Below are the courses I took to fulfill the certificate requirements: title, quarter taken, brief course description, and main class product.
STSS 591: Science, Technology, and Society Studies in Action (micro seminar)
Facilitated by Dr. Leah Ceccarelli (Communication), this class served as an introduction to STSS via a series of guest lectures by UW faculty involved in STSS research. Departments represented included Philosophy, Anthropology, Human Centered Design and Engineering, and Bioethics and Humanities. The final product for this class was a synthesis paper reflecting on how guest lectures and readings influenced my thinking about my ongoing dissertation research. I identified three primary areas of resonance: (1) “big data” as a style and dominant discourse of contemporary science, (2) genetic data as an explanatory force, and (3) personal genetic data as a component of the “quantified self” movement.
COM 539: Theories of Technology and Society (broad perspectives seminar)
Taught by Dr. Gina Neff (Communication, now at the Oxford Internet Institute), this class focused on the social, cultural and political implications of new communication and information technology. It introduced key theories and ideas to provide a foundation to social science and humanities approaches to technology (italics indicates excerpts from course syllabus). My final paper, titled “Reformatting Data: An experiment in fitting personal genetic data to a variety of theoretical forms,” explored overlaying various theories covered in class onto my dissertation research. The theoretical lenses I covered were quantified self, relationship between database and narrative, data valences, social construction of “raw” data, and algorithms as ways of usurping and centralizing local knowledge and resources.
PB AF 583: Science, Technology, and Public Policy (interdisciplinary breadth seminar)
Taught by Dr. Howard McCurdy (Evans School of Public Policy), this course covered the dynamics between innovation, public policy, science and technology. Class projects included a presentation on potential policy responses to the CRISPR genetic engineering technology, and leading a class discussion of an excerpt from the film “Perfect 46.”
INFO 450: Information Ethics and Policy (topic-specific elective)
This class in the Information School is designed to provide students an analytic framework for analyzing the ethical, legal, and sociopolitical
issues surrounding information, information technologies, and the information industries (italics indicates excerpts from course syllabus). Early lectures gave a basis in moral reasoning, while later lectures covered specific ethical and policy issues related to intellectual property, free speech, privacy, and hacking. My primary product from this class was a paper on whether and how arguments for physical and intellectual property apply to ownership of “raw” personal genetic data.