Teaching

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There are several links between the activities of the Nexa Center and the teaching activities of the co-directors, faculty fellows and other fellows of the Center.


Rivoluzione Digitale



digital-revolutionRivoluzione Digitale” (Digital Revolution) is an elective course for first-year students at Polytechnic University of Turin. It aims to contribute to the education of future engineers and architects as digital individuals, by providing students with the multidisciplinary knowledge required to understand the digital revolution, and by teaching them practical online-world skills.
The course is held by Juan Carlos De Martin with the collaboration of Giuseppe Futia.

Ranging from business activities to culture, from politics to everyday life, digital-revolution effects are so deep and lasting that the traditional education of engineers and architects has to be complemented with selected multidisciplinary knowledge – legal, economic, historical and social – to fully understand the aspects of the digital revolution and the related impact on society.
Moreover, on the practical side, responsible and aware digital citizens need to master online skills such as blogging, discussing on mailing lists and on twitter, producing short videos of themselves presenting their own work and ideas.

The course featured few guest lecturers, some of which are Nexa trustees or fellows. In 2018 we enrolled 186 students, while in 2017 they were 157. Mehdi Khrichfa, one of the best students of the 2017 course, will be spending 10 weeks at the Berkman Center as a Summer Intern.
Due to the Coronavirus emergency, the teaching activities of the current academic year have been conducted online. We exploited different platforms, including the Virtual Classroom offered by the Politecnico di Torino and YouTube. For student’s coordination, we introduced in the course new collaboration tools, such as Slack. The course featured some guest lecturers among the Nexa Fellows (Carlo Blengino, Lorenzo Canova, and Alessio Melandri) and the Nexa Research Fellows (Marco Conoscenti, Antonio Santangelo). In 2020 we enrolled 157 students (155 in 2019).

For more information about the course structure, please refer to the syllabus and rules sections, as well as to Politecnico's teaching portal.


Digital technologies and society



digital-technologies

Digital technologies and society is a Polytechnic University of Turin master course (Master of Science in Computer Engineering) aiming at raising awareness on what being a computer engineer means in the age of the digital revolution.
In a time when technological developments such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, social networks and smartphones are revolutionizing economy, politics, culture, and personal relationships, the course aims at introducing the student to the reflection on the social impact of information technology and, vice versa, on social conditioning on the development of information technology.
The course is held by Juan Carlos De Martin (coordinator and lecturer), Paolo Prinetto (lecturer), and Antonio Vetrò (lecturer).

The goal of the course is to lead students to understand their role in society both as a professional and as citizens with certain technical and scientific skills. The course is highly interdisciplinary, even though it constantly refers to specific knowledge on information technologies. The hours lectures are 60.

The first edition of the course took place in the Academic Year 2018/2019. Lectures were done from March 2019 until mid-June 2019. The students who enrolled in the course are 55. Examples of topics covered are professions and code of ethics; history of computers and Internet; interpretative models of technology; ethical and policy issues in information systems; data bias; algorithm fairness. The evaluation has been based on a horal exam and on a report composed of two parts: an in depth study on a topic of choice, and a data impact assessment (on a R or Jupyter notebook) on a dataset provided by teachers where students apply the techniques learnt for assessing data bias; algorithm fairness.

The second edition of the course, from March 2020 to mid-June 2020, counts 40 students enrolled and it is done entirely via remote classes due to the Covid-19 global emergency. During the course, students will be asked to give a presentation on a real case of algorithmic discrimination and discuss it with the rest of the classes. Eventually, due to the new conditions of the global health emergency, the evaluation will be different from the one conducted in the first edition, and it will be defined only at the end of the course.

For more information about the course structure, please refer to the syllabus and rules sections, as well as to Politecnico's teaching portal.


New media languages



digital-revolution

New media languages is a compulsory course for the second year students of Communication Sciences at the University eCampus. It is an online course which aims at illustrating how intermedia and transmedia communication strategies can be used, to turn “old media” like television, cinema, books, newspapers, videogames, etc., into new media, which can offer their users new and meaningful communicative experiences.

Many examples are taken from political communication, so that students can learn how to use “new media” to involve people into communication projects that may help them to better participate to the democratic life.

The course is held by Antonio Santangelo.
Antonio Santangelo is a researcher who has always worked in the field of media studies. One of his main research topics is technological innovation and its cultural meaning. He has also worked as a TV author and as a spin doctor for political campaigns, to involve people into communication projects with the aim of empowering them with tools that may facilitate cooperation and knowledge sharing. He has studied these projects from a linguistic point of view. His theory is that a certain usage of media language can move people to act in a clever way.

