Technology in Our Changing Society Summer 2004 syllabus

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

Summer 2004
Tuesdays & Thursdays 6 p.m.–8 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

Th. June 3 ~ Introductions. What's the most effective way to search & validate information on the Internet?

Tu. June 8 ~ How do we retrieve and use information on the Web?
Assignments for 8 June 2004

Th. June 10 ~ How is social software changing the way people communicate?
Guest: Ben Jones, WebSanity.
Assignments for 10 June 2004

Tu. June 15 ~ What happens to notions of identity & gender on the Internet??
Assignments for 15 June 2004

Th. June 17 ~ Who plays online games, and why?
Guest: Jans Carton, WebSanity.
Assignments for 17 June 2004

Tu. June 22 ~ How do virtual worlds deal with property?
Assignments for 22 June 2004

Th. June 24 ~ How do government and law function in virtual worlds?
Assignments for 24 June 2004

Tu. June 29 ~ What happens at the intersection of reality & virtual gaming worlds?
Guest: Jans Carton, WebSanity.
Assignments for 29 June 2004

Th. July 1 ~ How is technology changing food and drugs?
Assignments for 1 July 2004

Tu. July 6 ~ How are telephones changing how we communicate?
Assignments for 6 July 2004

Th. July 8 ~ How pervasive is surveillance, & how should we react?
Assignments for 8 July 2004

Tu. July 13 ~ How can we balance privacy and national security?
Guest: Matt LeMieux, Executive Director, ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
Assignments for 13 July 2004

Th. July 15 ~ 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 15 July 2004

Tu. July 20 ~ 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 20 July 2004

Th. July 22 ~ How is technology changing media & media companies?
Guest: Jerry Bryan, President, Bryan Consulting.
Assignments for 22 July 2004

Tu. July 27 ~ How is technology changing the music business?
Assignments for 27 July 2004

Th. July 29 ~ What is the impact of Peer2Peer & related technologies?
Assignments for 29 July 2004

Tu. Aug. 3 ~ How is technology changing the laws and ethics involved with Intellectual Property?
Assignments for 3 August 2004

Th. Aug. 5 ~ How is technology changing the way people understand & pursue love & sexuality?
Assignments for 5 August 2004

Tu. Aug. 10 ~ How is technology changing work & government?
Guest: Jerry Bryan, President, Bryan Consulting.
Assignments for 10 August 2004

Th. Aug. 12 ~ How is technology changing education?
Assignments for 12 August 2004

Tu. Aug. 17 ~ How can we reconcile technology, ethics, & equity?
Assignments for 17 August 2004

Th. Aug. 19 ~ Wrap up & evaluations.
Assignments for 19 August 2004

WebSanity Top Secret