Course Syllabus

Course Description

CCT strives to investigate technology as a dynamic part of social life. We study how technology, communication, and culture shape human interaction. But to get the complete picture, we must also investigate technology itself. This course is about how to do that.

In 506 we ‘open the black box’ of technology. By the end of the class you will be able to explore technical topics as a socio-technical system. You will explain how they work at a technical level, how they shape and have been shaped by social decisions, and how they affect the lives of their users.

Lectures during the first half of the course will demonstrate socio-technical analysis by unpacking the workings of information and communication technologies (ICTs). You will come to understand how and why these technologies work the way they do and how they interact with the world around them, including human beings.

Throughout the course, group projects will apply similar methods to unpack a technology of your choosing. Groups will open the black box of their chosen technology and explain how the technology operates within a socio-technical system. Project findings will be presented through a variety of media (including written content, brief videos, and a technical poster).

The class consists of a weekly lecture and lab sections. Primary assignments include an in-class midterm exam and a final collaborative project.


  1. Obtain a familiarity with ICTs and their inner-workings so that you can:
    • communicate with technical people
    • be critical about how technologies work and how they are used
    • understand and predict interactions in  a socio-technical system
    • go on to more advanced technical work
  2. Use communication and design media to:
    • express and communicate ideas to a variety of audiences
    • understand how digital tools arrange and manipulate information
    • attain basic familiarity with practices of media production

Syllabus and Course Materials

All required weekly readings and videos will be linked required readings and videos are available on the Course Texts page. Here is the Weekly Schedule. And here is a .pdf of the syllabus: 2018-CCTP 506 Syllabus. For those wishing to dig deeper into course topics, we recommend the following books and videos:

Course Evaluation

You will be graded on assignments and receive feedback from instructors, teaching assistants, and colleagues throughout the semester. All assignments must list the student’s name, the submission date, the student’s section number, and the names of the student’s TAs. You should also keep an extra copy, either in hard copy or digital form, of all assignments you submit as you will need these during the group project phase. Final grades will be based on the following percentages:

  • 10% Participation and Attendance in Lecture and Lab
  • 20% Weekly Assignments and Deliverables
  • 30% Midterm Exam on Tuesday, March 21
  • 40% Group Projects (Final versions due May 9, 2017)

Instructional Continuity Plan

Should there be a disruption in regularly scheduled meetings of lecture or recitation sections, the instructors will determine how best to reintegrate missed coursework. Students will be asked for input and preferences when making this determination to ensure fairness, but not all suggestions will be accounted. All updates and schedule changes will be posted on this page of the blog.

Honor Statement

All students are expected to be familiar with and will be held to the Georgetown University Honor Policy outlined in:

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