The course aims at giving students two kinds of capacities: some critical and some practical ones. The critical capacities are needed to distinguish clever intermedia and transmedia projects, the ones that can better raise the collective creation of knowledge and that can help people to share an intelligent and rich vision of the world. The practical capacities are needed to help students to become media designers, so that they can project new interesting media experiences.

The course is attended from 350 students per year and is very appreciated, with a very high rank (5 points out of 5) in terms of the contents quality and interest. Many students do their final thesis on the topics of New Media Languages.


Data Ethics and Protection



data-ethics

Data Ethics and Protection is a Politecnico di Torino master course (Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering) aiming at giving students an increased awareness of the role of data scientists and data experts in society, and a better understanding of the main challenges that they face in developing innovative data-driven products and services.
The course is held by Alessandro Mantelero (coordinator and lecturer), Juan Carlos De Martin (lecturer), and Antonio Vetrò (lecturer).

This course is mainly designed to give students an increased awareness of the role of data scientists and data experts in society, and a better understanding of the main challenges that they face in developing innovative data-driven products and services.
Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the course focuses both on ethical and legal issues, seen through the lens of technology. The hours of lectures are 60.

From this perspective, the first part of the course will provide a general overview of the interplay between law, ethics and technology, discussing the most relevant issues in the ongoing debate on law & ethics with regard to data-intensive systems. In this context, data protection regulations and their application in the AI environment will be addressed, including risk assessment methodologies.
The course then will go beyond the traditional sphere of data protection and deal with the impact of data use on fundamental rights and ethical values, considering different proposals and guidelines on data ethics.
The second part of the course is focused on the computer science perspective, with the following approach. Students will first analyze and interactively discuss in class the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional and selected case studies: the goal is to acquire a greater awareness of the duties of a professional to understand the consequences for people and society of apparently only technical choices.
Then, students will learn methodologies and data analytics tools to design and conduct an impact assessment for data-driven automated decision systems.

The first edition of the course is taking place in the Academic Year 2019/2020: lectures are from March 2020 until mid-June 2020. The students who enrolled in the course are 164 and, due to the Covid-19 global emergency, they attend classes remotely.


Software Engineering II



software

"Software Engineering II" is a Politecnico di Torino master course (Master of Science in Computer Engineering) aiming at expanding the knowledge and skills of students in the software engineering, especially concerning the management of the software development process, the organization of development activities, quality assurance, process improvement and software evolution.
The course is held by Marco Torchiano (coordinator and lecturer) and Antonio Vetrò (lecturer).

The knowledge that students acquired through the fundamental and optional courses mainly concern technologies that can be used to build software systems (e.g. programming languages, web technologies, security, computer architectures) and basic techniques and tools to support development (e.g. deployment, version control, requirements, design). In order to effectively employ such knowledge and skills, it is fundamental to organize the development activities and manage them, curate the quality of the software products, and account for the inevitable characteristic of software: its persistent change.

The students will acquire basic knowledge regarding:
i) software development methods, focusing on agile methods,
ii) software quality assurance and process improvement, in particular static analysis and technical debt assessment,
iii) software evolution dynamics.
A key component of software development (as it happens in industrial context) is teamwork. Key skills to be developed include:
i) coordination of individuals and their interactions,
ii) planning and monitoring the project evolution,
iii) manage stakeholders' collaboration,
iv) set up self-organizing teams.

The first edition of the course took place in the Academic Year 2019/2020: the students who enrolled in the course were 70. The course has been organized with a balance of theory (20% of the evaluation) and practice (80% of the evaluation): conventional lectures introduced the theory concerning the main topics of the course. Such lectures had been followed by practical sessions (either collective exercises or hands-on development sessions). A key component of software development that has been exercised is teamwork, including coordination of individuals and their interactions, leveraging stakeholders' collaboration, and achieving self-organization. The course obtained high satisfaction among students.


Evolutionary dynamics of science and technology



master-giornalismo

“Evolutionary dynamics of science and technology” is a course within the Specialization Master’s in journalism at Università di Torino. The goal of the course is aligned with that of the Master: to equip students with the professional, technical and cultural tools to work competently in new scenarios and recognize the new challenges of journalism.
The course is held by Antonio Vetrò (coordinator and lecturer) and Juan Carlos De Martin (lecturer).

