Technology

General:

  • As you can see, we will be using technology quite a bit in this class. At the end of the semester, you will have learned how to use several new digital software programs. But much more importantly you’ll have learned how to learn to use new technologies: how to play with them, tinker around with them, figure out how they work, discern what they can let you and others do, and how to decide out which ones might be useful (or not) for specific tasks you want to complete. In essence, the point isn’t how to use WordPress or Twitter (although these are useful skills for a wide variety of careers), but rather how to train yourself to approach ANY new technological task, whether that is your boss requiring you to learn a new data entry program for the project you’re working on, your co-workers asking you to use meeting scheduling software, your activist comrades listing events on an online calendar, your partner or kids sharing their photos with you, or your doctor uploading your insurance forms and test results to an online health management system. This ability to learn new technologies–regardless of what those individual technologies are–is a skill that all of you will find useful.

Accessibility:

  • Various types of technology are differently accessible to people due to bodily, economic, and regional differences. I have tried to make all the technologies used in this class accessible to screen reader software and keyboard navigation for people with disabilities. However, if something is not accessible to you due to disability reasons, please let me know. I will work with you to remedy the situation and ensure that all students–with an array of embodiments–can participate fully in the course.
  • Penn has several campus computer labs that students can use. Therefore, you do not need a home computer to participate in this course. You are welcome (and encouraged) to use your own computer if you have one, but if you do not you can always complete and submit assignments, print out readings, check email, post to Twitter and WordPress, and conduct research in the university computing labs. You can find a list of campus computing labs here.
  • Any class meetings that require students to use computers in class will take place in computing labs, and I’ll announce this in advance in class, on the course website, on Twitter, and in email.

Technology in Class:

  • Laptops and tablets may be used in class for taking notes and accessing course materials ONLY.
  • Turn off cell phones, iPods, and personal electronic devices during class.

Tech problems:

  • Computers die, wireless internet goes down, printers run out of ink, pets do actually eat papers lying around (at least mine do), at times you’ll have problems with WordPress or Twitter, and you will leave stuff on the bus/train/plane/car. These are facts of life, not emergencies.
  • Technology problems will not normally be accepted as excuses for unfinished work.
  • To avoid having any of these things ruin your life back up your work early and often (Dropbox helps), and start assignments early.
LOLcat by aerowattson (Dec. 19, 2011). From http://cheezburger.com/5586538752
LOLcat by aerowattson (Dec. 19, 2011). From http://cheezburger.com/5586538752

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