Information Course Schedule: Fall 2011

Lower-Division Courses

An introduction to high-level computer programming languages covering their basis in mathematics and logic. This course will guide students through the elements that compose any programming language including expressions, control of flow, data structures, and modularity via functions and/or objects. Covers traditional and contemporary programming paradigms including sequential, event-based, and object-oriented programming. Students will also work towards writing code that integrates multiple input/output modes. Programming style, multi-person programming projects, and debugging strategies will be covered as well. Uses the PYTHON language.

In addition to the regular class meeting there will be other group meetings.

This course is restricted to first-semester graduate students in the School of Information.

Graduate students will receive course credit, but because this is a lower-division course, the credit may not be applied toward the master's or doctoral degree unit requirements.

Course format:

There will be a mixture of lectures and group tutorials. The assignments will be a mix of individual and team work, with probably a total of six to ten for the semester. Some of the assignments will be gone over in class. There will be a final team-based programming project.

The course will not run for the full 14 weeks of the fall semester. The current plan is to end just before Thanksgiving. We have applied for permission to increase the course to three units to reflect the amount of work and the commitment we expect from the students.

How can we critically think about emergent phenomena of the Internet? Is the Internet a democratic medium for political action (a "networked public sphere") or a surveillance apparatus of centralized control? Who has access to digital information and what techniques are used to make information artificially scarce? How do trade group lawsuits against digital "piracy" affect a generation's perception of the law? Should we look at the growing sphere of copyright as a public interest problem, or celebrate the expansion of creators' rights? Can free software thrive independently from ideological backing? Why are peer production communities like Wikipedia and Linux affected by extreme gender disparity?

In this course, we will examine the societal implications of computer networks from critical and technical perspectives. We will collectively engage with issues of intellectual property, access to information, privacy, freedom of speech, representation, and peer production. We will be discussing provocative texts and media, doing hands-on exploration of emerging technologies, and practicing ethnographic fieldwork in online communities. We will also offer opportunities for field trips and guest speakers to provide us with different perspectives. Additionally, students will engage in a semester-long collaborative project in a flexible format.

This is a student-initiated group study course (DE-Cal). Please contact the student coordinator(s) for specific questions.

Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.

Upper-Division Courses

How can we critically think about emergent phenomena of the Internet? Is the Internet a democratic medium for political action (a "networked public sphere") or a surveillance apparatus of centralized control? Who has access to digital information and what techniques are used to make information artificially scarce? How do trade group lawsuits against digital "piracy" affect a generation's perception of the law? Should we look at the growing sphere of copyright as a public interest problem, or celebrate the expansion of creators' rights? Can free software thrive independently from ideological backing? Why are peer production communities like Wikipedia and Linux affected by extreme gender disparity?

In this course, we will examine the societal implications of computer networks from critical and technical perspectives. We will collectively engage with issues of intellectual property, access to information, privacy, freedom of speech, representation, and peer production. We will be discussing provocative texts and media, doing hands-on exploration of emerging technologies, and practicing ethnographic fieldwork in online communities. We will also offer opportunities for field trips and guest speakers to provide us with different perspectives. Additionally, students will engage in a semester-long collaborative project in a flexible format.

This is a student-initiated group study course (DE-Cal). Please contact the student coordinator(s) for specific questions.

Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.

Core Courses

Three hours of lecture per week. This course introduces the intellectual foundations of information organization and retrieval: conceptual modeling, semantic representation, vocabulary and metadata design, classification, and standardization, as well as information organization and retrieval practices, technology, and applications, including computational processes for analyzing information in both textual and non-textual formats. Students will learn how information organization and retrieval is carried out by professionals, authors, and users; by individuals in association with other individuals, and as part of the business processes in an enterprise and across enterprises.

This is a required introductory course for MIMS Master's students, integrating perspectives and best practices from a wide range of disciplines.

Three hours of lecture per week. Law is one of a number of policies that mediates the tension between free flow and restrictions on the flow of information. This course introduces students to copyright and other forms of legal protection for databases, licensing of information, consumer protection, liability for insecure systems and defective information, privacy, and national and international information policy.

NOTE: Before Fall 2010, this course was offered for 2 units.

General Courses

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field concerned with two areas of interest to us: the interaction between technology and the social; and knowledge communities. Recent years have seen increased interaction between STS and human-computer interaction (HCI), information and communication technologies for development (ICTD), and new media.

This class will be a seminar emphasizing close reading and discussion of some classic STS works, along with more current research, emphasizing that which is relevant to information and computing technologies, and knowledge communities. Our concern will be with how these can help us understand the relationships among information technology and new media, especially design; knowledge communities; and the social.

