Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Information Studies

Develop transliteracy and resilience by taking these 1-credit, half-semester courses.

Transliteracy blends disparate literacies—information, digital, media, communication, and visual, as well as the traditional literacies of reading and writingnecessary to successfully navigate dynamic information and technology environments. A resilient posture toward technology and information-seeking may be the most important skill a young person can acquire in the 21st century, reaching across different disciplines and beyond academia.

Courses can be taken individually based on interest, or as a complete program over the course of two years. The curriculum sits at the intersection of liberal arts and technology, with courses designed with students’ needs and interests in mind, combining theoretical readings with hands-on activities using emerging technologies.

Courses

The Dao of Research

Learning Resources 106m | Mikesell | 1 credit p/f

Research is a path, not a destination. This course leads students along that path, marking significant milestones, such as understanding the variety and utility of various search tools; learning the importance of reference management; discovering how technology can both assist and frustrate research; and incorporating research successfully into the writing process. Using a hands-on approach and a research project from another course as the lens for each student, the course teaches students to make research an integral part of the learning process rather than a quick and dirty attempt to meet minimum requirements for assignments.

No prerequisites.

Digital Storytelling

Learning Resources 107m | McGuire | 1 credits p/f

The contemporary information landscape is heavily populated by digital stories. In this course, students will tell a story using digital media as their medium. Questions to be raised include: how is technology influencing the ways in which stories are created and shared? How do we define a digital story? How are digital stories used effectively on the personal, local, and global level? What elements make a digital story successful? How does digital storytelling fit into the larger, international history of storytelling? In addition to an exploration of these questions, students will learn to effectively communicate through multimedia modalities.

No prerequisites.

Beyond Google: The Power of Information & Technology

Learning Resources 110m | Mikesell | 1 credit p/f

In this course, we will consider the intersection of information and technology, a space where so much of our time is spent in pursuit of academic and personal interests. The course will address such questions as: How do we break down the undifferentiated mass of ?information? that confronts each of us every time we open a browser? Do we understand the implications of technologies that use information gathered about us and our activities? How can we become information creators and not just consumers? What are our rights and responsibilities as citizens not just of a nation, but of virtual space as well? As part of the investigation of these and other questions, students will use digital tools to collect, curate, critique, and construct multimedia, information-based units that can be integrated into their academic work more broadly.

No prerequisites.

Reading Images: Visual Literacy in Academia and Beyond

Learning Resources 112m | McGuire | 1 credit p/f

We are inundated with images every day: from photographs to film stills, advertisements, memes, political cartoons, and so much more. We also create our own images, adding to the proliferation of visual media. We see them all, but how much attention do we give to what they are really telling us? Visual literacy involves "reading" an image, interpreting and deriving meaning from it, as well as using it for communication. This course will hone students' visual literacy skills through the close reading of images, sourcing and using them ethically, and repurposing them within different contexts. Relevant copyright issues will be explored. We will also examine how the proliferation of images in our media-saturated culture is affecting our relationship with information creation and consumption.

No prerequisites.

Beyond Google: The Power of Information and Technology

Learning Resources 110m | Mikesell | 2 credits

In this course, we will consider the intersection of information and technology, a space where so much of our time is spent in pursuit of academic and personal interests. The course will address such questions as: How do we break down the undifferentiated mass of information that confronts each of us every time we open a browser? Do we understand the implications of technologies that use information gathered about us and our activities? How can we become information creators and not just consumers? What are our rights and responsibilities as citizens not just of a nation, but of virtual space as well? As part of the investigation of these and other questions, students will use digital tools to collect, curate, critique, and construct multimedia, information-based units that can be integrated into their academic work more broadly. 

No prerequisites.

Information Design: When a Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Learning Resources 115m | Mikesell | 2 credits

This course focuses on the effective design of information for communication, covering print and electronic media, static and moving images, and the combination of numerical and textual data with images. In this course, students will address such questions as: What is the difference between vision and seeing? How does seeing translate into knowing and understanding? What strategies can we use to design information to improve communication? What are the fallacies that are perpetrated through information design, whether intentional or not? How is the visual environment affecting us without our conscious knowledge? As part of the investigation of these and other questions, students will use digital tools to collect, curate, critique, and construct multimedia, information-based units that can be integrated into their academic work more broadly.

No prerequisites. This course is generally offered once every year.

Synthesizing Research: The Literature Review

Learning Resources 117m | Mikesell | 1 credit p/f

A literature review is an extensive summary and synthesis of the published literature in a given subject or topic area. It is a crucial part of any significant research project, because comprehensive knowledge of current and historical questions, arguments, and conclusions is the foundation a researcher needs. In this course, students focus on bibliographic research in an academic area in which they plan to conduct future study. The research and writing in this course may serve as a foundation and preparation for further inquiry to be undertaken in the senior thesis process.

No prerequisites.

Critical Issues in Digital Privacy

Learning Resources 120m | McGuire | 1 credit p/f

Is privacy dead? If so, how does this affect you, a citizen of the 21st Century? This course presents an overview of how we make sense of privacy in the digital era. We examine digital privacy scenarios in a range of settings, both online in arenas such as social media and surveillance, and in real life with examples such as location data, the Internet of Things, and radio-frequency identification (RFID). We pay particular attention to how historical and philosophical ideas about privacy inform our understanding of digital privacy today. This course encourages students to think critically about the role of privacy in their own digital lives by providing skills and tools to become informed users of technology.

No prerequisites.

Information Privilege

Learning Resources 122m | Mikesell | 1 credit p/f

Access to information is vital to participation in work, society, and civil life. The instantaneity and burgeoning growth of the internet may be leading to a false perception of democratization and equality of access which permits information privilege to be largely ignored. This course examines a range of factors that can limit information access—from a baseline of internet availability to geography, economics, education, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and more.

 

The Information Studies are part of the Learning Resources curriculum.