Technology is rapidly transforming our society, causing large-scale transformation in our understanding of work and play. While artificial intelligence and robotics are beginning displace some human workers, corporations are striving to increase worker productivity and engagement through gamification. Computer gaming has created new concepts of identity, community, and social change, with both positive and negative implications. To be an effective citizen in this new landscape, one must understand the historical and social context of this transformation and be technologically equipped to make, alter, influence, and create these new avenues for work and play. In this course, our students will directly engage with the course material using multiple ways of knowing, incorporating Historical Perspectives through lectures, readings and course discussions, and Natural Science through hands-on experiences with technology.
Dr. Skok’s part of this course will focus on the social, cultural, and historical context of technological change. In different historical periods, people have experienced the development of revolutionary new technologies like the printing press, the steam engine, and the telegraph. Our TEC class will examine the ways in which new technologies can transform both work and leisure. New technologies can improve a population’s comfort, health, and wealth, yet they can also reinforce inequalities of access, class, race, and gender. We will examine how people in the past have understood and reacted to technological change, with an eye towards making sense of our present reality. We will also examine the concept of good citizenship within digital communities.
Dr. Goadrich will teach the NS half of the course, offering one module on robotics, industrial automation, and artificial. The robotics module will introduce the programing of Lego Robotics systems. Students will understand the concept of a mechanical or digital agent that can sense and affect its environment, and see the underlying principles of industrial automation. The second module will focus on programming interactive games and how they can be used to affect social change.
All TEC dyads share a common set of learning goals:
Course overview, with discussion of Why Google isn't making us Smart…or Stupid by Wellmon
Discussion of the industrial revolution, WPA, economics of technology and universal basic income proposals.
Understanding the impact of automation on multiple job sectors, and gaining experience with programming robotics technology.
Choose a profession or career path of interest to you that is currently staffed overwhelmingly by humans. Describe in detail the standard procedures and tasks involved in this profession. What technologies will be needed to automate this profession? How long would you estimate it would take before this automation is possible? What are the ramifications to society and humanity if this profession is automated? Draw primarily on the readings in “Rise of the Robots,” citing it and any other resources you use to support your claims.
Reflecting on how Victorians made sense of the telegraph system, and solving problems often creates new ones.
Hands-on experience with 3D printing, and discussion of future automation advances and superintelligence.
Examination of how games set up interesting choices and bridge distances through social play.
Director of the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
An introduction to designing and programming video games using Scratch and Twine.
Center for Games and Playable Media, Department of Computational Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
Discussions of the ways games have been used to include and exclude populations.
Reflections on the use of games for social change, and time for project interdisciplinary connections.
Respect is the key towards generating a fruitful discussion. Every person in the room is to be listened to and treated respectfully as one of the requirements of the class. You must give this respect to others, and expect to receive it in return. We should be able to have lively disagreements while remaining respectful to each other as individuals and members of the class. In class, we promise to do everything we can to create an environment in which all of you can express your views. The goal here is to create a safe space in which students can work out their thoughts, learn to back up these thoughts with evidence, and even disagree with one another in respectful and productive ways.
If you feel a lack of respect is going on in class, please let one of your professors know about it and we will do all we can to address the issue. You can phone, drop by our office hours, or even slip anonymous notes under our doors if necessary.
Because this course centers primarily on discussion and in-class participation, the whole class needs your input if we are to join the great liberal arts conversation. In addition, students who lose too many class days will fall behind and miss crucial material. The attendance policy is therefore formulated to prevent excessive absences.
You may take up to four “personal days” or absences from class (2 for Dr. Skok and 2 for Dr. Goadrich); for these absences, you don’t need permission from me to be absent, or explain why you missed class. If you expect to be out of class due to school-sanctioned activities, like athletics or model UN, use your personal days for these absences. This absence policy is based on the rules of many employers, who give personal days but then may dock your pay if you exceed them. If you have absences above the four, you are responsible for contacting me as soon as possible and providing documentation to prove why you were absent. We reserve the right to decide whether an absence is acceptable or not. If it is not, grade penalties will apply.
Missing more than four sessions will bring down your final grade in the class 1/3 of a full grade point per session missed (eg. If you started with an A, you would go down to an A- on absence 5, to a B+ on absence 6, to a B on absence 7, etc.). If you start this class a few days late into the semester, you do not get more personal days.
You are responsible for making sure that your initials are on the sign-in sheet. Attendance is judged by the sheet, which we will pass around every day at the beginning of class. If you forget to sign in, we cannot go back later and add your name.
Participation is vital to this course. You must do the assigned reading before class, and come prepared to discuss it. In class, we promise to do everything we can to create an environment in which all of you can express your views. The goal here is to create a safe space in which students can work out their thoughts, learn to back up these thoughts with evidence, and even disagree with one another in a respectful and productive way.
As a minimum standard for adequate class preparation, all students must be conversant with the argument and contents of the reading or tutorials. You must also choose one short quotation and one longer passage from every assigned reading and be prepared to present them in class discussion. You should be able to explain why you chose the quotation & passage you did. Why did they catch your eye? What did you learn from them about the author, the argument, or the time period? How does the passage help you to understand the document as a whole?
Similar to the absence policy, late papers will decline in value by 1/3 of a full grade point for every day that they are late, (i.e. from an A to an A-, from an A- to a B+, etc). If you think you will be late with a paper, please contact us as soon as you can before the paper is due.
It is the policy of Hendrix College to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Students should contact Julie Brown in the Office of Academic Success (505.2954; email@example.com) to begin the accommodation process. Any student seeking accommodation in relation to a recognized disability should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course.
As stated in the Hendrix Academic Integrity Policy, all students have agreed to adhere to the following principles: