The information below is designed to give you preliminary information about this very exciting course! Please do not email the professor to ask questions about the course: a more detailed syllabus will be posted on Monday, February 24 (Week 8 of Winter Quarter). However, before that point this site may be updated as well.
Throughout human history, technologies (from the wheel to the book and beyond) have shaped forms of identity, community, and society. We are in the midst of one of the most massive technological transformations in human history, shaped by digital technologies. This phrase “digital technologies” refers to an array of infrastructures, devices, and practices including but not limited to mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other computers; websites, online games, virtual worlds, social network sites, apps, and blogs; and governments, corporations, nonprofits, activists, users, makers, hackers, players, and friends. Digital technologies and the digital cultures they shape will play a very important role in your life, your career, and the future possibilities of humanity in the broadest sense.
This course is designed to give you ideas, methods, and experience in understanding these digital cultures. The course has no midterm or final; there are no books for the course while there will be required articles to read, the reading load will not be heavy. The course is organized around a research project that you will begin in week 3. You will be assigned membership in a research team and together you will get to choose what technologies and issues you wish to explore. You will conduct research and write a group paper and presentation that will be shared publicly as well as with the class. This means that when the course is over, you will have an example of original team research that you can use when applying for employment or graduate school. The ability to work on a team and also to do original thinking and original research is highly valued in today’s job market and also in higher education. Thus, in addition to your grade, this course will give you a concrete research project that you can include in your resume or portfolio.