Department: Department of Communication
Institution: NC State University
Terms: Spring 2010 [section 1] [section 2], Spring 2008 [section 1] [section 2], Spring 2007 [section 1] [section 2], Spring 2006 [section 1] [section 2], Fall 2005
The primary goal of this class is to investigate interconnections between the Internet and society focusing on the interfaces that allow us to connect to digital spaces. The course will be divided into three main parts.
Part I includes a historical overview of the development of the Internet. We will explore how the personal computer, as an assemblage of material interfaces (such as the mouse, the keyboard, the screen, and the operational system), shaped not only how we interact with, but also how we understand the Internet. We will investigate how the concept of cyberspace contributed to the visualization of the computer and the Internet as social spaces, leading to the development of MUDs and virtual worlds. In this part, we will draw on literary and science fiction views of the Internet and cyberspace.
Part II focuses on the Internet today. We will address how blogs, wikis, and social networking sites contribute to the development of what is called web 2.0. We will also explore how the Internet is becoming more integrated into our everyday life via location-based services, mobile social networks, and ubiquitous computing, focusing on some of the social implications of these developments, such as privacy and surveillance issues. Finally, we will discuss social access to the Internet, which concerns ideas about the digital divide both in the United States and in developing countries.
The ultimate goal of this class is to raise a discussion about the role of the Internet in contemporary society.