Syllabus for THC-625



Technology and the Human Community: Challenges and Responses looks at technics and technology historically and philosophically. The course will cover critical issues specific to contemporary (and emerging) corporate and professional institutions, and the role of the professional practitioner dealing with political, economic, and social pressures. A key purpose of this course is to have students engage in and discuss serious issues concretely and with a view toward their resolution.


After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Define technology and distinguish between technics, science, and technology.
  2. Articulate the relationships among the above.
  3. Discuss the historical development of both techniques and technology.
  4. Develop and test theories concerning how technology progresses.
  5. Analyze and articulate the effects of technics and technology on society, politics, economics, and the military in historical situations.
  6. Critique the effects of physical, social, political, and philosophical cultural contexts on the creation and dissemination of technological innovation.
  7. Synthesize material and understandings from the other MALS courses as well as personal and professional experience with the materials, questions, and problems from this course.
  8. Create a brief statement of philosophy of technology.
  9. Use critical thinking and problem solving to analyze specific technology-related problems.
  10. Apply course concepts and methods to work situations.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the college's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Carlisle, R. (2004). Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries : All the Milestones in Ingenuity--From the Discovery of Fire to the Invention of the Microwave Oven.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  

ISBN-10: 0471244104

  • Pacey, A. (1991). Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History. The MIT Press.  

ISBN-10: 0262660725

  • Smith, M. R., & Marx, L. (1994). Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. The MIT Press.

ISBN-10: 0262691671

  • Burke, J. (2003) Circles: Fifty Roundtrips Through History Technology Science Culture. Simon & Schuster.

ISBN-10: 0743249763

  • Trefil, J. (1997). 101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either. Mariner Books.

ISBN-10: 0395877407

  • Winston, M., & Edelbach, R. (2005). Society, Ethics, and Technology. Wadsworth Publishing.

ISBN-10: 0534520855

Supplementary Texts

Research Bibliography


Technology and the Human Community: Challenges and Responses is a three-credit online course, consisting of four (4) modules. Modules include a study materials and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, written assignments and formal papers.  See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in nine (9) graded discussion forums, as well as an introduction forum in Module 1.  Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of online discussion assignments.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete three (3) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. These assignments will vary in length and depth.  

Each written assignment should not be reports of basic information.  A good written assignment is structured around a basic argument. The arguments/issues are laid out in the assignments. Be sure to present the variety of perspectives addressed in the readings/the course on any given topic.  These informal essay written assignments should be between 250-750 words.

See modules for more details.

Formal Papers

You are required to complete four (4) formal papers.   Each formal paper should be no less than 750 words and no more than 1250 words.

See the Formal Papers area of the course Web site for more details.  

The following links provide online writing aids to help you with your paper assignments.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Edison State College. All rights reserved.