The Secret Life of Information

Today’s world functions as an information economy. This seminar will focus on different aspects of that system and how it affects each of us, even when we do not realize it. The course will consist of three parts. In “The Birth of Information,” students will discuss where consumers get the information that surrounds us 24 hours a day and how that has changed. Students will review and compare traditional newspapers and broadcast media, alternative media, the Web and social media platforms. The second part, “The Information Life Cycle, “will focus on how information is used once it is acquired, as well as exactly who owns information. Students will discuss how to assess information to determine whether it is reliable, and we will look at how information overload can affect everyday decision-making. The third section of the course is “Where Information Goes to Die (Or Does It?).”  In this section of the course we will research and discuss what happens to information once it is no longer “new” or “current.” What information should be preserved for future generations and how? How long does personal information about us moulder away in government files – at the IRS or other agencies? Themes present in all three sections of the course include privacy, information literacy, and intellectual freedom.