The Master’s in journalism 'Giorgio Bocca' of Turin was born in 2004 on the initiative of the Order of Journalists (national and regional) and the University and was named after Giorgio Bocca in 2013. Open to students from all over Italy, it is a reference point for a vast geographical area that includes Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta. It has been consolidated in the context of training in journalism recognized by the National Association of Journalists: there are currently 11 schools recognized in Italy, but it is the only one in the North-west.
The Master's degree replaces the two-year period of internship required by law to take the State exam and obtain the professional title and is in direct contact with the reality of information and publishing through internship and collaboration agreements; it counts in particular on collaboration with relevant Italian newspapers: La Stampa, Il Secolo XIX and La Repubblica.

Within this context, the course “Evolutionary dynamics of science and technology” has two main objectives:
(i) Let students acquire awareness of the relationship between society and technological developments, and digital technologies.
(ii) Let students understand fundamental lessons from the history of communication technologies, useful for interpreting and addressing the opportunities, risks, and future trends of the digital revolution.
The topics covered are the following:
(i) The concept of Digital Revolution, the relationship between technology and society and the interpretative models of Benkler and Winston.
(ii) Knowledge before the digital technologies: definitions and methods of production, diffusion, consumption, preservation, reuse.
(iii) The roots of the computer: the universal computer, from Leibniz to Turing.
(iv) The legacy of Turing, the intelligent machines: definitions, conceptual foundations, ethical issues.
(v) Electronic calculators: short history and determining factors in their evolution.
(v) From the second world war to the end of the 60s, the culture that shaped the first developments of digital technologies: a) Cybernetics, its legacy, and the interconnections with the Data Revolution; b) Stewart Brand's projects and their contribution to the digital revolution.
(vi) The history of the Internet and the World Wide Web, and the Declaration of Rights on the Internet.

The first edition of the course took place in the Academic Year 2019/2020: lectures were done in February and March 2020, for a total of 16 hours (including the final exam). The students who enrolled in the course were 14 and, due to the Covid-19 global emergency, they attend classes remotely.
Students have been assessed on their ability to critically reflect on the development of digital techniques: the exam consisted of selecting and reading an article from a pool proposed by the lecturer and produce a short journal article with reflections on the topic.


Nexa Summer School



summer-school

A summer school for Ph.D. and MS students on AI, trying to see it in a positive way, without underestimating the dangers it may take to our democratic life.
The persons in charge of the course are Juan Carlos De Martin (supervisor), Antonio Santangelo (coordinator), Selina Fenoglietto, Mattia Plazio, Francesco Ruggiero (organization).

In occasion of the Nexa Center’s 2019 Board of Trustees, a summer school for Ph.D and MS students on Artificial Intelligence has been organized to focus on AI from the point of view of a “critical utopia”, that is of an anthropocentric technology, aware of the dangers it may take if developed in the wrong direction. This perspective can only be interdisciplinary, and it has been built keeping together engineers, philosophers, social scientists, economists, and jurists.
The summer school was the natural development of a course for Ph.D students called “Topics in Internet & Society Interdisciplinary Studies”, which had been given three other times, in the past, at Politecnico di Torino, in conjunction with the Nexa Center for Internet & Society’s Board of Trustees.

The summer school aimed at strengthening the relationship between Politecnico di Torino and some prestigious foreign Universities, such as Harvard and Villanova (USA), Max Planck Institute (Germany), Université de Montréal (Canada), Bournemouth University (UK), Telecom ParisTech (France). This goal had been pursued inviting some members of the Board of Trustees of the Nexa Center for Internet & Society (DAUIN) of the Politecnico di Torino - prestigious and very well-known scholars coming from the Universities mentioned above - to give lectures, together with the personnel of the Nexa Center and with some of its Italian fellows, on Artificial Intelligence and its consequences on society, law and sustainability.
Another aim of this project was to give more visibility to the Nexa Center’s teaching activities, by promoting them within the more than 90 members of the Global Network of Internet & Society Research Centers (Noc), which has been coordinated in the past by the Nexa Center itself and counts many very prestigious affiliate Universities from all over the world.

