Late Registration

We don’t recommend you join after the first week of class. This is a discussion seminar and you’ll have missed at least ten percent of our course meetings.

In-Person Learning

Your participation is required because this is a discussion seminar. It does not make sense to record a seminar like this, nor do we plan to support hybrid learning unless there is a situation like a public-health outbereak such that we have no better option. It is not feasible to support asynchronous participation in a discussion seminar.

The health and safety of you and your classmates, is, of course, a primary concern. If you need to miss class due to illness or other hardship, you should do so, but do save absences for unavoidable circumstances due to the grading criteria below.


We will spend the majority of our time in conversation with one another. The format of the discussions will vary from class meeting to class meeting. We will most commonly engage in small-group discussions of questions introduced by the instructor, but there will be plenty of more creative activities and different formats as well.

The quality of the discussions as a whole will depend on individual students’ contributions and decorum. Hallmarks of such include asking clarifying questions, encouraging each other to speak, delivering summaries, and offering commentaries. Together we will use such strategies to arrive at our desired learning outcomes while being mindful of the multiple and diverse experiences of all class participants. We ask that students participate to the extent of their abilities, respect each other, and review some tips on leading discussions.

In each class, we will:

  • come prepared to discuss the day’s readings and assignments,
  • discuss, in various group sizes, those readings and assignments,
  • occasionally review background material on the day’s themes,
  • warm-up to participate in an active-learning environment,
  • synthesize those themes (often through group activities),
  • and reinforce those themes through reflections (exit tickets).

We also expect our most vocal students to actively create space for others’ contributions by bringing in quieter voices to the discussions.

Given that this is a discussion seminar, attendance is crucial.

This course is structured into units that typically span two to four days. Each unit has specific outcomes and themes.

Relevant responses

In addition to reading and assignments, each day has associated relevant responses. These responses are examples of how others have acted regarding technological systems before. They show how participation comes in many forms—not just through code. Some of these forms include:

  • appealing for accountability from organizational leadership,
  • exercising discretion in one’s choice of work,
  • engaging with technological issues publicly,
  • and engaging in direct action. These are optional but interesting.

We encourage students to share their own examples of responses throughout the course.


We expect students to complete each day’s required readings and assignments. We clearly mark which readings are required and which are optional.

While the readings vary in their difficulty and length, we expect students will spend approximately two hours on each day’s readings, with considerable variance. You may find that shorter readings are denser and require more time than some of the longer, yet lighter, readings. If you fall behind, begin with the next set of readings which are due so you can participate in the day’s discussion. Our discussions and assignments are closely tied to the readings, so it is incumbent upon you to make your best effort in completing the readings.

If you are stuck on a reading, do not hesitate to reach out to the instructor. We also encourage you to discuss the readings with your classmates before class, if possible.

Daily assignments

Students will submit a discussion post the day before each class through Canvas (except for our first meeting). We choose the due time so that the instructor can read them to prepare for class.

Daily assignments should, in a few paragraphs, demonstrate your attempts to understanding the readings and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • answer the given prompts,
  • summarize the works read for the day,
  • raise or answer questions (e.g. clarifications of particular portions of the text, relationships between the reading and a current event, or an interrogation into the values and underlying premises on which the reading was based),
  • connect the work to previous readings,
  • or critique the works.

Please limit your response to at most one page. To receive credit, responses should be on-time and make a good-faith attempt to understand and respond to the readings.

The assignments are structured as discussion posts so that you can read other students’ posts after and only after you write your own. We encourage you to engage with each other often, but you must to do so at least 3 times during the quarter by replying to someone else’s post. You can choose any 3 times (or more), but choosing days where you found the readings particularly inspiring or challenging makes sense.

Conversely, if you find yourself writing a response during the quarter that for some reason you do not wish to share with your classmates, you are welcome to email it to the instructor rather than posting it in Canvas.

Longer assignments

During the term, students must also research and write about a technology for the course project.


This course will be graded credit or no credit. To receive credit, students must:

  • at least 16 of the daily assignments (note approximately 3 days do not have daily assignments, so you can skip only 2-3);
  • reply to someone else’ posts on at least 3 different days;
  • participate in all class sessions with at most 4 exceptions (i.e., absences);
    • you must clear any more than two absences with the instructor personally.
  • and receive a passing grade on the course project parts.

That said, the point of this course is not a grade. Students should attend because of the readings and discussions—not in spite of them.

Academic Integrity

We follow the Allen School’s policy for academic integrity and misconduct.

Particular to this course, all writing you submit should be your own. You should not consult writing of other students in this quarter or previous quarters in preparing your submissions.

Do not use generative-AI tools to assist you with the substance of your daily assignments or project, as we want your views and understanding. You may use such tools for grammar/style checking. You will not receive credit if we determine a response is not your own work or diverges into AI-gibberish.


There is no required textbook for this class. All readings will be available on the course website—the majority of which will be either scans or online articles. While the course website may show the readings and assignments for the entire course, they are subject to change until the week they are due.

Inclusion and Disagreement

We welcome students from all backgrounds and adhere to the Allen School’s Inclusiveness Statement. If anything related to the course makes you feel unwelcome in any way, let the instructor know.

Many of the topics explored in this class are relevant because of their contentious and often unresolved nature. Students should bring an open mind and a desire to examine perspectives possibly different than their own. It is important that everyone be particularly respectful of each other’s positions and to allow for exploration. We do not want or expect you to agree with everything you are assigned to read — your instructor doesn’t agree with it all.

Accommodation and Resources

We are eager to provide necessary accommodations.

Disability Accommodations

Please see the UW resources at

Religious Accommodations

Please see the UW resources at