Technology in Our Changing Society Fall 2003 syllabus

U48 324—Technology in Our Changing Society
Washington University University College

Fall 2003
Thursdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Eads 103

Instructor: Scott Granneman
Senior Consultant in Internet Services, Bryan Consulting
Author for SecurityFocus & Apress Books
Instructor, Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley

Course Description

We are said to live in an information society and work in an technological economy, but what does that mean? If we have indeed experienced a "paradigm shift" in what technology 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 technology in a variety of contexts, including political, financial, historical, ethical, organizational, and educational. 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 U48-416, Ethics of Journalism. For more information, visit Also note: Accelerated (ACTRAC) option: University College students have the option of taking this class for 4 units. For more information, contact University College (314) 935-6700, or visit

Required Texts

Readings will consist of articles, analyses, & ephemera from the Internet. If you ever want to pursue a topic further, you can look up further readings using Search (also located at the bottom of every page) or the Site Map.

In addition, students will need to sign up with the following listservs:


Your grade will be based on the following factors:

Grades will be based on an average of the above as follows:

100 A+
94-99 A
89-93 A-
86-88 B+
83-85 B
79-82 B-
76-78 C+
73-75 C
69-72 C-
66-68 D+
63-65 D
59-62 D-
0-58 F

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 If you'd like to find out more, please feel free to read The Core Rules of Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.

Tentative Schedule

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 2003

Sept. 11 ~ What happens to notions of identity on the Internet?
Assignments for 11 September 2003

Sept. 18 ~ How is technology altering the body & biology?
Assignments for 18 September 2003

Sept. 25 ~ How does technology change privacy, online and offline?
Guest: Matt LeMieux, Executive Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 25 September 2003

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 2003

Oct. 9 ~ How can companies effectively use the Internet to market and sell?
Guest: Jerry Bryan, President, Bryan Consulting.
Assignments for 9 October 2003

Oct. 16 ~ What are the different methods companies can use to engage in e-commerce?
Assignments for 16 October 2003

Oct. 23 ~ Why did some dot-coms succeed while others failed?
Assignments for 23 October 2003

Oct. 30 ~ What's the best way to develop and license software?
Assignments for 30 October 2003

Nov. 6 ~ How is technology changing media & media companies?
Assignments for 6 November 2003

Nov. 13 ~ How is technology changing the laws and ethics involved with Intellectual Property?
Assignments for 13 November 2003

Nov. 20 ~ What changes are Peer2Peer technologies introducing?
Assignments for 20 November 2003

Nov. 27 ~ No class: Thanksgiving.

Dec. 4 ~ How is technology changing work & government?
Assignments for 4 December 2003

Dec. 11 ~ How is technology changing education?
Assignments for 11 December 2003

Dec. 18 ~ How can we reconcile technology and ethics?
Assignments for 18 December 2003

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