Computing Technology: History, Theory and Practice

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The subject forms the basis for understanding the practical and philosophical part of Digital Culture, and should be taken in the first semester of specialization. It complements Dikult103.

The subject is divided into three areas which shed light on technology development in different ways, but which equally belong closely together.

In the history section, students learn about the computer itself, what principle underlies the first machines, what historical, economic and social factors over the past 80 years have influenced its development from an industrially specialized machine to a portable common property.

In the theory section, we take a closer look at some philosophical questions about technology: Whether computer technology has changed the way we think and structure society, whether we can talk about a digital revolution, whether information is a signal or truth, how humans and machines sort information and link them together (information architecture), how hypertext shapes our understanding of society, what meanings there are around the availability of program code (open source), what one understands by artificial intelligence, and where it is used. The students will be introduced to prominent thinkers in Digital culture, both historical and contemporary.

The practical part reflects these historical and theoretical questions in several ways. The students get to work with a range of coding and prototyping technologies to gain insight into the structure and operation of computational practices.

The course builds on skills in academic writing and leads to both Dikult105 (here information architecture, XML, Javascript can be covered) and Dikult106 (here ethics and the social aspect can be covered).

Learning Outcomes


The candidate has knowledge...

  • about the computer's development
  • about social and cultural factors as a driving force in technology development
  • about key terms such as information, hypertext, ontology, taxonomy, artificial intelligence
  • about the history of technology criticism on the logical structure of algorithms


The candidate can...

  • identify the impact of technology on society and the individual's life
  • discuss the use and consequences of social media
  • analyze a normal language text and categorize the content so that it can be used by algorithms
  • identify the parts of a script and understand their purpose
  • write a small program piecewrite a smaller academic text about technology history or theory

General competence

The candidate can...

  • understand academic texts in Digital culture and put them in context with each other
  • use strategies for academic writing

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
The course is open to students at the bachelor programme in Digital Culture and exchange students. Other students at bachelor and master programmes at The Faculty of Humanities may apply to take the course if there is capacity (via email to Applicants that have attended as regular students, with preparations, will be eligible to participate in a random selection for available spots.
Teaching and learning methods

There are twenty weeks in a semester, where ten weeks usually have classes. A week with classes will usually contain two classes lasting two hours each. The class schedule will be available by the beginning of the semester.

It is important that the students attend the orientation meeting at the beginning of the semester before the teaching begins.

The students must be prepared for both the lectures and the exercises, as the lectures always include the students and there are always discussions around the lecture topic. Sometimes homework is given (solve a programming task, form an opinion about claims in a text, update the literature by comparing it with current events, etc.).

The work effort is standardized to 20 hours a week from the beginning of the semester until the exam, also in lecture-free weeks. These hours must be spent on lectures, laboratory exercises, seminars, reading specialist literature, homework, writing compulsory assignments and obtaining relevant material from the library and online (books, articles, videos).

It is expected that the time during teaching-free weeks is used for own reading and preparation for the exam.

The students can be invited to relevant guest lectures and events organized by Digital Culture.

If fewer than five students register for the course, the department can introduce reduced tuition, compare the department's guidelines for this on Mitt UiB. In this case, the students will receive information about this before the semester registration deadline of 1 February.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Attendance is mandatory in all class activities. Course participation is approved by the course coordinator. If absences exceed 25%, the student cannot take the exam.

In order to be eligible to take the exam, the student must submit five compulsory assignments throughout the semester, such as shorter written work, projects and short presentations. The assignments must follow academic standards for, among other things, argumentation and citation and must be submitted at set times. The tasks are assessed as either approved or not approved. The result will be ready well before the exam. With the result "not approved" the student is allowed one more attempt.

Forms of Assessment

The course is concluded with a seven-day take-home exam of around 4000 words which will cover the depth of the course's learning content. Several questions may be given from the various course sections. All sub-questions must be answered to get a grade. Only one grade is given for the exam.

The student can write in Norwegian or English.

Grading Scale
Grade scale A - F. An explanation of this scale can be found on Mitt UiB.
Assessment Semester
Reading List

In the history section, we use a textbook, a film (or several) that is shown in the teaching or made available in another way, and downloadable historical video clips.

In the theory part, we also use a textbook and various historical and recent articles that can be downloaded from Mitt UiB, as well as video clips and online resources (such as quizzes and games).

In the practical component, we use one or more tutorials and online resources. We expect the students to actively supplement this with sources they find themselves.

We expect the student to be able to put all the resources in context, use them actively in preparation for the exam and refer to them in the exam.

All material is basically in English. Students can use and refer to sources in other languages ¿¿in assignments and exams.

The list of compulsory and recommended subject matter, as far as this is known in advance, is available on Mitt UiB before the start of the semester and is continuously updated as needed. The books will be available at Akademika before the start of the semester, or downloadable as e-books.

Course Evaluation
Course evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material