Fall 2014; TR 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM; Engineering Building 1033

I. Course Goals and Description

The increasing pervasiveness of the computer and associated technologies is generating a multitude of controversies over a wide range of complex social issues. Among these are issues of privacy and security, access, the impact upon the workforce and the workplace, as well as the potential for social alienation. Is it true, to paraphrase one specialist in the IT industry, that privacy is gone, "So get over it!"? What about the tradeoffs between security and privacy? New issues of copyright and intellectual property are arising. Has IT created a "new economy," an engine of productivity and economic growth into the distant future, which is less susceptible to downturn than the old economy? What is the future of e-commerce, e-business, and e-government? What is the impact of the growing importance of IT upon developing countries? What can be done to address the "digital divide" that is developing between the genders, the races, and the social classes?

These thorny issues confront not merely those directly involved in designing, developing, implementing, and using information technology, but nearly everyone in society. They are, by their very nature, interdisciplinary; these issues involve legal, political, social, economic, technological, and moral dimensions that cannot be readily disentangled. The frenetic pace of IT development has often meant that the issues surface more quickly than we are capable of understanding and digesting, and there is no sign that this pace will slacken.

The ultimate goal of this course is to help students develop the ability to engage in critical reflection and to make informed judgments about many of these issues. In addition to becoming acquainted with some basic facts governing computing, this process involves developing skills necessary to identify issues, to identify positions taken with respect to those issues, to clarify arguments offered in support of positions, and to learn to evaluate those arguments.

II. Instructors

Professor Musonda Kapatamoyo

Department of Mass Communications

Dunham Hall 1035


Office Hours: MW 3:00-4:30 PM

and by appointment!

Professor William W. White

Department of Computer Science

Engineering Building 3180


Office Hours MW 9:00 AM -12:30 PM,

TR 8:00-10:30AM, and by appointment!

III. Textbooks

IV. Course Website

Technology and Society by Jan L. Harrington

Ethics and Technology by Herman T. Tavani

This website contains an up-to-date syllabus for the course, with links to all PowerPoint slides, assignments, and exam review sheets.

V. Evaluation

The course grade will be based upon performance on exams, quizzes, and papers. These factors will be weighted as follows:

Three 150-Point Exams

The non-comprehensive exams will be administered in class, closed book and closed notes. The exams will consist of essay questions, identification/short-answer items, and multiple-choice items.

450 points

Four 100-Point Papers

Each topical paper will either be a summary/critique of a recent article or an opinion paper, where everyone writes on a common topic. An optional early may also be submitted for early feedback from the instructor.

400 points

Six 25-Point Quizzes

Six quizzes will be administered throughout the semester, with the possibility of one or two additional, extra-credit quizzes. Each quiz will consist of essay questions and/or short-answer items taken from the reading material and class discussions.

150 points

Total Possible Points

1000 points

VI. Class Policies

Academic Misconduct


Late Assignments

In-Class Incivility

Violations of academic standards such as cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated. Violators will be assigned a failing grade in the course. (Students wishing to dispute the case should follow normal student grievance channels.)

Attendance is strongly encouraged, as is class participation. The material covered during lectures and class discussions shall form the basis for the exams, quizzes, and papers.

There will be no work accepted late and no unexcused absences from exams. No makeup exams shall be given for unexcused absences. Exceptions are granted only for documented medical problems.

Please refrain from:

* Eating or drinking in class.

* Using cell-phones, tablets, or laptop computers in class.

* Prolonged chattering with classmates.

* Sleeping in class.

VII. Tentative Schedule & Reading Assignments




The Uncanny Valley

Perry: "Leaving the Uncanny Valley Behind"



Virtual Reality

Kushner: "Virtual Reality's Moment"



Rapid Changes

Harrington: Chapter 1



Trajectory of Surveillance Technologies

Lauer: "Surveillance History and the History of New Media"

Draft #1 Due



Civilian Drones

Ross: "Open Source Drones for Fun and Profit";

Schneider: "Open Season on Drones?"



