Computer Science 80J Technology Targeted at Social Issues
The last day to make posts and have it count towards your participation grade is this Friday, 6/8, by 11:59pm.
The due date for final project revisions has been moved from 5/30 to Sunday night, 6/3.
As discussed through email, 5/30's class is optional, while 6/1's class is mandatory.
Keep in mind that teams are only allowed to give a maximum of 4 positive feedback points for their own project.
Quiz #7 is available on WebCT and due Friday, 5/25, at 6pm. Check the email for more details.
Quiz #6 is available on WebCT and due Friday, 5/18, at 10pm. Check the email for more details.
Friday's class (5/18) will be held in E2-180.
As mentioned through email, class is canceled on Wednesday, 5/9.
A 'How to' page on creating your project workspace has been posted here.
David's office hours are canceled today.
As mentioned in the class email, the make up quiz for 4/18 is posted on WebCT and due Wednesday at 11:55 pm. A copy of the email sent is posted here.
Office hours for Jonathan and David are now posted; James' office hours have been changed from MWF to WF. Also, reading assignments have been changed for 4/18. If you haven't been receiving class emails, please email the course staff to be subscribed to the list.

How to change your display name on the forum: add something to the "about me" section in your profile for the changes to go through. Otherwise, you'll receive an error!
Engineering is a great way to address social issues. This class will feature case studies and guest speakers on technologies people are already developing. The primary coursework will be a quarter long team project proposal where you propose something people should be doing. The best team project will get at least $5,000 to spend the summer pursuing it further.
Course Information
Instructor: James Davis
Office: E2 363
Office Hours: WF 3:30-4:30 pm
Course TAs: Jonathan Finger, David Olsen, Krystle de Mesa, Emily Lovell, and Sheena Marquez
Jonathan's Office Hours: Tues 12-1 (or by appointment), BE 314
David's Office Hours: Thur 4-5, E2 393
Email the course staff at:
(The course staff email includes the TAs in addition to the instructor, so you are likely to get a faster answer).

Class Location: J Baskin Engr 152
Class Time: MWF 2-3:10 pm
Class Forum:
For help on how to sign up/make discussions on the forum, click here.
Class Workspace (contains team project directory):
For help on how to create your team project workspace, click here.
Schedule (will be updated over the course of the quarter)


4/4 Wed
4/6 Fri

4/9 Mon

4/11 Wed

4/13 Fri

4/16 Mon

4/18 Wed

4/20 Fri
4/23 Mon

4/25 Wed

4/27 Fri

4/30 Mon

5/2 Wed

5/4 Fri

5/7 Mon

5/9 Wed

5/11 Fri
5/14 Mon

5/16 Wed

5/18 Fri

5/21 Mon

5/23 Wed

5/25 Fri

5/28 Mon
5/30 Wed
6/1 Mon
6/4 Mon

6/6 Wed

6/8 Fri

6/12 Tue 4-7pm


Welcome - What is this class about?
What are people doing with technology?

Ali Shakouri, Professor of Electrical Engineering, UCSC.
Guest Speaker on Renewable Energies, Society, and Environment.
What are important problems in the world?

Roberto Manduchi, Prof. of Comp. Engineering, UCSC.
Guest Speaker on Assistive Technology For The Visually Impaired.
Discuss projects and what is expected; start forming teams.
IT as a tech. tool, BOP as an economic tool.

Student speakers about their experiences.
Micro-credit Discussion

Elevator Pitch Day
(teams present 2 min. version of proposal)
In class video of Hans Rosling from GapMinder.
In class demo of how to make project workspace.
Adam Thompson, Associate Director, GIIP.
Guest Speaker on GIIP and their projects.
Code 2.0 Discussion

Free Speech Discussion

No Class; Instructor out of town

No Class; Instructor out of town
Rural Electrification Discussion

Jim Fruchterman, CEO Benetech.
Winner 2006 MacArthur Fellowship

No Class; Memorial Day

Team project presentations
(teams that are not presenting do not need to attend)
Team project presentations
(teams that are not presenting do not need to attend)
Team project presentations
(teams that are not presenting do not need to attend)
Top 5-10 team project presentations
(all teams required to attend)


  1. Read Rischard, High Noon, Ch. 11-14 (pg. 65-150).
  2. State what social issue(s) are important to you in the forum and why.
  1. Read/Watch
    ITC e-Choupal (pg. 319-357) [pdf] [ video]
    Voxiva (pg. 361-379) [pdf] [video]
  2. Watch videos.
  3. Post teams with 3 possible project plans
  1. Read Yunus, Banker to the Poor, Ch. 3, 4, 5, 13 (pgs. 31-85, 233-245).

