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Internet & Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control - Fall 1998

Course Description: This course will explore a series of leading Internet issues via a number of traditional and not-so-traditional methods. Course themes will include: whether the Internet will ultimately allow for genuinely new kinds of communication or merely replicate what exists elsewhere; whether and how the Internet can be governed, and whether the Internet threatens traditional governance of real space; and the role of technical solutions to seemingly legal problems. The course is designed to be accessible to both Internet experts and newcomers. Students may take this course concurrently with Lessig's Law of Cyberspace course.

Each week, a current assignment will be posted on this website. It will typically include readings (some web-based, others available at the distribution center) and (except for the first week) several questions about the readings in advance of the class session.

The first course requirement is to complete the readings and respond to the questions posted on the site. Each week, each student's answer to one of the questions will be randomly emailed to another student (or participating cyber luminary), who will then be required to submit a response to that answer. All of the above will be posted on this site in the archive and in each student's profile. Responses are intended to be short and pointed—no screeds or research papers required. You are also expected to participate in the more unstructured online discussion area and (of course) our weekly live meetings.

The second course requirement is to undertake a take-home examination (the type that you have over a week to complete), a 15-20 page paper, or a special project. If you choose the paper option, you must submit an abstract no later than Oct. 15 and a rough draft no later than November 19. Your abstract and draft will be distributed to another student for feedback, and you will be required to provide feedback on someone else's abstract (by Oct. 22) and draft (by December 3). Final papers are due December 22.

You are invited to contribute to the course in several other optional but important ways: by contributing links to the library, by suggesting questions to pose about upcoming topics, and/or by creating your own website (server space will be provided).