U48 324—Technology in Our Changing Society
Washington University University College
Thursdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Scott Granneman
Senior Consultant in Internet Services, Bryan Consulting
Author for SecurityFocus & Linux Magazine
Instructor, Washington University in St. Louis and St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley
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 http://ucollege.wustl.edu/U48324. 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 http://ucollege.wustl.edu/accelera.
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 listserv:
- GranneNotes, an irregularly-published newsletter about Interesting & important stuff in technology and on the Internet. 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/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 (20%): 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.
- In-class presentations (20%): You will make a 15-minute presentation to the class corresponding with an issue in the syllabus. Your presentation will be based on the readings for that class date in addition to some additional essays which I will provide to you, and should include your perceptions, analysis, and critiques of the readings. In addition, your presentation should include questions to the class designed to facilitate a discussion of the issue. On particular subjects, two students can sign up to present the issue in the form of a debate examining competing perspectives on the topic. A sign up sheet will be distributed in class.
- 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 email@example.com. If you'd like to find out more, please feel free to read The Core Rules of Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.
Th. Sept. 9 ~ Introductions. What's the most effective way to search & validate information on the Internet?
Assignments for 16 September 2004
Th. Sept. 16 ~ How do we retrieve and use information on the Web?
Assignments for 23 September 2004
Th. Sept. 23 ~ How is social software changing the way people communicate?
Guest: Robert Citek, Leader, Central West End Linux Users Group.
Assignments for 30 September 2004
Th. Sept. 30 ~ What happens to notions of identity & gender on the Internet??
Assignments for 7 October 2004
Th. Oct. 7 ~ Who plays online games, why, and how does reality intrude?
Assignments for 14 October 2004
Th. Oct. 14 ~ How do virtual worlds deal with property, government, & law?
Guest: Jans Carton, WebSanity.
Assignments for 21 October 2004
Th. Oct. 21 ~ How do we balance surveillance, privacy, & national security?
Guest: Matt LeMieux, Executive Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 28 October 2004
FIRST PAPER DUE
Th. Oct. 28 ~ What free speech rights do we really have on the Internet … and what should we have?
Guest: Denise Lieberman, Legal Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 4 November 2004
Th. Nov. 4 ~ How is open source changing the way software is created, used, and understood?
Guests: Robert Citek, Leader, Central West End Linux Users Group, & Craig Buchek, President, St. Louis Unix Users Group.
Assignments for 11 November 2004
Th. Nov. 11 ~ How is technology changing the music, movie, & other entertainment industries?
Assignments for 18 November 2004
Th. Nov. 18 ~ How is technology changing the laws and ethics involved with Intellectual Property?
Assignments for 2 December 2004
Th. Nov. 25 ~ NO CLASS: THANKSGIVING
Th. Dec. 2 ~ How is technology changing the way people understand & pursue work, love & sexuality?
Guest: Jerry Bryan, President, Bryan Consulting.
Assignments for 9 December 2004
Th. Dec. 9 ~ How is technology changing education?
Assignments for 16 December 2004
Th. Dec. 16 ~ How can we reconcile technology, ethics, & equity?
Wrap up & evaluations.
FINAL PAPER DUE