STV100 Society, Technology and Values: Introduction

1 Introduction

Update 2008-05-09: The wrong date was listed for lecture 3 and assignment 1. It has been corrected from May 26 to May 27.

1.1 Calendar description

Society, Technology and Values: Introduction

This course examines the interaction of the technologies developed by a culture with the values and social organization of that culture. The course exposes students to various definitions of society, technology and values, and it presents alternative views about how the three interact. These views are then applied to a number of spheres of influence, including patterns of employment and the role of work; medicine and health; polity and economy; sustainable development and the environment.

Credit wight: 0.5

Pre-requisite: None

1.2 Location and Time

Lectures: RCH 305, Tuesday 7-9pm

Tutorials: RCH 204 & RCH 305, Tuesday 9-10pm

1.3 Instructor

Dr. Scott Campbell

Office: E3X 3174, Ext. 35635
Hours: Tuesday 1-3 (or by appointment, please email)

I check email frequently and will address short questions as quickly as possible, but longer replies may take 24 hours or more. As a general rule, don't expect replies on weekends.

1.4 Teaching Assistant and Markers

Karl Griffiths-Fulton
Office: E3X 3173
Hours: Wednesday 3-4 (or by appointment)

Wendy Stocker
Office: E3X 3171, x36215

2 Course Details

2.1 Website

Please use UW-ACE for access to lecture slides, assignment details and drop boxes, the course readings, a course discussion forum, and other resources.

2.2 Readings

All readings are provided on UW-ACE, under Lessons, in the Readings folder. A reading list is also provided there, with a schedule and questions to study before the lectures and tutorials.

2.3 Policies

2.3.1 Attendance

Attendance will be recorded in the tutorials and will be considered part of your participation grade. It is your responsibility to contact the instructor or your TA ahead of time if you are sick.

2.3.2 Academic integrity.

Plagiarism, cheating, copying and other forms of intellectual dishonesty will be punished to the fullest extent of the appropriate University of Waterloo Student Academic Discipline Policies. The penalties can be quite severe and ignorance is rarely a good excuse. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students are directed to consult Policy #71 (

If you need help in learning what constitutes an academic offence, ask your TA and/or your course instructor for guidance.

2.3.3 Late assignments and missed tests

All assignments will be penalized 1% from your final overall grade per 24 hour period past the deadline, to a maximum of the assignment value. Consideration may be granted if you contact the instructor before the due date.

There is no buffer or grace period for assignments. The final deadline is 6pm. Give yourself adequate time to finish and submit.

A University of Waterloo Verification of Illness form is required for missed tests.

2.3.4 Exceptions

Any exceptions to the above policies will require documentation and, wherever possible, considerable warning.

Extensions require at least 7 days notice, but will not be granted in response to high course load.

2.3.5 Appeals and regrading

Grades for all assignments and tests can be appealed, using the following process:

  1. Talk with the person who graded your work for more information about the grade you received.
  2. Submit to the instructor a written justification explaining why you feel your grade is inappropriate.
  3. The instructor will regrade the entire assignment or test. The final grade may go up or down.

Students who believe that they have been wrongfully or unjustly penalized have the right to grieve; refer to Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances,

Concerning a decision made under Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour), Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grieveances) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline), a student may appeal the finding, the penalty, or both. Students who believe that they have grounds for an appeal should refer to Policy 72 (Student Appeals)

2.3.6 Other

Students with disabilities

The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD), located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the OPD at the beginning of each academic term.

Please contact me as soon as possible if you require academic accommodations.

Gender-fair language

Gender-fair or gender-neutral language should be used for all assignments and tests. That is, don't use "man" to refer to "humans", and don't use "he" to refer to a person unless you know that person is male. You may be penalized for failing to use appropriate terms.

To familiarize yourself with gender-fair language, see:

Excessive Disruptions

Talking loudly during class or otherwise disrupting the lectures in a way that affects other students will not be tolerated. I discourage the use of laptop computers unless you are taking notes during the lectures; this is not the time for games, email, or chat.


I encourage course feedback at all times. Contact me directly, pass a message via the TA, or submit anonymous comments on UW-ACE. Look under the Lessons tab for the anonymous feedback drop box.

3 Tutorials

One of the overall goals for this course is to learn to appreciate technology from the perspective of others. As such, you will get a chance to share your responses to the course material with other students, and learn from other students.

The class will be randomly divided into tutorial sections of approximately 20 students. Tutorials are at 9pm, and each section will meet four times as indicated on the schedule: two sections will meet before the first midterm, and the other two sections will meet after the midterm.

Attendance will be recorded, and participation is expected, as is having completed the readings before the tutorial.

