Cornell University
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Revolutions of the Mind: Media, Technology, and Epistemological Change

INFO 6710

Instructor: D. Schrader

Credits: 3

Revolution: a change in organizational structure or power balance; turn-around; modification of an existing constitution. Current technologies and media are revolutionizing the way we think, what we know, and what we do. This course examines what it means to “think about knowledge differently” and “change your mind” by looking at the dynamic interaction between how people and society transform and are transformed by various forms of information and new media technologies. Examples from education (e.g., MOOCs), entertainment, virtual reality, and connective media contextualize this investigation into epistemological development, thought and action, and ethics of change. (graduate students; advanced undergraduates with permission)

Outcome 1: Students will be able to reflect on their own epistemology (what they think counts as knowledge, good evidence, and good decisions/actions).

Outcome 2: Students will be able to identify how others think about knowledge and information, and will work through examples of how contexts, decisions, and actions influence thought.

Outcome 3: Students will be able to critically evaluate theories of epistemology, noting that both the theories themselves, and the practice of how people make sense of (and use) information are socio-culturally influenced.

Outcome 4: Students will generate examples of the dynamic, mutual impact of educational, technological, connective and entertainment media on ‘how we think.’

Outcome 5: Students will be able to identify ethical issues of equal access to information, and will understand that differential access to information and different epistemological perspectives have an impact on society. Specifically, students will examine connective and social media’s influence on thought and sociality (social engagement/disengagement, education, prosocial behavior, etc.)

Outcome 6: Students will engage in ongoing dialogue and group leadership in the seminar and write a proposal and final paper for the course