Welcome to what I hope will be one of the more meaningful and enjoyable classes you take this semester. My name is Scott Lockman and I will be your instructor for the next 14 weeks. This is the third semester I’v taught CIS0835 – Cyberspace and Society at TUJ. It continues to be one of my favorite courses to teach.
I’d like to begin things with a brief introduction to the class blog (you are looking at it now). This will be the place to come for all information related to lessons and assignments during the course. I intend to post here frequently and you will be expected to follow what’s posted. It is possible to subscribe to the blog through an RSS reader such as Google Reader. Details for setting up the subscription will provided next week but you are welcome to try to figure out how to subscribe yourself before then.
In this course we will be looking at how information technology has contributed to the rapid changes in modern society over the past several decades. The term “Cyberspace” in the course title refers to the global network of computers though which society communicates, conducts business and shares culture. It was originally coined by the science fiction writer William Gibson in his 1984 novel Neuromancer. An important part of this course will be to investigate the early thinkers and ideas that led to the internet as we know it today. This in fact will be the first section of the course which is entitled, “Pioneers’ Visons.”
But for now, I’m interested in the question which serves as the title for this post: How is your internet? I have a hunch that many of you are active in social networks. You use the net to stay in touch with your friends and family. You also probably use it as a source for entertainment and information. And then there are probably some of you who don’t spend much time online and are not accustomed to using computers as communication tools. No matter your background or experience, we will all be working together to try to figure how to make more sense of cyberspace.
I would very much like you to think about the question and make your initial blog post a response to how you use and define the internet. Yes, that implies that you will need a blog. We will spend time in class setting blogs up but I would be delighted if you took it upon yourself to set your own blog up beforehand. I will require everyone to use the WordPress platform to set up a free blog.
The first and most important account for you to set up, though, will be a new gmail account just for the class. Details about the username to use are provided on the syllabus. Please make a point to set up this gmail account before the next lesson. When you’ve done that, send me a short message of greeting with your name in the subject line. Remember to use [lockman dot tuj at gmail dot com] instead of the official address listed on the syllabus.
And finally, how about a little reading homework for Friday. Please read “As We May Think” by Vannever Bush. We will be discussing this article over the next two lessons. You will certainly want to be familiar with the term Memex before arriving on Friday.
Thank you and let’s make this an awesome semester.