Beyond IQ

Special Topics: Current Issues

Register for Special Topics: Current Issues here! 

Register for parts 1, 2, 3, or the entire class!

Return to the list of classes for Spring 2020.

Sabrina Weiss
5-10 students
Suggested Age Ranges: 10+
Meets: Thursdays, 12pm, for 12 weeks, starting January 30

Students may register for individual parts or the entire class.

Course Description

These mini-courses offer a quick overview of three current topics connected to science, technology, and values that are relevant to us today. 

Part 1:  Should Cars Drive Themselves? - Starts January 30

Should we give control of our cars to computers?  What are the pros and cons of this?

With the status quo showing that humans are bad at driving cars because we easily get distracted and don’t make rational judgements under pressure, are we fooling ourselves into thinking that humans are safer than we actually are? 

This course will be a short, intensive exploration of self-driving cars and the issues surrounding them today.  We will practice critical thinking, question framing, and analysis based on research. Students will be expected to do independent research to prepare for class discussions.   


“All Hail the Driverless Car!” - IQ2 US Debate


Introduction to topic

Watch and discuss “All Hail the Driverless Car!” (2 weeks)

Background research: status quo driving statistics

Background research: history of self-driving cars and algorithms

Analysis and Discussion: putting these together

Part 2: Who Killed the Climate?: Investigation and Inquiry - Starts February 27

This topic-specific course will do a deep dive on the topic of climate change.  We will frame this like a murder mystery “whodunnit”: starting with current projections about climate change and the disasters that we see, we will work backwards using living history methods to reconstruct the series of events and decisions that led us to where we are now. This will be an immersive and engaging method for learning the history and politics of climate science, climate policy, and environmental regulations. 

Students will be expected to prepare for each class meeting by independently investigating a focus question using resources freely available, like internet archives and searches, as well as library resources.  This will be a discussion heavy course, and students will be expected to contribute through voice or text communications during class in an interactive way with the instructor and classmates.  

Students will choose a subtopic related to the course topic to focus on to prepare a 3 minute briefing for the final class meeting. 

Part 3: We are All Digital Citizens - Starts March 26

This course is an introduction to the concept of digital citizenship, an awareness that when we interact with people in online and other digital spaces our conduct matters. While there are risks that we should be aware of, there are choices we can make to be safer and to make a positive climate for everyone. We will look at different types of digital spaces like games, social media, and discussion forums and will discuss risks and responsibilities for each. 


What is Digital Citizenship, and how are we all citizens of the online space? 

Citizenship in games: playing well with others

Conflict in Social Media: how to discuss issues respectfully

Managing privacy

Register for Special Topics: Current Issues

Register for parts 1, 2, 3, or the entire class!

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