Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives (CPT)

Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives (CPT) are courses that will develop vocabularies, theoretical perspectives, and critical approaches relevant to technology. The fundamental goal of these courses is to develop a critical awareness of how technology impacts culture and society. These courses which work as electives for both the Bachelor of Science in TAM as well as the Minor in TAM, will challenge students to think critically about the effects of technology across a broad range of disciplines, perspectives and methodologies.

Students in the BS-TAM program are required to complete a total of 12 credit hours, including 6 credits of upper division coursework, as Critical Perspectives in Technology electives. These 12 credits are to be selected from the list of accepted courses found below. Students may also contact the TAM Academic Advisor to request consideration of additional courses to be accepted as Critical Perspectives in Technology elective classes.

*Students in the MTAM and CTAM are required to take a 2000 - 4000 level course to meet their CPT or elective requirement.


APRD 1000, Creative Industries

Explores creative and strategic thinking and the many industries involved in creating brand communication as well as these industries growing interdependence in a changing media landscape. Considers technology's impact and the effect of commercial culture on an increasingly diverse society


APRD 3000: Intermediate Creative Concepts

Explores both strategic and creative thinking and examines approaches to narrative storytelling as a tool for telling overarching brand stories. Students use the foundation to develop creative briefs and advertising campaigns. Instructor consent required.


APRD 3102, Story Design I

Explores the development of interactive concepts that meet the strategic brief's brand objectives. Emphasis is placed first on developing strong digital ideals. Students also master the styles appropriate for different digital media and then use those skills.


APRD 3301, Social Media Strategies

Emphasis on how social media and internet marketing influence public relations; understand the fundamentals and best practices in social media management, visual communication and mobile applications. Requires a prerequisite course of APRD 2002 (minimum grade D-). Restricted Strategic Communication (STCM) majors only.


ARCH 3214, History & Theory Architecture 2

Surveys architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design from A.D. 1400 to the present, emphasizing developments in the Western world. Open to nonmajors on a space available basis.


ARTH 3109, Art in Contemporary Society

Examines writings by philosophers and art critics as they address the question: What is art for? Readings focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, including current theories and some non-Western theories. Students are encouraged to develop their own responses to the question. Prereqs., ARTH 1300 and ARTH 1400. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: critical thinking.


ARTH 3719, History of Media Arts

Surveys the development of technological media both as sources of information and as art. Photography and related media, film, video, holography, and electronic imaging systems are surveyed as art and as technologies, emphasizing major artists, movements, exhibitions, and other productions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prereqs., ARTH 1300 and ARTH 1400.


ARTS 3236-3, Electronic Arts Survey

Explores the development of video as an art form through tape screenings, readings, lectures, and discussions. Prerequisite for further studies in video production.


ARTS 4316, History & Theory of Digital Art

Explores the history and theory of digital art. Discussion topics include the emergence of Internet art, hypertext, new media theory, on-line exhibitions, web publishing, virtual reality, and the networked interface. Includes collaborative and individual projects. Prereqs., ARTS 2126 or instructor consent.


ATLS 1240/CSCI 1240, The Computational World

Introduces and explores the "computational style of thinking" and its influence in science, mathematics, engineering and the arts. The course does not focus on the nuts and bolts of any particular programming language, but rather on the way in which computing has affected human culture and thought in the past half century.


ATLS 2036/ENGL 2036, Introduction to Media Studies in the Humanities

Serves as an introduction to media studies, including theories and methodologies for undertaking media scholarship within the humanities. Topics may include the history of the book, text messaging, blogging, and gaming, as well as digital fiction and poetry. Same as ATLS 2036.


ATLS 3173, Creative Climate Communication

We generate multimodal compositions on the subject of climate change, and engage with various dimensions of issues associated with sustainability. We work to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are or can be communicated, by analyzing previously created expressions from a variety of media (interactive theatre, film, fine art, television programming, blogs, performance art, for example), and then be creating our own work. Recommended prereq., ENVS 1000. Same as ENVS 3173 and THTR 4173.


ATLS 3529, Special Topics: Critical Perspectives in Technology
  • Remix

ATLS 3529-001, History of Design

Surveys design through historical, ideological, stylistic, and technological contexts, examining design’s relationship to significant political, philosophical, and cultural events. While the primary focus of the course is graphic design, lectures will span myriad disciplines including architecture, textile design, fashion design, interior design, product design, and fine art.


