This summer, I had the privilege of teaching “Race, Gender, and Technology” for the University of Illinois iSchool. The class was made up of mostly rising juniors and seniors majoring in information science.

The course has been taught many times before, by some of my library heroes, so the first struggle was to make a syllabus fit *me* and my teaching style. The second struggle was fitting everything into 8 weeks. The third struggle was a raging pandemic and civil unrest providing a really interesting backdrop for the class.

I am so incredibly proud of the work my students put in this summer. We tackled a lot of topics, each week I posited a question and we discussed potential answers. I asked them to reflect in a forum post on the course from the previous week and the readings. Their reflections were fantastic, and their final projects truly shone. Some interesting take-aways:

  • Our first class we covered relevant theories. It was *a lot* especially for the undergraduate level, but I was so impressed with how the students used the theories throughout the semester. I was especially impressed with how many students really resonated with “Feminist theories of technology” by Judy Wajcman.
  • These young people, for the most part, are far more savvy than I was at their age. They have mature conversations about difficult topics. They’re very aware of current events and willing to reflect on the role technology plays.
  • I was surprised by how many chose to write a final paper (they had the option to do just about anything). Some of the websites were incredibly impressive.

I really hope I get to teach this course again. I learned so much from them, and it was truly an honor to be their professor.

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Undergraduate Surprises

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