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The Role of IT in Modern Technology

Note: this document is a working copy and is subject to change!

This is the initial working title of a course prepared for the Bydgoszcz University of Economy (WSG), Bydgoszcz, Poland in Spring 2012. Whether it will be a recurring subject, remains to be seen yet.

The course will be offered as a short lecture session for both regular and distance education students. As agreed at the beginning, the grading will be done by local staff, based on a 1.5 - 2 page reflective essay (in Polish - as it is reviewed by the local staff. However, international students can do it in English!) on the course materials.


NOTE FOR READERS: The lecture texts contain both classic references (listed at the bottom of the text) and in-text pointers to Wikipedia - the latter are meant as a "read more"-type additional material (for quick reference on non-central matters, e.g. persons like Charles Babbage or devices like iPad) and not academic references as such. In purely academic writings, primary sources should be used instead of secondary ones like encyclopedias.

The course is by nature an amalgamation of several earlier courses (both Estonian and English), customized for the context of WSG. THE WORK HERE IS IN PROGRESS.

Each topic is supposed to take a short lecture of one academic hour (45 minutes). Due to the limited time for lectures, some of the texts will actually contain more material than covered by the real-time lecture.

  1. Information society? (the overall role of technology in learning, work and other aspects of society)
  2. The long road: from ENIAC to iPad (a historical perspective)
  3. New media, Web 2.0, social software... (new media overview)
  4. The weird ways of online communication (the points and pitfalls of communicating on the Net; also some netiquette)
  5. The rise and fall of intellectual property (legal issues - the WIPO framework of copyright, patents, trade marks etc vs FLOSS and the Free Culture)
  6. Software, software and software (and online content too) (the legal spectrum from Microsoft to Linux and BSD)
  7. Nobody's child - the problem with ordinary computer users (security of ordinary users or lack thereof)
  8. The Dark Side and the Fool's Gold (the world of cybercrime)
  9. Censorship and privacy in the Net (censorship and privacy issues)
  10. Hackers: the techno-culture (the mindset behind Linux and open source movement)
  11. Cyberwars: politics and technology (the influence of ICT to the global politics)
  12. The Equalizer: assistive technology and people with disabilities (using ICT to empower people with disabilities; special hard- and software)