  1. Read Lessig, Code 2.0, Chap 1 "Code is Law"
  2. Read Lessig, Code 2.0, Chap 2 "Four Puzzles from Cyberspace"
  3. Read Lessig, Code 2.0, Chap 3 "Is-Ism"
  4. Read Lessig, Code 2.0, Chap 7 "What Things Regulate"
  5. Post comments on your classmate's project ideas based on the elevator pitch given in class.
  1. Read Lessig, Code 2.0, Chap 12 "Free Speech"
  2. Make a visualization.
  3. Make forum post concerning 5/4 discussion.

  1. Read Bornstein, How to Change the World, Chap 3 "Rural Electrification" (and post to discussion).
  1. Comments on other team projects due (first pass).
  2. Read Bornstein, How to Change the World, Chap 7 "10-9-8 Childline" (and post to discussion).
***Friday's class will be held in E2-180.***

  1. Read Bornstein, How to Change the World, Chap 2,6,10,18 "Ashoka and Social Entrepreneuers" (and post to discussion).
  1. Comments on other team projects due (second pass).

There are several books to buy, from which we’ll read several chapters each. In addition there will be supplemental readings posted on the class website.
Lawrence Lessig's Code: Version 2.0 is also available at this website:
  • Participation – 40%
  • Project – 40%
  • 8% Initial proposal/team formation (when you proposed three ideas for approval)
  • 8% first draft of your proposal
  • 8% second draft of your proposal
  • 8% final draft of your proposal
  • 8% project presentation
  • Quizzes – 20%
Participation counts for 40% of your overall grade in the class:
  • 10% of that comes from your participation in class discussion(s)
  • 10% of that is based on the percentage of forum threads (assigned) that you posted to at least once For example, if there were 10 assignments for the quarter, and you posted to 8 of them, you would earn a B for this.
  • 20% of that comes from your average number of posts per week to the forum
Final posts/week grade will be calculated based on nine weeks.
Example: if by the quarter's end, you have posted 90 times, 90/9 = 10 posts per week on average.
Grading criteria here is:
  • A: 7.5+ posts per week on average
  • B: 5-7.4 posts per week on average
  • C: 2.5-4.9 posts per week on average
You will form teams to complete a quarter long project – creating a plan for a new social enterprise. You’ll create a draft idea, the class will give you feedback, you’ll revise your plan, you’ll get feedback again, and so on. By the end of the class you will have constructed a proposal which outlines your plan, what social good it will do in the world, how its going to make money to support itself, and how it makes use of technology. An ideal project plan would be one you could hand to a foundation or venture capitalist, and they would want to talk about funding you.
Your project will not require actually implementing your technological solutions nor actually applying for funding.
Teams will present their final projects to a team of external judges drawn from foundations, venture capitalists, and practitioners. The very best project plan will be funded at least $5,000 to spend the summer developing the idea further.

Lance Linares is the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. In 2006, the Foundation distributed a record $4.3 million in grants to nonprofits. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a BA in Aesthetic Studies in 1974.
Haney Armstrong is Community Manager at, increasing the impact of the community by improving its functionality and supporting its members. Prior to joining Omidyar Network, Haney was community manager for Linden Lab's Second Life, the 3-D, online virtual world built and owned by its residents.
Niny Khor is a doctoral student in Economics at Stanford University. She will be a post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford Center for International Development starting Fall 2007.
There will be one quiz per week based on the assigned readings for that week. Basically I want you to do the readings. The only way I’ve found to make sure that readings don’t get pushed out by the requirements of other classes is to quiz on them. If you are keeping up with the reading, you should be all set.
Possible topics to be discussed:
  • Rural information – e.g. Networked computers in rural India that allow farmers to obtain knowledge of fair grain prices.
  • Insuring privacy – e.g. Encryption software, network anonymizers
  • Homeland security – e.g. Network snoopers, metal detectors, face recognition
  • Allowing innovation – e.g. Design of network protocols to ensure novel applications can be deployed
  • Content freedom – e.g. peer-to-peer file sharing
  • Rights management – e.g. encryption, DRM software
  • Remote job creation – e.g. eBay, video conferencing, micro-commerce
  • Activism – e.g. flash crowds and mobile devices
  • Water – e.g. desalinization, wells, purification
  • Shelter – e.g. concrete canvas rapid deploy buildings
  • Energy – e.g. sustainable sources, solar, wind, etc.
  • Education – e.g. distance learning for delivery to unserved populations
  • Waste disposal – e.g. recycling garbage to energy
  • Medical & pharmaceutical – e.g drug development and drug copycats
page last updated: June 5, 2007.