AT: What Should You Expect?

Advanced Topics is offered each spring semester. The first half of the course is focused on an area of law that is in active discussion in the law, business and technology spaces. We have, in past semesters, taken a deep dive into antitrust law, intellectual property and privacy and surveillance, among others. The second half of the course focuses on twelve cases decided by SCOTUS in the previous term. The subject matter of these cases examines arbitration, first amendment, discrimination, immigration, presidential Immunity, trademarks and voting rights, among others.

The subject matter of the course is interesting, challenging and very timely. We will cover some very interesting topics that are particularly important in the economy of the 21st century. We will use a variety of digital platforms to engage with each other and the course materials. The course deliverables have included case analyses, case simulations and robust discussions of the issues as they affect law, business and technology

I will actively engage you through the use of the Socratic Method, both in class and during our discussions outside class. You will have a better sense of my class sessions after you read my perspective on Teaching and Learning.

DT&L: Review This First

Stillman’s Mission

… is to enrich each student’s life through an ethics-centered education focusing on transforming concepts into business practice.

Welcome to Disruption, Technology & Law

Welcome to DT&L. This is the first part of our course syllabus. We will meet F2F weekly (MW, 3:30p – 4:45p). All of the materials required this semester are described here or linked from these pages. I will update the syllabus if I add something to the course or if something unexpected intervenes … like a hurricane, blizzard, or more quarantines. It is quite likely that I will update the syllabus, given the nature of the subject(s) we will engage. I have yet to offer this course and not adjust for some development involving our subject matter that demands attention. You are responsible for remaining current on the course deliverables and schedule by reviewing the entire syllabus regularly for updates. This course is an elective for students pursuing a Minor in Legal Studies and a certificate in Information Technology Management.

This course will help prepare you to introduce Gretzky’s perspective in your personal and professional life. It examines several of the many issues and challenges propelled by technology-driven and other disruptions. The established order in business, and society, more generally, faces unprecedented change. Since the legal and regulatory environment, broadly defined, is often among the most significant influencer of outcomes in this space, we will consider the implications of these disruptive technologies on the law as well. The pace and significance of the change we will examine raise profound questions of ethics that will be at the core of many of our discussions. In the spirit of disruption, in past semesters, we have taken a hybrid (or blended) approach to this learning environment that we will be creating, modifying, and consuming over the next several months.

This semester we will use several digital platforms to create our learning environment, so we will be disrupting what we expect will be a “normal” course experience. We will integrate digital tools and platforms into our work. We will work primarily on the digital platforms supporting the DT&L team, including Slack, Teams, or Zoom (for video meetings) and Blackboard (more here). I will use Bb for some shared functions, e.g., grade book, but our use of that platform will be fairly limited.

On this site, you should carefully review the entire syllabus, i.e., deliverables, schedule, calendar, and other materials. You will find answers to most of your questions when you check the rest of the information included on this site. If you have any questions after you’ve reviewed the area and this syllabus, you can DM me in Slack to contact me.

One last thought for now … the nature of this experience will, of necessity, require you to think differently about where you have been, where you are going, and how you experience learning. We must get our arms around the subject matter and develop strategies for dealing with an unprecedented era of remarkable and rapid change. We will create a significantly different, more collaborative environment that anticipates that we will actively engage in all of its opportunities.

What Should You Expect?

This course attempts to help you address the second part of Winston’s quote. The impact of the development and integration of digital tools is driving a level of change at every level of society, often unnoticeable unless you are aware enough to be paying attention. The combinatorial effect of the trends driven by this digital revolution is remarkable, overwhelming, and likely unstoppable. We will not try to “predict” the future here. We will learn to identify technologies and their facilitated trends to anticipate better and forecast future scenarios.

The challenge presented here is independent of your ability to memorize facts and regurgitate them in an exam or write a ten-page term paper, all assignments where you have already shown success. This course will push you out of whatever comfort zone(s) you have developed over time, immerse you in subject matter that will be largely unfamiliar, and challenge you to think differently about the future and your place in it.