Topics will depend in part on who’s in the class and people’s interests. Past years' topics include Social Construction of Technology (SCOT), Actor-Network Theory (ANT), Activity Theory, configuring users, epistemic cultures, situated action, reflective/critical HCI, and distributed cognition. Some of these topics are introduced in I203 but, of necessity, not in the depth. In I212, we address how these topics are useful for understanding the relationships among information technology, design, and the social. This course won’t help you get a job, but it may help you better understand what you are doing and why.

This class is open to any interested graduate student. It is particularly appropriate for I School Ph.D. students; I School master’s students interested in conceptual issues underlying some of their more applied coursework; and graduate students doing a new media emphasis, and from related departments. Past students have been from departments as varied as architecture, mechanical engineering, and education.

This course focuses on managing people in information-intensive firms and industries, such as information technology industries. Students who seek careers in these industries will soon be asked to manage people, teams, departments, and units. They need to learn how to manage. However, managing is sometimes very different in these settings: Employees are highly educated; work is more fluid; teamwork and collaboration are essential; and external situations and strategies change rapidly. For these reasons several management principles born in a traditional manufacturing era no longer apply. In particular, the old style of “command and control” needs to give way to more distributed ways of work, with significant consequences for how managers need to manage. Of course, some universal management principles apply no matter what circumstance.

While we will cover these universal management principles in this course, we will pay particular attention to management issues that are highly relevant in information-intensive settings. Topics to be covered will likely include: managing knowledge workers; managing teams (incl. virtual ones); collaborating across disparate units, giving and receiving feedback; managing the innovation process (incl. in eco-systems); managing through networks; and managing when using communication tools (e.g., tele-presence). The course will rely heavily on cases as a pedagogical form.

This course satisfies the Management of Information Projects & Organizations requirement.

This course presents an end-to-end view of the design life cycle for information systems and services. It explains how design problems are conceived, researched, analyzed and resolved in different types of organizations and contexts, including start-ups, enterprises with legacy-systems, non-profit and government entities.

The course takes a comprehensive perspective on how these different contexts shape design activities and methods, including:

  • Analyzing stakeholders and customers
  • Building new vs. extending legacy systems
  • Identifying customer segments and modeling different user types
  • Analyzing and collecting data to identify and verify requirements
  • Measuring usability and quality
  • Prototyping and iterative implementation
  • Personalization and configuration
  • Designing for multiple channels (brick-and-mortar vs online)
  • Designing for multiple platforms (cellphones, PDAs, PCs)

The course presents a framework for understanding and integrating the variety of design methods taught in more detail in other I School and MOT courses. Using a mix of theory and case studies, the course provides students with different backgrounds a unifying view of the design life cycle, making them more effective and versatile designers.

NOTE: Previously offered as Info 290: Information System and Service Design: Strategy, Models, and Methods.

Three hours of lecture per week. This course will provide an overview of the intellectual property laws with which information managers need to be familiar. It will start with a consideration of trade secrecy law that information technology and other firms routinely use to protect commercially valuable information. It will then consider the role that copyright law plays in the legal protection of information products and services. Although patents for many years rarely were available to protect information innovations, patents on such innovations are becoming increasingly common. As a consequence, it is necessary to consider standards of patentability and the scope of protection that patent affords to innovators. Trademark law allows firms to protect words or symbols used to identify their goods or services and to distinguish them from the goods and services of other producers. It offers significant protection to producers of information products and services. Because so many firms license intellectual property rights, some coverage of licensing issues is also important. Much of the course will concern the legal protection of computer software and databases, but it will also explore some intellectual property issues arising in cyberspace.

Three hours of lecture. The Extensible Markup Language (XML), with its ability to define formal structural and semantic definitions for metadata and information models, is the key enabling technology for information services and document-centric business models that use the Internet and its family of protocols. This course introduces XML syntax, transformations, schema languages, and the querying of XML databases. It balances conceptual topics with practical skills for designing, implementing, and handling conceptual models as XML schemas.

This course is a survey of Web technologies, ranging from the basic technologies underlying the Web (URI, HTTP, HTML) to more advanced technologies being  used in the the context of Web engineering, for example structured data  formats and Web programming frameworks. The goal of this course is to provide an  overview of the technical issues surrounding the Web today, and to provide a  solid and comprehensive perspective of the Web's constantly evolving landscape.

Students will receive no credit for 253 after taking 290. Web Architecture.

Three hours of lecture per week. This course is concerned with the use of Database Management Systems (DBMS) to solve a wide range of information storage, management and retrieval problems, in organizations ranging from large corporations to personal applications, such as research data management. The course combines the practical aspects of DBMS use with more theoretical discussions of database design methodologies and the "internals" of database systems.

A significant part of the course will require students to design their own database and implement it on different DBMS that run on different computer systems. We will use both ACCESS and ORACLE.

In the theoretical portion of the course, we will examine the major types or data models of DBMS (hierarchical, network, relational, and object-oriented). We will discuss the principles and problems of database design, operation, and maintenance for each data model.

