U48 324—Technology in Our Changing Society
Washington University University College
Wednesdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
We are said to live in an information society and work in an information economy, but what does that mean? If we have indeed experienced a "paradigm shift" in what information means to society, then how do we adapt to these changes and what do they mean for the traditional ways society functions? This course examines how we think about, communicate and use information in a variety of contexts, including political, financial, historical, ethical, organizational, educational and technological. Guest lecturers from business, engineering, humanities and social sciences will provide these perspectives. Note: Web-based instruction and online requirements will complement the two-hour weekly class meeting. Students must have an e-mail account and access to the Internet to take the course. This course is offered on the same evening, back-to-back with U48 213, Principles of Reporting.
Readings will consist of articles, analyses, & ephemera from the Internet.
In addition, students will need to sign up with the following listservs:
- GranneWU, the class listserv, hosted by Yahoo Groups. To subscribe, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To review the home page and look at archived messages, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grannewu.
- GranneNotes, an irregularly-published newsletter about Interesting & important stuff in technology and on the Internet. To subscribe, send a blank email to email@example.com. To review the home page and look at archived messages, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/grannenotes.
Your grade will be based on the following factors:
- Class attendance and participation in discussion (20%): You are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the readings with your fellow classmates. During class we will also discuss how the readings relate to current news, so you should be prepared to extend the readings to new situations and participate in the discussions. We may also work on in-class exercises, and you are expected to take an active part in those exercises.
- One short paper (20%): You will research and prepare a short (3-5 page) paper on current technology issues. The paper can relate to one of the topics that we have discussed in class, or it may instead cover a topic that we have not covered in class, but which happens to interest you. The paper can take one of several forms:
- Outline a controversy and argue your take on the issue.
- Make a case arguing that a particular technology should or should not be implemented in your workplace or business.
- Propose one to me.
- One long paper (40%): You will research and prepare a longer (10+ pages) paper on current technology issues. In topic it will be similar to the short paper. Your topic may not be the same topic you covered in your short paper. I will need to approve your paper topic first. Your paper will be published on this Web site (which is only available via a username & password) for the other students to review. Again, this paper must be provided to me electronically in plain text, not in Microsoft Word or any other binary format.
- Online discussion group (20%): This Web site has a discussion group that we will use for questions, thoughts, and discussions outside of class. Students are expected to comment on class readings prior to, and after, each class. However, students are free to start new discussions related to the topics discussed in class but not necessarily related to our readings. In addition, all of your papers & written work will be posted to the discussion group.
Grades will be based on an average of the above as follows:
Policy regarding academic dishonesty: This course will follow Washington University's policies concerning academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty will result in failure for the assignment in question and/or referral to the college's Academic Integrity Office, which has discretion to impose a stricter penalty. While academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams and quizzes, it also includes plagiarism in written assignments. Plagiarism is not only passing off someone else's work as your own, but also giving your work to someone else to pass off as their own. It also includes submitting work from another course. While I strongly encourage you to discuss your work with each other in and out of class, and while you may research issues together, your writing should be your own. The papers you submit must be your work alone, and must include citations to all references in your work. Please include the URL, or Web address, for articles and resources found on the Internet.
Accommodation of disabilities: If you have a disability that might affect your ability to complete the required assignments, please contact me during the first week of class to discuss an accommodation.
It is paramount that we respect each other online, in both email and the discussion group. Follow this simple rule: disagree with the idea, but not the person. In other words, it's OK to say "That's a bad idea, because …", and it's not OK to say "You're a bad/stupid/inconsiderate person, because …". If you have an issue with a classmate's behavior online, please bring it to me privately by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to find out more, please feel free to read The Core Rules of Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.
Aug. 28 ~ Introductions. History of communications technologies. Forces that drive technology.
Sept. 4 ~ How do we retrieve and use information on the Web?
Assignments for 4 September 2002
Sept. 11 ~ What happens to notions of identity on the Internet?
Assignments for 11 September 2002
Sept. 18 ~ How does technology change privacy, online and offline?
Guest: Matt LeMieux, Executive Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 18 September 2002
Sept. 25 ~ Why did some dot-coms succeed while others failed?
Assignments for 25 September 2002
Oct. 2 ~ What free speech rights do we really have on the Internet … and what should we have?
Guests: Denise Lieberman, Legal Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 2 October 2002
Oct. 9 ~ What are the different methods companies can use to engage in e-commerce?
Assignments for 9 October 2002
Oct. 16 ~ How can companies effectively use the Internet to market and sell?
Guest: Jerry Bryan, President, Bryan Consulting.
Assignments for 16 October 2002
PAPER 1 DUE
Oct. 23 ~ What's the best way to develop and license software?
Assignments for 23 October 2002
Oct. 30 ~ How is technology changing media & media companies?
Assignments for 30 October 2002
Nov. 13 ~ How is technology changing the laws and ethics involved with Intellectual Property?
Assignments for 13 November 2002
Nov. 20 ~ What changes are Peer2Peer technologies introducing?
Assignments for 20 November 2002
Dec. 4 ~ How is technology changing education?
Assignments for 4 December 2002
Dec. 11 ~ How can we reconcile technology and ethics?
Assignments for 11 December 2002
FINAL PAPER DUE