ATLS 4230/5230, Case Studies in Information & Communication Technology for Development

Serves as foundation course for MS-ICTD program. Students will evaluate case studies across a range of technologies and applications. Students will learn how to match available technologies to human and environmental needs and resources, be introduced to the seminal work and leaders in the field, and discuss the future of ICTD as an emerging area of academic focus. Same as ATLS 5230.


ATLS 4529, Advanced Special Topics: Critical Perspectives in Technology
  • Digital Feminisms
  • Critical Technical Practice
  • Empathy and Technology
  • Digital Media Theory
  • Law and Technology
  • History/Theory of Digital Art
  • Representation in the Digital Age
  • Technology and the Young
  • Neurohacking

ATLS 4529-003, K12 Computer Science Education Research

Students will read papers and books describing theories of what CT and CS are and how they can benefit learners; empirical work, recent and historical, describing what the current state of CS education is (including how inequities manifest); as well as theoretical and design studies on how learning environments can be created to broaden participation. Students will complete projects using a variety of programmable tools for learning, including tools that are intended to teach about specific scientific ideas through computation, and tools that have been purposely constructed to broaden participation in computing through culturally-relevant pedagogies. Students will investigate how students already learn CS or CT in an existing setting, or how to spark learning in a new setting, through a collaborative final project.


ATLS 4606, Critical Technical Practices

Surveys design theory and methods that can be used to question relationships between technology, culture, and the environment. Students will discuss readings and synthesize those readings through design exercises. The course will equip students with resources for thinking more critically and creatively about design and possible future human-technology relationships.


CMCI 1010, Concepts and Creativity 1: Media, Communication, Information

Engages key principles and practices in the fields of media, communication and information. Emphasizes the analyses of new and old media, information technologies, verbal and visual literacies, communicative interactions and cultural practices through process-based learning and hands-on projects utilizing multiple modes of expression. Two semester sequence required for all CMCI students; 4 credit hours each semester.


CMDP 1400, Introduction to Contemporary Media Cultures

Prepares students for critical practices in contemporary media cultures in a global context. This course explores the diversity of media practices, including narrative and non-narrative forms, emphasizing aesthetics and visual studies. In lectures and labs students will explore video, sound, the internet, and other multi-media platforms of expression.


CMDP 2100, Approaches to Historical Media Practices

Investigate historical and cultural discourses in the formation of media practices. Examines practices such as performance media; cinematic media, media art, and their aesthetic alignment to cognate movements throughout history.


CMDP 3450, Critical Perspectives in Media Practices

Examines the contemporary landscape of media practices across platforms, such as film, social media, painting, video, and web art. This integrative exploration focuses on production contexts, circulation and reception through the lens of critical and interpretive frameworks. Drawing from key texts by major scholars and the works of media practitioners, students develop globally informed, critical perspectives for understanding.


COMM 3610, Communication, Technology & Society

Presents theory, research, and exploration into computer-based technologies; studies implications for communication, interaction, and social relationships. Recommended prereq., COMM 1210.


COMM 4610, Communication Studies of Science & Technology*
  • Keywords in Digital Culture

CSCI 1240, The Computational World

Introduces and explores the "computational style of thinking" and its influence in science, mathematics, engineering and the arts. The course does not focus on the nuts and bolts of any particular programming language, but rather on the way in which computing has affected human culture and thought in the past half century. Same as ATLS 1240


CSCI 3002, HCC Foundations/User-Centered Design and Development 1

Introduces the practice and research of human-centered computing, including the evolution of human-computer interaction to its forms today and the techniques of user-centered design. The course will survey topics that include social computing; tangible computing; mobility; and more. It will cover computing in society at large with respect to domains such as health, education, assistive technology, emergency response, and environment.


CSCI 3702, Cognitive Science

Introduces cognitive science, drawing from psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and linguistics. Studies the linguistic relativity hypothesis, consciousness, categorization, linguistic rules, the mind-body problem, nature versus nurture, conceptual structure and metaphor, logic/problem solving and judgment. Emphasizes the nature, implications, and limitations of the computational model of mind. Department enforced prereqs., two of the following: PSYC 2145, LING 2000, CSCI 1300, and PHIL 2440. Same as LING 3005, PHIL 3310, and PSYC 3005.


CSCI 4830, Special Topics in Computer Science
  • Big Data

EDUC 3570, Learning with Technology In and Out of School

Examines ways digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, make friends, and participate in civic life. Studies widely implemented digital tools intended to support literary, math, and science learning of children ages 4-18. Involves brief internship (5 hours outside class) and design projects that integrate these tools to transform in either a classroom or after-school program.


