Course Overview

 

Technology is woven into every aspect of human existence today. This course provides students with the concepts and skills required to examine the interrelationships between human behavior, society, and technology.  Students will become familiar with the premise of Science and Technology Studies that the things we build influence how we function biologically and socially and, in turn, social, political, and economic forces shape the types of technology that we find around us in the world today.

 

The course will combine lectures, reading, and discussion of Carrie James’ (2014) Disconnected: Youth, new media, and the ethics gap, along with a research project inspired by the class text. By participating in these activities, students will explore diverse perspectives on questions such as:

           

  • What is STS all about?
  • How can we study and evaluate the impacts of technological change on places, organizations, or people?
  • What are the unintended consequences of technological change?
  • What personal, moral, and ethical questions arise as people participate in online activities such as playing online games; sharing information over social media; reusing or disposing of digital media?

 

A large portion of the course will be dedicated to a group project, called Talkin’ Trash. In this project, students will explore all aspects of electronic waste. Groups will design campaigns to educate youth about the current management of e-waste in the Province of New Brunswick and discuss ways of increasing youth awareness of this aspect of digital citizenship.

 

This course explores controversial issues involving science and technology in order to investigate the underlying dynamics of science and technology themselves since it is during controversies that the normally hidden social dimensions of techno-science become more explicit.  Students will engage with case studies relating to scientific research and the incorporation of social media in everyday life that reveal the rhetorical tools, underlying assumptions, and social, political, economic, and philosophical struggles embedded within science and technology.

 

The course will combine lectures, reading, debate and discussion related to the following two themes:

           

  • Controversies in scientific research ethics: Why study scientific controversies? Why is ethics important to scientific research in the fields of genetics and medical science? Do scientists have a duty to do research? Do scientists have a duty to promote the public good? How can gender and racial biases in science be addressed?

 

  • Social media controversies: Why study technological controversies? Have social media changed our definition of being ‘social’ What changes of personality correlate with social media participation? How have practices of surveillance and expectations of privacy altered? How have journalism and news consumption changed?

Course Overview

 

This course invites students who are majoring or honoring in STS to further develop an integrative understanding of the core theories and various branches of the dynamic field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) through an advanced study of the theoretical roots and current trends in the discipline.

 The course will develop students’ ability to build their knowledge of theory in STS as it pertains to questions of socio-technological change through a series of topics related to computing. Students will explore how aspects of computing such as social media, mobile devices, the internet, and computer hardware and software have been implicated in social change.