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Seminar: Open Technology for an Open Society


InstructorClaudia Müller-Birn
Number of Places20
Registration Mode

Preliminary meeting: Wednesday, 11.10.2017, 14-16.

RoomArnimallee 14 1.4.31 Room E3
StartOct 19, 2017
endFeb 15, 2018

Thursday 12-14

You can find this seminar on KVV here. We use a Wiki during the seminar. Please use your Zedat-Account.


Technology has come to play a vital role in today's world. Can you imagine a day without checking your emails, making phone calls or sending text messages—a day without receiving any piece of information? Every day, we feel the attraction and importance of being/staying connected: connected to other people, or connected to information.

Technologies such as the Internet, the World Wide Web but also mobile phones are the foundation for this change. However, the way people can make use of and interact with existing information is regularly threatened. For example, governments and companies may interfere with our privacy, our access to information and our freedoms by using our personal data without prior consent.

In this seminar, we would like to discuss the importance of open technology that is, as a working hypothesis, crucial for creativity, invention, and human progress. Examples are projects such as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the Linux kernel, or the MakerBot; but also initiatives such as in the area of Open Educational Resources—to mention only a few out of thousands.

In this seminar we approach the importance of Open Technology for our society based on the following questions:

  • How are these trends reflected in our society?
  • To what extent do open technologies have an impact on law or regulations?
  • What are examples of using open technologies for a stronger civic engagement?
  • Can open technology be used to bridge the gap between the multiple gender, race and class identities?

This seminar accompanies the lecture series (Ringvorlesung) "Open Technology for an Open Society":


We invite you to learn more about existing projects in this field and also discuss different perspectives on this topic.

Course Prerequisites

Undergraduate/graduate student status of Computer Science and related areas


The course aims to provide an overview, reflection, and understanding of developments in open technologies and existing implication for the society and future development and usage. At the end, the students should understanding the "flavours" of open technologies and its applications. They can critically reflect on their  


  • Students should prepare by reading assigned papers, background information on the speakers, and prepare a concept paper before your leading seminar day, where they will be discussed. 
  • Students will be assigned to present their alternative view (e.g. open vs. closed) of each paper.
  • Assigned readings will as far as possible be made available as links below.


For passing the course a student must get a pass in each of the following:

  • Actively attend (n-1) seminars and lecture series (we are using attendance lists)
  • Lead discussion for at least 2 seminars
  • Writing 2 scientific blog post for two talks of the lecture series that reflects on the given topic (length 1400-1500 words) 
  • (For business informatics students: a 10-page final report that summarises one topic of one a talk in depth based on the provided literature)