What is the goal of this course? What will I learn?
The goal of this online course is to introduce you the existence and the *real*nature and importance of some dangers and opportunities that arealready present in your life and deeply influence it, simply because you live in a world in which digital technologies are already ubiquitous, whether you like it or not. To know more about this, please browse the 2007 edition of the Family Guide to Digital Freedom. See also the question*“I could study this stuff myself for free”*to know why a course is better than studying by yourself.
Who should attend this course?
I believe that every citizen, starting from parents and teachers, would benefit from a clear understanding of the issues presented in this course.
What is the total duration of the course?
Three weeks. Each lesson lasts 3 days. We may run some optional Skype or chat meeting, but the bulk of the course is not in real time, so you can participate in whatever moment of the day it’s best for you (see also the question“How does the course work in practice?”).
What? You think you can cover topics like those in 3 days each?
No, because that is*not*the goal of the course at all. See the first question. The main problem with dealing with the dangers and opportunities mentioned in the program is not that people don’t know or don’t understand the solutions. The main problem is simply that many people do not see the actual problem, or think that they are stuff that should only concern some computer expert.
This is false: today, our rights and the overall quality of our life heavily depend on how software is used around us. Other courses are available for people who want to study each issue in detail. The purpose of this one is only to help as many people as possible to get started in the right way, that is to *see*some problems and give them the basic notions they need to find their own solutions.
Do you have full solutions for all the issues mentioned in the course?
I sure have my own answers and I explain in the course, but the point is not to convince everybody that my own answers are right. It is perfectly possible, if you participate, that you’ll disagree with me and/or other subscribers on some of my solutions: that’s perfectly OK. As I said, I think what’s really important that you see the problems and start acting as you think best.
What are the prerequisites to participate?
If you are reading this page, you already know and have all the skills and equipment it takes to participate. This is an introduction course about the real impact of computers on our lives, not a class for some engineering degree.
I could do all of this myself for free. What’s the point of a course like this?
Are you really, really sure that you could?
There are at least two very strong reasons why a course like this is much, much better than just trying by yourself to notice certain things or decode them alone. The first one is to save time. LOTS of time. Having an expert committed to show you the most relevant issues and the way they are related, and to answer as soon as possible any specific question that you may have about them is infinitely more efficient than hoping to casually bump into the same information online.
The other reason is focused, constructive interaction and exchange of experiences (see also next question) with other people who DO have the same goal as you, that is making sense of the digital world. Random, unmoderated online discussions, regardless of their format (from Facebook and Twitter to mailing lists and fora) can be immensely inefficient and frustrating.
How does the course work in practice?
The course is designed to be usable no matter how slow your Internet connection is and what browser you use, even on mobile devices. Each lesson starts with some short presentations and links to relevant online resources. There are a few multiple choice tests to verify which parts of the presentation were clear enough. The central and most important part of each lesson is the group discussion that I moderate, whose purpose is to exchange experiences on the lesson topic, understand whatever wasn’t clear and elaborate on each proposed solution.
Course sessions can start almost in every moment, as long as there are enough participants. I take care to not put too many people in each session, to guarantee that discussion isn’t too crowded and that I can personally give thorough answers to each participant. At the same time, in order to make discussions more stimulating and productive, I always try to mix people from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds. On request it is possible, however, to set up course sessions reserved for pre-existing groups (schools, NGOs, parents or teachers associations, Parishes…).
Is the course only available in English?
For the moment, yes. It may be possible, under certain conditions, to set up editions for Italian and Spanish speakers. In Italy it would surely be possible to organize in-person editions, or seminars with the same theme, with me or my partners. In other countries… let’s talk! For details, please email me.
How do I enroll?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Enrollment request for Digital Citizens Course”, specifying country of origin and preferred date for the course in the message body, to receive all the necessary details.
I have other questions not answered here!
Surely I forgot something important in the first version of this page. Please send any question or doubt you may have about this course by email at email@example.com. I will answer as soon as possible and add the answer here if it is one of general interest.