CCTP-506 Fundamentals of Technology
Spring for 2017-2018
This course explores the fundamentals of technology through the historical lens of the rise of computing and the Internet. Topics to be covered include information theory, human computer interface, recording and input technologies, computer security, and the worldwide web. The Internet has been one of the most rapid bases for transformation in technological history, and we appear to be only in the first stages of observing and understanding these shifts.
We will begin to unpack the wide implications of this rapid change through a four-pronged approach: (a) understanding the historical rise of the Internet and information technologies; (b) identifying a broader set of transformations that arise from a globally networked communication infrastructure; (c) familiarity with the content and functioning of these technologies (i.e., how they work, both inside and out); and (d) discussion of particular issues and controversies which have emerged from the Internet’s development (including privacy, access, the digital divide, and debates surrounding open-source). Throughout the course, we shall continually consider the convergence of a broad array of information technologies and how this convergence preserves and/or breaks with previous forms of order information.
Classes will be conducted primarily as a lecture, with two in-class exams addressing the content of lectures and assigned readings. Weekly lab sections are also required. A series of hands-on assignments will encourage students to engage both practically and reflexively with the technologies that surround us. The final project will present group research exploring the history, design, and use of a particular technology. Research findings will be collected and mediated through a variety of communication technologies (formal reports, blogs and twitter feeds, an oral and visual presentation, and video).
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