Course Description

MAS.S64, Wednesday 10-12:30 in E15-341

Ethan Zuckerman, Alexis Hope, Emilie Reiser

Technology has the potential to transform individual lives and societies for the better. But seeking social change through technological innovation is an often fraught process with a deeply mixed track record. This project-based class is designed to explore the potentials and limits of using technology as a primary lever for social change. It introduces human-centric methods of design, the use of ethnography as a tool to document the ecosystem problems are embedded within, and a view of social change where technology is one of multiple levers activists seek to move.

In addition to readings, class discussions and visiting speakers, the class is built around workshops where students will use different participatory design methodologies to brainstorm solutions to problems in their local communities. Midway through the semester, students will assemble into teams focused on building technosocial solutions to problems in their local communities.

Grading: 30% class participation, 30% reactions and short writing assignments, 40% final project