EMEN 4800, Technology Ventures and Marketing

Learn marketing concepts, skills and tools to launch new products and ventures. Engage with faculty, classmates, guest speakers, industry professionals, potential customers and one's leadership team to help you launch your venture. Develop the necessary skills and tools to be successful colleagues, managers and leaders in industry. Gain valuable business acumen using a hands-on learning environment.


EMEN 4825, Entrepreneurial Business Plan Preparation

Instructs students in the necessary elements of a business plan and how to prepare a complete well-written plan for an entrepreneurial business venture. Students work in interdisciplinary business-engineering five-person teams to create a business concept and take it through to business plan completion. Same as ESBM 4830.


ENGL 2036/ATLS 2036, Introduction to Media Studies in the Humanities

Serves as an introduction to media studies, including theories and methodologies for undertaking media scholarship within the humanities. Topics may include the history of the book, text messaging, blogging, and gaming, as well as digital fiction and poetry. Same as ATLS 2036.


ENGL 3856, Topics in Genre Studies*
  • Technology & Culture
  • Global Culture & Media

ENGL 4116, Advanced Topics in Media Studies*
  • Digital Media Theory

ENVD 2001, Human Behavior in Design Planning

Examines reciprocal relationships between people and their built and natural environments, tracing major issues and approaches in design research to understand how people are influenced by the environment and how they can create healthy, just, and livable places. Recommended co-requisites: ENVD 1004 and ENVD 1052.


ENVD 3002, Design Theory & Methods

The nature of design and systematic methods for improving design. Topics include: nature of design problems; structure of design process; theory of form; problem definition; generating solution ideas; evaluation; roles of form and function. Students use computers without having to learn to program. Open to non-majors.


ENVD 3212, Color Theory

Illustrates color media techniques for the preparation, composition, and presentation of landscape and built environment drawings.


ENVD 4314, Architectural Theory

Surveys, through lectures and readings, the major historical developments and contemporary directions in architectural theory. Prereqs., ARCH 3114. Restricted to ENVD students.


ENVS 3032-3, Environment, Media & Society

Examines how mass media influence our society, specifically with regard to environmental issues and outcomes. Focuses on media influence over environmental politics and policy, environmental public opinion, popular culture, and environmental/scientific knowledge. Fulfills intermediate social science requirement for Environmental Studies major. Prereq., ENVS 1000.


ENVS 3173, Creative Climate Communication

We generate multimodal compositions on the subject of climate change, and engage with various dimensions of issues associated with sustainability. We work to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are or can be communicated, by analyzing previously created expressions from a variety of media (interactive theatre, film, fine art, television programming, blogs, performance art, for example), and then be creating our own work. Recommended prereq., ENVS 1000. Same as ATLS 3173 and THTR 4173.


ESBM 4830, Entrepreneurship Business Planning and Preparation

Work as part of a small team, with the focus on the process of creating a plan from the business concept and model through all of the elements of a professionally written business plan document. Same as EMEN 4825.


FILM 3104, Film Criticism & Theory

Surveys the range and function of film criticism, introduces major positions and concepts of film theory, and focuses on students' abilities to write about film. Prereq., FILM 1502. Same as HUMN 3104.


FILM 3603, Sound & Vision

Historical and aesthetic overview of sound in relation to film, ranging from Hitchcock's Blackmail to Mailick's The Thin Red Line. Pursues issues in sound design, mixing film scores, voiceovers, and film/sound theory in narrative, experimental, and documentary films. Among the filmmakers to be studied are Vertov, Welles, Altman, Brakhage, Lipsett, Eisenstein, Coppola, Scorcese, Stone, Leone, Godard, Nelson. Also explores a limited practicum using Pro Tools for sound design. Prereq., FILM 1502. Recommended prereq., FILM 3051.


HUEN 2210, Engineering, Science, and Society

Explores challenges that engineering and science pose for society plus the ways that societies shape or impede science and engineering. Case studies range from contemporary issues (global warming, nuclear weapons, and genetic engineering) to classic cases (the execution of Socrates). Core texts in the Western Tradition supplement contemporary articles and films.


HUEN 3843, Sci Fi & the Human Condition

Explores different important themes in the humanities, check with department for specific semester topics. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours. Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Engineering students only.