We will cover an evolving subject matter using technology platforms that may (at least some of them) be unfamiliar. The course’s subject matter is enjoyable, stimulating, and timely. We will investigate several emerging and disruptive technologies and their legal and regulatory challenges. We will use various digital platforms to interact with each other and the course materials. I will actively engage you using the Socratic Method in class and during our discussions outside class. You will better understand my class sessions after you read my perspective on Teaching and Learning.

Before We Meet

We will meet for the first time on Monday, August 28th at 3:30p in JH141. We will meet F2F unless notified otherwise. Our course will require masks in class. Please be sure to bring a mask to every class meeting since we will be wearing masks during class. Before we meet, please visit Before We Begin to complete some housekeeping items, including introducing yourself to your classmates, agreeing to the learning contract, and finishing your Slack (not Teams) account creation.

You will be joining the DT&L Slack workspace. It includes all students and their work product who have completed DT&L since 2015. Take a look around after you join the workspace. Be sure to visit the #1-why-dtl channel and post your answers to the questions in the channel’s purpose statement at the top.

You can access Slack from any browser (mobile or desktop), but the browser version does not include all of the features of the desktop apps. Please download and install the Slack, Teams, and Zoom app clients to your Mac, PC, and mobile devices (iOS and Android versions are available) before we meet for our first class. You’ll need to keep your Slack access live on all your devices so we can fully integrate the platform into our learning environment.

Complete your Slack signup immediately since all of our course communication will be via Slack, and I will not use email for our course communication in the future.

Communications | Slack, Teams & Zoom

We will use Slack as our communications and collaboration platform, so Slack is the platform you should use when engaging with DT&L issues. We have used the DT&L Slack workspace since the initial launch of the course in the fall 2015 semester. You have access to all of the content created since 2015 by the more than 180 students who have completed the course since our initial launch. Your content creation may continue after you complete the course. You will notice that there is also a significant number of new posts attributed to DT&L alums throughout the year. I think it would be best if you poked around our Slack workspace. You will find materials related to all of the previous DT&L projects. They will give you background information that will interest you and help you when working on your DT&L project this semester.

We can meet during my office hours (see your Outlook Calendar for the office hours link). You can DM me in Slack to schedule a meeting if you are unavailable during my office hours.

You must also connect your Outlook, Teams, and Zoom accounts to our Slack workspace to integrate the three platforms. This integration will facilitate communication (Slack), scheduling (Outlook Calendar), office hours (Teams), and video meetings (Zoom). Visit the Apps folder in the sidebar in our Slack workspace, click on the Outlook Calendar, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams Calls apps, and complete the process to connect to and integrate with your accounts.

If you have completed the deliverables described above you found here then you are already part of our Slack workspace.

If you have questions, please post them in the appropriate channel in Slack. Someone on the team will point you to the answer.

Learning Objectives

The course will examine disruptive technologies and digital transformation’s commercial, legal, ethical, public policy implications cultural, and p. You will

  1. Explain the role of the futurist in forecasting the future while both recognizing and interpreting trends that will influence the future,
  2. learn how to use the processes of strategic forecasting to understand potential vs. anticipated futures,
  3. develop a vision of preferred futures that will provide an action framework intended to influence its achievement,
  4. Use scenario planning in both personal and professional situations to identify opportunities,
  5. distinguish disruptive innovation and digital transformation and investigate their implications and differences,
  6. Identify and evaluate the implications of future thinking on the legal and regulatory environment,
  7. evaluate the ramifications of disruptive innovation and digital transformation on the future of work.

Required Texts

Please purchase these books as soon as possible.
I decided to add them to the course after the ordering deadlines, so, unfortunately, you will not find them in the SHU bookstore. They are available from Amazon (click links) and will be delivered immediately if you choose the Kindle version or in two days for a print version if you have an Amazon Prime account. You can sign up here if you are interested in a Prime student membership.