The summer school lasted 5 days and it involved 16 participants, of which 9 students (2 from foreign universities) and 7 not students but very interested in the topics covered. The participants were engaged in 18,5 hours of lectures and 19 of other cultural, recreational and sports activities. The summer school was highly appreciated, for its interdisciplinary cut, which satisfied the multiple interests of the participants, and for the quality of the lectures and teachers, many of whom are internationally renowned.
The Nexa Trustees and Nexa Fellows that have been involved in the lectures are: Jean-Claude Guédon (University of Montreal), Charles Nesson (Harvard University), Fern Leicher Nesson (photographer), Maurizio Borghi (Bournemouth University), Brett Frischmann (Villanova University), Antonio Casilli (Telecom Paris Tech), Monica Senor (The Italian Data Protection Authority), Bruce Sterling (author and journalist), and Jasmina Tešanović (activist and writer). For the details of the program, of the activities and of the lectures visit https://nexa.polito.it/nexa-summer-school-2019.


Other ongoing teaching activities


Riconnessioni - Fondazione per la Scuola (Compagnia di San Paolo)

Riconnessioni is an education project (https://www.riconnessioni.it/) whose goal is to support teachers in bringing technological, organizational and didactic innovations in primary and junior high schools. The mission of the project is to create a model of educational innovation at a national level. The Nexa Center participates to the project by organizing and teaching to the laboratory “Essere digitali” (“Be Digital”), in which teachers are provided with an overview of the historical roots of the current digital revolution and of the latest technological developments. In the reporting period, Juan Carlos De Martin, Antonio Santangelo and Antonio Vetrò gave lectures. The program and the material are available at https://www.riconnessioni.it/to/laboratori/essere-digitali/).


Digital Revolution for librarians

In October 2019, Juan Carlos De Martin, Antonio Santangelo and Antonio Vetrò gave a three-day course on the Digital Revolution to a selection of about 30 librarians from public libraries of Torino. The content of the lectures is the same of “Essere digitali” (“Be Digital”, see project “Riconnessioni”): at the end of the course, librarians are expected to have acquired the basic knowledge and the conceptual tools to understand the digital revolution.


bigdive

Big Dive

The Top-IX consortium and other partners organize Big Dive, a five-week training program providing the key technical skills needed to dive into the big data universe, including some multidisciplinary knowledge useful to extract value from data. In July 2017, within its 6th edition, Antonio Vetrò gave lectures on the topic of data quality (in 2017 together with fellow Alessio Melandri ). In July 2019, within its 8th edition, Antonio Vetrò gave a lecture on “Formalizing (and achieving?) fairness in machine learning”. More info at https://www.bigdive.eu/big-dive-8/.


Past teaching activities



wipo

WIPO Master (LL.M)

The World Intellectual Property Organization and the University of Turin organize an LL.M in Intellectual Property Law at the ILO International Training Center in Turin. The LL.M is coordinated, starting from 2016, by Nexa Fellow Alessandro Cogo, who succeeded Nexa co-director Marco Ricolfi.
Great attention has been given in last editions of the LLM to the implications of ICT on IP and, in particular, to the nexus between data, artificial intelligence and knowledge. A conference on AI and IP has been hosted on October 16, 2017, with a program enriched by a cycle of lectures on IP, IoT and data protection. A conference on trade secrets was hosted on October 15, 2018.


FULL (Seminars on communication)

Between February and April 2018, Antonio Santangelo has been charged by FULL (Future Urban Legacy Lab of Polytechnic University of Turin), in his quality of board member, to train researchers, Ph.D. and post-doc students, to effectively communicate the meaning and the results of their studies. Moreover, after training these personnel, Antonio Santangelo has been asked to conduct a research on how to build the brand image of FULL and on how to position it in the field of University Research Centers. The results of this research have been reported to the FULL board, to help the personnel to take more aware decisions on the Center communication.


Master School of Journalism

From 2016, the Nexa Trustee Anna Masera is the director of the School of Journalism of the University of Turin: such new leadership enables many opportunities of collaboration between the Nexa Center and the School of Journalism. After the practical laboratories on Web and semantic technologies held by the Ph.D. student Giuseppe Futia and some insight on the drone journalism provided by Nexa Fellow Giovan Battista Gallus, during the last reporting period the co-Director Prof. Marco Ricolfi contributed with a lecture on copyright protection. On the other side, the students of the School of Journalism covered many events and initiatives carried out by the Nexa Center. In the following years, such collaboration will extend to joint projects.


