Course Guidelines

YOU'RE HERE!
WELCOME TO THE SYLLABUS AND HOME PAGE FOR
IFSC 4301/7399: 
INFORMATION, COMPUTING AND THE FUTURE

Fall 2016, Tu 6:00-8:40 p.m. in EIT 218

WHY?
  • Information, understanding it and using is key to the future
  • The computing field is undergoing rapid change
  • Biotech, nanotech, energy tech, and our society and culture are changing fast as well
  • The future is ahead, we're part of it, and is to our benefit to understand it ("knowledge is power")
  • Are you planning to live and work in the future?
    • Be aware of what the future may hold
    • Learn how to extrapolate from the past and present into the future
    • Those things are not only useful but interesting too!
Textbook
  • None. The Web is loaded with useful information but there is no once-size-fits-all textbook for this course. Any readings not on the Web will be distributed in class as needed.
Instructor
  • D. Berleant
  • Availability: by email to thehumanracetothefuture@gmail.com. Email is often best and fastest. Also right after class is good. You can also make an appointment, call 569-3488 (though email is better), and occasionally you could even stop by my office.

Students with Disabilities
  • Your success in this class is important to me, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to create inclusive learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have a documented disability (or need to have a disability documented), and need an accommodation, please contact me privately as soon as possible, so that we can discuss with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) how to meet your specific needs and the requirements of the course. The DRC offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process among you, your instructor(s) and the DRC. Thus, if you have a disability, please contact me and/or the DRC, at 501-569-3143 (V/TTY) or 501-683-7629 (VP). For more information, please visit the DRC website at www.ualr.edu/disability.
Assignments
  1. HWs will involve readings, written comments, and searching the Web. 
  2. Students will present one 20-25 minute session each to the class on a future-relevant topic. This may be an individual or group effort. It may be a slide presentation, skit, video, musical performance (does not have to be 20 minutes if it is original work), reading or discussion of a short story that you write, or some other creative product. Students have done all of these in my classes and it generally works out well. 
  3. A term project will be developed gradually over the course of the semester as parts of the regular homework assignments. Usually it is closely related to your presentation. It may be a paper, computer program, script for a skit, video,  short story, or some other tangible creative product. You will be asked to develop this project gradually throughout the semester and hand in parts of it. I am a fan of developing larger projects one modest step at a time! Old Chinese saying: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." The target length (if a paper) is 3,000 words.
  4. Typical assignments will be worth 100 points.
  5. The presentation will be 200 pts. and the term project itself that you hand in will also be 200 pts. 
  6. If you must be absent from a class or cannot hand something in on time due to illness or some other reason, please contact me for alternative arrangements.
  7. This course has students of potentially many different levels and backgrounds. This is good and can lead to interesting discussions and perspectives. It also means that effort will be a significant factor in grading. This way everyone, no matter what your background and preparation, can do well. This course is open to all... welcome!
  8. A final exam will be required only for students who are not fully caught up on homework. No final for those who are caught up.
Assignment of final grade in the course: 
90%   - 100%   -- "A" Everyone can get one if they work at it. 
89.5% - 89.99% -- "A" or "B," depending on class attendance 
80%   - 89.49% -- "B" 
79.5% - 79.99% -- "B" or "C," depending on class attendance 
70%   - 79.49% -- "C" 
69.5% - 69.99% -- "C" or "D," depending on class attendance 
60%   - 69.49% -- "D" 
59.5% - 59.99% -- "D" or "F," depending on class attendance 
50%   - 59.49% -- "F" 

  • The maximum grade on a regular assignment is 100%. The minimum is 50% (for something not handed in)
  • Standard lateness policy: 10% off the grade on any assignment handed in up to 1 week late. 25% off assignments that are very late.
A few resources about the future
A few other resources about learning about the future 
(from Jay Gary, School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University)