Computers are ubiquitous.  Whether we are in our cars, our planes, or our houses, computers are now part of everyday life.  How and why did this come to be?  This course explores that question in three ways.  First, we explore the mid-19th century foundations of modern computing technology.  Second, we investigate the technological and functional underpinnings of computers and computer systems.  Last, we examine the social dimensions of computing, information technology, and communication technology.  We will go beyond the historical progression of hardware and software to focus on the people, institutions, and ideologies surrounding the development of computers and their connectedness.


alex_galarzaAlex Galarza

Email: galarza1@msu.edu
Gchat: galarza.alex
Website: www.alexgalarza.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/galarzaalex

Alex is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Michigan State University whose research examines soccer and society in twentieth-century Argentina. He is the founder of the Football Scholars Forum, an academic book club that meets monthly over the internet to discuss books on soccer and GradHacker, an advice blog and podcast on graduate school hosted by InsideHigherEd.com . Alex plays soccer, ultimate, and enjoys the outdoors.


If you plagiarize, you will fail this course. Do not attempt to pass off another person’s work as your own. In accordance with Michigan State University’s policies on “Protection of Scholarship and Grades” and “Integrity of Scholarship and Grades,” students are expected to honor principles of truth and honesty in their academic work. Academic integrity means, amongst other things, not plagiarizing. Plagiarism includes submitting someone else’s work (words, ideas, etc.) as their own or knowingly permitting another student to copy and submit their work. Additional discussion of academic integrity is available on the Ombudsman’s website: http://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/dishonestystud.html.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.


We won’t be using Desire 2 Learn in this class (except as a periodic grade book on D2L).  All of your assignments are done online (Wiki or the course blog), so there is nothing to “hand in” on D2L.  Also, all of the course announcements & discussions that you might normally find on D2L (in most other online classes) happen on the course blog – which is why you will always need to keep you eye on the blog.


Blogs & blogging are a big part of this class.  The course blog is going to be the primary way I communicate with you.  All class announcements, info, etc. will be posted on the blog.  This means you’ll always need to keep your eye on the blog.

For more info on how to use the course blog, check out the videos section of the site.


A wiki is a special type of web site.  The difference between a wiki and a regular website is that it is designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language.  Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis.

You’ll be using a wiki to do some of your class assignments (check out the Tasks section of the site for more info on that).


This class doesn’t have assigned textbooks (which is good because it means you don’t have to go out and buy anything).  However, the class as a lot of online readings (either in the form of online articles or downloadable PDFs).  It is extremely important to remember that all readings are mandatory for the class.  If you don’t keep up with your readings, you won’t do well in the course.


Due dates are not negotiable. All assignments are to be submitted on their specific due date (refer to weekly schedule for exact due dates) If you know ahead of time that you are going to be away from a computer with an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to submit it before the due date if you don’t want to be penalized.

Only under extreme (and documentable) circumstances will students be allowed to submit assignments after the due date without being penalized.


HST250 has a lot of writing assignments (check out the tasks page for more info).  When completing your writing assignments (wiki entries & wiki article), you MUST cite parenthetically with a works cited section.