This course will explore the theory and practice of Tangible User Interfaces, a new approach to HCI which focuses on the physical interaction with computational media. The topics covered in the course include:

  • Theoretical framework of Tangible User Interfaces
  • Design examples of Tangible User Interfaces
  • Enabling technologies for Tangible User Interfaces

Students will design and develop experimental Tangible User Interfaces, applications, underlying technologies, and theories using concept sketches, posters, physical mockups, working prototypes, and a final project report. The course will have 3 hours of lecture and 1 hour of laboratory per week.

Note:  Previously listed as Info 290: Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces. Students who completed INFO 290 section 4 in Fall 2008 will receive no credit for Info 262.

This course is cross-listed as New Media C262.

The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to many different types of quantitative research methods and statistical techniques. This course will be divided into two sections: 1) methods for quantitative research and, 2) quantitative statistical techniques for analyzing data. We begin with a focus on defining research problems, theory testing, causal inference, and designing research instruments. Then, we will explore a range of statistical techniques and methods that are available for empirical research. Topics in research methods include: Primary and Secondary Data Analysis, Sampling, Survey Design, and Experimental Designs. Topics in quantitative techniques include: Descriptive and Inferential statistics, General Linear Models, and Non-Linear Models. The course will conclude with an introduction to special topics in quantitative research methods.

This course will focus upon the use of qualitative methods for research about information technologies. Methods including interviewing, focus groups, participant observation and ethnography will be taught and practiced. Significant qualitative research findings about the social impact of information technologies will be read, to analyze what we know about IT thus far, how we know it, and as models of theories and methods for future research. Frequent field exercises will be assigned to develop qualitative research skills and best practices, but the primary assignment will be to engage in a substantial fieldwork project. Methods covered will include video if grant support or other budget resources are found.

This class is focused on the creation of sustainable enterprises based on information and communications technology innovations supporting international development.

In this class, we take a broad view of entrepreneurship — including starting new businesses, non-profit initiatives, and/or public sector projects. We will take a highly iterative, design-oriented, feedback-driven approach to developing and refining business plans for social enterprises. At each stage, students will receive feedback from both experts and their peers. Ideas will be refined and expanded over the course of the semester by multi-disciplinary project teams, including the development of rough prototypes, identification of partners, determination of social impact metrics, and formulation of an operational strategy for pilot-testing the idea, demonstrating the potential for impact and generating sustainable funding.

The final deliverable will be a business plan and/or project proposal describing a product or service with a comprehensive implementation plan, including necessary partnerships, a funding/revenue model and appropriate next steps. These will be presented to a panel of experts for assessing their feasibility and potential for impact. The winning plan will be provided seed funding for travel over winter break to further flesh out their ideas and firm up partnerships. Course faculty and mentors will help students throughout this process, including in writing proposals for seed funding, or submitting to a social business plan competition, like GSVC.

Course Objectives:

  • Development of complete mini-business plans and/or project proposals for social enterprise ideas supporting international development
  • Provide students with experience conceiving social enterprises and developing project proposals or business plans, including developing prototypes, establishing partnerships, determining metrics for social impact, and pitching to potential funders

Formerly offered as Info 290.

Special Topics Courses

Application of economic principles, from microeconomics, game theory, industrial organization, information economics, and behavioral economics, to analyze business strategies and public policy issues surrounding information technologies and IT industries. Topics include: economics of information goods, economics of search, economics of networks, economics of peer production, economics of security and privacy.

(This course was offered for 2 units in Fall 2008.)

This course introduces fundamental as well as applied computational techniques for collaborative and collective intelligence of group behaviors on the Internet. The emphasis of the course is on data mining and knowledge discovery of social interactions, signals and data that are the byproduct of social media services such as search engines, social network sites, blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, etc. The course topics include, but are not limited to: web data mining, knowledge discovery on the web, web analytics, web information retrieval, ranking algorithms, recommender systems, human computation, models and theories about social networks, large graph and link-based algorithms, social marketing, monetization of the web, security/privacy issues related to social computing, etc.

What is commonly called "Behavioral Economics" is one — but only one — important perspective on how information impacts practical aspects of human behavior. There are others, ranging from simple game theory to social influence to incentives and reputation. The goal of this class will be to deploy a relatively few selected and important theories about the relationship between information and behavior, into practical settings — emphasizing the design of experiments that can now be incorporated into many 'applications' in day-to-day life. So called 'smart systems' are not being fully leveraged when we don't build into them testable propositions about how human behavior is and can be modified by what they tell us and do for us. So let's design these experiments into our systems from the ground up! The goal of this class is to develop a practical point of view on how to do that more effectively and with greater impact.

NOTE: In Fall 2011, this course was listed with the title “How Information Would, Should, and Could Change Human Behavior.”

