INF 385T - Special Topics in Information Science: Technology Learning Studio
Graduate standing. Additional prerequisites may vary with the topic.
Study of the properties and behavior of information. Technology for information processing and management.
Three lecture hours a week for one semester.
May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.
Technology Learning Studio
Wed 12 - 5pm (Yes, 5 hours class, see below).
How do you learn new technologies? Which methods work well for
you? How might you advise someone else seeking to learn a
In this class we'll learn how to learn new technologies.
We'll do this in three ways: 1) we'll learn new technologies
ourselves, 2) as a studio group, we'll reflect critically on our
learning processes, and 3) we'll review some literature (academic
and practitioner, formal and informal) on learning techniques.
Students will define their own learning goals and projects, most
likely two or three projects during the course. Students will
work both independently and in small groups (if people want to
learn the same thing). Examples of topics might include a new
programming language or paradigm (e.g., object orientation, or
model-view-controller), a new data representation (e.g., SQL,
RDF, JSON-LD, or XML), new statistical techniques, version
control, CAD design, GIS. As you can see the scope is very broad;
students should recognize that the professor is not going to
teach these topics, students are going to teach themselves. The
professor (and other students) are going to help each other
understand how/why they learned (or did not).
A studio class is a special kind of class, often found in
Architecture or Fine Arts. My take on the studio experience is:
- We see each other working, learning, and reflecting.
- We help each other reflect and learn about learning through shared critique.
- We identify ways we can help each other learn (concretely and
Probably the most crucial part here is that we will meet for 5
hours (rather than 3). There will be breaks, but think of this as
taking most of the time you'd spend outside class and spending it
together. We will work to make our learning and reflection
visible to each other (not an easy task!). Students will
demonstrate their learning processes and outcomes, both at the
end of projects and during the projects. Examples of ways we
might do this are: code samples, screencasts, reflection essays,
design documentation, videos, and physical prototypes.
The class will help build out the literature/learning technique
readings, but here are some examples that we might explore:
- Apprenticeship learning
- Pair programming
- MOOC vs on campus learning
- Constructivism vs Didacticism
- Learning styles (visual, verbal, ...)
- How to read Stackoverflow or Wikipedia histories
- How to ask technical questions that people want to answer