Core Course


Introduced in Spring 2010, EGR 277/HIS 277/ SOC 277: Technology and Society is a cross-listed course developed in collaboration with the Departments of History and Sociology with support from the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. Faculty involved with the development of the course include Michael Gordin and Angela Creager (History), Betsy Armstrong (Sociology and WWS) and Sharad Malik (Electrical Engineering).



This introductory course on technology and society presents the overarching issues and principles related to the intersection of technology and society. Our hope is to provide students with the intellectual tools needed – a “set of lenses” that will help them view the issues this area poses. Technology and society are unthinkable without each other — each provides the means and framework in which the other develops. To explore this dynamic, the course investigates a wide array of questions on the interaction between technology, society, politics, and economics, emphasizing the themes of innovation and maturation, systems and regulation, risk and failure, and ethics and expertise. Specific topics covered include nuclear power and waste, genetically-modified organisms, regulation of the internet, medical mistakes, intellectual property, the financial crisis of 2008, and the post-fossil-fuels economy.

This course is a core requirement for the undergraduate Certificate Program in Technology & Society (please check additional program requirements), and is open to all undergraduate students on campus; a key element of the course is its appeal to students on both sides of the technology fence. We expect to attract technology students who have an interest in the societal application of their discipline; as well as students in other disciplines who are interested in seeking a technology education component that will help them understand and deal with technological issues in their lives and careers.



  • Net Neutrality
  • Bioprospecting
  • Privacy and Cloud Computing
  • Geoengineering: An Approach to Climate Change
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Open Source