Contact Information

  • Title: History of the Digital Age (HST250-001)
  • Course Meetings: 318 Berkey Hall, Monday, Wednesday, Friday (1:50-2:40pm)
  • Course Credit: 3
  • Instructor: Sharon Leon
  • Office: 342 Old Hort
  • Office Hours: Mondays, 12:00 to 1:00pm; Wednesdays, 3:00 to 4:00pm
  • Email: leonshar@msu.edu

Please use your MSU email for all communications about this course. Review your communications for clarity. I will do my best to respond to your inquiries within 36 hours.

Instructional Objectives

By the conclusion of this course, you will

  • have learned the historical foundations of modern computing technology;
  • have an understanding the technological and functional underpinnings of computers and computer systems;
  • have grappled with the ways that race, gendered, and class differences have shaped technological change and usage;
  • have engaged with the social dimensions of computing and computing technology, information technology, and communication technology;
  • and, have gained an appreciation of the historical roots of contemporary issues and controversies surrounding computing technology, information technology, and communication technology.

Coursework and Assignments

Required Books: There is only one required text to be purchased, borrowed, or rented for this course.

  • Ceruzzi, Paul E., Computing: a Concise History. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

All other course materials will be linked from the Schedule. Many of them will be freely available on the web, but a number of them are articles and chapters of e-books, available through the library’s website.

Accommodations: I am happy to make accommodations for individuals who have documented disabilities through the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.

Academic Honesty and Integrity: I expect all individuals to perform in accordance with the University’s policies regarding academic honesty. Students are expected to complete their own work, independently. Unauthorized collaboration will be treated as a violation of the guidelines for academic integrity.

Citation Practices: All written assignments must fully document references to ideas that are not your own. This holds both for direct quotations, and also paraphrasing. Citations should be complete and consistent, using the Chicago Manual of Style format.

Late work: I will not accept late work. Assignments are due by midnight of their due date. At that point, the quiz or submission folder will no longer be available through D2L. Make-up exams will only be offered in extraordinary circumstances.

Classroom Conduct

Discussion: MSU welcomes a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints, and intellectual approaches because they enrich the conversation, even as they challenge us to think differently and grow. However, we believe that expressions and actions that demean individuals or groups compromise the environment for intellectual growth and undermine the social fabric on which the community is based. As such, we will strive to create an open and welcoming classroom environment. I expect our discussions to be respectful and the focus on the learning materials at hand. I will not tolerate any personal invective or ad hominem attacks.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend class. More than three absences will impact the participation grade. If you anticipate needing to be absent from class, please contact me prior to that absence so that we can make arrangments for your successful completion of the work.

Relationship Violence and Sexual misconduct: As an employee of MSU, I am a required reporter of any disclosure of relationship violence and/ or sexual misconduct. Please know that I take this duty seriously.


Success in this course is determined by a combination of class participation, written work, quizzes, and major examinations, all based on the assigned reading and viewing materials, and class lecture and discussion. As a result, it is imperative that students attend class prepared to engage and discuss the material for the week.

Points will be distributed as follows:

  • Participation (10 points)
  • Five Quizzes (3 points each: 15 points)
  • Four Reading Reflections of 300-500 words (5 points each: 20 points)
  • Mid-term (25 points)
  • Final (30 points)

Final grades will be awarded according to the MSU numeric scale:

  • 4.0: 100-92
  • 3.5: 91-86
  • 3.0: 85-80
  • 2.5: 79-74
  • 2.0: 73-68
  • 1.5: 67-62
  • 1.0: 61-56
  • 0.0: 55-0