Time to Read Those Terms of Service

ISYS6621 | MKTG6621
Master Services Agreement
Updated April 29, 2019

SCOPE

This agreement covers a standard academic semester at Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA) in which the student (“the user”) is enrolled in ISYS6621|MKTG6621 (“the class”) with Professor Gerald Kane (“the instructor”). Active tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Weekly class periods and discussions
  • Regular usage of WordPress and Twitter
  • One (1) presentation on the topic of the user’s choosing
  • Drawing conclusions and inferences from various academic papers, news articles, TED Talks, and guest speakers

CLASS SERVICES AND PARAMETERS

In its current form, the class, as led and facilitated by the instructor, will:

  • Mirror the Dynamism of the Content Area: As a pedagogical extension of the class’ technology-facing content, the class will forgo traditional assessments and rigid expectations. Like the technologies and companies covered by it, the class will embrace agility, flexibility, and creativity in its approach to learning and discussion.
  • Expose Users to Relevant Economic and Ethical Debates: The class will push users to contend with some of the defining questions of the current moment – who should own an individual’s data, and how should this data be used? What role should labor and welfare ethics play in a future that embraces an automated workforce? Does the onus of privacy, safety, and content curation fall on the user or on the services and companies of which the user is a customer?   
  • Grapple with Complex Processes and Systems: Users should mentally equip themselves to delve deeply into areas with which they may have little to no familiarity. The class will not shy away from critically important, but difficult, topics, like Blockchain technologies, persuasion architectures, or the legal theories under which social media currently falls.   

The class will not:

  • Vilify Technology or Social Media Companies: The class recognizes that simply placing blame on the Facebooks and YouTubes of the world fails to take into account the interlocking and entangled ecosystems in which these platforms exist. Users will be pushed to recognize that technologies and technology companies are as complex as the humans that built them, if not more so, and demand the same level of analytical gradation.
  • Encourage the User to Learn in Isolation: The class emphasizes technology’s ability to cross boundaries and break silos – in order for users to effectively integrate technology into their work and mindsets, they must be able to do the same. Users will experience an enhanced service outcome if they regularly engage with others across platforms and approach other users as quasi-instructors of their experiences and personal topics of interest.

Neither the class nor the instructor can be held liable for any user’s renewed Twitter addiction, newfound enjoyment of blogging, or healthy skepticism toward technology news at the end of the covered term.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE USER

By enrolling and participating in this class, the user agrees to do the following:

  • Acknowledge the Limitations of Popular Technology Discourse: Users shall not accept overly simplistic, reductionist, or stereotypical conclusions about the nature of technology, the role of technology in modern business, and the face of the modern technology user. Instead, users will evaluate claims through the lens of supplemental research, lived experience, and knowledge imparted by the instructor. It is expected that the user will continue to challenge assumptions about technology throughout their career and as digital technologies evolve in unforeseen ways. Examples of claims that should be questioned include: generational gulfs in the desire to adopt new technology, the perception of artificial intelligence and machine learning as inevitably superior or “magic,” and the stated time horizon for the implementation of virtually any new technological process, product, or system.    
  • Redefine His/Her Conception of a “Technology Company”: Users will expand their definition of the term “technology company” to integrate a more accurate understanding of technology’s ubiquity in industry. Users will draw on various case studies and examples presented in the class – Panera Bread, Wal-Mart, poultry suppliers for KFC and other fast food chains, and the small European country of Estonia, to name a few – to develop a nuanced mental framework for identifying the underlying technologies and, more importantly, technological ideals embedded in the companies with which they engage each day.
  • Embrace a Change Mindset: Over time, the user will grow more comfortable with the idea that technology and technological transformation are permanently incomplete. Rather than emphasize any particular category or class of B2B or B2C technology, the user will shift his or her focus to the catalyzing factors that energize and/or necessitate technological change and to the barriers that prevent rapid and/or unproblematic adoption. By the end of the term covered by this agreement, users will understand that only in hindsight can they, or truly anybody, comprehend the disruptive power of the technology emerging and existing in any given moment.

DATA POLICY

The instructor will collect qualitative data on users’ performance on a weekly basis. Quantitative data will be collected, compiled, and processed twice within the covered term [at the midpoint and end]. User-provided data and information, such as blog posts, blog comments, and Tweets, will be public and can be shared with other users/broader audiences by the user, the user’s peers, and/or the instructor. Users should be aware that any Tweet that includes the hashtags #IS6621 and #C may be displayed, discussed, and debated within the context of the class.

NOTES

The class will likely be one of the most enjoyable, most eye-opening, and most unorthodox educational experiences the user will have while attending Boston College – prepare accordingly.

5 comments

  1. cgriffith418 · ·

    Brilliant format, and some excellent points made about the class itself. I loved that you noted our use of Twitter and WordPress as a nod to the class’ content. I definitely think that working hands-on in some of the platforms we were discussing (especially Twitter) helped add fullness and experience to our perspectives, as well as put us in the mindsets of the companies and individuals we were analyzing. I also think it’s so important that you recognized this class’ expectation that we would redefine our conceptions of “technologies companies.” I’ve recently been spending a lot of time speaking with individuals in financial services organizations, and I can’t tell you how many of them have said some variation, “We’re really working on redefining ourselves to be a tech company, rather than a finance company.” Tech companies will continue to look more and more different as time goes on, and the line between tech companies and other companies will start to blur as everyone incorporates tech into critical parts of their business. I think this class has definitely helped prepare us to innovate wherever we find ourselves in the dirt with tech.

  2. licarima · ·

    Awesome format so creative and fitting for this course! There is so much more I did realize as an outcome to this class, one of the best things was that in today’s day in age everyone is a tech company at the core. When you stop and think about it makes sense but we proved it and saw it this semester. While it was like any other educational experience any of us had participated in, I think we can all agree it was well worth it. Reading through this was gradually reading through how my mind slowly changed throughout the semester, embracing each topic that came our way. If I had a master service agreement like this one before the start of this course I would most certainly sign with excitement.

  3. Just awesome!

  4. Olivia Crowley · ·

    I have never been more intrigued by a “master services agreement,” nor do I think I ever will be. My favorite section, under “class services and parameters,” is the one on what this course will NOT include. What I have appreciated most about ISYS6621 is definitely that we have been strictly encouraged not to learn in isolation. When you wrote, “The class emphasizes technology’s ability to cross boundaries and break silos – in order for users to effectively integrate technology into their work and mindsets, they must be able to do the same,” I truly realized how unique and invigorating this course has been.

    I also never thought a reflection post could be so interesting to read–so I commend you for that. Great way to sum up the semester!

  5. I don’t think that I’ve ever read a “Terms of Service” from start to finish before, I usually just click the little check box asking if I agree and go on my way. After today, I can now officially say that I have read one in it’s entirety and am very happy that I did. This was such a creative way to go about doing the final blog post and was so very fitting for the type of class that this has been. Going into this class, I expected it to be just like any other one that we’ve all taken (although more highly recommended than most), and it turned out to be the complete opposite. This class challenged us to find what was happening in the technology space on our own through our blog posts and tweets, giving us a space to learn from and a way to almost teach one another. Thank you for sharing this post with us and going about it in such a fun, engaging and different way.

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