ISDA 110-10
Technology, Culture, and Society
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Prof. JonLuc Christensen

Office Hours: Virtual office hours. Telephone and in-person advising by appointment.

Syllabus Links
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19th at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Navigating and understanding the historical, contemporary, and emerging subjects in the social, political, legal, and ethical issues of data and information processing/use. Topics will include: data and information; data mining/processing; visualization and analytics; explainable AI; design behavior; FATE; risk, privacy, and security.

Course Schedule

This schedule and related dates/readings/assignments is tentative and subject to change with fair notice. Any changes will be announced in due time in class and on the course’s website in the Canvas Learning Management System. The students are obliged to consult the most updated and detailed version of the reading material and syllabus, which will be posted on the course’s website.

Detailed information on assignments, lectures, and readings, including grading rubrics, will be provided on the course Canvas site.

Learning Topics Assignments Due Dates CLOs

Week 1

8/19 - 8/22



Data & Information:
Getting to Know the

Discussion Post #1

Reading Quiz #1

Optional: Form Study Group(s)

Sunday 8/22
before 11:59 pm


Week 2

8/23 - 8/29

Behavior: Information
Seeking and Users

Discussion Post #2

Reading Quiz #2

Assignment: Unplugged:
A Day Without Technology

Sunday 8/22
before 11:59 pm
1, 5

Week 3

8/30 - 9/5

History of ICTs &
the Internet

Discussion Post #3

Reading Quiz #3

Sunday 9/5
before 11:59 pm

Week 4

9/6 - 9/12

(Labor Day

Big Data & Data Mining

Discussion Post #4

Reading Quiz #4

Sunday 9/12 before 11:59 pm

1, 5

Week 5

9/13 - 9/19

Visualization &

Discussion Post #5

Reading Quiz #5

Sunday 9/19
before 11:59 pm

Week 6

9/20 - 9/26

Artificial Intelligence
(AI) & Machine
Learning (ML)

Assignment: Current
Event Discussion Post

Sunday 9/26
before 11:59 pm

Week 7

9/27 - 10/3

Ethics & Intellectual

Assignment: Privacy
Policy Evaluation

Sunday 10/3
before 11:59 pm

Week 8

10/4 - 10/10

AI Ethics

Discussion Post #6

Reading Quiz #6

Sunday 10/10
before 11:59 pm

Week 9

10/11 - 10/17

Privacy & Security

Assignment: Security
Behavior Survey

Sunday 10/17
before 11:59 pm

Week 10

10/18 - 10/24

Data - The Bad &
the Ugly

Discussion Post #7

Reading Quiz #7

Sunday 10/24
before 11:59 pm
2 -5

Week 11

10/25 - 10/31


Data - The Good

Discussion Post #8

Reading Quiz #8

Sunday 10/31
before 11:59 pm
2 -5

Week 12

11/1 - 11/7

Diversity, Inclusion, &

Assignment: Infographic
& Presentation in DEI

Sunday 11/7
before 11:59 pm

Week 13

11/8 - 11/14

Social Issues

Discussion Post #9

Reading Quiz #9

Sunday 11/14
before 11:59 pm
2 -5

Week 14

11/15 - 11/21

(Veterans Day

Social Media

Assignment: Unplugged Reflection

Sunday 11/21
before 11:59 pm

Week 15

11/22 - 11/28

Break 11/25-11/26)

Global Issues

Discussion Post #10

Reading Quiz #10

Sunday 11/28
before 11:59 pm

Week 16

11/29 - 12/5

Emerging &

Assignment: Final Project

Monday 12/6
before 11:59 pm

Other Relevant Information:


All Readings, Lectures, and Assignments are all REQUIRED unless otherwise clearly marked as "Optional" or "Recommended" and due by the date and time of the corresponding week. Any content that is not indicated as "Optional" or "Recommended" is fair game for quizzes and other grading aspects. However, if it is not required, you will not be expected to know it for grading or evaluation purposes.

You should expect weekly reading assignments, lectures, videos, and other learning media. 

Students are expected to engage on a weekly basis with the professor and peers, either through the discussion boards or direct interaction. 

Good communication is my primary concern. If you are not understanding the course or otherwise having issues or concerns, please contact me as soon as possible. I am always happy to help those that are willing to help themselves. 

