Your task in this assignment is to investigate and report on the growing problems of e-waste – which can include its causes, current state, repercussions, stakeholders, solutions, and other related details – and write an open letter on the subject.
Your letter is a form of communication that has 2 objectives, based on 2 audiences:
For your specific addressees (who are discussed further below): Your letter should attempt to inspire commitment and/or action from its audience in relation to the causes and growing problems of e-waste. Inspiring action is not easy – the audience first needs to acknowledge their relationship to the problem. It not only requires a well-grounded argument driven by data that clearly establishes the problem, consequences and why action is necessary, it requires sensible options of what actions should be taken, and sensible considerations on how these actions can be motivated/rewarded.
For the general reader who can read your open letter: Your letter will eventually be published where it is accessible to many readers. It should help them understand the problem of e-waste better, raise their awareness to the causes and other issues related to e-waste, and give them a clear understanding of what actions must be taken by the addressees to resolve the problem. Armed with such information, general readers become empowered – not just with knowledge of the problem, but with the ability to make informed decisions and pressure those who are accountable to be responsible. These readers do not need to be addressed directly, but the structure of your letter must make its content sufficiently clear and accessible that they are able to quickly learn from it.
You should determine the structure and content of your letter that best achieves these objectives.
Addressees: As the above objectives imply, your letter needs to be targeted/addressed to stakeholders. Specifically, you should address your letter to three broad stakeholder groups – consumers of IT products, manufacturers of IT products, and governments. During the course of your investigation, you can consider narrowing this down slightly. For example, you can narrow down the scope based on geographies (eg. international, Singapore only, NUS only), or focus on particular types of e-waste (eg. laptops, mobile devices, printers). Your objective should be to create an impact – which can be measured in terms of width (how many people are impacted) or depth (how deeply are they impacted). A broader focus may be relevant to a larger audience, but might have a shallower impact. A narrow focus will be deeply relevant to a smaller audience, but affords you the opportunity to deeply impact that audience. Teams with only two students can choose to focus on 2 of the 3 stakeholder groups.
By embarking on this assignment, we want to achieve the following learning objectives:
Descriptive: To understand the e-waste problem – to define e-waste; to report on the extent of the problem; to identify and describe the broad stakeholders and their link to the problem; to identify, list and describe the causes and impacts of e-waste;
Prescriptive: To evaluate the solutions for e-waste – to organize and evaluate the suggested solutions to e-waste; to recommend the most appropriate ones to various stakeholders;
Communication: To develop an argument using an open letter – to organize and express a complex argument with reliable data; to convince readers and stakeholders to take action;
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