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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kenneth A Rufo
B CUSP 131
Bothell Campus

Special Topics in First-Year Learning

Various topics designed to respond to curricular interests and needs for first-year students. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course is called, simply, "Digital Lives." Think of this course as a sort of behavioral literacy for the digital age. It addresses questions like: What sort of data is being collected by me, and in what way? How are particular types of new consumer digital media technologies likely to impact culture, economics, politics, or even conceptions of identity? Where are the trend lines pointing? Will I be able to find a job in five years, or will robots rise up and fight zombies in an epic battle that will determine the fate of the planet (that last scenario might not be covered given time constraints).

This is not a course that is interested in making a case that Snapchat is bad and books are good. This is not a course that will suggest Whatsapp is just a modern telegraph. This is not a course that will tell you everything is going to be alright, or everything is going to be a disaster. Instead, this is a course that looks at emerging and soon-to-be-emerging digital media in a fashion that treats them with specificity and nuance. This is, in other words, an essential examination of what it means to be you, today and in the near future, in our shared digital world.

Student learning goals

Understand what makes digital media digital, and why this matters.

Be able to assess the extent of their own digital footprint.

Hypothesize about medium and long-term consequences for a variety of consumer media technologies.

Make more informed decisions about their own digital lives.

General method of instruction

Readings, lectures, jokes, hunger games, paired paper assignments.

Recommended preparation

None, though access to a computer will help. Computers are welcome in the class.

Class assignments and grading

The class will consist of two content-based exams and two short essay papers, as well as participation.

Measuring quality of the work relative to the expectation of quality work (i.e. the same way all grades are assigned).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kenneth A Rufo
Date: 02/23/2014