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1it113 Information society

Module coordinator: Ewan Sutherland.

Who should take this module?

The module is intended for students of the Arts and Humanities who do not necessarily have any significant background or experience in computing, IT or telecommunications but who are interested in the economic, social and personal consequences of the increasing use of those technologies and of our growing dependence on them. In addition to students of Informatics, the module is relevant to students of liberal arts and those intending to pursue a career in business.

There are no prerequisites for this course.


The module is intended to give students in the Arts and Humanities an understanding of the issues which arise from the use of information technology at four levels: societies, economies, organisations and individuals. Students will have the opportunity to study many different aspects of the information society and to see how these interact. The problems presented are complex and must to tackled in a multi-disciplinary way.


On completion of the module, students should be able to discuss and to evaluate:


The course sets the technological developments of information and communications technologies and services into their historical context in terms of the industrial revolution. It identifies the forces driving the changes of the last fifty years and the technological advances made during that period and tries to show how those forces will operate in the future. The effects of the adoption of the technology are considered in terms of economies, societies and cultures, from effects on employment to the ever greater availability of broadcast and on-line entertainment. Patterns and changes in employment are examined, both at the overall level of employment and job creation rates and at the personal elvel where changes occur in the ways in which we work. The ways in which education is affected by the use of technology are examined. Every effort is made to relate the course to the problems of the contemporary world.

Teaching method

Total of eighty hours comprising formal teaching of twenty-two lectures and five seminars, plus private study of 21 hours for assignments and 32 hours for private study. Students are expected to work in their own time, reading background material and performing work related to the course.

Student feedback

For more information on this course.

Copyright Ewan Sutherland, 1995.

Ewan Sutherland's home page Informatics