Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Values and Technology

Instructor: James Brewster

In a fast-paced world whose life cycles seem governed by the latest improvements in technology, how does one evaluate technology? Define its place in our choices for life? Or understand its role in contemporary life in general. The objective of this course is to define technology in its classical tradition and modern applications and develop tools to evaluate technology. (SLO 1,2,3,4,5,6b)

Course Assumptions

  • Some of the resources we shall use, as recent as they may seem, are already out of date (or fashion) at the time of the course.
  • The course takes no particular "slant" favoring technology or against it.
  • The course will be both techno-centered (that is, emphasizing the importance of technology) and people-centered (that is, noting the significance of human values).
  • Textbooks

  • Haskell, Thirza, Excelsior Diary: Life on the Farm, Hornell, New York, 1901,(distributed in class, not available in published format)
  • Postman, Neil, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, (New York, Vintage Books, 1993)
  • Standage, John, The Future of Technology, (London, Profile Books, 2005)

Grading for the Course

Grading for the course (100 points total) will include:
  • 60 Points awarded for graded assignments, as noted in the syllabus
  • 10 Points Class participation and discussion (SLO 3,4,5)
  • 30 Points Term Paper: "Values Technology: A Personal Odyssey: An Examination of the Value of Technological Improvements in a Family Lifetime" (SLO 1,2,3,6b)

  • Guidelines to be distributed in first class.
Grading scale:

A = 90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; F= 0=69. Note, there are no Ds, but Cs are acceptable. Students must maintain a B average over all, but are permitted Cs.

MALS Student Learning Outcomes

According to the GLS program's mission statement, its objectives are: to provide a structured opportunity for post-baccalaureate students from various professional backgrounds to continue learning; to encourage working professionals and other adults to make connections between important ideas and the world in which they live and work; to train active, engaged citizens to think creatively about the problems that face their communities and the world around them; and to improve the adult student's articulation skills, with particular emphasis on writing and oral argumentation. In keeping with these objectives, the student learning outcomes are:

  1. the ability to apply critical theories;
  2. the ability to make connections between various theories and ideas;
  3. the ability to apply creative solutions to problems;
  4. the ability to express oneself articulately in writing;
  5. the ability to express oneself articulately orally; and
  6. a) the ability to conduct complex research, synthesize it, and argue persuasively in support of a claim based on evidence; or
    b) the ability to analyze the value and significance of one's own creative work, and to situate it within the context of similar creative works.

Instructor's note: In keeping with the learning outcomes, the various assignments and tasks in the course will be designated with the number(s) of appropriate Learning Outcome, e.g. (SLO3,6).

Course Outline

A detailed course outline will be provided in the course syllabus.

Last Update: October 26, 2012