LED display with the word Welcome

Welcome to the course

Welcome to the course ‘Understanding Information & Technology Today’. I am Viktor Dörfler and I will be guiding you through this course. I will be with you every week. I have created the course content and I am delivering it in the form of different videos and written texts. Of course, although you will see me most of the time, there were many others involved in the development and I will thank them at the end of the course.

‘Understanding Information & Technology Today’ is the seventh FutureLearn course from the University of Strathclyde and the second course created by the Strathclyde Business School. It is also my second course; the first one was the ‘Understanding Modern Business and Organisations’ which was also developed on behalf of the Strathclyde Business School and delivered on the FutureLearn platform.

Here at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, we pride ourselves on being a leading international technological university and we carry the message originally formulated by our founder, John Anderson, that Strathclyde is the place of useful learning. In 2012 we received the title of the UK’s University of the Year from the Times Higher Education Awards for being a bold, imaginative, and innovative institution. In 2013 we also received the Entrepreneurial University of the Year award from Times Higher Education.

I am running this course on behalf of the Strathclyde Business School which is a major player in business and management education. We are consistently ranked within the top 10 business schools in the UK and we hold prestigious positions for a variety of our MBA and MSc courses on international lists. In 2016 were named ‘Business School of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards.

This course is about technology more generally and about IS/ICT (Information Systems – Information Communication Technology) more specifically. However, this is not a technical course; in this sense it is more of a business course. This means that we are not taking a technical perspective and we are not elaborating on the technical details. Instead, we are taking a holistic perspective looking at the picture that we have about technology. Our focus is on the relationship between technology and us as human beings as well as the organisations we work for and with. So instead of trying to understand specific questions of programming or how computers or smart devices are made, we are focusing on the ‘big picture’ of technology.

It would be commonplace to say that today technology is present in all aspects of our lives and that it affects everything we do. We have two questions in this course: (1) What should we use the technology for, and what should we leave to humans?; and (2) how do we use technology in a way that makes our lives easier? Starting from the basic technological concepts, such as warranty, reliability and basic IS/ICT concepts e.g. databases and data-flow diagrams, we will quickly end up talking about some controversial questions, such as piracy and discuss forefront concepts such as experience innovation and co-creating experiences. We will further venture to areas where we border with science fiction and we will address some fundamental issues of smart technology as well as explore the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI). We will think together about whether a super-smart thinking machine is possible.

Importantly, the way of delivery is also part of the teaching material. You will see different types of video content; besides the more usual video lectures, you will also see some recorded discussions, animations, and sharp to-the-point 2-minute long videos. You will also use a variety of tools provided by the FutureLearn platform

I am very happy to welcome all of you to ‘Understanding Information & Technology Today’. I hope that you are as excited as I am to take this journey together and explore what business and organisations are like today as well as what they might look like tomorrow. I am looking forward to us learning together through exploring the conceptions provided by great thinkers and applying these within the examples you can provide based on your experience. Thank you for taking this course.

If you use social media you can follow us on Twitter @FL_uitt and use the hashtag #FL_uitt to follow the conversations. You can also find out more about me if you look me up on Facebook or LinkedIn, have a look at my papers on ResearchGate or Google Scholar, my presentations at SlideShare or see what I have on my YouTube channel.

I would be grateful if you could complete the pre-course survey to help us understand more about who’s taking the course and what we can do to improve it.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Information and Technology Today

University of Strathclyde