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Summary

With the continuously growing role of technology in all areas of life, the questions with regard to the interaction between humans and technology have increased dramatically. This is true not just with a view to individual life planning but also based on the insight that direct as well as indirect political consequences and the shaping of the future of politics are occurring. All of the material and information for the seminar "Political theories of humans and technology" are communicated via a seminar blog. The blog serves the purpose of deepening discussions that took place in the sessions and to reflect on certain specific aspects. The articles penned are written reactions to certain texts or to discussions that took place in the seminar. The reaction papers are not just simple summaries but require a critical analysis of one or several central content-related aspects as well as having to formulate and justify one's own thoughts or position. The blog therefore serves as a material repository (pdfs, seminar plan, information) as well as a communication platform. 

Table of contents

Course

Course title"Political theories of humans and technology"

Course type

Seminar

Department/InstitutePolitical and Social Sciences
Degree programPolitical Science

Lecturer

Ulrike Höppner

No. of participants

Ca. 20 per semester

SWS/CP

2 SWS

Tools

  • Blogs of the Freie Universität Berlin

Realization

As a learning environment a FU blog was set up that served as a single-point-of-entry for all content and material as well as a discussion forum. For the learners the guidelines and notes on how to use it as well as on the didactic concept and the idea of the blog were communicated at the beginning of the face-to-face sessions. With the help of tutorials the learners were introduced to the "technique" of blogging and all seminar participants received an account in the FU blog system. The blog was managed as a group blog. The students posted articles on the topics of the sessions which were supposed to prepare for the seminar discussions in-class and deepen the students' knowledge. By pre-defining categories the thematic focus of the blog was set down and supplemented by "freely picked" key words.   

Illustration 1: Seminar blog "Political Theories of Humans and Technology"

Experiences made by the lecturer

The usage of a blog as a "learning environment" was quite unusual for many of the learners, but on the whole is was readily accepted. There were barely any technical problems when posting the articles and when working with Wordpress. However, little use was made of the possibility of posing questions or giving feedback via the comments feature in the discussions themselves. The blog was read, but it remained quite unused as a platform for discussions. Here the interconnection with the face-to-face sessions should have been strengthened. The number of posts by the students was not as high as it could have been as the blog post was the only requirement for the participants and many therefore did not need to write anything. If all had participated then the interest would have definitely increased. Still, the additional time and organizational effort put in for the maintenance of the blog was worth the effort. A second seminar blog is currently being used for another seminar with a different topic. 

Further information

Support offered by CeDiS

  • Consulting services for the implementation of digital solutions in teaching: The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) has extensive experience of many years when it comes to the implementation of digital media and systems within the fields of teaching, learning and research. We offer a wide variety of consulting services on the implementation of these tools and systems within the entire academic scope and especially at Freie Universität Berlin. 
  • Training courses and workshops: For lecturers at Freie Universität Berlin (professors, employees, tutors) as well as lecturers of other universities CeDiS offers training courses and workshops on the topic of teaching and learning with digital media. These course enable participants to implement online elements within their own sphere of teaching.
  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität supports e-learning initiatives: With the e-learning funding program financial resources are provided to lecturers that enrich and improve their courses quality-wise by implementing technological and media-related support. All of the academic staff teaching, the lecturers or even the institutions of the Freie Universität - without the Charité-Universitätsmedizin - can be supported within this program. 

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