We do all sorts of things with information technology: we play games, we listen to music, we watch movies, and we communicate with other people. But one of the main things that we use information technology for is to learn things. Toward this end, we visit Wikipedia, Ask.com, The New York Times, and other such sites. Or we just Google stuff that we want to know about.
This course is about how information technology is affecting the ability of individuals and institutions to acquire and share knowledge. We will look at the following sorts of questions:
- What impact are Google, iPhones, and iPads having on how we know things?
- Should we trust the information that we find on social networking sites like Wikipedia and Ask.com?
- How do people try to deceive us on the web?
- Do intellectual property laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, promote or impede our ability to acquire knowledge?
- Can we really be informed citizens if the blogosphere completely replaces traditional journalism?
- In a digital world, what things do we have a right to know and what things do we have an obligation to know?
Students taking this course will need to satisfy the standard SIRLS technical requirements. In addition, several assignments in this course require students to create web pages. Furthermore, at least one assignment requires students to create a web page and post it on the web. Tips for doing this will be posted in D2L. Please contact the instructor if you have questions about these prerequisites.
As noted above, the virtual component of this course will be hosted on D2L. Enrolled students will be given accounts in D2L by the start of the semester. Information about using D2L is available at http://sirls.arizona.edu/resources/computing#d2l. If you have trouble with D2L, you can contact the D2L Support Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org). Send the D2L staff an email message explaining exactly what is happening.
I will set up a discussion forum for each week's topic. Online discussions of the content of the course will take place in these forums. You should have something thoughtful to say (a question, a comment, a reply, etc.) pretty much every week. But in order to stay up-to-date on discussions and announcements, you should check into D2L every day or so.
Be aware that the last day of classes this semester is May 7th. This will be the last official day for participation. However, D2L should still be accessible for at least a couple of weeks after that point. I will still be checking in on the discussions and you are free to continue posting to the discussion forums.
Be aware that I do not always post announcements on the D2L Course Home page. I often post announcements in the Main discussion forum. That way, people can reply to the announcement if they have questions or need clarification. So, please be sure to check any postings to the "Main" discussion forum (or the other Administrative discussion forums, for that matter).
I have a couple of small requests with regard to the discussion forums. These forums will be our main mode of communication in this course. In order to keep this communication more or less organized, I will set up different forums for different purposes. For example, in addition to a forum for each lecture, I will also set up a "Greetings" forum for you to describe who you are and why you are taking this particular course. So, my first request is that you try to direct your comments to the appropriate forum. My second request is that you use email, instead of the forums, for any personal correspondence.