Courses regularly offered

Note: Enquires regarding waitlists for courses should be made to the instructors directly, as indicated below.

STV 100: Society, technology and values—an introduction

The course offers an introductory understanding of the relationship between technology and society. By and large, it is about recognizing perspective and context: that people can have a variety of different perspectives on this relationship, and that technology is impossible to understand without also seeing the social context and values it belongs to. There are in-class discussions, group work, hands-on workshops, and individual reports.

Taught by Scott Campbell.

Normally offered in the Fall and Winter terms.

STV 202: Design and society

The focus of the course is on good design, particularly where design relates to society and social issues. Good design reflects not only technical achievement but also responsiveness to social context and values. Topics include the nature of design, the social and cultural implications of design, the roles of designers in relation to the social contract, and design assessment in light of social values such as risk, fairness, progress, and sustainability. Although the focus of the course is on the design of technology, any designed system is open for examination and discussion. The course material provides a mixture of theoretical concepts and practical cases of their application.

Antirequisite: SYDE 261.

Taught by Cameron Shelley.

Normally offered in Spring and Fall terms.

STV 205: Cybernetics and society

Cybernetics is the study of the interfaces between humans and machines. This course will present an overview of cybernetics from automation and robotics to prosthetics and wearable computing. The roles of men and women in a post-human era will be discussed along with related themes dealing with gender, cyberspace, politics and popular culture.

Taught by Mark Morley.

Normally offered in the Spring term.

STV 208: Artificial Intelligence and Society—Impact, ethics, and equity

The objective of this course is to introduce students to social and ethical concerns relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI).  These concerns include historical determinism, automation, surveillance, regulation, equity, fairness, and robo-ethics.  An overview will be provided on these issues as they arise in areas such as commerce, education, finance, journalism, law, literature, healthcare, transportation, warfare, and work.  
This course is a non-technical one—no background in AI is assumed or required.

Taught by Cameron Shelley.

Normally offered in the Winter term.

STV 210: The computing society

This course examines the historical relationship between computer technology and society, to review the impact and consequences of computing from a social perspective but also to consider the various non-technical factors and values that have shaped computing technology and practice. The scope ranges from early mechanical aids, through the mid-20th century invention of electronic digital computers, to the networks and mobile applications of the 21st century, and includes technological studies relating to gender, education, employment, and war. Material artifacts will be used as a core element of the course.

STV 210 is cross-listed with HIST 212.

Taught by Scott Campbell.

STV 302: Information technology and society

The course has been designed to provide a framework or set of intellectual tools to help students understand and evaluate technological change. These tools will be applied to the development of information technology, its interaction with society, and possible future senarios. Selected topics include understanding digitization as culture, visions of the future and perils of prediction, as well as issues related to application areas such as the home, manufacturing, office work, design and services, education, and law. The course will also consider some of the privacy and personal dignity issues associated with information technology.

Pre-requisite: At least level 3A or one of STV 100, 202, 203, or 205.

Taught by Scott Campbell or Cosmin Munteanu.

Normally offered in the Winter and/or Spring term.

STV 305: Technology, Society and the modern city

Cities may be humanity’s most significant invention, where we shape our vision of the civilized life.  At the same time, the demands of cities shape our lives in fundamental ways.  As most of humanity now lives in cities, the technology of city living increasingly becomes the technology of human life itself.  The purpose of this course is to examine the technology of civilized life, with the city itself as both a technological system and a scene of technological living.  A variety of topics are explored, including food, transport, cars, architecture, urban planning, public spaces, sanitation & health, civics & governance, sustainability, and information & communications technology.  Some emphasis is placed on materials pertinent to Canada.

Prerequisite: At least level 3A or any 100- or 200-level STV course.

Taught by Cameron Shelley.

Normally offered in the winter term.

STV 306: Biotechnology and society

Biotechnology and society affect each other in ways that increase in number and significance each year. The purpose of this course is to understand the developing relationship between biotechnology and society. A variety of areas are examined, including agriculture, human fertility, eugenics, medicine, social policy, crime, security, and so on. Our concern is with how biotechnology is (or will be) making the world better or worse, and for whom. Some emphasis is placed on materials pertinent to Canada.

Prerequisite: At least level 3A or any 100- or 200-level STV course.

Taught by Cameron Shelley.

Normally offered in the fall term.

STV 400: Society, technology and values—senior project

An independent, supervised research project related to the interaction of society, technology and values. Projects may take any format that demonstrates scholarly merit. Formats may include essays, impact studies, designs, computer software, or other media. Students are responsible for proposing suitable projects and are encouraged to seek faculty advice on plausible topics.

Pre-requisite: At least level 4A. For Society, Technology and Values option students only.

Normally available any term.