SAMPLE MIDTERM EXAM QUESTIONS – PART I
What follows is a guide to answering the sample questions and also the sample
questions. Any reference to Rosenberg’s Social Impact of Computers should be
ignored. The sample questions are not exhaustive and, for the second part, further
sample questions will be posted. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for all of
the Coursekit articles assigned for this semester.
SOME PRELIMINARY TIPS ON ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS:
1. Read the question and make sure that you understand what it is asking. Often
students who rush fail to read and understand what a question asks.
2. Answer only the question that is asked.
3. Where a question says “List” or “State” it means just that. List or state in point
form. No explanation or discussion is necessary.
4. Only provide and explanation or discussion where an explanation or discussion is
5. “Briefly explain” or “Briefly discuss” means a few sentences, not paragraph upon
6. Where a question asks for a definition, provide the definition. Do not
provide your definition of the definition. Since definitions are exact, the definition
provided by you should be exact.
7. Look at the marks beside the question. Where the mark is small, answer
accordingly. Do not spend pages writing an answer to a question that only will
net you a few marks. On the other hand, a question that is worth 10 or more
marks should indicate to you that your answer will not be short. I have set out
the marks for questions 14, 15 and 16 below as examples.
8. Allot your time on an examination by reading over the entire examination before
you begin. This will help you determine which questions are worth only a few
marks as opposed to those questions which are worth a substantial portion of the
examination. Such a determination will also help you allot the amount of time
spent answering a question. Obviously, you do not want to spend a great deal of
time on questions that have small values only to find that you do not have
enough time to complete a question which may be worth 1/5 or more of the
examination. 9. Trust and believe me when, a couple of weeks before your midterm examination,
I tell you what materials and subjects you have know for the midterm
10. Note that often I will ask a question with a yes or no answer, followed by a
question that asks for an explanation. The marks you get for the yes/no
question, are determined by the quality of your answer to the explanation
question. See again questions 14 and 16.
New technology does not just happen or appear. It has a history and is
developed over time.
(a) What was the initial invention that, unknown to its inventors, was the single most
important step towards the development of the new computer technology?
(b) Briefly describe the development of the new technology, from the occurrence of
the invention in (a). (three steps)
The Internet has been hailed as the ultimate "Information Highway".
(a) Is the Internet new technology? (Yes/No)
(a) Briefly explain your answer
(a) The hundreds of individual steps in the manufacture of chips can be
grouped into between 6 to 8 basic steps or operations. List in their proper
order, these operations? ( you answer may differ depending on whether
you are describing the manufacture of a chip on page 24; the steps in
from Sand to Silicon or the steps in The First Nanochips Have Arrived)
(b) In no more than one or two sentences, briefly explain each operation in
(a). QUESTION 4:
It has been said that all of the benefits of integrated circuits "accrue in no small
measure from the fact that the semi-conductor industry has been able to integrate more
and more transistors onto chips, at ever lower costs" and that "this ability...is so
fundamental in the semiconductor business that it is literally regarded as a law".
(a) What has led to lower manufacturing costs in the semiconductor industry?
(b) Briefly state what scientists and engineers are worried about in the
(c) At present, does it appear that the principle set out above will continue
(d) Explain your answer in (c).
In the first 2 lectures, Professor Levine proposed two new definitions of
"Technology", The first was proposed because existing definitions of "technology"
appear to be deficient, while the second was to satisfy the critics. Later in an addendum
to lectures 1, 2 and 3, Professor Levine proposed some changes to each of these
(a) List the reason(s) given by professor Levine for his suggestion that
existing definitions of new technology are deficient? (i.e. briefly
state why Professor Levine finds that existing definitions of technology
(b) In order to arrive at a new definition of "technology", it was suggested that we
must break down the process of discovery or the process of uncovering
something to its most basic level and, in doing so, we must have
reference to the categories of benefits discussed some time ago. Briefly
explain what the most basic level is or means and how the categories of
benefits apply to it.
(c) Is Professor Levine’s extended definition of “technology” provided to meet the
criticisms to his first two definitions, a definition at all, or is it merely an
explanation of his and/or second suggested definition?
(d) (i) Is “technology restricted to human beings alone?
(ii) Briefly explain your answer in d(i). (iii Based on your assessment of Lectures 1 and 2 and the criticisms set out
in both Lecture 2 and the Addendum to Lectures