INFO 3101, History of Information, Science and Society

Focusing on two topics: the changing role of information in everyday life over time and the increasing role of information in disciplinary studies such as social science, engineering, computer science, mathematics, digital humanities. Examines information related academic disciplines, businesses, industries and technologies from multiple perspectives from the 17th century to the present.


INFO 4606, Critical Technical Practices

Surveys design theory and methods that can be used to question relationships between technology, culture, and the environment. Students will discuss readings and synthesize those readings through design exercises. The course will equip students with resources for thinking more critically and creatively about design and possible future human-technology relationships.


JRNL 3651, Journalism Law and Ethics

Studies state and federal laws and court decisions that affect the media in order to develop knowledge of media rights and responsibilities and an understanding of the legal system. Provides students with an overview of the theories, ethics, codes, and analytical models that are used in journalism and introduces students to a variety of ethical issues that can arise in journalism.


JRNL 4011, Principles of Media Relations

Provides students with information about the ethics, history and practice of media relations (community affairs, community relations, customer relations, government relations, industry relations, internal communications, public relations, press agentry, public affairs, publicity, etc.). Introduces students from multiple academic disciplines to the genres of writing required for a media relations career.


LIBB 1700-3, The History of Communication from Caves to Cyberspace

Surveys the history, evolution, and nature of communication and communication technologies. Students learn about the ongoing media revolution and its broader context, considering the interdependence of communication, culture, and society. They critically examine utopian, deterministic, and pessimistic arguments about the influence of new technologies and arts. Course combines lecture, discussion, and group work in a seminar format. Restricted to Libby RAP students. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.


LING 3005-3, Cognitive Science

Introduces cognitive science, drawing from psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and linguistics. Studies the linguistic relativity hypothesis, consciousness, categorization, linguistic rules, the mind-body problem, nature versus nurture, conceptual structure and metaphor, logic/problem solving and judgment. Emphasizes the nature, implications, and limitations of the computational model of mind. Department enforced prereqs., two of the following: PSYC 2145, LING 2000, CSCI 1300, and PHIL 2440. Same as CSCI 3702-3, PHIL 3310, and PSYC 3005.


MDST 2002, Media and Communication History

Examines the historical development of communication forms, tools, technologies and institutions (orality, writing, printing, photography, film, radio, television, computers, internet); their influence on culture (forms of expression and social relationships); and their impact on social and individual experience. Applies knowledge of communication history to contemporary social issues and problems in media and society, domestically and internationally.


MDST 3002, Digital Culture & Politics

Examines issues at the intersection of digital media, culture and politics, such as regulation and network architecture, piracy and hacking, and grassroots activism. Engage with a range of theories about cultural politics, democracy, liberalism and neo-liberalism in relation to digital information and communication technologies.


MDST 3201-3, Media, Culture & Globalization

Surveys the political and economic structures of media system in developed and developing countries and discusses the impact of privatization, ownership consolidation, and globalization on the flow of information across national borders. Also looks at how global media flows and counter-flows affect conceptions of nationhood and cultural identity. Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) or Program in Journalism & Mass Communication (JOUR) or International Affairs (IAFS) majors only.


MDST 3321-3, Media Industries & Economics

Focuses on the institutions and practices of the media industries. Surveys the histories, structures, and activities of these organizations and the contemporary issues surrounding them. Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCIU) or Program in Journalism & Mass Communication (JOURU) majors only.


MDST 3791-3, Media and the Public

Provides an overview of how publishing in print and electronic forms has been tied closely to democratic ideals for centuries. Explores how the idea of the public is central to the theory and practice of media politics, and how the contested concepts of "the public sphere" and "public opinion" have long been linked to debates about the proper relationship between media and democratic citizenship. Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCIU) or Program in Journalism & Mass Communication (JOURU) majors only.


MDST 4331, Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality

Studies the construction, interconnections, and replications of gender, race, class, and sexuality in popular culture and how these constructs become cultural norms and mores. Uses critical methods with a focus on producing responsible viewers and readers.


MDST 4371-3 Media & Religion

Examines the way religion uses media as a social and political force. Introduces the major themes and trends in the mediation of religion and the religious inflection of the media in professional, popular, and emerging media contexts.


PHIL 2160-3, Ethics and Information Technology

Examines contemporary ethical debates about the use, misuse, and development of information technology. Topics include ethical issues surrounding privacy, security, identity, hacking and cyber crime, automation technologies such as drones and self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.


