Spring I212 — Critical Technology Studies: Science and Technology Studies and Reflective HCI

Spring 09
M 1-4  (but see below)
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 42575 (3 units)

This spring’s I212 will combine an intro to science and technology studies (STS) with reflective Human-Computer Interaction(HCI).   The goal is to look at a variety of ways of understanding how people use, adapt, and domesticate information and communication technologies, and how these might affect HCI and ICT design.  We will look at a lot of both theoretical literature and practical studies.

This is *not* a technical class, but will instead focus on how to motivate and evaluate design from many perspectives. It’ll be useful for technology designers, but especially for students interested in expanding their understanding of the relevant literature and theoretical perspectives.

In this class, we’ll define both HCI and STS loosely.  HCI is concerned with the interaction between people and technology, and design that fits people’s practices and needs.  HCI has gradually expanded its scope to include more and more of the human sciences.  Reflective HCI seeks to surface the often-unstated assumptions and values embedded inn HCI.  Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a multi-disciplinary field rooted mostly in the social sciences, but also history and philosophy, that addresses the relationship between society and technology. Much of reflective HCI is rooted in STS.

We’ll look at alternative theories from STS and HCI but also from communications studies and related fields.  Exact topics will depend on who’s in the class and what our collective interests are.

Past offerings of this class have included students from computer science and other engineering departments, education, architecture, and other departments as well as the iSchool.

Because the topic and coverage of this course changes, people who have taken it before can get credit this year as independent or group study.

Syllabus from the last offering, 2006:  http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i212/s07/ — it was mostly PhD students (from the iSchool and elsewhere).  I expect this year it will have more master’s students and so more focus on what this means for design and professional practice.

Class will meet Mondays 1-4. However, we may be able to reschedule the course to fit the schedules of the students who actually enroll, so if you’re interested in the course, let me know.

Also let me know if you are interested in particular topics within this area  —  it’s useful to know if people have specific interests.

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