4 Assignments

4.1 Question-and-Answers, Due 6pm June 8 and July 27, 10% total

There are two Question-and-Answer assignments (or Q&A's). By 6pm on the due-date you must submit a short essay question, suitable for the upcoming test, and an appropriate answer (about 250 to 300 words) to ACE.

Purpose of the assignment:

How to do it:

How will it be graded:

4.2 Writing Assignments, Due 6pm May 27, June 24, and July 15, 30% total

There will be three writing assignments. They will require you to respond to the course material, think critically, and to develop your own ideas. Some research will be required for all three, although you will be given appropriate limitations and boundaries. Each assignment should not exceed four pages (not including the bibliography and other similar elements).

The first assignment, due May 26, is intended to reinforce course concepts and themes early in the term. It will be based on lecture material and readings, and will require you to discover and identify appropriate examples, and discuss your findings. Further details and instructions will be covered in class and available on ACE.

The second assignment, due June 24, will encourage you to think about bias, facts, and the problem of "truthiness", as these relate to technology. Again, you will be required to discover and identify appropriate examples, and discuss your findings. Further details and instructions will be covered in class and available on ACE.

The third assignment, due July 15, is about technological change, and how this relates to obsolescence and progress. In particular, you will be asked to think about if and how we can evaluate or measure change. For this final assignment, you will have more freedom to develop your own ideas, but you must keep them grounded in course concepts or themes. Further details and instructions will be covered in class and available on ACE.

4.2.1 Notes

All assignments must be submitted electronically to ACE by 6pm on the due date.

  • There is no grace period for assignments. Any assignment which is submitted to ACE past the deadline will be penalized.
  • An identical paper hardcopy is due in class the day of the deadline.
  • All assignment disputes will be resolved with reference to the electronic copy.

4.2.2 Specifications

  • Always include your name, student ID, date, page numbers, and a title (a title page is unnecessary).
    • All documents should employ 12-point, Times Roman font, 1" margins, and be double-spaced. This corresponds roughly with 250-300 words per page.
    • Include a word count a the end of your assignment. Notes and the bibliography should not be included in the count.
  • All assignments must include citations (footnotes, endnotes, or in-text) and a bibliography. References must be consistent and must employ a known citation style.
    • Improper citation style, failure to include a bibliography, and references to Wikipedia are all grounds for failing an assignment.

4.2.3 Writing Assistance and Guidance

A folder on ACE contains a series of documents with advice on writing, tailored for students taking STV courses. I encourage you to read them.

Although the other markers and I are primarily interested in your ideas, we are also going to evaluate your ability to express yourself coherently, and we expect proper spelling, grammar, and formatting. We also expect you to defend your ideas with suitable references and evidence, without vast generalizations.

The English Language Proficiency Program also offers help for students who need help. Visit the Writing Centre in the PAS building ( They are not a proofreading service, but will help all undergraduates with their writing.

5 Tests and Participation

5.1 Two midterms, June 10 and July 29, 25% each

There will be two in-class midterm tests, worth 25% each. Each will be two hours, with short answers, paragraph-length questions and essays. The tests are closed-book, and non-accumulative.

More details will be available in class as we near each test, and a sample of the type of questions will be posted to ACE.

5.2 Participation, 10%

You are expected to engage in the course material, and show some goodwill towards your instructor, TA, and fellow classmates. To that end, your participation will be evaluated.

Your tutorial attendance will be recorded. You are expected to show up and contribute on a regular basis by doing the assigned readings ahead of time, preparing notes, and actively taking part in the discussions. Students who show up but do not participate will be penalized.

Occasionally, there will be surveys announced in class. Properly completing the surveys on time will count towards your participation grade.

There is also a discussion board on ACE which you are encouraged to use.

5.3 Final grades

Final grades will be uploaded to Quest when the marking is completed in August. Please note that final grades will be rounded by ACE and Quest using a round-to-even method.

6 Schedule

DateEvent or DeadlineLecture No. & TopicTutorial Section
May 60. Welcome
May 131. Introduction: What is technology?1,2
May 202. Technology and Work1,2
May 27Assignment 1 due (6pm)3. Technological Diffusion and Transfer1,2
June 34. Technological Systems and Power1,2
June 8Q&A 1 due (6pm)
June 10In-class test 1
June 175. Information Technology3,4
June 24Assignment 2 due (6pm)6. Biotechnology3,4
July 1Canada Day – Holiday
July 87. Technology and War3,4
July 15Assignment 3 due (6pm)8. Technological Obsolescence3,4
July 229. Technological Progress
July 27Q&A 2 due (6pm)
July 29In-class test 2

See for more information regarding university dates for drop deadlines and related penalties.

Author: Scott Campbell <>

Date: 2008/05/09 11:43:53