Fall 2024

I 320J Topics in Social Justice Informatics: Design For Social Impact

Unique ID: 27485


09:30 AM - 11:00 AM  JES A307A
In Person


This class explores how to make arguments about and through design. The first half focuses on values, criticism, ethics, and analysis of technology, the latter portion aims to help a soon-to-graduate technologist envision positive social impact in a mission-driven enterprise. Students will practice synthesizing ethical tech considerations – as they will have to do for the rest of their careers – and combining this with an organizational mindset. Through exercises, role-playing, discussions, guest lectures from activist technologists, and wide-ranging readings, students will practice connecting broader implications of their designs with technical choices. Design for Social Impact seeks to arm students with diverse ways of reflecting on their authorial relationship to technology, drawing from art and design to political science and anthropology. Course participants will be encouraged to focus on areas of personal interest, enumerating the social, political, and economic parameters of particular technical systems: parameters that are as important as power consumption, usability, or efficiency.


This course will equip students to find their own answers to two key questions: 1) What values do specific technology designs embody, and how and to what extent do they do so? We will look at current and historical case studies of design interventions to identify ways in which technologies can, intentionally or unintentionally, promote specific values and to analyze how those values play out in practice in the complex worlds of everyday life. 2) How and to what extent is it possible to design technologies to reflect specific values? We will examine and practice a variety of design methods intended to incorporate values in design, and analyze their benefits and drawbacks.


Informatics 310J.


Restricted to undergraduate Informatics majors through registration period 1. Informatics minors may add classes and join waitlists beginning in period 2. Outside students will be permitted to join our waitlists beginning with period 3.