Weeks 9 and 10: What does it mean to “interrogate” a technology? How can we analyze digital tools using other digital tools?

As we get started on our new assignment, we will spend a few days in class focused on writing about technology. We will read several pieces by experienced technology critics, and you’ll get the chance to apply your analytical skills to several different types of interfaces.

I will be traveling for part of next week, so I’m taking this chance to share our plans for the coming two weeks. You’ll be completing some of this work while I’m gone, but if you have any questions, I will be available by email. Here’s a quick overview of the next two weeks:

  • Before you go to bed on Sunday night, please familiarize yourself with several of the applications on the “pre-approved” list for Unit #3 and email me your top four choices for this project (three from the list, plus one that you found). [UPDATE: Here is the finalized list of assigned applications for Unit #3.] On Monday (10/21), I will review the midterm feedback you gave me during Week 8, and we will chat about what we might do differently during the second half of the semester. Afterwards, we will compare a few different approaches to analyzing software, so please read the following articles before you come to class:
  • On Wednesday (10/23), I will be at a conference, so we will not meet as a class that day. However, on Monday I will give you a short homework assignment that you will complete while I’m gone. I hope you’ll work with a few of your classmates to complete this assignment, and the Innovation Space will be available for your use if you decide to meet during our regular class time.
  • On Monday (10/28), we will consider the history and evolution of word-processing applications. Before you come to class, please read the following articles:
  • On Wednesday (10/30), I will introduce some basic concepts of HTML, and we will experiment with Google Sites, which you will be using to publish your Unit #3 projects. In order to take advantage of this workshop, please come to class with electronic copies of your Unit #3 materials (early drafts of your essay, screenshots, etc.).

If you have any questions about these plans, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We’ll also have a chance in class on Monday to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on for the next few weeks.