Core 122A: Nature, Technology and Our Digital Evolution

Spring 2012, 5 credits SLN 18955
Instructor Contact:
email - | phone - 253 692 4611

Class Resource Information
M/W 1:30-3:55 (Core Lab 9:30 – 10:50) meeting in WCG 103
Office Hours PNK 317: Tues 11:30, Wed 4:00 (also by appointment)
Core Lab Facilitator and Academic Adviser: Karin Dalesky Peer Adviser: Jerrol Anonuevo

Course Description: We will be reading about and discussing concepts of nature as they pertain to technology – where it comes from, how it develops, and the ways that the technologies we need, want and fascinate us evolve over time. Beginning with an exploration of our relationship to the stuff we create and exchange (The Plenitude), then moving into questions about technological evolution and innovation (The Nature of Technology), we conclude with examples of how information technologies continue to shape our concepts of what is natural and artificial, and how those perspectives have changed our lives (Hamlet’s Blackberry).

The Core program consists of a coordinated series of courses that represent the various disciplines in the university. This course, along with the others in your cohort, fulfills one of the university’s general education requirements in each of the areas of knowledge plus composition. The courses are designed to both support and challenge you to develop the critical thinking, writing, research, and analytical skills you’ll need at UWT while introducing you to relevant topics in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences.

Learning Objectives
¥ Express ideas clearly in writing and speaking in orders to synthesize and evaluate information before presenting it
¥ Identify, analyze, and summarize/represent the key elements of a text
¥ Think outside of cultural norms and values, including own perspectives to critically engage the larger world
¥ Approach complex issues by taking a large question and breaking it down into manageable pieces
¥ Make meaningful connections among assignments and readings in order to develop a sense of the big picture
¥ Collect, evaluate, and analyze information and resources to solve problems or answer questions

Required Texts
Arthur, W. Brian (2009). The Nature of Technology: What it is and how it evolves. NY: Free Press. ISBN-10: 1416544062
Gold, Rich (2007). The Plenitude: Creativity, innovation, and making stuff. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN-13: 978-0262072892
Powers, William (2011). Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a good life in the digital age: NY: Harper Perennial. ISBN-13: 978-0061687174
All texts are available at the bookstore, and from online booksellers in hard copy and electronic versions (e.g., Kindle).

Course Requirements
You are allowed two unexcused absences. Beyond that, each absence is to be documented by a physician's note, a juror's notice or a judge's supoena or a death certificate. Short an documented excuse for an absence for reasons beyond your control, 3% will be deducted from your final grade.

Reading quizzes 25%
Collaborative project 25%
Papers 40%
Participation 10%
Note: Late work triggers a penalty: 5% for every class period missed.

Writing Requirements
This course will use APA format for in-text citations and works cited lists. Be advised that many formats are used in your collegiate courses and will be specific from course to course, year to year, and discipline to discipline.

Teaching and Learning Center
The TLC provides a wide variety of instructional resources and support for teaching and learning at UW Tacoma. Teaching and learning are ongoing processes that take practice, commitment, and time. We are here to assist you in achieving your goals and provide math/quantitative, writing, science, and other tutoring services.

Academic Standards/Plagiarism
All student work must be free of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined in the University catalog and in the Student Handbook. Consult your professor if you have any questions.

A major part of your experience in the class will be reading, synthesizing, and using the knowledge and ideas of others. It is the responsibility of the faculty to help you in this process and to be certain you learn to credit the work of others upon which you draw. To plagiarize is to appropriate and to pass off, as one's own ideas, writing or works of another. Plagiarism is no less of a misconduct violation than vandalism or assault. Ignorance of proper documentation procedures is the usual cause of plagiarism. This ignorance does not excuse the act. Students are responsible for learning how and when to document and attribute resources used in preparing a written or oral presentation.