Currently offered as Info 232. Applied Behavioral Economics.

This course will be quite different from typical courses. As a class we will explore emerging paradigms in management. Management is changing quite a bit these days. New ways of managing are emerging; some are driven by advances in information technology, while others are influenced by broader societal and demographic trends. In this course, we will use an ongoing research project into “the world’s best-performing companies” to explore emerging paradigms in three areas: (1) new leadership models (distributed, collaborative); (2) new business models that combine profit and environmental/societal issues (“doing well and doing good”); and (3) workplace innovations (networked, work/life balance). This combination of leadership-business model-workplace innovations amounts to new kinds of companies. The course will not use standard lectures: students and the professor will together discuss and explore issues and company cases. The course is not a theory or academic research course but an applied management course.

The ICTD group seminar will discuss topics of current interest in the emerging multidisciplinary field of Information and Communications Technologies and Development, or ICTD. Each semester will be focused on a particular topic or set of topics, under the direction of appropriate faculty from the I School's ICTD group. The course content will consist of paper discussions, invited lectures from both within and outside the class and a some relatively short written assignments. Students will also be responsible for presenting during at least on class session, either on their own research, ideas or on a selected set of papers relevant to the semester's chosen topic.

Mass communications technologies have been profound influencers of human identity, from the printing press and the rise of vernacular political cultures to television and the power of celebrity. While the Web is still a work in progress, salient characteristics such as the collapse of distance, the discovery of like-minded groups, and information delivered in short bursts are already affecting the way people see themselves and the way they consume information. Following an overview on the relationship of technology with identity and communications, the course will look at the uses of narrative in news, public relations, advertising, entertainment, and online gaming.

Health and health care have profound impact on a society's well being and economic productivity. Health care reform and ongoing economic forces are placing unprecedented pressure on the health care system to provide consumers and payers with value. Patients, purchasers, regulators, and other key stakeholders are demanding that care be readily accessible, proactive, and focused on improving health while containing costs. The health care system, policy makers, and key stakeholders are responding by developing new care models that focus on patient and customer centricity, novel information practices, and the seamless integration of care.

Following a review of the current trends in health care, the course will explore the relationship between health care and the information economy. We will also delve into information strategies being utilized by health care providers, patients, payers, and other key stakeholders to improve care while controlling costs. Health care leaders from Kaiser Permanente will serve as guest lecturers, providing tangible perspective to our discussions.

It takes critical thinking, outstanding leadership, and a little magic to be a successful project manager. Come and learn not only the essential building blocks of project management, but the tricks to managing a variety of complex projects. We will have a combination of interactive lectures, guest speakers, and case studies discussions to  cover globally recognized standards, best practices and tools that successful project managers use.

This course satisfies the Management requirement for the MIMS degree.

Students will build tools to explore and apply theories of information organization and retrieval. Students will implement various concepts covered in the concurrent 202 course through small projects on topics like controlled vocabularies, the semantic web, and corpus analysis. We will also experiment with topics suggested by students during the course. Students will develop skills in rapid prototyping of web-based projects using Python, XML, and jQuery.

This course satisfies the technology requirement for the MIMS degree.

Seminar Courses

One hour colloquium per week. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Colloquia, discussion, and readings are designed to introduce students to the range of interests of the school.

The seminar explores selected advanced topics relating to 'digital libraries' with special emphasis on:

  • Access to networked resources
  • Use of two or more resources in conjunction
  • Combined use of two or more retrieval systems (e.g. use of pre- or post-processing to enhance the capabilities)
  • The redesign of library services

It is expected that these issues will require attention to a number of questions about the nature of information retrieval processes, the feasibility of not-yet-conventional techniques, techniques of making different systems work together, social impact, and the reconsideration of past practices. More generally, the seminar is intended to provide a forum for advanced students in the School. Anyone interested in these topics is welcome to join in -- and to talk about their own work. This is a continuation of the previous Lynch/Buckland seminars.

Information technology has been integrated into an array of complex interactions between individuals and the state. Often these technological changes are put forth as inevitable progress toward modernization and as value-neutral means for acting upon policies established through the political branch of government. However, the adoption or introduction of specific technology can obscure profound policy choices and options. Obscurity can arise due to barriers to transparency created by law, such as intellectual property rights asserted to prevent the analysis of software code used in electronic voting systems, due to a lack of necessary expertise to understand the ramifications of a technological shift within the public and private sector entities focused on the relevant policy issues, or, more fundamentally, due to shifts in technology that remove or shift the assumptions on which earlier policies were developed. As a result, the agency, the public, and the political branch of government may overlook the policy-implications in the choice of a new technology. Through case studies this class will explore existing examples where discretion has been delegated to, or embedded in technology, mechanisms that have or could be used to limit and manage this delegation, and techniques for early identification of inappropriate delegations.