Everyone in the class is expected to read every required reading. The readings listed for each lecture should be read prior to coming to class. However, there is also an opportunity to specialize and develop deeper expertise in the areas that interest you most. The class contents are divided into four sections – 1) theories of the relationship between technology and society 2) technology in organizations and work practice studies 3) networked sociability 4) the global view: culture and ethics.
Being on-call: This year we are arranging a similar ‘on-call’ system to what you are familiar with from INFO 205. You will sign up to be “on-call” for one class during the semester along with two other students. During class time I will rely on the ‘on call’ students for detailed recall of points from the readings. Come prepared to raise some relevant questions (these could be areas of uncertainty in the text, questions the text raised about things happening in the world, or the relationship between this reading and other readings in the course so far).
Blog post: In preparation for the session where you will be on call, you will collaboratively write a blog post with the other ‘on-call’ students prior to the session you sign up for. Just as in INFO 205, this post should NOT be a summary of the readings. Instead, consider one or more key concepts from these readings and relate them to a recent event/incident, a (real or imagined) trend, a present day technology, or an emerging problem or dilemma. To be INFO 203 specific, the event, trend, dilemma you writ about should have something to do with humans and their interaction with information, information systems, or information technologies as social beings OR how social interaction between people is mediated by such tools or systems. You might want to visit our INFO 203 Delicious links or any number of news sites (the New York Times, Wired, the Atlantic, the Boston Review, TechCrunch, Slashdot, Reddit) for ideas.
This blog post is due 5pm the night before the session. Email your completed blog post to Stuart Geiger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will post it on the site.
Participation in our photo pool: In addition there are a couple of mini assignments that involve capturing photos as another mode of thinking about course concepts. You can use a camera phone or digital camera. If you do not own one of these devices, buddy up with another member of the course…there should be enough smartphones among us and class camaraderie for everyone to be able to contribute. Photo topics (to be explained in class):
1) actants in everyday life
2) affordances and constraints: why/when/where/how do we use paper vs. screens?
These photos will be posted to our Flickr photo group. You can contribute photos yourself directly to the pool or e-mail them to Stuart if you do not wish to create or use an existing account (either Facebook, Google, or Yahoo). You should be able to view our public photo pool without signing in.
Reading (and writing) groups: I encourage you to develop reading groups to discuss the readings since this class does not have a separate seminar or section. This will help you prepare for the assignments where your careful reading and understanding of the concepts of this course will be tested. You might also exchange outlines and drafts for your final paper with such a group to gain peer feedback on your writing. We will do a limited amount of this in class.
How will class participation be evaluated? Our GSIs will be keeping track of how well you do when you are on call and will also be noting voluntary participation by students who are not “on call.” We are looking not for the sheer quantity of your comments, but that your contributions are relevant, judiciously made, and insightful. Drawing from your own work or life experience is encouraged. The blog post and Flickr mini-assignments will be graded.