2013 Syllabus


Examines the use of computer applications to consume, manage, analyze, and disseminate public information, improve worker productivity and achieve agency mission. Attention is given to improving students’ technical acumen and to examining important public/nonprofit sector IT issues.GRADING
Writing and In Class Projects: 44%

Writing (4 posts, each worth 4 points)
You are required to write four 200 word (or more) posts on topics related to a nonprofit or government related technology issue.
Your writing must be posted to the class’ Google+ Community by the end of the class period on January 30, February 20, April 3, and April 17. You will have time in class to work on your post, but I strongly encourage you to begin work on the post in advance.
For a post to be counted you must:
– Publish the post and share with the class’ Google+ Community by the end of the class. Late posts WILL NOT COUNT.
– Check your work. Posts with significant spelling or word usage errors will not be counted.
– Fact check your work. I expect your posts to be factually accurate.
– Link to and cite your sources. I expect you to link to source material on which you comment. Quoted material does NOT count toward your 200 original words.
– Write about a topic related to technology in the social or government sector. Writing about just technology won’t count. Writing about a nonprofit or government issue that doesn’t relate to technology also won’t count.
In Class Projects (7 projects, each worth 4 points)
There will be 7 individual lab projects to be started and completed in class. Project details will be explained in class.
The projects will include: sharing your tech setup, effective search techniques, comparing tech specifications, documenting Facebook security settings, creating a Storify, mapping a data set, and creating a resource list.
If you are unable to attend class on a day we’re doing an in-class lab, you will need to write a 200 word post instead of doing the lab. The post needs to be shared with the class Google+ Community before the end of the scheduled class that you will miss.
Individual Project: Technology Instruction and Presentation: 20%

Explain a technology and the problem that the technology solves. You may choose your topic, but it must be clearly related to nonprofit and government technology issues.The project consists of three parts:1. Presentation descriptions. Due January 30. (5%)
Provide TWO descriptions of your presentation:
– A 100-word description (be sure to include your name and topic title)
– A 140-character (or less) description, suitable for Twitter
2. TWENTY slides (no more, no less) created using Slides in Google Docs. This include one title slide identifying the presentation topic and author. Due February 20. (5%)
Material must be shared to the class Google+ Community by 6 pm the end of class on February 20. NOTE: You must cite sources on slides and provide links to resources.3. In class presentation of the slides. Due date assigned by instructor; ranges from March 20 – April 17. (10%)
Slides must be “published” and set to auto-advance every 15 seconds during the presentation. This means the presentation time will be 5 minutes.The format is essentially a variant of the Pecha Kucha style of presentation, where 20 slides are presented, each being shown for 20 seconds. The intent is to provide an informative, visually engaging, fast-paced and focused overview of a single topic. The presentations shared online by the University of Minnesota’s Office of Information Technology (more can be found in the University’s iTunes U pages) are very close to what I’m looking for from you.Team Project: 20%

Video of an interview of people working with a nonprofit or public agency about their use of technology.Email me the NAME and CONTACT INFORMATION for the subject of your team’s video interview no later than the end of class on February 13. Video interview must be posted by March 27.
Working with your team, you are to select and interview a professional employed by a nonprofit or public agency about their use of technology. This person may not be a classmate.Record and edit the interview using any video tools you wish. Post the video to the class Google+ Community.The final video must share their answers to the following questions. I encourage you to seek responses to other questions, of course, but these are absolutely required. Note: you don’t have to ask the question exactly as phrased; you just need to make sure these questions are clearly answered in the interview:
– What is your name?
– What organization are you affiliated with?
– What fundamental issue is your organization trying to address?
– What is the most interesting thing you’re using technology to accomplish?
– In what way has technology changed how you work, since the start of your career?Grade will be based on:
– Audio and video recording: must be easily viewable with steady video, easy to listen to audio. Note that by quality I -don’t- mean a high definition image: I simply want a simple video recording with decent audio. (5%)
– Quality of interview. Was it clear that the interview(ers) had a clear understanding of their subject’s organization and role? Were questions beyond the required question asked? Did the questions show evidence of understanding and exploring the subject’s responses? (15%)For an example of the type of video interview I’m looking for, see Dave Weinberger’s interview of Anil Dash.Tests: 16%

— Mid-Term – 8%
— Final Exam – 8%

Exams will be comprehensive, drawing from assigned reading material and content presented in class (including any material covered by guest speakers).