For more information, please refer to the Academic Honesty: Cheating and Plagiarism document prepared by the Committee on Academic Conduct in the College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle:

The UWT Library provides resources and services to support students at all levels of expertise. We guide students through the research process, helping them learn how to develop effective research strategies and find and evaluate appropriate resources. For more information about the Library and its services, see:

Electronic Devices
Electronic devices (e.g., i-Pads, and laptops) may only be used in the classroom for course-related work. Cell phone use is not permitted. Activities that are non-relevant to the course, such as texting, talking on the phone, checking/sending email, playing games, and surfing the web, are considered disruptive activities when class is in session.

E-mail Policy

Disability Support Services
The University of Washington Tacoma is committed to making physical facilities and instructional programs more accessible to students with disabilities. Disability Support Services (DSS) functions as the focal point for coordination of services for students with disabilities. In compliance with Title II or the Americans with Disabilities Act, any enrolled student at UW Tacoma who has an appropriately documented physical, emotional, or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities [including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working], is eligible for services from DSS. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, please call (253) 692-4522. Consult the web page below for a complete description of services.

Campus Safety Information

Escort Service
Safety Escorts are available Monday - Thursday 5:00pm - 10:30pm. They can be reached either through the duty officer or by dialing #300 from a campus phone.

In case of a fire alarm
Take your valuables and leave the building. Plan to return to class once the alarm has stopped. Do not return until you have received an all clear from somebody "official," the web or email.

In case of an earthquake
DROP, COVER, and HOLD. Once the shaking stops, take your valuables and leave the building. Do not plan to return for the rest of the day. Do not return to the building until you have received an all clear from somebody "official," the web‚ or email.

Inclement Weather
Call (253) 383-INFO to determine whether campus operations have been suspended. If not, but driving conditions remain problematic, call the professor's office number. This number should provide information on whether a particular class will be held or not, and/or the status of pending assignments. If the first two numbers have been contacted and the student is still unable to determine whether a class will be held, or the student has a part-time instructor who does not have an office phone or contact number, call the program office number for updated information.

Course Calendar

Week/Day/Date -- Topic -- Activities -- Reading Assignments
1 M (3/26) Introduction
1 W (3/28) Creativity Internal Interviews -- The Plenitude sections 1-3
2 M (4/2) Innovation Find the Thesis -- The Plenitude section 4 Reading Quiz 1 (in class)
2 W (4/4) Technology and Evolution -- Practice Peer Review
The Nature of Technology chapter 1
3 M (4/9) Natural Phenomena -- Peer Review
The Nature of Technology chapters 2 and 3
3 W (4/11) Domains -- Collaborative Project Idea Generation
The Nature of Technology chapter 4 -- Paper 1 due
4 M (4/16) Engineering and Science -- Collaborative Project Discussion
The Nature of Technology chapters 5 and 6 -- Reading Quiz 2 (in class)
4 W (4/18) The Origins of Technologies -- Debate 1 -- The Nature of Technology chapter 7
Mid-quarter self-assessment due
5 M (4/23) Scientific Revolutions -- Supporting Evidence
The Nature of Technology chapters 8 and 9 -- Project Proposals due
5 W (4/25) Economies & Technologies -- In-text citation
The Nature of Technology chapters 10 and 11 -- Reading Quiz 3 (in class)
6 M (4/30) Our Digital Lives -- Peer Review -- Hamlet’s Blackberry through chapter 2
6 W (5/2) Plugged In -- Project Production -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapters 3 and 4
Paper 2 due
7 M (5/7) Space -- Debate 2 -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapters 5 and 6
7 W (5/9) Printing Press -- Project Production -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapter 7 -- Reading Quiz 4 (in class)
8 M (5/14) Note to Self -- Presentation Skill Building -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapters 8 and 9
8 W (5/16) Domesticating Technology -- Presentation Skill Building -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapter 10
9 M (5/21) A Different Perspective -- Presentation Skill Building -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapter 11
9 W (5/23) Self-assessment -- Project Production -- Hamlet’s Blackberry chapters 12 and 13 -- Reading Quiz 5 (in class)
10 M (5/28) Team Project Presentations
10 W (5/30) Team Project Presentations