The Keller Center Offers Introductory Course on Technology and Society
The mission of the Keller Center is to educate leaders for a technology-driven society. The center is creating new courses and strengthening existing ones that go beyond purely technical subjects to provide students a broader understanding of the global economic, environmental and cultural forces that shape and are shaped by technology.
One such course, EGR 277/HIS 277/ SOC 277: Technology and Society
, was introduced in 2010 and is offered each spring semester. This cross-listed course was developed in collaboration with the Departments of History and Sociology with support from the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. Faculty involved with the development of the course include Michael Gordin and Angela Creager (History), Betsy Armstrong (Sociology and WWS) and Sharad Malik (Electrical Engineering and the Keller Center). Read this entry
in the E-Quad News (EQN), a blog maintained by the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
About the Course
This introductory course on technology and society will present the overarching issues and principles related to the intersection of technology and society. Our hope is to provide students with the intellectual tools needed - a "set of lenses" that will help them view the is
sues this area poses. Technology and society are unthinkable without each other -- each provides the means and framework in which the other develops. To explore this dynamic, the course investigates a wide array of questions on the interaction between technology, society, politics, and economics, emphasizing the themes of innovation and maturation, systems and regulation, risk and failure, and ethics and expertise. Specific topics covered include nuclear power and waste, genetically-modified organisms, regulation of the internet, medical mistakes, intellectual property, the financial crisis of 2008, and the post-fossil-fuels economy.
The course is open to all undergraduate students on campus; a key element of the course is its appeal to students on both sides of the technology fence. We expect to attract technology students who have an interest in the societal application of their discipline; as well as students in other disciplines who are interested in seeking a technology education component that will help them understand and deal with technological issues in their lives and careers.
A Sampling of Student ProjectsSpring 2011