PHIL 3310-3, Cognitive Science

Introduces cognitive science, drawing from psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and linguistics. Studies the linguistic relativity hypothesis, consciousness, categorization, linguistic rules, the mind-body problem, nature versus nurture, conceptual structure and metaphor, logic/problem solving and judgment. Emphasizes the nature, implications, and limitations of the computational model of mind. Department enforced prereqs., two of the following: PSYC 2145, LING 2000, CSCI 1300, and PHIL 2440. Same as CSCI 3702-3, LING 3005, and PSYC 3005.


PSYC 3005-3, Cognitive Science

Introduces cognitive science, drawing from psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and linguistics. Studies the linguistic relativity hypothesis, consciousness, categorization, linguistic rules, the mind-body problem, nature versus nurture, conceptual structure and metaphor, logic/problem solving and judgment. Emphasizes the nature, implications, and limitations of the computational model of mind. Department enforced prereqs., two of the following: PSYC 2145, LING 2000, CSCI 1300, and PHIL 2440. Same as CSCI 3702-3, LING 3005, and PHIL 3310.


RLST 1850, Ritual and Media

Ritual continues to play an important role in contemporary societies in both religious and secular contexts. This course examines the elements and genres of ritual activity from African rites of passage to the Beijing Olympics, playing close attention to how the media documents, appropriates and transforms aspects of ritual. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: Contemporary Societies.


THTR 4173, Creative Climate Communication

We generate multimodal compositions on the subject of climate change, and engage with various dimensions of issues associated with sustainability. We work to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are or can be communicated, by analyzing previously created expressions from a variety of media (interactive theatre, film, fine art, television programming, blogs, performance art, for example), and then be creating our own work. Recommended prereq., ENVS 1000. Same as ENVS 3173 and ATLS 3173.


WRTG 3020, New Media & Civic Engagement

In 2008 when Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States, he had over 2.5 million Facebook supporters, more than four times that of his opponents (Aaker 16); this is one of many illustrations of how new media, specifically social media, has altered public involvement and civic engagement as well as modes of circulation and composition. This course will focus on intersections between civic engagement and new media with topics such as: new media literacies, digital ethics, collective identity, digital tools for composition and research, civic participation, transparency of media, and authority in digital realms. In exploring these issues students will generate both scholarly and digital-based creative work throughout three main projects, which include: a new media remix of a political text and a corresponding essay; data collection from online sources, a multimedia presentation and written analysis; and a curation of a digital archive and composition of a paper on the civic and political affects of this archival project. This course is meant to develop students' writing skills as well as rhetorical analysis, research skills and understanding of academic writing. Each week is organized around a general topic with specific readings to which we will apply theoretical concepts and rhetorical analysis through assignments, in class exercises and discussions.


WRTG 3020, Technology & American Culture

This course proceeds from the fundamental understanding that we are in the midst of an apparatus shift beyond literacy toward an emerging paradigm of "electracy," as theorized by Gregory L. Ulmer. Ulmer explains that Electracy "is to digital media what literacy is to alphabetic writing: an apparatus, or social machine, partly technological, partly institutional " (Networked 2009). The effects of this shift impact not only communication and identity formation, but cultural forms and perhaps academic practices as well. One goal of this course is to examine closely the technological transitions already familiar to us in network society and contemporary culture—with new developments and potential for digital rhetoric and multimodal composition. A second part to this premise is that whereas the prior "television age" involved audiences’ passively receiving the dominant culture as "consumers," the network age situates us in a participatory role regarding information, media, and discourse. We will explore the rhetorical implications of this on-going shift, with students and "audience members" becoming contributors and not just receiver-consumers of culture and discourse. Note: topic and specific culture form will vary by semester.


WRTG 3020, Gender, Sexuality & New Media

We will investigate a variety of claims made about gender, sexuality and relationships, including competing claims made by scientists and social constructionists. We will examine the assumptions and values on which these claims are based and we will evaluate the validity of the reasoning, evidence and rhetorical devices used to support them. You will write several short analytical papers in response to readings and documentaries about related issues, such as gender roles, transsexual and intersexidentities, alternatives to monogamy, and the marriage movement. You will also complete a course project in which you develop and defend a sustained critique of a particular essay. A variety of homework assignments and in-class activities will help you improve the skills you need to successfully complete these assignments. This course will also further strengthen your skills in reading critically, composing strong paragraphs, evaluating and using outside sources, targeting specific audiences, revising for clarity and conciseness, and editing for publication.


WRTG 3020, Comics & the Graphic Novel

WRTG 3020, Changing Digital Communities