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.


"Tempi difficili"



tempi-difficili

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a worldwide crisis that is having a deep impact in every aspect of our life: economic, political, cultural, psychological and social. After a particularly difficult year, the Politecnico di Torino wanted to promote a new initiative: a short course - intended for students in the first place but open to everyone - to try and find our way out of a crisis that is causing confusion and uncertainty.

That is why the University designed "Tempi Difficili - Mappe per orientarsi nella prima pandemia del XXI secolo": a journey in 11 stops during which famous experts will reflect upon the pandemic from various points of view, trying to provide useful means to cope with the predicament in which we found ourselves in.

Throughout “Tempi difficili” we succesfully livestreamed 11 lessons, about 45 to 60 minutes long, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of live interaction with our audience. The on-demand videos are available here.


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 and third edition of the course counted respectively 40 and 32 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.


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 enrolled in the course first edition were 164, while those enrolled in the new academic year are 209. Due to the Covid-19 global emergency, in both editions, the classes were held remotely.


Semiotics of digital cultures



digital-revolution

"Semiotics of digital cultures" is a course for the postgraduate degree in Communication and Media Cultures of the University of Turin. The course aims to reflect on how the digital technologies that permeate our daily lives are changing the way we assign meaning to what we experience and communicate. Specifically, it focusses on how the advent of computers, the Internet, smartphones and now artificial intelligence have brought a structural change in the way the media system works, giving rise to new forms of media experience and new ways of telling ourselves and reality.

The course is an attempt of Antonio Santangelo to bring to the students of the University of Turin (who are students in the field of humanities) some of the contents and themes of the research carried on at the Nexa Center. In particular, the idea is to "translate" for the students of the University of Turin some of the contents of the old course "Digital Revolution", that Juan Carlos De Martin held at the Politecnico of Turin.

The overall training objectives of the course are the following:
i) to understand the meaning of the choices made by those who design digital technologies such as, for example, Artificial Intelligence applications. In this regard, the focus is on the influence of certain cultural models and values on the ideas that have led us to imagine and use these technologies as we do today;
ii) to understand how certain digital technologies, designed according to these choices, influence the functioning of our culture. In this regard, the focus is on some communication practices typical of our time, such as social networking around selfies, the processes of public opinion formation around the so-called "viral" contents, the spread and the "battle" against fake news and posttruth, the use of social networks by politicians and mass media, storytelling techniques that integrate the "old" media and the most advanced digital technologies.

In the first year, the course has been attended from 120 students and has been very appreciated, in particular the parts concerning the critics to the surveillance capitalist system put in place by the digital platforms, and the part on the ethics of algorithms and of Artificial Intelligence.


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.


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/).


Executive Master “Digital Policy and Technology” – LUISS School of Government

Antonio Vetrò has been responsible for a teaching module at the Executive Master “Digital Policy and Technology” of the LUISS School of Government, held from September to February 2021. The Master Executive, realized in collaboration with Facebook, offered a multidisciplinary and training path, combining the study of political communication with the latest trends in technological development. The Master's program addressed four main areas: Fundamentals; Technology and Policy; Methods and Techniques; and Network Policy. The Master has been addressed to graduates in political, sociological and communicative disciplines, as well as to an audience of professionals in the world of politics and public administration, to deepen the main issues related to the relationship between democracy, politics and technology. The professional figures trained included public policy-makers, private decision-makers and innovation managers of companies with a strong technological vocation, public communicators and press officers of public and private organizations operating in the field of digital technologies, and digital strategists of actors such as parties, trade unions, non-governmental organizations.
The module coordinated by Vetrò Antonio was “Blockchain for Governance” with a duration of 10 hours and the following content: development of blockchain; applications in decision-making; blockchain governance and public administration. Lectures have been given by Antonio Vetrò for the part on automated decision making with a focus on bias and fairness, while Marco Conoscenti introduced the blockchain working mechanisms and illustrated use cases for governance purposes.
More information on the Executive Master can be retrieved at: https://sog.luiss.it/it/formazione-executive/executive-masterpolitica-tecnologie-digitali


Biennale Tecnologia for Teachers and Students of Secondary Schools

In 2021, the Biennale Tecnologia has decided to strongly relaunch its commitment to supporting teachers and students at secondary schools, following up on the proposal of activities and laboratories promoted and carried out during its first edition. The new proposal of the Biennale Tecnologia, in line with the current scholastic context, has been designed as a useful complement to traditional and mixed presence-distance teaching, which integrates and expands the classroom work of teachers and individual study. At the center of the training offer is the rich archive of lessons and online meetings of the Biennale Tecnologia 2020, a wealth of living knowledge that becomes a precious tool in the hands of teachers and students to deepen, with an interdisciplinary approach, topical issues around the relationship between technology, man and society. This valorization of the rich archive of content of the Biennale Tecnologia passed through the selection and the proposal of five thematic paths that deal with sensitive themes ranging from Artificial Intelligence to environmental sustainability, from health to the impact of the digital revolution, up to investigating the unusual but fervent relationship between technology and literature. For each path, the formula is as follows: (a) an introductory lecture on the subject by a teacher to be delivered preferably live; b) a critical in-depth study of the topic by the teachers of the schools, through the deferred use of some of the Biennale meetings dedicated to it; c) a follow-up meeting in which the teacher, or more likely some of his researchers, will once again be the protagonist, in a live dialogue with the students and aimed at answering their doubts and curiosity.
The Nexa Center has been involved both in the organization of the initiative (J.C. De Martin and M. Plazio) and in the thematic path, with lectures (J.C. De Martin) and meetings (M. Conoscenti and A. Vetrò) on "We and the digital revolution". More information at: https://www.biennaletecnologia.it/biennale-tecnologia-le-scuole (in Italian).


Past teaching activities


Rivoluzione Digitale
Rivoluzione 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 was held by Juan Carlos De Martin with the collaboration of Giuseppe Futia.


New media languages
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 was held by Antonio Santangelo.


Evolutionary dynamics of science and technology

“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 was held by Antonio Vetrò (coordinator and lecturer) and Juan Carlos De Martin (lecturer).


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/.



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.