Cultural History of Technology OpenCourseWare: A Free Graduate Study Course by MIT on the History of Technology

Published Jan 27, 2009

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The evolution of the meaning of technology and its relationship to cultural changes is explored in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) free OpenCourseWare philosophy class 'Cultural History of Technology.' This is a graduate level course designed for students in a Social Sciences program.

Cultural History of Technology: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Graduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes No

Cultural History of Technology: Course Description

The Department of Science, Technology and Society at MIT in Cambridge, MA, offers OpenCourseWare that looks at the meaning of technology through different periods. The course begins by exploring the meaning of technology in the classical times of Aristotle and Plato. Students seek answers to the questions of why technology evolved, what caused this evolution and how contemporary culture affected its evolution. The course explains that while people and culture are responsible for technological innovation, it is common for people to see technology itself as instigating change in society. Students analyze specific examples of how culture changed technology, such as how the idea of collective consciousness influenced the spread of first televisions and radio and now the Internet. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify the cultural movements that caused the creation and spread of new technologies. Professors Dr. Leo Marx and Dr. Rosalind Williams teach this course.

This OpenCourseWare includes a syllabus, required readings list, assignments, class discussion notes and a complete download of the course's material. Those interested in this free course should visit the Cultural History of Technology course page.

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