Information Course Schedule spring 2009
Upper Division Courses
According to conventional wisdom, the “information age” began just a few decades ago and promptly superseded everything that went before it. But the issues we are wrestling with now—questions about piracy, privacy, trust, “information overload,” and the replacement of old media by new—all have their roots in the informational cultures of earlier periods. In this class we will take a long view of the development of these cultures and technologies, from the earliest cave painting and writing systems to the advent of print, photography and the telegraph to the emergence of the computer and Internet and the world of Twitter, Pinterest and beyond. In every instance, be focused on the chicken-and-egg questions of technological determinism: how do technological developments affect society and vice-versa?
With the advent of virtual communities, smart mobs, and online social networks, old questions about the meaning of human social behavior have taken on renewed significance. Although this course is grounded in theory, it is equally rooted in practice, and much of the class discussion takes place in social cyberspaces. Although it has special relevance in today's world of social media, "What is community?" is not a new question. Using a variety of online social media simultaneously, and drawing upon theoretical literature in a variety of disciplines, this course delves into discourse about community across disciplines. This course will enable diligent students to understand the kinds of analyses applied by different disciplines to questions about community, to apply methodologies of different disciplines to contemporary questions about community in a variety of settings, and to establish both theoretical and experiential foundations for making personal decisions and judgments regarding the relationship between mediated communication and human community.
Note: This course is cross-listed with Sociology 167
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.
This course is designed to be an introduction to the topics and issues associated with the study of information and information technology, from a social science perspective. As a result, this course will continuously introduce students to applied and practical problems, theoretical issues, as well as methods for answering different types of questions.
The following three questions will guide the material throughout the course: 1) Why do social scientists study information and information technology, 2) What are some of the key topics and issues that are studied, and 3) How do we study these issues? As we work our way through many different topics and problems in information, we will focus on various levels of analysis. This includes the micro (i.e., interpersonal relationships and information in small groups) to the macro level (i.e., organizational and institutional problems of information). By the end of the course, all students will be familiar with the social science approach to information and information technology, as well as many of the key problems and the methods used to solve these problems. This knowledge is essential to having a well-rounded understanding of information issues in professional environments.
NOTE: Before Fall 2016, this course was named Social and Organizational Issues of Information. The course was offered for 3 units in Spring 2010 and Spring 2011.
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.
Delivering value to enterprises and ensuring long-term career success requires much more than pure technology skills. As information becomes increasingly strategic for all organizations, technology professionals must also develop the core business skills required to build personal brand, expand influence, build high-quality relationships, and deliver on critical enterprise projects.
Using a combination of business and academic readings, case discussions and guest speakers, this course will explore a series of critical business topics that apply both to start-up and Fortune 500 enterprises. Subjects to be explored include: communication and presentation skills, software and product development methodologies, negotiation skills, employee engagement, organizational structures and career paths, successful interviewing and CV preparation.
Note: This course is being offered on an S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) basis and will involve reviewing and presenting updates on the School of Information final project.
Until 2015, this course was titled “Professional Skills Workshop.”
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.
Three hours of lecture per week. User interface design and human-computer interaction. Examination of alternative design. Tools and methods for design and development. Human- computer interaction. Methods for measuring and evaluating interface quality.
This course covers the design, prototyping, and evaluation of user interfaces to computers which is often called Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It is loosely based on course CS1 described in the ACM SIGCHI Curricula for Human-Computer Interaction (Association for Computing Machinery, 1992).
HCI covers many topics including:
- Human capabilities (e.g., visual and auditory perception, memory, mental models, and interface metaphors);
- Interface technology (e.g., input and output devices, interaction styles, and common interface paradigms); and,
- Interface design methods (e.g., user-centered design, prototyping, and design principles and rules), and interface evaluation (e.g., software logging, user observation, benchmarks and experiments).
This material is covered through lectures, reading, discussions, homework assignments, and a course project. This course differs from CS 160 primarily in two ways:
- There is an emphasis on interfaces for information technology applications; and,
- There is less emphasis on programming and system development, although some simple prototyping (for example, in visual basic or using JAVA GUI development tools) may be required. (CS 160 has a big programming project.)
