Course Description

Many people become engineers or designers because they hope to change the world for the better using technology. But technology as a tool for social change has a complex track record, filled with unintended consequences. This class uses the idea of values-driven design to help creators consider the politics of the technologies we use and which we bring into the world and teaches methods of research, design and deployment intended to help technologies meet the needs of real-world communities. Through seminar-style discussions and design exercises, we will explore pressing ethical issues around technology and learn techniques of community-driven design that help us build tools in cooperation with the people who want and need them. Students will develop a semester long design document for a social change project of their choice. Evaluation is based on weekly writing exercises, the design document, a final presentation and class participation. There is no exam.


Wednesdays, 10am – 1pm, E15-341

Instructors: Alexis Hope, Ethan Zuckerman

TA: Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar

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