Critical Making: Information Studies, Social Values, and Physical Computing


The focus of this class in on evaluating and exploring current critical themes in Information Studies through both literature and hands-on work.

The course is organized around values that have been identified as key in regards to the design and implementation of socially and culturally sensitive information systems, in particular the values of privacy, autonomy, community, democracy, and social justice. Using design-based research on physical computing as an adjunct to critical scholarship in this area, we will explore how these values are expressed, debated, and resisted within the development and use of information systems.

The class has three goals: first, to critically explore the social issues inherent in technical systems; second, to acquaint students with some of the possibilities and problems of new physical and ubiquitous information technologies; and third, to help them develop basic skills in designing, making, and evaluating information systems that use these new technologies.