Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking: the ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning.

Fundamentals of Technology

This course explored the fundamentals of technology through the historical lens of the rise of computing and the Internet. Topics included information theory, human computer interface, recording and input technologies, computer security, and the World Wide Web. The Internet has been one of the most rapid bases for transformation in technological history, and we appear to be only in the first stages of observing and understanding these shifts.

The final project was a group research initiative exploring the history, design, and use of a particular technology. Research findings were collected and mediated through a variety of communication technologies (formal reports, blogs and twitter feeds, an oral and visual presentation, and video).

Professors David Ribes and Wayne Osborn

The final class project for Fundamentals of Technology was an ambitious multi-media research group project—focusing on a particular technology and related social issue. Ms. Ferguson’s group chose the contemporary debate surrounding the potential conflict between the GPS spectrum and LightSquared plans’ to offer broadband connectivity on an adjacent spectrum. This is both a highly complex technical issue, and a charged regulatory and policy debate. The project demanded that technical and policy elements be addressed in poster, video, presentation and paper based media. Conveying the complexity of the technology and social issue across these media forms is no easy task, but the group, and Ms.Ferguson in particular, achieved the task admirably. The final products were cogent, engaging and comprehensive. Furthermore—and speaking to her skills working with others—reports from within the group noted that Ms. Ferguson was an excellent collaborator. – David Ribes, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University

Final Project: Global Positioning Systems

The research presented in this project clearly shows the influence that policy has on the development of technology, particularly the civilian GPS industry. Whether that policy be concerned with federal spending, national security, or spectrum allocation- it has a tangible effect on the GPS market. The force shaping the current GPS market is the FCC’s push to open more spectrum for commercial use.

Regulatory reform is not keeping pace with technology and society is limited by decisions politicians made in the 1940s when the FCC was first established. If the FCC cannot resolve spectrum disputes quickly and favorably for all parties involved, then industries with incumbent-spectrum rights will maintain strength and incumbency, and new entrants into the wireless spectrum market will not be able to secure the necessary funding to begin offering new spectrum-based services.

Future research should focus on various spectrum policies that would prove beneficial for both reliable incumbents and innovative start-ups. This future research should propose policy recommendations for the FCC to consider when reforming spectrum allocation policies. The FCC is charged with regulating the telecommunications industry for the purpose of promoting the public interest. Without the necessary policy reform, technology will stagnate and the economy will suffer, thus injuring the public interest; therefore, technology policy must reward innovation.

Final Project

Global Positioning System Blog

Back to Skills Page »