Additional Materials

The subject matter of this course is regularly evolving. I will undoubtedly add materials as we progress through the semester. I will post links to those materials in advance of the course schedule. Please check the syllabus regularly for updates.

Technology

You are already familiar with my expectations about the use of technology in my courses. Participating in this course will require you to engage with several digital platforms. Our primary communication platforms will be Slack and perhaps others. You will prepare your writing assignments using digital platforms that will allow you to incorporate multimedia to enhance your text-based content. You will use resources as varied as a search engine (GoogleDuckDuckGo, or Bing), generative AI, and the resources available from our Walsh Library.

You are responsible for “figuring it out” regarding a project’s “how to” aspects. If you don’t know how to do something … use one of the search engines above to “figure it out!”

Many students have told me that “figuring it out” was an unexpected and beneficial experience and a critical learning outcome.

Remote Learning

In the event that circumstances (hurricane, COVID spike) demand it, we will be prepared to adapt and move to a remote, synchronous learning environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to move to a fundamentally different set of delivery modalities, e.g., HyFlex, hybrid, remote, synchronous, or not, or some combination of approaches to teaching and learning. We are increasingly working remotely in order to accomplish our work. That remote modality demands that we adjust our understanding of acceptable protocols for attendance and participation, whether a meeting or course attendance, engagement and participation.

While working together using a digital platform, e.g., Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc. it is important that you join the session with a live camera and muted mic. A live camera helps to create a sense of community and will help all of us to engage effectively during our discussions. If you only unmute your mic when speaking we can avoid feedback, unsolicited input from family, pets and others as well as any random noise. If you cannot be seen or heard by your classmates it will be difficult to actively engage in course meetings. That will have negative implications for your grade results. Please review the Protocols for Online Meetings and Classes for more information.

Course Policies

I want you to know that you are responsible for becoming familiar with my Course Policies, including in-class performance; attendance, preparation & participation; assignments; course communication; assessment,  use of generative AI, and plagiarism. Please review them carefully.

As in the law … ignorance (of the Course Policies) is not an excuse.

Contact Me

Professor John H. Shannon

  • Office: 651 Jubilee Hall
  • Communications: Slack DM (preferred)
  • Office Hours: Mon & Wed, 10a – 1130a (click here to join via Teams); also by appt, all office hours and other meetings will be held via Teams (see your Outlook Calendar for links to office hours) since it is impossible to observe social distancing rules in a small space

We can schedule an alternative meeting time if you are unavailable during my office hours. As you know, our course communications platform is Teams. Please DM me in Teams with some days/times when you are available, and we can schedule a video conference in Teams.

I can be reached via any number of platforms … Slack (preferred), email, voice, or video. As a general rule, I am available if I am online. You can DM me in Slack or post a question to the #1 Course Questions channel in our Slack workspace if you are already enrolled in one of my courses. I will try to reply to any communications as soon as possible but certainly no more than 24 hours after receipt. If you prefer a video conference (and who doesn’t?), please DM me with some convenient days/times, and we’ll set it up.

My office hours are subject to change every semester, so please check your course syllabus for my current office hours (see above). In the past, I have generally scheduled at least one hour a week using Teams video to accommodate those conflicting with my scheduled office hours. Since we are conducting all office hours and other meetings via Teams, and if you are unavailable to meet during my office hours, you can schedule an appointment for a video conference via Teams. I prefer video conferences because they give me more options when answering your questions.

That said, I carve out space for thoughtful consideration of life. The practical impact of that desire is to keep evenings and weekends clear for family, friends, and other forms of social interaction. If you are going to ping me late on a Friday, then I will get back to you on Monday unless it is an emergency … a REAL emergency.

When communicating with me, please include the following information: your name, the question or issue to be resolved, your course/section, and any other necessary information.

 

DT&L: Deliverables

You are responsible for completing the following deliverables this semester.

