FIG 34: Internet and Society (section 304 of our course, with Darcy)
The main course of this FIG, “Information Literacies in Online Spaces” (LIS 301), explores information and digital literacies needed by today’s online consumers and producers. Topics include “new literacies,” media education, digital divides, information quality, and online risks. To investigate these issues, we complete four case studies: Wikipedia, blogs, online video, and online videogames. Issues to be covered include access (digital divides, power relations in online communities, regulation), analysis (assessing credibility, evaluating risks, analyzing representation) and production (video making, blogging, game making).
The course engages students in key debates and research related to information and digital literacies, relates concepts covered in the other FIG courses to students’ own experiences, and develops digital literacies and production skills. The three courses that comprise this FIG prepare students with reading, writing and analytical skills that will be useful across the humanities and social sciences. Past students have gone on to major in journalism, communication arts, economics and computer sciences.
FIG 44: Objects of Science (section 310 of our course, with Ellen)
What do a peregrine falcon egg, a book of wood samples, and the Washburn Observatory have in common? Aside from their beautiful curves, all are objects residing on the UW‐Madison campus that have the potential to tell a story about science and culture. This FIG takes science in a brand new direction by starting from its objects such as these. We will look at them as material culture, that is, as things that can unlock hidden stories about the cultures in which they were made and made sense of. We will ferret out objects from multiple collections and museums on campus, such as the zoology museum, the physics demonstration equipment collection, and even the ceramic collection at the Chazen Museum of Art. And then we will figure out how to make sense of them and communicate what we found.
- In ILS 275, “Knowing Science Through Its Objects,” you will learn how to think about these objects as part of the history of science and its surrounding culture.
- In Inter L&S 102, “Exhibiting the Material Culture of Science,” you will go behind the scenes of museum know‐how and learn how to interpret and exhibit science objects.
- Drawing on knowledge from LIS 201, “The Information Society,” you will try your hand at interpreting objects in digital form.
- We will visit multiple museums, on campus, in Madison and in Milwaukee and bring in a number of guest experts to help us think together about objects, science, and culture.
By the end of the semester, you will have learned much about science and its history, methods of interpreting objects, and communication through multiple media. Plus, you will have discovered many hidden by‐ways of the UW-Madison campus which you will enjoy for the rest of your UW career!