Information Course Schedule summer 2012

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According to conventional wisdom, the “information age” began just a few decades ago and promptly superseded everything that went before it.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?

MWF 10-12:30 (Session D: July 2 - August 10, 2012) | 213 Wheeler Hall
Instructor(s): Alex Braunstein, Blake Johnson

INFO 146 (Foundations of New Media) is based upon the premise that New Media — a spectrum of technologies for representation and communication based on the paradigm of computation — represents a once in several century innovation in the representation of knowledge and culture. The goal of the course is to prepare students to participate in this process of innovation by analyzing the emerging genres of New Media and their history, and by designing new media.

To analyze the design challenges and opportunities of this moment, the class will examine key moments in media history — such as the introduction of the printing press, the telephone, and the camera — to gain perspective on the nature of the process of technological innovation and cultural change. Then the course will analyze the design of new media in the camera, the telephone, the web and computer games, using insights and methods from the humanities (i.e., theories of language, communication, and media), using social science techniques to analyze culture and media (i.e., participant-observation, interviewing) and applying basic computational understandings and skills (i.e., how computers work, what programs are, how to write simple programs). Weekly assignments will introduce and build these skills throughout the semester, using lectures, readings and lab sections to introduce basic techniques for the analysis and design of New Media.

(Prior to 2009, this course was offered for 4 units.)

MWF 10-12:30 (Session A: May 21 - June 29, 2012) | 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Bruce Rinehart

This course focuses on understanding the Web as an information system, and how to use it for information management for personal and shared information. The Web is an open and constantly evolving system which can make it hard to understand how the different parts of the landscape fit together. This course provides students with an overview of the Web as a whole, and how the individual parts it together. We briefly look at topics such as Web design and Web programming, but this course is not exclusively designed to teach HTML or JavaScript. Instead, we look at the bigger picture and how and when to use these and other technologies.

The Web already is and will remain a central part in many information-related activities for a long time to come, and this course provides students with the understanding and skills to better navigate and use the landscape of Web information (for example, Wikipedia), Web technologies (for example, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), Web tools (for example, delicious and Yahoo pipes), and common Web patterns (for example, mashups).

MW 2-4:30 (Lab: F 2-4:30) (Session D: July 2 - August 10, 2012) | 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Dhawal Mujumdar

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 the graphical user interface, multiple input/output modes, and network connected computers. The course will culminate in web application programming in light of the emerging possibilities of Web 2.0. Programming style, multi-person programming projects, and debugging strategies will be covered as well.

Uses the PYTHON language.

MWF 9-11:30 (Session D: July 2 - August 10, 2012) | 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Valerie Lanard

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.

TuTh 10-12:30 (Session A: May 21 - June 29, 2012) | 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Janaki Srinivasan, Neha Kumar