“Information” is a versatile word. It’s the name we attach to the age we live in, to and the technologies that define it, to the society and economy that they give rise to, and to the "revolution" that these technologies launch. It characterizes a variety of professions, activities, and social conditions (information architect, CIO, information overload, information haves and have-nots, information warfare), and not incidentally the new faculties that take “information” as their unifying focus. The word figures as a theoretical or technical term in a number of disciplines, including AI, computer science, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, economics, political science and information theory. In short, the word stands (along with its sister “data”) for a welter of social, technological and intellectual connections that seem to define a large swath of modern life.
In this class, we will not be trying to define “information” or “data” (though we’ll look at some attempts to do so). Rather we want to take the word as a point of entry to explore the connections and ideologies that it evokes. Why do people assume, for example, that the bits and bytes sitting on their hard drives are the same as the stuff that creates social revolutions and whose free exchange is necessary to the health of democratic society? (Would we make those connections if we didn’t use the word “information” to describe them?) How are the notions of information deployed by management science or artificial intelligence connected to the information theory developed by Shannon?
We’ll be taking on these questions by discussing readings both from historical periods and from a range of disciplines, focusing on the some of notions (such as “information,” “data,” “platform,” “technology,” “knowledge”) that seem to connect them.
This course examines information from an economic perspective. We will introduce a range of seminal theories that describe how information is created, shared, and valued. Our focus covers both the role of information in the general economy, as well as the specific behavior of information markets. Topics will include information technology, knowledge production, markets with hidden information, digital goods, and networks. While this is a theoretical course, the tools and insights it provides may benefit any student navigating issues in the information economy.
Three hours of lecture per week. The emergence of global digital networks, such as the Internet, and digital technologies that enhance human abilities to access, store, manipulate, and transmit vast amounts of information has brought with it a host of new legal issues that lawyers preparing to practice in the 21st century will need to understand and address. Although many are trying to "map" existing legal concepts onto problems arising in cyberspace, it is becoming increasingly evident that this strategy sometimes doesn't work. In some cases, it is necessary to go back to first principles to understand how to accomplish the purposes of existing law in digital networked environments. The course will explore specific problems in applying law to cyberspace in areas such as intellectual property, privacy, content control, and the bounds of jurisdiction. Students with familiarity with the Internet and its resources or with backgrounds in some of the substantive fields explored in this course are especially welcome, but there are no formal prerequisites. Grades for the course will be based either on a series of short papers or on a supervised term paper.
Note: This course is cross-listed with Law 276.1.
Three hours of lecture per week. Theories and methods for searching and retrieval of text and bibliographic information. Analysis of relevance and utility. Statistical and linguistic methods for automatic indexing and classification. Boolean and probabilistic approaches to indexing, query formulation, and output ranking. Filtering methods. Measures of retrieval effectiveness and retrieval experimentation methodology.
This course is intended to prepare you to understand the underlying theories and algorithms of advanced information retrieval systems and to introduce the methodology for the design and evaluation of information retrieval systems. The course will introduce you to the major types of information retrieval systems, the different theoretical foundations underlying these systems, and the methods and measures that can be used to evaluate them. The course will focus on the both the theoretical aspects of information retrieval design and evaluation, and will also consider the practical aspects of how these theories have been implemented in actual systems. These topics will be examined through readings, discussion, hands-on experience using various information retrieval systems, and through participation in evaluation of different retrieval algorithms on various test collections. The prerequisite for the course is INFOSYS 202, though this may be waived with the consent of instructor. A good familiarity with computers and programming is highly desirable.
Standards and practices for organization and description of bibliographic, textual, and non-textual collections. Design, selection, maintenance and evaluation of cataloging, classification, indexing and thesaurus systems for specific settings. Codes, formats, and standards for representation and transfer of data.
