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My teaching experience includes organizational informatics, social informatics, systems analysis, economic history, the cultural history of the computer, database technologies, science fiction, business history, project management and business management.

Current Teaching: UWM History Department

Fall 2017 is my first semester in the history department. I'm starting out with just one course, the popular large lecture course History of Science, Race, and Medicine in the United States. That's with the broad area of my graduate training, but some way from my specialist knowledge so preparing for it has felt like going back to graduate school to work on a new comprehensive examination field. 

For Spring 2018 I'm excited to be offering a graduate colloqium "How the World Became Digital." As well as graduate students in history, it is intended to draw interest from others across campus, including those in the English Department's "Plan H" in Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies.

In the longer term, I hope to develop courses that will draw students from a variety of programs across campus -- focused on topics such as the history of globalization, the history of business and capitalism, or the history of computing.

Teaching in the UWM School of Information Studies (2004-2017)

Between 2004 and 2017 I held a tenure track position in the School of Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Between 2004 and 2006 I sometimes taught the introductory undergraduate course at UWM (which I tweaked in a social informatics direction) and regularly offered revised versions of the Organizational Informatics course I developed at Indiana. I also had a chance to teach a Social Informatics seminar on one occasion. Both were taken primarily by undergraduates with a few MLIS students.

From 2007 to 2017 my teaching was  almost exclusively confined to just two core classes in the undergraduate Information Science & Technology program: introduction to systems analysis (340) and a capstone class (490) combining project management and a group project serving as a culminating experience for the degree. On a few occasions I was able to offer Information Technology & Organizations, an updated version of the organizational informatics seminar.

Earlier Teaching: Indiana University (2003)

Earlier in my career I had some opportunities to develop some less conventional courses. Like my research interests, these were broad but reflected a coherent set of questions concerning technology and its relationship to American society, business institutions and the organization of work.

For Fall 2003, I taught in the Organizational Informatics and Social Informatics courses in the Informatics School of Indiana University, Bloomington. These were both core courses in the new B.Sc. program in Informatics.

Social Informatics, as I taught it, focused a lot on cultural issues around technology, and in particular on the role of subcultures in shaping information technologies and the role of user groups in shaping their evolution. It included examination of the origins and evolution of current technologies (especially the personal computer and Internet) and a review of current issues such as spam, peer-to-peer file sharing and privacy from a cultural viewpoint. Syllabus is online, including weekly discussion questions.

Organizational Informatics was designed to give students a grounding in key technologies and approaches important for corporate information systems and management work. It included examination of issues such as ERP, knowledge management, data bases and data warehousing, the role of the CIO, corporate IT governance issues, current trends in IT careers and e-business. Syllabus is online.

Earlier Teaching: Penn (1998), Colby College (2001-2) & Drexel (2001)

My core interests are reflected in a course that I have taught twice: "Technological Revolutions: Computers, Cultures and the Internet." During fall 2001 I  taught this course at Colby College as ST297 -- visit the syllabus and resources on-line.  I proposed this entirely new course while a graduate student at Penn in 1998. (The original Penn version of the syllabus is here -- on this occasion it was co-taught with Nathan Ensmenger who also helped to select some of the readings. Atushi Akera was involved earlier, and gave some ideas at the design stage). Here's the official description: Certain new technologies are greeted with claims that, for good or ill, they must transform our society, the two most recent being the personal computer and the Internet. An examination of what made these technologies seem revolutionary, and how perceptions changed as people began use them as a part of everyday life. Issues such as on-line privacy, the culture of cyberspace, media depictions of technology, hackers, and the rapid rise and fall of internet companies will be discussed in the context of broader historical and cultural perspectives. Students will work in teams to perform research and produce a web site.

One of several courses I designed and taught at Colby College was a hybrid of technology history, business history, organizational theory and e-business: Technology, Information, and Business Since 1865.  Here's the description: This course explores the evolution of large scale American business from the first large corporations onward, focused on issues of strategy, information and organizational structure. Particular attention will be paid to relationships between businesses and their markets and the role of technology in shaping this. Now the “new economy” suddenly doesn’t seem quite so new, this course will supply the historical perspective needed to understand what the Internet really changes, and how. Approximately one third of the material will be focused on present-day issues concerning new business models, electronic market places and eCommerce. Other topics include Victorian communications and transportation technologies, mass production, the conglomerate movement and early administrative computing. Syllabus is online.

During Fall 2001 and Spring 2002 I taught AD212: American Business and Management, the introductory Administrative Science survey at Colby. This was a core course for the minor in business administration -- the most popular in the college. See the final syllabus here.

History of the Future: Science Fiction and Technology  was my course for January of 2002, as part of Colby's character-building "Jan Plan." The official description is Nothing tells us more about a society than its assumptions about its future. This reading- and discussion-intensive seminar uses science fiction and futurology as a lens through which to explore twentieth century American history. Particular attention will be paid to changing ideas about social structure, science, technology and gender. Source material includes novels, films, short stories and non-fiction such as Blade Runner, Man Plus, Them!, Neuromancer, and stories by Heinlein and Asimov. The idea was to present a selective overview of the cultural history of America since the 1930s in lectures, while using readings and discussion to explore how the New Deal, Cold War, 1960s cultural turmoil and the like played out in science fiction. Syllabus and resources are now on-line, including discussion questions for the readings.

I also taught "ISYS 210: Introduction to Database Management", at Drexel University in the Spring of 2001. This was a core technical course, required of all majors in Drexel’s Information Systems degree – a program then ranked No. 1 nationally by U.S. News and World Report. My syllabus is on-line. At the time this was an enjoyable change of pace from the less tangible world of history, and a chance to combine integrate my scholarly career and practical experience.  One innovation was to stress class participation, encouraging students to read technical material before class and to come ready to work on examples in class. To stress the relevance of this sometimes dry-material I included discussion of organizational factors and demonstrated some real-life desktop, server and internet databases. I also required all students to work in a collaborative project to apply the material. My syllabus is on-line.

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