18 January 2008

Teaching Senior Seminar on Society and Technology

How does it go from being the 2nd to the 18th so quickly? Wow: between students coming back to campus and going to Midwinter, the Sheck is moving at a pretty quick pace. A post, or two, about Midwinter is forthcoming but at this very moment, my mind is on my course.

Last semester, I took a first crack at teaching HIS 415: Seminar in Contemporary World Issues. Each professor chooses their own theme for the course. Some focus on globalization, some on genocide, some on Iraq. The Sheck focused on Society & Technology. Students critically examine the impact of technology on a variety of societal aspects including politics, democracy, science and medicine, community, and culture. To reframe our understanding of that impact, we then study and discuss the impact of the digital divide in the United States and in Africa.

The class went very well with students approaching the readings and issues in a creative, thoughtful, and engaging way. I learned a great deal from all of my students and found many of the generalizations often heard about students and technology smashed to bits.

Teaching a senior seminar on Society and Technology has been an incredibly rewarding and interesting but also challenging. Teaching it again this semester is even more exciting than the first iteration. As a new teacher, designing, developing, and running a brand new course is hard work. I rewrote the course during the semester, which I vow not to do again(I'm sure many of you more experienced teachers are shaking your heads at that one!). With classes just picking up steam, I am feeling more knowledgeable and prepared than last semester.

Already though I am thinking ahead. There are so many books I find interesting and valuable as I continue to develop the course and my interest in this area. Here are just a few that I am immersed in currently:
-Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
-Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte
-The Hypercomplex Society by Lars Quvartrop

Classics, perhaps, but new to me.

If you have any suggestions for further readings for the course, please throw them into the comments section!

1 comment:

annie b said...

Sheck -

I'm currently reading a very interesting book that might be cool for your students about balancing the rights of free speech and privacy in a networked world called:

The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet

Click Here for Amazon Listing