A continuation and expansion of the introductory core course 202. Organization of Information with emphasis on organization of and access to textual and non-textual materials in paper-based and digital collections. A project-oriented course designed to provide theoretical foundations for current practices and for exploration of new methodologies for effective retrieval of information content. Emphasis on implementation and evaluation of organization and retrieval systems. Designed for Master's students expecting to manage paper-based and digital collections of information resources. Includes application of standard cataloging rules and indexing methods.
Outline of Topics
- Systems for organization of paper-based and digital bibliographic and textual collections of information.
- Use and evaluation of classification systems, including those employed in the organization of bibliographic collections; organization of abstracting and indexing services.
- Use and evaluation of standardized codes and formats for the organization and cataloging of textual and bibliographic collections.
- Systems for organization of non-textual collections of information (objects, images, sound, numerical and digital formats).
- Use and evaluation of systems.
- Use and evaluation of standards.
- Design and evaluation of collections management systems, including criteria for systems design.
Course requirements will include: readings on theoretical framework and evaluation criteria for development of collections management systems; assignments in the form of projects that require use and evaluation of a variety of organizational schemes and systems; evaluative papers that require analysis of the readings, combined with evaluation of existing systems; a final project that replaces a final examination and requires design, implementation and evaluation of an organizational system for a given setting.
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 seminar reviews current literature and debates regarding Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD). This is an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented field that draws on insights from economics, sociology, engineering, computer science, management, public health, etc.
Special Topics Courses
Current developments in multimedia technology are leading to increased use of a variety of media for representation for communication. These include still images, video, animation and audio as well as text. A number of existing applications make it increasingly easy for people to develop their own multimodal "texts" without special expertise. The question is: How are people using these resources? How can they be effectively used? And how can these resources be better designed to support these efforts?
We will look at two common applications areas to investigate these questions:
- Do It Yourself: construction and use of multimodal resources for showing, teaching, and learning in the field of do-it-yourself (crafts, building, repair, and related activities without professional help); and
- Digital story-telling, for personal/collective history but for other purposes as well.
Who this course is for
Graduate students interested in exploring the confluence of emerging technologies and narratives of various kinds. Could include students from the School of Information, Computer Science, Education, Art Practice, Architecture, Archeology, Film Studies, New Media…a wide variety of areas. Grad students only unless and undergrad manages to convince us otherwise.
More about this course
Our reasons for choosing these two areas: there's considerable interest, activity, and user-generated content in each. This interest is likely to continue and grow (they aren't current fads).
These areas share some similarities: they can benefit from both pre-existing and specially-constructed visual, audio, and textual resources. Both are of considerable interest among non-professionals, as leisure activities. Both have a narrative element to them, whether it's the story of an event, or how to do something from beginning to end. The audiences for both are more or less peers.
They differ in their goals, and the kinds of stories that they tell and information resources use and create.
Interestingly, these areas often overlap, as apprentices learn techniques and stories from their predecessors and mentors. In this way, traditions and practices continue and evolve.
Both can benefit from using technology to tell stories and track revisions. And both are likely to be intertextual, linking to and drawing on existing resources.
This is not a technology design course; we do not expect students to build new technologies, although we will explore the space of potential designs to address emerging creative needs and directions. We will, as far as possible, rely on existing technologies. However, these will be treated as prototypes; we will ask how these (or similar) technologies could be better designed to suit the understandings that emerge from this course.
Students don't necessarily need to be interested in either of these application areas. We'll treat these areas as examples. Students may well bring to the course other areas of interest that share some of these key elements.
Reading areas may include:
- Visual studies: what it is; what it says about the role of visual media in general, and contemporary developments. The relationships among still images, video, and audio.
- Visual epistemology: the relationship between the visual and text
- "Visual psychology" (for lack of a better term) – deciding when and how visual media are most effective for different communicative needs/desires
- Narrative and storytelling
- Objects as carriers of content and symbolic meaning
- Issues of publicness and media – e.g., images are both more fraught and more evocative than text
- Procedural teaching and learning
As noted, this is not a technology design course. We will, as far as possible, rely on existing technologies. However, existing technologies will be treated as prototypes; one issue will be how these (or similar) technologies could be better designed to suit the understandings that emerge from this course.
