The Engaged Citizen
Work and Play
MWF 12:10pm - 1:00pm
Fall 2016


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.

Learning Goals

All TEC dyads share a common set of learning goals:

  • The ability to comprehend and appreciate a set of complex issues relevant to being engaged citizens.
  • The ability to make connections between the evidence and methods from two distinct disciplines in order to formulate arguments about engaged citizenship.
  • The ability to express those arguments clearly in writing and discussion.
  • The ability to engage in and reflect on experiential learning that connects directly to the classroom experience, preparing the students for vibrant Odyssey experiences later in their Hendrix careers.


Rise of the Robots

"What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary."

The Victorian Internet

"The electric telegraph nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before or since, and its story mirrors and predicts that of the Internet in numerous ways."

How Games
Move Us

"Games ... can actually play a powerful role in creating empathy and other strong, positive emotional experiences; they reveal these qualities over time, through the act of playing."

Game Design Workshop

"The book puts you to work prototyping, playtesting, and revising your own games with time-tested methods and tools. It provides you with the foundation to advance your career in any facet of the game industry, including design, producing, programming, and visual design.

The State of Play

"The State of Play is a call to consider the high stakes of video game culture and how our digital and real lives collide. Here, video games are not hobbies or pure recreation; they are vehicles for art, sex, and race and class politics."




  • Aug 24

    Work, Play and Technology

    Mills 301

    Course overview, with discussion of Why Google isn't making us Smart…or Stupid by Wellmon

  • Aug 26 -
    Sep 2

    Discussion of the industrial revolution, WPA, economics of technology and universal basic income proposals.

  • Sep 5
    Labor Day
    No Class

    Sep 7 - 14

    Introduction to Robotics

    Bailey Library Snoddy Lab

    Understanding the impact of automation on multiple job sectors, and gaining experience with programming robotics technology.

  • Sep 16

    Paper Discussion

    Mills 301

    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.

    Sep 19 - 28

    Reflecting on how Victorians made sense of the telegraph system, and solving problems often creates new ones.

  • Sep 30 -
    Oct 10

    Future of Work and AI

    Bailey Library Snoddy Lab

    Hands-on experience with 3D printing, and discussion of future automation advances and superintelligence.

  • Oct 12

    Film Discussion : Her

    Mills 301

  • Oct 14

    Oct 17 - 26

    Examination of how games set up interesting choices and bridge distances through social play.

  • Oct 24

    Guest Lecture : Dr. David Fredrick

    Mills 301

    Director of the Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

  • Oct 28

  • Oct 30 -
    Nov 7

    Creating Games

    Bailey Library Snoddy Lab

    An introduction to designing and programming video games using Scratch and Twine.

  • Nov 9

  • Nov 11

    Guest Lecture : Dr. Katherine Isbister

    Mills 301

    Center for Games and Playable Media, Department of Computational Media, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

    Nov 14 - 21

    Discussions of the ways games have been used to include and exclude populations.

  • Nov 23 - 25

  • Nov 28 -
    Dec 5

    Games for Change

    Bailey Library Snoddy Lab

    Reflections on the use of games for social change, and time for project interdisciplinary connections.

  • Dec 13


Aretha’s Rule—R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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.

Attendance/“Personal Days”

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?

Late Papers

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; 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.

Academic Honor

As stated in the Hendrix Academic Integrity Policy, all students have agreed to adhere to the following principles:

  • All students have an equal right to their opinions and to receive constructive criticism.
  • Students should positively engage the course material and encourage their classmates to do the same.
  • No students should gain an unfair advantage or violate their peers' commitment to honest work and genuine effort. It follows that any work that a student submits for class will be that student's own work. The amount of cooperation undertaken with other students, the consistency and accuracy of work, and the test-taking procedure should adhere to those guidelines that the instructor provides.
  • Members of the Hendrix community value and uphold academic integrity because we recognize that scholarly pursuits are aimed at increasing the shared body of knowledge and that the full disclosure of sources is the most effective way to ensure accountability to both ourselves and our colleagues.


3-Page paper for Dr. Goadrich
3-Page paper for Dr. Skok
4 in-class quizzes for Dr. Skok, 4 lab assignments for Dr. Goadrich, in-class participation
Final Project


Dr. Mark Goadrich

Computer Science

MC Reynolds 313
MWF 9:30 - 10:30, T 8-9 or by appointment
(501) 450-1367

Dr. Deb Skok


Mills 224
TTH 1-3 or by appointment
(501) 450-4542