Automated Automobiles

Capp & Litkouhi: "The Rise of the Crash-Proof Car";

Ross: "Robot, You Can Drive My Car"



Computer Errors, Failures, and Risks

Harrington: Chapter 3

Paper #1 Due



Resisting Technology

Harrington: Chapter 4



Indoor GPS

Schneider: "You Are Here"



Wearable Computers

Bleicher: "Beyond Words"

Draft #2 Due





Access to Technology

Park: "Offline Status, Online Status"



Snowden: Security

Landau: "Making Sense from Snowden"



Snowden: Free Speech

Landau: "Highlights from Making Sense of Snowden, Part II"

Paper #2 Due



Regulation & Innovation

West: "Evolution of Video Streaming";

Manner & Hernandez: "Jurisdiction of Net Neutrality"



Human Behavior

Harrington: Chapter 7; Tavani: Chapter 11



Big Data: Analytics

PCAST: "Big Data and Privacy"



Big Data: Privacy

PCAST: "Big Data and Privacy"

Draft #3 Due



Humphreys: "Who's Watching Whom?"



Information Privacy

Hier, Greenberg, Walby, Lett: "Public Camera Surveillance"



Internet Security

Symantec: "Internet Security Threat Report 2014"

Paper #3 Due




Intellectual Property Rights

Harrington: Chapter 11; Tavani: Chapter 8



Ubiquitous Computers

Tavani: Chapter 1

Draft #4 Due



Rauscher: "Writing the Rules of Cyberwar"



Internet 911

Barnes & Rosen: "911 for the 21st Century"



Security in Cyberspace

Tavani: Chapter 6



Ethics & Convergence

Tavani: Chapter 12

Paper #4 Due






Biomedical Computing

Strickland: "The End of Disability"



The Age of Convergence & Convenience

Harrington: Chapter 12






(10:00-11:40 AM)


* Richard Barnes and Brian Rosen. "911 for the 21st Century". IEEE Spectrum, April 2014.

* Ariel Bleicher. "Beyond Words". IEEE Spectrum, June 2014.

* John Capp and Bakhtiar Litkouhi. "The Rise of the Crash-Proof Car". IEEE Spectrum, May 2014.

* Sean P. Hier, Josh Greenberg, Kevin Walby, and Daniel Lett. "Media, Communication, and the Establishment of Public Camera Surveillance Programmes in Canada". Media Culture & Society, September 2007.

* Lee Humphreys. "Who's Watching Whom? A Study of Interactive Technology and Surveillance". Journal of Communication, August 2011.

* David Kushner. "Virtual Reality's Moment". IEEE Spectrum, January 2014.

* Susan Landau. "Making Sense from Snowden". IEEE Security & Privacy, July/August 2013.

* Susan Landau. "Highlights from Making Sense of Snowden, Part II". IEEE Security & Privacy, January/February 2014.

* Josh Lauer. "Surveillance History and the History of New Media: An Evidential Paradigm". New Media & Society, June 2012.

* Jennifer A. Manner and Alejandro Hernandez. "An Overlooked Basis of Jurisdiction for Net Neutrality: The World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services". CommLaw Conspectus, 2014.

* Yong Jin Park. "Offline Status, Online Status: Reproduction of Social Categories in Personal Information Skill and Knowledge". Social Science Computer Review, December 2013.

* Tekla S. Perry. "Leaving the Uncanny Valley Behind". IEEE Spectrum, June 2014.

* President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. "Big Data and Privacy: A Technological Perspective". May 2014.

* Karl Rauscher. "Writing the Rules of Cyberwar". IEEE Spectrum, December 2013.

* Philip E. Ross. "Open Source Drones for Fun and Profit". IEEE Spectrum, March 2014.

* Philip E. Ross. "Robot, You Can Drive My Car". IEEE Spectrum, June 2014.

* David Schneider. "You Are Here". IEEE Spectrum, December 2013.

* David Schneider. "Open Season on Drones?". IEEE Spectrum, January 2014.

* Eliza Strickland. "The End of Disability". IEEE Spectrum, June 2014.

* Symantec. "Internet Security Threat Report 2014". April 2014.

* Darrell M. West. "The Evolution of Video Streaming and Digital Content Delivery". Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, May 2014.