Technology & Contemporary Life

Subject HPSC20009 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

January, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jan-2016 to 12-Feb-2016
Assessment Period End 14-Mar-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 28-Jan-2016
Census Date 05-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 26-Feb-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 hours - A 1 hour lecture and 1.5 hour tutorial each on day of the intensive teaching period.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Michael Arnold


Dr Michael Arnold


Subject Overview:

In this subject students will study a variety of contemporary and future technologies, and will examine the implications of these technologies for society, and for daily life. Topics covered include techno-utopian and dystopian visions; ethics and biomedical technologies; cybernetics, cyberspace, cyborgs and other 'cybers'; social networking systems; artificial intelligence; technology and crime; virtual reality; technology and the economy; privacy and surveillance; and technology and contemporary media. Students will participate in the theoretical work, supported by many examples and 'hands-on' experience. Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to critically analyse and evaluate controversial issues relating to technology in the social context, and argue credible positions in relation to these controversies.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • identify and draw upon the major theoretical and philosophical discourses through which the relationship between contemporary technologies and society might be understood;
  • critically analyse and evaluate controversial issues relating to contemporary technologies in a social context, and argue credible positions, based on evidence in relation to these controversies;
  • form sound judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments;
  • develop skills in both writen and oral communication;
  • develop the ability to communicate and collaborate constructively in a group context;
  • demonstrate ethical integrity in learning activities, including ethical engagement with issues related to technology and contemporary life.
  • A 1000 word essay, due 1 Feb 2016 (30%)
  • An 800 word tutorial paper and presentation,due sometime between 2-12 February 2016 (20%)
  • 2200 word essay, due 26 February 2016 (50%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted in order to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.
Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - History and Philosophy of Science
Graduate Diploma in Arts - History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Related Breadth Track(s): Science, Technology and Society

Download PDF version.