Welcome to IDS 252, Society, Ethics, and Technology   ( August  2012 )


I hope everyone had some time to relax over the summer and is ready for the Fall 2012 semester to begin!

According to the giant computer in the sky, you are enrolled in either the "01", 8:30 to 9:50 (A) or the "02", 10 to 11:20 (B) section of my classes, Society, Ethics, and Technology (SET), meeting on Tuesdays and Fridays, the upcoming semester.

Both sections will meet in Armstrong Hall, room 187, except for a three times the Discovery, Invention, Discovery (DID) team to which you will be assigned, will meet with me in my office in Armstrong Hall, 101M, during a regular class period.

The dates when those DID team meetings will be held are shown in the class SCHEDULE. Each DID team will focus on one of four TOPICS covered in the course. These topics are Computers and Artificial Intelligence Globalization and Economic Development Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, or  Population, Energy, and Climate Change .

I have put you on the edelset-l  email list which will be used this semester. I find email more than adequate for the vast majority of my communication needs and make extensive use of this list in SET. It is also important that everyone follows the usual email protocol during the semester. Key rules to be followed have been posted HERE for your review.

The CENTRAL FOCUS of this course is the critical role technology has played throughout history, the impact it is having at the present time, and how it might influence the future. Many of the decisions you will have to make relating to the role you want to permit technology to play in your life will involve ethical choices. Understanding of the various options and how you weigh them will have a major impact on many aspects of your life and that of other inhabitants of this planet as well.

Since there is an interesting mix of majors enrolled in SET this semester, I expect that there will be a variety of opinions expressed on the various topics to be covered and I look forward to those exchanges. You do not have to be majoring in engineering or science in order to be successful and benefit from this course. Everyone has something to contribute and can help make the course more interesting and rewarding. I am confident that everyone will help do that.

This course will deal with historical, current, and likely future aspects of society, ethics, and technology. There is no doubt that there are many events happening today which relate in many ways to the themes of this class. Issues such as embryonic stem cell research, global warming, globalization, artificial intelligence and extending life are but a few of the controversial topics generating much interest today.

If you have any spare time before the first class, you might find it useful to check out the SET home page. It contains EVERYTHING you need to know about the course.  

We will review the key course information in the first class meeting and refer back to the information on the SET web pages as the semester moves along. You should check the SET home page first for an answer anytime you need to know something about this course. Contact me after that at either   edelbach@tcnj.edu  or  X 2783 if you need additional information.

You should bring a copy of the course text, the 2012 updated 4th edition of Society, Ethics, and Technology by Winston and Edelbach, to the first class as well as paper on which to take notes. It is critical that the ASSIGNED READINGS in the course text be completed by the due dates on that page.  I highly recommend that NOTES be taken when doing readings as they can be a valuable tool in the learning process. This updated version contains two appendices dealing with technology and ethics in the news as well as codes of ethics, from which a number of items are included on the ASSIGNED READING list.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the Tuesday, August 28th, the first day of class. Feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions or concerns via e-mail or by phone. Make certain to let me know if you are having any personal problems during the semester which might impact your class performance.

I have taught long enough to realize that unexpected things happen from time to time and I want to work with you if any problems arise, but it is your responsibility to bring any issues to my attention as soon as possible.

Dr. Edelbach     edelbach@tcnj.edu     609-771-2783     Armstrong Hall 101M