These will likely include:
- Flickr and other photo (and video) sharing sites
- YouTube and other video sharing sites
- MemoryMiner or similar – software for constructing personal/family histories
- Committed participation: reading and engaging with the course materials and topics
- Some sort of major product: probably a paper applying the concepts of he course to some area of interest. One product could be a technology design: a prototype, or at least design requirements.
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.
The class will meet two hours per week. Some of the topics we will cover are:
- Project processes and methodology
- Managing and balancing the "triple constraint"
- What are the most painful pitfalls and how to avoid them
- What is your personal project management style and its weak points
- How to build a high performing team
- Dealing with difficult people
- Risk and quality management
This course satisfies the Management requirement for the MIMS degree.
Note: This course is currently offered as Information 290MA.
Information is the cornerstone of healthcare. Insurance companies design plans and products based on health information; hospitals and clinicians employ it for their operations, care and administration; third parties such as imaging centers, laboratories, pharmacies, etc. rely on it for their business and profitability; consumers increasingly demand it, and entrepreneurs and established firms increasingly look to health information for innovation and profit. This course is intended to provide an overview of health information services from the multiple viewpoints of hospitals, clinicians, consumers, and entrepreneurs, among others. By doing so, the student will gain an understanding of the complex role of information services in health care innovation, operations, administration, and clinical care. Emphasis will be placed on managing information as a key organizational asset in today's healthcare system and the role of information in the service of health care. The course will also cover business, political, technical and other drivers of the current state of the art (or lack thereof!). Course readings will include material from peer-reviewed journals and trade press that highlight topics such as imaging, hospital safety, insurance plans, security in health care, quality of care, consumer information services, and clinical systems including electronic health records and telemedicine. Guest lecturers will highlight special topics of interest. The course will assume no prior clinical experience nor technical expertise.
How does good design enhance or facilitate interaction between people? How does good design make the experience people have with computational objects and environments not just functional, but emotionally engaging and stimulating? This seminar will cover visual design basics (e.g., color, layout, typography, iconography) as well as new interface metaphors beyond desktops (e.g., for mobile devices, computationally enhanced environments, tangible user interfaces). Students will get a hands-on learning experience on these topics through course projects, design critiques, and discussions, in addition to lectures and readings.
This course is now offered as Info 265.
The internet — as a global, "always-on" platform — poses unique challenges to legal and political frameworks premised on territorial jurisdiction. Operating in this global marketplace exposes companies, and sometimes individuals, to conflicting normative, legal and political commitments. Through case studies, this course considers the options in (i) developing technologies and business strategies to address the varied, and sometimes competing, laws of different countries; (ii) amending laws and otherwise engaging in policy development for the global internet; and (iii) explaining these choices and limitations to regulators, business partners and users. It will consider the implications of these various strategies on an issue-by-issue basis in the areas of content regulation, intellectual property, information security, and privacy, and explore the cross-cutting consequences and dependencies between choices in these various issue areas.
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 requirement for the MIMS degree.
This course is currently offered as Info 225.
This course focuses on employing XML and web services to reuse or "remix" digital content and services. Students will learn practical tools and techniques to recombine personal information through hands-on explorations and projects.
- weblogs, wikis, and their underlying technologies
- content syndication via RSS
- building applications on top of Flickr, the image sharing site, and delicious, and other social bookmarking sites
- incorporating content from libraries via new digital library technologies
- sending content to the campus' new learning management system, bSpace
- exploiting the XML of OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office to create and manipulate "smart documents"
- incorporating geospatial services into the mix of services
Students are expected to have some basic knowledge of XML. No experience with web services is expected.
How does the design of new educational technologies change the way children learn and think? Which aspects of creative thinking and learning can technology support? How do we design systems that reflect our understanding of how we learn? This course explores issues in designing and evaluating technologies that support creativity and learning. The class will cover theories of creativity and learning, implications for design, as well as a survey of new educational technologies such as works in computer supported collaborative learning, digital manipulatives, and immersive learning environments.
Currently offered as Info C263.
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.