Information Course Schedule: Summer 2013
Info C103. History of Information (3 units)
According to conventional wisdom, the “information age” began just a few decades ago and promptly superseded everything that went before it. But the issues we are wrestling with now—questions about piracy, privacy, trust, “information overload,” and the replacement of old media by new—all have their roots in the informational cultures of earlier periods. In this class we will take a long view of the development of these cultures and technologies, from the earliest cave painting and writing systems to the advent of print, photography and the telegraph to the emergence of the computer and Internet and the world of Twitter, Pinterest and beyond. In every instance, be focused on the chicken-and-egg questions of technological determinism: how do technological developments affect society and vice-versa?
MWF 10-12:30 (Session D: July 8 - August 16, 2013) — 213 Wheeler
Instructor(s): Blake Johnson
An introduction to high-level computer programming languages covering their basis in mathematics and logic. This course will guide students through the elements that compose any programming language including expressions, control of flow, data structures, and modularity via functions and/or objects. Covers traditional and contemporary programming paradigms including sequential, event-based, and object-oriented programming.
Students will also work towards writing code that integrates the graphical user interface, multiple input/output modes, and network connected computers. The course will culminate in web application programming in light of the emerging possibilities of Web 2.0. Programming style, multi-person programming projects, and debugging strategies will be covered as well.
Uses the PYTHON language.
Info 181. Technology and Poverty (3 units)
This course will encourage students to think broadly about the interplay between technological systems, social processes, economic activities, and political contingencies in efforts to alleviate poverty. Students will come to understand poverty not only in terms of high-level indicators, but from a ground-level perspective as ‘the poor’ experience and describe it for themselves. The role played by individuals and societies of the developing world as active agents in processes of technology adoption and use will be a central theme. Technologies connection to socio-economic development efforts will be put into historical context by exposing students to several phases of intensive interest including the ‘green revolution,’ the push towards industrialization, the ‘appropriate technologies’ movement, and more recent interest in digital technologies.
Introductory material for the course will challenge students to think about exactly how ‘technology’ is defined and about the wide variation amongst devices/systems covered by the term. Course topics will be explored through a series of case studies that will be supplemented by cross-disciplinary readings. The use of illustrative case studies will make the course accessible to undergraduates with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. In our discussion of ‘information technologies’ we will explore not only key form factors such as computers, the Internet, and mobile phones, but also their incorporation into broader practices such as micro-business and agriculture.