and the group will receive a single grade on the assignment.

Information sources: Some information on net neutrality was posted before the lab. Here are the links:

  1. Advertisements on net neutrality that were placed in publications commonly read by congressional staffers.

  2. Internet video pieces on net neutrality.

  3. Media coverage of net neutrality.

Additional background information on communications policy and on networking technology was handed out in the lab and is also posted here.

You are encouraged to find additional information by searching for additional media and academic papers on the issue.  The librarian has put together a webpage with links to information sources here. On this page, good starting points include LexisNexis Academic Universe, Opposing Viewpoints, and Wikipedia. However, plagiarism from any such source is a violation of the policy on academic honesty.

Assignment: The textbook and my 1/19 lecture described a series of 8 recommended steps to formulate a policy. In the lab section on 1/24-26, you worked on Steps 1-3 for net neutrality. You have two options for your group's report:

  1. Option 1: Complete steps 1-3 and report on each step. You may choose to rely on your group's ideas and/or other group's ideas communicated during the lab. You should carefully formulate your definition of the problem, and your entire group must agree on this definition. You should then consult additional information sources and present what you believe are the relevant pieces of evidence. Finally, you should present approximately 3 or 4 alternatives that would address the problem you identified. If you select option 1, you should not attempt to evaluate the alternatives or recommend one in the report.

  2. Option 2: Propose your own net neutrality policy, and only include step 8 in the report. This option will be more challenging that option 1, but it may also be more fun. In order to formulate your policy, you may choose to proceed through all 8 steps, but this is up to you. If you select option 2, you should only include step 8 in your report. Of course, this step will likely include communicating a problem statement, a recommended alternative, and evidence supporting this alternative. You can choose whether to include or exclude discussion of alternatives other than the one you are proposing.

Page limits: You should turn in a single report for your group. The group report should be no less than 4 pages and no more than 8 pages (not including the cover page). Use 12 point font and reasonable page margins. Here is a suggested outline, but you may do as you wish:

  1. Option 1:
        Executive Summary (summarizing your problem statement, evidence, and alternatives): 1 page
        Step 1 (define problem): 1 page
        Step 2 (evidence): 2 pages
        Step 3 (alternatives): 1 1/2 pages

  2. Option 2:
        Executive Summary (summarizing your proposed policy): 1 page
        Step 8 (communicate): 4 pages

Under either option, when discussing evidence, please comment briefly on ethical issues related to net neutrality. This may include ethical issues related to individuals, companies, or society.

You may format your report in postscript, PDF, or Microsoft Word. Please include the names, email addresses, and enrolled courses (129 or 189) of everyone in your group on a cover page. The file size can not exceed 1MB.

Due: The report must be submitted by a single group member by 10pm on Sunday, February 4. To submit the report, login to e3.uci.edu and click on "DropBox", and look for a DropBox named "Net Neutrality". Submit the report to that DropBox in the AssignmentSubmission folder. Your upload will be timestamped, so I will know if you submitted it by the deadline. I will be able to review your report, but your classmates will not. Complete instructions on DropBox submission are here.