Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) will offer a new course in Spring 2011 entitled “Star Trek and the Information Age.” The class, taught by Assistant Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo, will examine episodes of the Star Trek television show and select Star Trek movies to explore challenging issues of the Information Age.

“Although the Star Trek version of the future is often described as hopeful about human progress, the franchise portrays a universe still struggling to address many of the challenges we face while living in our own Information Age,” Rotolo said. “This course will examine those issues by using the episodes and films of Star Trek as a launching point for discussion and analysis of some of today’s most pressing questions.”

Some of the issues raised by the Star Trek series and films—which will encompass episodes from Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager—include information security, privacy, access to and ownership of information, the digital divide, social technologies, mobile devices, ubiquitous computing and networks, remote warfare, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

In addition to discussions, the students will also blog about their experience and post additional reflection on a blog inspired by the Borg hive mind, called The Collective. For the final assignment, students will be asked to imagine Starfleet-esque systems using contemporary technology to better understand today’s information systems and to identify the areas needing further research and development before our own universe mirrors that of Star Fleet’s.

The class, IST 300, will be offered to all Syracuse University undergraduates 2 to 3p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays next semester.