Information Course Schedule fall 2008
Upper Division Courses
This course will encourage students to think broadly about the interplay between technological systems, social processes, economic activities, and political contingencies in efforts to alleviate poverty. Students will come to understand poverty not only in terms of high-level indicators, but from a ground-level perspective as ‘the poor’ experience and describe it for themselves. The role played by individuals and societies of the developing world as active agents in processes of technology adoption and use will be a central theme. Technologies connection to socio-economic development efforts will be put into historical context by exposing students to several phases of intensive interest including the ‘green revolution,’ the push towards industrialization, the ‘appropriate technologies’ movement, and more recent interest in digital technologies.
Introductory material for the course will challenge students to think about exactly how ‘technology’ is defined and about the wide variation amongst devices/systems covered by the term. Course topics will be explored through a series of case studies that will be supplemented by cross-disciplinary readings. The use of illustrative case studies will make the course accessible to undergraduates with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. In our discussion of ‘information technologies’ we will explore not only key form factors such as computers, the Internet, and mobile phones, but also their incorporation into broader practices such as micro-business and agriculture.
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.
8 weeks; 3 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 retrieval practices, technology, and applications, including computational processes for analyzing information in both textual and non-textual formats.
This is a required introductory course for MIMS students, integrating perspectives and best practices from a wide range of disciplines.
NOTE: Before Fall 2017, Info 202 was offered as a full-semester course for 4 units.
7 weeks - 4 hours of laboratory per week. This course introduces software skills used in building prototype scripts for applications in data science and information management. The course gives an overview of procedural programming, object-oriented programming, and functional programming techniques in the Python scripting language, together with an overview of fundamental data structures, associated algorithms, and asymptotic performance analysis. Students will watch a set of instructional videos covering material and will have four hours of laboratory-style course contact each week.
NOTE: Before Fall 2017, Info 206 was titled “Distributed Computing Applications and Infrastructure” and was offered as a full-semester course for 4 units.
This course addresses concepts and methods of user experience research. The emphasis will be on methods of collecting and interpreting many kinds of data about real-world user activities and practices and translating them into design decisions. The course includes hands-on practice with a number of major user experience research methods, including heuristic evaluation; observation; interviews, surveys and focus groups. The emphasis will be on naturalistic/ethnographic (qualitative) methods, but we will also address major quantitative methods. Finally, we will discuss methods of bringing user experience research into the design process.
This course is appropriate for both 1st and 2nd-year MIMS students, and for students from other departments with a strong interest in user experience research, with the instructor's permission. Students will complete at least one major group project related to needs assessment and evaluation. Second-year MIMS students may use this project to meet their capping project requirement.
This course covers the practical and theoretical issues associated with computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems. CMC includes many different types of technologies such as email, newsgroups, chat, and online games. We will focus on the analysis of CMC practices, the social structures that emerge when people use these applications, and the design and implementation issues associated with constructing CMC technologies.
We will primarily take a social scientific approach to computer-mediated communication (including research from psychology, social psychology, economics, and sociology). We will investigate questions such as: How do we represent identity and perceive others in CMC environments? How are interfaces and visualizations used in CMC to help make sense of relationships? Why do some Wikis "succeed" while others do not? How is the production of open source software such as Linux similar to (and different from) a social movement? Why are reputations useful in some online environments, and not in others? Can we really develop meaningful relationships and perhaps even love-purely through CMC?
This course was previously offered as INFO 290-12.
This course will survey results in computer security, cryptography, and privacy, with an emphasis on work done in the last 3 years. Student projects (creative work, demonstrations, or literature reviews) will form a substantial portion of the course work.
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.
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.
Special Topics Courses
Designing Rural Computing Applications - This class will investigate design methods for developing rural computing applications. The class will begin with a focus on participatory and value-sensitive design methods, and how they can be adapted for new cultures and social settings. We will also cover recent experiments in rural UI design, and what has been learned from them. We will conclude by discussing appropriate methods for design education in a rural computing context.
NOTE: Center of New Media students must add themselves to the INFO 290-08 wait list in order to register for this course.
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: This course is currently offered as Info 228.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of developing information service consulting and project management. The course focuses on ways to apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to real world problem solving and project development. The course will explore ways to tailor project management strategies for different contexts, emphasizing approaches for smaller, entrepreneurial settings. Students will work in small teams on real projects that will be deployed and maintained by the University or other organizations. Guest lecturers will share their experiences on everything from working with clients, ethnographic and other approaches toward understanding user and stakeholder needs, proposing and planning projects, and managing the chaos of project revisions, course corrections, and requirements changes. Students are strongly encouraged to see projects through development and completion by also taking the Spring semester part of this course.
Note: Students may take both the fall and spring clinic courses once each for credit.
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 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.
Now offered as INFO C262.
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 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. Because of the large number of technologies covered in this course, only a fraction of them will be discussed and described in greater detail. The main goal of the course thus is an understanding of the interdependencies and connections of Web technologies, and of their capabilities and limitations. Implementing Web-based applications today can be done in a multitude of ways, and this course provides guidelines and best practices which technologies to choose, and how to use them.
Note: This course is currently offered as Information 253.
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.
Free communication has changed the world, including the expectations and work and play. The class begins with the two data revolutions--the first about passively collected clicks on the web, the second about actively contributed data, as platforms like Facebook empower individuals to contribute a variety of quantitative and qualitative data (transactions, social relations, attention gestures, intention, location, and more.) With active student participation, we explore the far-reaching implications of the consumer data revolution for individuals, communities, business, and society.
Seminars & Colloquia
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.