Monday, August 23, 2010

Course Information

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IFSC 4399/5399 ST: Computing Futures
Fall 2010
Days: MW
Time: 3:05 - 4:20 p.m.
Place: EIT 218

Schedule and Topic List


  • Information, understanding it and using is key to the future
  • The computing field is undergoing rapid change
  • Biotech, nanotech, energy tech, and our society and culture are changing fast as well
  • The future is ahead, we're part of it, and is to our benefit to understand it ("knowledge is power")
  • Are you planning to live and work in the information age?

    • Be aware of what the future may hold
    • Learn how to extrapolate from the past and present into the future
    • Those things are not only useful but interesting too!

  • None. The Web is loaded with useful information but there is no once-size-fits-all textbook for this course. Readings not on the Web will be distributed in class as needed.
Instructor availability:
Students with Disabilities: (updated for Sp 2012)
Your success in this class is important to me, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to create inclusive learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have a documented disability (or need to have a disability documented), and need an accommodation, please contact me privately as soon as possible, so that we can discuss with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) how to meet your specific needs and the requirements of the course. The DRC offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process among you, your instructor(s) and the DRC. Thus, if you have a disability, please contact me and/or the DRC, at 501-569-3143 (V/TTY) or 501-683-7629 (VP). For more information, please visit the DRC website at
    A few resources about the future (most contributed by students):

A few resources about learning about the future

(from Jay Gary, School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University, 7/09)

1. HWs will involve readings, written comments, and searching the Web.

2. HWs will also involve options: software development if you are so inclined, or analyses and literature searches if you are inclined that way, or creative writing products of various kinds. Why not paintings or skits if you are interested in art or theater? The class would like to hear your music if you'd like to do that!

3. Students will each present one 30-minute session to the class on a future-relevant topic, and write a paper (or program, or other product in addition to your talk). Preliminary versions may be due earlier in time to get feedback from the instructor, and you will be asked to develop this project gradually throughout the semester and hand in parts of it. I am a fan of developing larger projects one step at a time!

4. Class sessions will require preparation and HW. Aim for an average of 6 hours of work outside class each week for an average 3-credit course (3 credits means 3 50-minute classes or 2 75-minute classes per week), and study guides often recommend 2 hours of preparation per week for each credit. Please let me know if the work load differs significantly from this plan so I can adjust as needed. I don't want to overwork - or underwork - students in this class.

5. Typical assignments will be worth 100 points.

6. The presentation will be 200 pts. and the paper, program, or other product will also be 200 pts. grade. The annotated bibliography will be developed gradually throughout the semester.

7. If you must be absent from a class or cannot hand something in on time due to illness or some other reason, please contact me as soon as possible.

8. Because this course has students of potentially many different levels and backgrounds, effort will be a significant factor in grading. This course is open to all. Welcome!

Assignment of final grade in the course:

90% - 100% -- "A." Everyone can have one if they work at it!

89.5% - 89.99% -- "A" or "B," depending on class attendance or legitimate excuses & instructor's judgment

80% - 89.49% -- "B"

79.5% - 79.99% -- "B" or "C," depending on class attendance or legitimate excuses & instructor's judgment

70% - 79.49% -- "C"

69.5% - 69.99% -- "C" or "D," depending on class attendance or legitimate excuses & instructor's judgment

60% - 69.49% -- "D"

59.5% - 59.99% -- "D" or "F," depending on class attendance or legitimate excuses & instructor's judgment

50% - 59.49% -- "F"

The minimum grade on any quiz or assignment is 50% (e.g. not handed in), but all grades will be counted.

Standard lateness policy: 10% off the grade on any assignment handed in up to 1 week late. 20 % off assignments that are very late.

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