Course Requirements & Assignments

Assignments Possible Points
Discussion Posts (10 weeks @ 10 points per week) 100
Reading Quizzes (10 quizzes @ 10 points each) 100
Unplugged: A Day without Technology 50
Privacy Policy Evaluation 50
Security Behaviour Survey 25
Current Events Discussion Post 25
Infographic and Presentation: Inclusion/Exclusion Topic 25
Unplugged: Reflection 25
Final Project: Team Multimedia Presentation on a Current Topic 100
Total 500

More detailed information about each assignment will be provided in Canvas, including specific grading rubrics. However, a brief overview of assignments can be found here:

Discussion Participation (100 Points)

Students participate in weekly discussions related to the assigned readings and lecture. Participation is required in all 10 weeks (10 points each) and will be graded according to the discussion rubric - provided in Canvas. 

Reading Quizzes (100 Points)

10 reading quizzes (10 points each) will be given during the semester. These are intended to emphasize important concepts and encourage completion of the reading and lectures. These quizzes are not comprehenisve for the whole semester, but will include any of the content included in the respective week(s) between each quiz - they will not include "Optional" or "Recommended" materials. More information on quiz format will be found in Canvas.

Unplugged: A Day without Technology (50 points)

Spend one day without interacting with computing technology as much as possible. Note the changes in your day and write about your observations. How did you fill your time? What did you miss? How did you compensate?

Privacy Policy Evaluation (50 Points)

Select a technology or web resource you use and read the privacy policy. Note its terms and evaluate their application to your use of the technology.

Security Behavior Survey (25 Points)

Survey or interview at least three people about their practices in regard to technology security (e.g., password management, network security, acceptance of terms of use, cookie management, etc.). Present the results of your survey and apply them to principles from the course readings and lecture. 

Current Events Discussion Post (25 Points)

Identify a current event or situation that applies to the use of big data or artificial intelligence. Share a summary and your thoughts on the discussion board. Link to additional related information.

Infographic and Presentation on Inclusion/Exclusion in Technology (25 Points)

Create an infographic on a topic related to diversity and inclusion/exclusion of groups in technology. Use a tool such as Canva or Vennage. Use Canvas Studio to record your screen and your voice, talk about the infographic, and provide explanations for the information included in it.

Unplugged: Reflection (25 Points)

Return to your original "Unplugged" essay and add your reflections based on what has been covered in the course. Use a comment tool in the application of your choice (Google Doc, Adobe Acrobat, etc.). Include references to readings and other resources along with  notes about your increased understanding of your use of technology and its role in our society.

Final Project: Team Multimedia Presentation on a Current Topic (100 Points)

The final project in the class will be a multimedia presentation based on a current event. Team members will work together to identify a topic and incorporate related applications of at least three of the topics discussed in the class. 

Late Assignments Policy

There will be a late penalty for assignments turned in after the due date without prior approval. Late assignments receive a 10% deduction in points each day after the deadline. Assignments will not be accepted more than 5 days after the deadline.

If your life circustances require you to seek an extension, please do so at least several days in advance of the assignment due date. Communication is key - work with me and I will work with you. Complete assignments early, if possible, to avoid technical issues that may cause you to miss due dates. Pre-planned events, such as vacations, will not be accomodated with extensions. Instead, you should coordinate with me to complete assignments in advance to the due date.

Library Liaisons

Gareth Scott (

DeeAnn Tran (

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

ISDA 110 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of major events in the history of the development of ICTs.
  2. Identify and explain ethical issues associated with intellectual property, privacy, and technology.
  3. Articulate issues associated with the use of artificial intelligence and the collection and analysis of big data.
  4. Analyze the impact of human behavior on information security practices.
  5. Discuss personal, societal, and political issues impacted by use of technology.

    SLOs & PLOs

    ISDA 110 supports:

  1. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 1: Work productively in diverse teams and collaboratively solve user-centric information and data needs problems.
  2. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 2: Identify and apply appropriate data management strategies, carry out relevant analyses, interpret and apply the results to inform understanding and solve specific problems in context; and communicate analysis and visualization results appropriately to a diverse non-technical audience.
  3. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 6: Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of network security, compliance, and risk mitigation by evaluating and applying appropriate technical, information assurance, ethics, and privacy solutions to specific security problems.
  4. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 7: Identify and select the appropriate resources to use in planning for and adopting new technologies.
  1. SLO 1, SLO 2, SLO 6, and SLO 7: supports the following Information and Data Science Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

  2. PLO 1: Apply information and data science concepts and methods by thinking critically and creatively to conceptualize and solve real world problems.
  3. PLO 2: Demonstrate an understanding of the data lifecycle, including data curation and stewardship. distributed computing, and the data pipeline eco system.
  4. PLO 4: Demonstrate an ability to identify user-centric information and data needs of diverse populations and to interpret data findings effectively to diverse audiences, orally, visually, and in written formats.
  5. PLO 5: Demonstrate an understanding of how people from diverse backgrounds and cultures interact with technology and with each other in technological contexts; and how to plan strategically for emerging technologies and the changing technological landscape.


No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.