- (Dec 7) We will be having a website launch party for ChesTech on Wednesday, December 9 from 1-3pm. We will be joined by some of the folks from the Chester Housing Authority and the Lang Center. Please come for a delectable lunch consisting of sushi and Taco Bell.
- (Dec 4) All of you final deliverables (Journal, Final Group Report, Individual Report, Class Evaluation) is due on Wednesday December 9th at 1pm.
Everybody knows how we can use computers to make money or waste time. But how can we use computers to do good in the world?
In this course, we will explore how computers can be used to ease suffering, reduce poverty, empower women, improve the environment, or just make life a little bit better for everyone. Topics include the technologies for the developing world, the open source software movement, access technologies for people with disabilities, computer literacy and the digital divide, reusing and recycling computers, and green computing.
Professor: Douglas Turnbull
Office: Science Center 255
Phone: (610) 597-6071
Office hours: TBA or by appointment
Room: Science Center Conference Room
Time: Wednesdays 1:15pm–4pm
Wiki: CS91 Wiki
Text: None, but lots of suggested references and weekly readings...
Course Material & Presentations
Each week, we will be discussing a topic that involves computing and some social topic. It is important that you read, watch or examine the documents
class so that we can have a meaningful and constructive discussion.
A document may be a paper, a website, or a video.
I realize that as the semester progresses, there will be times that you will not be able to review each document.
To this end, I have denoted each document with a Must Read, Read,
designation. If you know that will be unable to read every paper, please focus on the Must Read
For every Must Read
document and most of the Read
document, you should prepare a 1-page summary in your class journal. The format for the summary will depend to the nature of the document, but in general you should provide:
- Summary: write 2-4 sentences that describe what the paper is about. What is the problem? What is the focus of the study? What do they conclude?
- Strength: a list of 2-4 strengths of the paper. What was interesting? Does the work resonate with your own interests? Is the proposed solution novel and interesting? Are the results compelling? Is the evaluation clear and illustrative? Is the paper successful?
- Weaknesses: a list of 2-4 weaknesses. Are there any holes in the logic of the paper? Are the results dubious? Do the authors make any questionable assumption? What was unclear or poorly explained.
- Questions and Discussion Points: a list of 2-4 (or more) things that you want to discuss in class. What didn't you understand? Why did the authors make this or that decision?
You are also encouraged to find and consume additional material (e.g., following paper references, web searching using Google Scholar, emailing the authors. Bring this information to class to share with your colleagues.
(If you miss some of the document summaries for the assigned material, you can make up for it by doing summaries of additional material.)
You will also be required to do two presentations in during the semester.
- Developing World Development Paper Summary (Week 6, 15 minute talk): You will be assigned one paper by Week 4. You will present the findings of this paper to your class in a 15 presentation. This will require that you explore the supplementary material (references, websites, videos) as well as contact the author, write some code, etc.
- Student-lead Topic Seminar (Weeks 9-11, 1 hour discussion): First, you (and up to 1 partner) will pick a topic of interest by Week 6. You will then pick a paper to share with the class by Week 7. Then, sometime between Week 9 and Week 11, you will be given 1-hour to lead a discussion based on your topic. While your classmates will have read your assigned paper, you should plan to read and summarize 3-5 additional references.
You may also want to contact authors or other leaders involve with this topic.
Lastly, you should design a 1-hour discussion seminar about you topic. Try to be as interactive as possible: pose interesting discussion questions, design interactive exercises, invite leaders to speak with the class, etc. Be creative and informative.
Community-based Learning Project
We will be working with the Chester Housing Authority
(CHA) on their Neighborhood Networks
project to improve computer literacy and computer access for low-income residence in Chester, PA.
The first step will be to learn about the social, economic, and cultural context of Chester and the residents of the housing authority. Group of students will then design, develop and deploy a project that meets the goals of the Neighborhood Networks initiative. The development cycle with involve a close collaborative relationship with both the administrators and residence of the Chester Housing Authority.
We will be following the EPICS Design Process
: Problem Identification, Specification Development, Conceptual Design, Detail Design, Production, Service & Maintenance, Redesign or Retirement. The EPICS process stresses the importance of understanding the context
of the problem, close collaboration with a community partner
, and rigorous documentation
for organization and sustainability.
Each student will required to maintain a journal
to document their individual work: observations, thoughts, ideas, reviews of relate research material, meeting notes, contact information, informal and formal experiment (include hypothesis, setup, data, results, conclusions), and other information that is relevant to the project. Please see the EPICS Documentation Slides
for details on formatting journal entries. The journals will be collect for grading three times during the semester (Week 4, 9, and 13).
In addition to the individual journals, each group of student will be required to submit various documents based on the EPICS Design Process
. Please refer to the schedule above for the due dates of these project reports.
This course is structured like a seminar course where each student will be graded based on his or her contribution to both the seminar and the community project.
|Seminar || 50% |
|Reading Summaries Week 4 || 5% |
|Reading Summaries Week 9 || 5% |
|Reading Summaries Week 13 || 5% |
|Paper Presentation Week 6 || 10% |
|Topic Presentation Weeks 9-11 || 15% |
|In-class Contribution || 10% ||
|Journal Week 4 || 3% |
|Journal Week 9 || 3% |
|Journal Week 13 || 4% |
|Project Charter || 4% |
|Specification Report || 8%|
|Final Presentation || 8%|
|Final Delivery Report & User Manual || 16%|
|Peer Reviews || 4%|
Links that are related to the course may be posted here. If you have suggestions for links, let me know.
Professional Organizations and Conferences
- Mountain Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder - about a doctor (Paul Farmer) who builds a medical clinic in rural Haiti
- Three Cups of Tea by David Relin - about a mountain climber (Greg Mortenson) who builds schools for women in Pakistan
- Educating Leaders talk by Patrick Awuah (Swarthmore '89) - about a his decision to build a liberal arts college in Ghana