Engagement

Success in this course will require you to do more than appear in class twice weekly and answer an occasional question. All of my students will be prepared to actively participate in our in-class discussions since that is a crucial way to take as much away from the course as possible. Please review the Engagement Rubric in this site’s Engagement page of the Course Policies section. Remember, conversation “… is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people …” generally, “… written exchanges are usually not referred to as conversations.” The good news is that Slack will allow us to engage in synchronous or asynchronous written exchanges to stand in for synchronous discussions.

DT&L Reflection Journal

You will build a journal that reflects your creative process throughout the DT&L experience. You will create an Adobe Express web page and then share the page with me via Slack DM. Post update entries and republish the site throughout the semester. Journal entries should include thoughtfully incorporated multimedia content (text, images, audio, video) and the reflections described in your DT&L Reflection Journal.

Gretzky Portfolio

Complete this deliverable by developing your Gretzky Portfolio using Adobe Express and Adobe Portfolio and posting the link to the #323-gretzky channel in Slack.

Your Gretzky Portfolio will require you to think differently about the level of preparation you have developed during your college experience. In other words, how ready are you for your future? This is not an exercise about whether you have achieved the grade you anticipated or hoped for. It should reflect on how your personal and professional goals have been impacted by the choices you have made in the planning and execution of this Portfolio, both in what was achieved and how your work on your Gretzky Portfolio will influence your success.

When developing your Gretzky Portfolio, you will apply the FTI methodology (discussed throughout the course) and incorporate the FAIR Framework℠ and Range, adapted for personal use as necessary, as a guide. The goal is to understand better your readiness to be career competitive post-graduation. You will use the available Adobe Creative Cloud Suite apps to support your work. Primarily, you will use Adobe Express to develop the digital artifacts incorporated into your Gretzky Portfolio and Adobe Portfolio to build your Gretzky Portfolio progressively over the
semester.
Your Gretzky Portfolio will include the following sections: About Me (personal bio), Gretzky Evaluation (personal SWOT analysis); Forecasting Funnel; Time Cone; Scenarios; Sources of Macro Disruption; Fringe Sketch; CIPHER (Trends), Assumptions vs Knowledge (AvK), and Axes of Uncertainty. You will develop these sections as the semester progresses. The calendar and course schedule will guide due dates.
Development of your Gretzky Evaluation (personal SWOT analysis) that will help you evaluate your preparation and readiness as you begin this course. Your analysis should address, but not be limited to, these questions:
  • Why are you taking this course?
  • What do you expect to take away from this experience?
  • How would you describe your overall comfort level with the use of technology?
  • How would you describe your general awareness/understanding of digital innovation?
  • What specific steps/actions do you think are necessary for success in this course?
This effort is to help you think through not only the current state of your preparation and readiness but also the path/process that you choose to address the challenges and opportunities for growth and learning that this experience presents. Your readiness evaluation will set the stage for developing the other components of your Gretzky Portfolio. It also intends to define the framework you will utilize throughout your personal and professional life in undertaking challenging situations, issues, and other significant challenges. Remember that you are using a digital platform to complete this deliverable, so review my advice on writing on digital media.
The final section of your Gretzky Portfolio will assess your progress since your initial evaluation developed at the course launch. Please reflect on the substance of your Gretzky Portfolio work and describe how your pre-launch perspective, learning during the course, and the outcomes you described earlier have developed favorable or unfavorable results. Be sure to include your strategy for leveraging your personal and professional learnings. Your Gretzky Plan is the executive summary of an individual plan describing your approach to preparing for the future.

DT&L Portfolio

You will complete this deliverable by developing your DT&L Portfolio using Adobe Express, Adobe Portfolio, and your team channel in Slack.

Much of your work in this course will be as part of a small team. Your work on that team will focus on developing an analysis and forecast that examines the impact of disruptive events and technologies, and digital transformation from several perspectives, including, but not limited to, a particular industry, business model, and, more generally, the societal implications of the disruption. You will also consider the areas of law that are or might be, implicated as the disruption evolves. Of course, I expect you will address the ethical issues that arise due to the impact of disruption.

