COMS 454 Communication & Technology

Book Review Presentation

Purpose: This assignment is designed to serve our class at primarily two levels. First, by doing this assignment, you will get the opportunity to practice your skills to read an academic book critically and to deliver presentations via zoom. Second, the assignment contributes to the collaborative learning in our class. We will expand our thinking about communication and technology by listening to each other’s presentations on books that may address relevant subjects beyond the scope of our assigned readings.


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Components: This assignment has 2 parts: (1) A one-page written outline (100 pts); (2) A 7-to-9-minute presentation via Zoom (110 pts).

Step-by-Step Walk-through of the Assignment:

  1. In Week 2, get this instruction sheet for the assignment on Canvas, and go through the book list to decide your preferences among the books. Please find the list of books to choose from in Attachment 1, or on the syllabus.
  2. By Friday of Week 3, sign up for a book you want to review and present on. The goal is to have at least 2 presenters for each book. If you are the 3rd or 4th one signing up for a book, I reserve the right to reassign you to another book. So, to make sure you get the book you want, sign up for it as early as you can.
  3. In Week 4, you will know when you will be presenting (either in Week 9 or Week 10) and which book you will be presenting on (that is, if you have been reassigned to a different book or not). Now it’s time to get the book on your own and start to read!
  4. In Week 9 or 10, you will submit your written outline of the book and give a presentation to the class via zoom.
    1. Outline:
      1. Your outline should be submitted via Canvas by the Sunday (11:59 pm) before your presentation. (e.g. If you are assigned to present in Week 9, then you need to submit your written outline by 10/18.
      1. Your outline should summarize the book’s main arguments and key concepts and evaluate the book. Please use the template attached to do so (See Attachment 2).
  5. Presentation:
    1. You will present on your book for 7-9 minutes on your assigned day. Please make sure you show up on your presentation day. A no-show means you get a 0 on the presentation.
    1. Your presentation should be based on your written outline, but with more elaboration. (e.g. more explanations on the author’s key arguments, maybe some examples to demonstrate the authors’ arguments or key terms, and more discussions on what you like/dislike about the book and on what points you agree/disagree with the author. The template for the written outline (Attachment 2) can also be used to help structure your presentation.

(See Attachments 3 & 4 for grading rubrics)

Attachment 1

Recommended Books for Book Review

(You are responsible to get your own copy of the book.)

  • Abbate, Inventing the Internet
  • Castells, Networks of Outrage and Hope
  • Gershon, The Breakup 2.0
  • Gitleman, Always Already New
  • Highfield, Social Media and Everyday Politics
  • Jenkins, Spreadable Media
  • Mullaney, The Chinese Typewriter
  • Peters, The Marvelous Cloud
  • Postman, Technopoly. The Surrender of Culture to Technology
  • Eichhorn, The End of Forgetting. Growing up with Social Media
  • Andrejevic, Automated Media
  • Namamura, Digitizing Race
  • Benjamin, Race After Technology. Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
  • Kang, Igniting the Internet. Youth and Activism in Postauthoritarian South Korea
  • If you are interested to do your report on a book that is not listed here, come talk to me. We can decide together whether it is acceptable for you to review the book for this assignment.

Attachment 2

Written Outline Template

(Please use the template below for your written outline. For each section, you can do bullet points instead of coherent paragraphs. But you should write grammatically complete sentences. Each point should be no longer than a few sentences, and the whole outline should be no longer than one page. Use 12 pt Times New Roman font. Each bullet point can be single spaced. But here should be a 12 pt spacing between different sections. (e.g. 12 pt spacing between “Subject” and “Main Argument.”)

Subject: (what is this book about?)

Main Argument: (What is the overarching argument the author is trying to make in this book?)

Sub-arguments: (Identify 2-5 other key points the author makes to support their main argument. A book usually would not have more than 5 sub-arguments, though there may be many other side points. Select wisely, only include those that are the most important and closely related to the main argument).

Key concepts: (Are there any new terms and/or new definitions of old terms in the book? In your own words, explain how the author defines these terms. How many terms to identify from the book is up to you, but I would recommend no more than five.)

Review/Evaluation: (Use 2-4 bullet points to evaluate the book. Do you agree, partially agree, or disagree with the author? Why? According to your own opinion, does the author do a good job supporting their argument(s) with sub-points, evidence or examples? How so?)

Attachment 3

Grading Rubric for the Written Outline

The 100 pts for the written outline is distributed across the following categories:

Subject: The subject is identified clearly, correctly and concisely.              ______/10 pts

Main Argument: The main argument of the book is well-summarized in terms of accuracy and concision.                                                                                                            _______/ 20 pts

Sub-arguments: The 2-5 pts identified as sub-arguments of the book are logically connected with each other and are in support of the main argument. They work together with the main argument to effectively present the whole picture of the book.                        _______/ 20 pts

Key concepts: The key terms are concisely defined in the student’s own words. The definitions show a solid understanding of the concepts from the book.                                    ______/20 pts

Writing: Writing throughout the whole outline appears to be clear, concise and carefully proofread.                                                                                                        _____/ 10 pts

Attachment 4

Grading Rubric for the Zoom Presentation

The 110 pts for the zoom presentation is distributed across the following categories:

Summary of the book: The key arguments and concepts of the book are clearly explained with appropriate examples. The explanation of the book should also be coherent with logical and easy-to-follow transitions between points.                                                                       ______/ 50 pts

Evaluation of the book: The presenter clearly states on what points they agree and/or disagree with the book and evaluates whether the author supports their arguments in convincing ways. The presenter also offered sufficient justification for their judgment of the book.          ______/40 pts

Delivery of the Presentation: (1) The length of the presentation should be between 7-9 minutes. 5 points off for each 30 seconds too long/too short. (2) The delivery of the presentation is engaging and conversational. The presenter should NOT just read from a script. Meanwhile, it is a good idea to have some notes in hand. Memorializing a full script is not required. (3) The presenter should make an effort to make sure all technologies work properly in advance. Meanwhile, it is understandable that accidents with technologies happen, so no points would be deducted in such situations, except when you completely failed to join the zoom meeting to deliver the presentation, which will be counted as a no-show (0 pt).                                ______/20 pts

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