Master Course Management of Libre Software

In November 2017, Juan Carlos De Martin, Federico Morando, Marco Torchiano and Antonio Servetti were teaching at the “Master di I livello in management del software libero”, a course for officials in the public administrations and managers in private corporations. The Master ended in December 2018.


Big data Academy Intesa Sanpaolo - Digital Culture

The goal of this curriculum proposal is to increase the awareness on the deep motivations that make the digital technologies a disruption with respect to the past, exploring related problems and opportunities. An interdisciplinary approach is used: technological perspectives are combined with the legal, socio-economical, historical and philosophical (included ethics) dimensions. The curriculum is composed of three modules: “Introduction to the digital revolution” (taught by Juan Carlos De Martin), “Introduction to the Big Data revolution” (taught by Antonio Vetrò) and “The legal aspects of the digital and data revolutions” (taught by Nexa Fellow Carlo Blengino ).


Topics in Internet & Society Interdisciplinary Studies

This course – addressed to students of all Doctoral Programmes – is aimed at providing an interdisciplinary overview of a selection of Internet & Society topics currently addressed by scholars at global level, all of which have tangible implications in many domains, and may very well suggest new lines of reasoning to ongoing research of PhD candidates. More information at: https://nexa.polito.it/2017/06/doctoral-course. Information on 2016 edition is available at: http://nexa.polito.it/2016/06/doctoral-course. Information on 2015 edition is available at: http://nexa.polito.it/2015/06/doctoral-course.


Open Data in Public Administrations

From March to May 2016 the Nexa Center delivered a 40 hours course to the employees of public administrations on the Open Data principles, in the context of the continuing training program provided by the Politecnico di Torino. The course provided participants with the skills required to manage the information assets of a public body, taking into account the opportunities and risks relating to the provision and re-use of public data. The course exploited a multidisciplinary approach, adapting to different learning paths of learners, and touching advanced topics such as linked data and data fusion. Lectures were held by Juan Carlos De Martin, Marco Torchiano, Raimondo Iemma, Federico Morando, and Giuseppe Futia. Students have been evaluated on the basis of group work developed from data published by the administrations in real cases.


ASP Winter school “The New Internet Society: Entering the black-box of digital innovation”

The ASP (Alta Scuola Politecnica, http://www.asp-poli.it/) Winter school is a 5 days intensive course for the top 2% Master’s students of the Politecnico of Torino and Milano that in 2016 took place in Belgirate (14-18 MarchThe course “The New Internet Society: Entering the blackbox of digital innovation” had the objective to provide the students with a set of theoretical and applied tools in management of innovation). For this edition Juan Carlos De Martin gave lectures and insights about the influence of technology on society and viceversa, with two lectures: “The Cultural Roots of Digital Innovation” and “Sharing and Collaboration in the Digital Age: Facts and Myths”. Antonio Vetrò and Lorenzo Canova have been the tutors of the school, for assisting and evaluating the students in their homework during and after the school.


last-jd

Last-JD (Ph.D.)

Some teaching activities are taking place within the Last-JD Joint International Doctoral (Ph.D.) Degree in Law, Science and Technology, in which the Nexa Center is involved as an associate partner. In particular, Alessandro Mantelero and Federico Morando lectured during the Spring of 2014 (when the students are spending a term in Turin).


digep

Innovation and international transactions law

In 2014, Alessandro Mantelero has started his second level course on “Innovation and International Transactions Law”, featuring as a primary focus the digital arena. The course included guest lectures from Nexa researchers, e.g., Raimondo Iemma and Federico Morando.


copyrightx

CopyrightX satellite

CopyrightX is a networked course, combining pre-recorded lectures, seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions. It is taught and coordinated by Prof. William Fisher and it is a joint initiative of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning project, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The course explores copyright law, with an emphasis on normative aspects and on the debate about how to stimulate and sustain creative expression. Three groups of students take part in the course: a class of residential students at Harvard Law School, about 500 online participants, the students of 10 "satellite" courses, based in countries other than the United States (and each taught by a different copyright law expert).

In 2014, the first of the satellite courses was affiliated with the Nexa Center for Internet & Society and taught by Nexa Faculty AssociateGiancarlo Frosio (see http://copyx.org/satellites/turin-italy/). Moreover, another satellite course, affiliated with the Institute for Information Law (Amsterdam, Netherlands) was taught by Nexa Fellow Thomas Margoni.


Corso Open Data

The Nexa Center organizes a course on Open Data within the Data Engineering Master at Politecnico di Torino.