We will focus much of our work this semester on Artificial Intelligence. Our DT&L Projects will examine Bioengineering, Climate + Energy, Computing, Mobility, Robotics, & Drones, and Web3. Review the FTI 2023 Tech Trends Report for additional DT&L Portfolio ideas.

Each team will develop and report their project using Adobe Express to create the digital artifacts incorporated into your DT&L Portfolio. You will use Adobe Portfolio to build your DT&L Portfolio progressively over the semester. Each team must use its Slack channel for all brainstorming, communication, file sharing, etc., related to the DT&L Portfolio. Each team will be responsible for preparing and posting progress and content updates to their channel in Slack by the schedule. Slack will provide full transparency as the project development process progresses. In other words, everyone involved in the course with access to our Slack workspace will have the opportunity to review and comment on the progress of each team’s project.

You will join a team that will be responsible for the management of all aspects of the development of your DT&L Portfolio:
  1. Your DT&L Portfolio will feature a multimedia production documentary in which a storyteller (your team) combines photos, videos, and audio with interviews, narration, text, and graphics to deliver a message, invoke an emotional response, and suggest action. Your DT&L Portfolio will include the identification, description, and justification of signals (weak and/or strong) related to your project and each of the following foresight tools: Forecasting Funnel, Time Cone; Scenarios, Sources of Macro Disruption, Fringe Sketch; CIPHER (Trends), Assumptions vs. Knowledge (AvK), and Axes of Uncertainty. You will develop these sections as the semester progresses. The calendar and course schedule will guide due dates.
  2. Prepare and share your analysis using Adobe Express to develop project-specific artifacts and Adobe Portfolio to share your DT&L Portfolio. This allows your classmates to prepare for each in-class DT&L Project discussion fully.
  3. Moderation of the scheduled discussion of your project.

You will use your Slack project channel to collaborate with your team and memorialize your discussions and supporting materials, including, for example, web sources, documents, and multimedia content for each case. Be sure to carefully review the materials included in Writing on a Digital Platform and Writing and Research.

Your project will include, but not be limited to, the following sections:
Phase 1 | Preliminary Evaluation (post to Slack team channel)
  • Identify the stakeholders, industries, and markets that are in play in the area you will investigate and
  • Identify any domains adjacent to the technology that you anticipate examining and
  • in a maximum of 500 words
Phase 2 | Interim Report (post to Slack team channel)
  • Portfolio progress assessment submitted outlining the status of the progression of your work.
Phase 3 | Final DT&L Portfolio 
The DT&L Portfolio should incorporate, but not be limited to:
  • An introduction to the documentary describing the nature and scope of your project, including a description of the subject being evaluated, the developing trends related to that subject, the stakeholders, industries, and markets impacted, the opportunities for innovation that have, or might, arise and a timeline describing its evolution, and
  • A review of the significance of each of the foresight tools described above, i.e., Forecasting Funnel, Time Cone; Scenarios; Sources of Macro Disruption, Fringe Sketch; CIPHER (Trends), Assumptions vs. Knowledge (AvK), and Axes of Uncertainty, and
  • A conclusion that includes your strategy for leveraging your personal and professional learnings and discusses the significance of the same.
  • Source list that includes hyperlinks to all sources
Phase 4 | DT&L Portfolio Discussion
All teams will facilitate and participate in an integrated discussion of their DT&L Portfolios. Assessment will be based on the requirements described in Writing and Research and Writing on a Digital Platform. I will also evaluate your contributions to your team, level of engagement, the clarity of your writing, spelling and grammar, appearance and satisfaction of form requirements, articulation of all potential issues presented, and the quality and depth of analysis.

Grading

The following weights will be assigned to each component of your final grade:
  • Engagement & DT&L Reflection Journal (20%)
  • Gretzky Portfolio (20%)
    • Artifacts (10%)
  • DT&L Portfolio (50%)
    • P1 | Preliminary Evaluation (5%)
    • P2 | Interim Report (5%)
    • P3 | Final Portfolio (25%)
    • P4 | Project Discussion (15%)