Andy Wolber (phone/SMS: 313-595-2017; email: andy@wolberworks.com OR wolbera@gvsu.edu; Google+: Andy Wolber; Twitter @awolber)
Please let me know in advance if you can’t make it to class. If you would like to schedule time to meet to discuss your projects or the class, let me know. I’m in Grand Rapids most Wednesdays; we can also schedule a phone call or Google+ Hangout.
Class Schedule

January 9
Michael Wesch’s “The Machine is Us/ing Us
Video overview of the nonprofit sector: “Know your sector
In class projects:
– Introduce yourself
– Poll: Desktop or Laptop?
– Join the class Google+ Community (GVSU PA311)
– Share your tech setup
To read: John’s Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies: “The Nonprofit Technology Gap: Myth or Reality
January 16
Slides: Tech Essentials / Infrastructure (overview: SlideRocket, Google Doc sharing, Pinterest, Goo.gl, Advanced Search)
In class project: Shared notes; Searching for Answers
January 23
Detailed review: individual presentation project requirements; writing requirements
Prior in class project review: 1 Printer – Amanda H.; 2 Windows – Willie B.; Mac – Jessica M.; 3 Google Drive – Shelby C.; 4 Desktop – David D.; Laptop – Olivia H.
Lecture: Managing the Info Deluge: Personal Learning Network process (created using LucidChart.com)
In class project: Google Alert to email, Compare specifications spreadsheet
January 30
Lecture: Social Media (created using Storify.com)
In class project: Write 200+ word post
Due: Post individual presentation descriptions in a single post to the class Google+ Community (one 140-character length, one 100-words or less length).
February 6
Lecture: Presenting Information (created using Google Slides)
In class project: Post response to Google+ community: “How to” documentation
Email me (wolbera@gvsu.edu) the link to the EXTREMELY ROUGH INITIAL DRAFT of your Google Slides for your individual presentation.
February 13
Lecture: Website tools (created using WordPress.com)
Due: Share the name of your team interview subject –and the name of your team members — in response to my post on Google+. Email me contact details for your interview subject (name, email / phone / other contact info).
Optional in class session: review of individual project slides
February 20
Lecture: Cloud Computing (created using MindMeister.com); Working with Video tips (YouTube & WeVideo examples)
In class project: Write 200+ word post
Due: Share individual presentation slides with the class Google+ Community.
February 27
Mid-Term Exam
March 6 
No class / Spring break
March 13
Lecture: Smartphones & Mobile (created using Keynote on the iPhone & iPad)
To read: “Computing on the fly is replacing the need for desktop computers” by Bob Brewin at NextGov.com
To read: “The Mobile-Only Strategy Imperative” by Mitch Joel
In class project: Use Storify to tell a story with elements drawn from multiple social media and online sources.
March 20
Lecture: Choosing a Database (created using MindMeister.com)
Optional in class session: review of group interview video project
(Note: My slides for the GVSU Teaching & Learning with Technology Symposium are at wolber.me/iDEL2013.)
March 27
Lecture: Location & Mapping (created using Diigo.com)
In class project: Map a data set using mapalist.combatchgeo.com, or by creating a custom Google map. Data set must include at least five locations:
– A City Hall / Township Office
– Favorite Restaurant
– A Non-profit Organization
– 2 other public locations of your choice
Due: Share the group project video interview with the class Google+ Community.
April 3
Student individual project presentations (Bracey, Doerner, Henry, Kempf, Mohr, Schout, Stricker)
In class project: Write 200+ word post
April 10
Student individual project presentations (Ahmadi, Broxton, Creps, Hentsch, McCain, Quackenbush, Smith)
In class project: Create a bookmark list comprised of 10 important websites relevant to your major (Options: Delicious, Pinterest, Diigo, Evernote folder)
April 17
Student individual project presentations (Bridgeforth, Dornoff, Engler, Kilgore, McKinley, Singleton, Zobel)
In class project: Write 200+ word post
April 24
Final exam
Instructor Evaluation
The evaluation feedback I received from the students is below.  I’m working to address a few things in next year’s iteration of the course:
– Clarifying grading as a cumulative point system; hopefully that will reduce grading concerns.
– Redesigning the writing assignments to include specific feedback and editing cycles.
– Adding a session or two that use online web meeting tools.
– Revising the in-class projects a bit to require both more individual and group work.