Information Course Schedule spring 2014
Lower 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.
Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.
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According to conventional wisdom, the “information age” began just a few decades ago and promptly superseded everything that went before it.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?
This course aims to provide students with an overview of the many dynamic and interdisciplinary skills that are required for successful practice in the field of ICTD.
Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD) is the broad study of information technology to alleviate poverty and stimulate development (economic, social, and human) in developing and transitional countries. In the last 15 years, there has been an exponential expansion in the number of ICTD projects, but insufficient human skills to design and manage them, leading to a “forever-pilot” culture and a rather dismal failure rate. Successful oversight of these projects requires a combination of interdisciplinary and dynamic skills. This course serves to introduce students to these skills under three areas of competencies:
A. Contextual: Broader conceptual, policy-level frameworks of understanding the landscape of ICTD.
B. Technical: The different ways in which ICTs, through e-applications, can contribute to socioeconomic development. While specific computer skills are important, this course given its broad reach will focus on applications.
C. Management: Methods and techniques of project program planning and management, including assessment, design, funding, implementation, and evaluation.
Along with these areas, we will explore cross-cutting themes such as politics, gender, culture, and the reality of development work.
Students will be introduced to these skills through lectures and discussions (face-to face and online), as well as application to cases (possibly live consulting cases). Expect to have a lot of fun while working hard — not unlike development work in real life!
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.”
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 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.
Application of economic tools and principles, including 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; economics of information goods, services, and platforms; strategic pricing; strategic complements and substitutes; competition models; network industry structure and telecommunications regulation; search and the "long tail"; network cascades and social epidemics; network formation and network structure; peer production and crowdsourcing; interdependent security and privacy.
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.
Information visualization is widely used in media, business, and engineering disciplines to help people analyze and understand the information at hand. The industry has grown exponentially over the last few years. As a result there are more visualization tools available, which have in turn lowered the barrier of entry for creating visualizations.
This course provides an overview of the field of Information Visualization. It follows a hands-on approach. Readings and lectures will cover basic visualization principles and tools. Labs will focus on practical introductions to tools and frameworks. We will discuss existing visualizations and critique their effectiveness in conveying information. Finally, guest speakers from the industry will give an insight into how information visualization is used in practice.
All students are expected to participate in class discussion, complete lab assignments, and create an advanced interactive data visualization as a semester project.
Priority for attending this class is given to I School students. The semester project involves programming; therefore students are expected to have some coding experience. Interested students from other departments are invited to join the class if they can demonstrate the required skills.
Note: This course is offered for a letter grade only.
Note: Until 2014, this course was offered for 3 units.
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.
This course was previously offered as as Info 290.
Also listed as New Media C263.
Special Topics Courses
In this course, we will survey a broad range of “alternative” thinkers — including, but not limited to, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Ivan Illich, Paulo Freire, and E.F. Schumacher — and try to derive some potential implications of each of their ideas for the design and use of technological artifacts. For each, we will try to understand their perspectives on technology, society, and human development and the underlying values that drive these perspectives, and to apply these values to practical design considerations. The course will consist of weekly readings, discussion, and regular design activities.
This is an introductory course on design, problem solving and innovation. While the principles generalize to any context, this course focuses on solutions that take the form of digital goods and services.
This is a team-based, experiential learning course. Students who take this course should expect to:
Work with a team that includes different backgrounds, interests, and personal motivations. As a cross-listed course, teams may or may not include students from different schools across the University (depending upon enrollment).
Experience a process for identifying and prioritizing opportunities to innovate. The process scales from an entrepreneur working alone to Fortune 500 firms managing an innovation portfolio.
Practice applying qualitative processes (including customer interviews, paper prototyping, and remote user-testing) to characterize the "job to be done," isolate a "minimum viable problem," and iterate your design prototypes.
Practice applying quantitative processes (including analysis of keyword searches, digital ad campaigns, and funnel analysis) to characterize the "job to be done," isolate a "minimum viable problem," and iterate your design prototypes.
Formulate hypotheses and then design and execute experiments in a Lean cycle of build, measure and learn.
Teams will learn general principles of product/service design in the context of tools, methods, and concepts specific to the Web-based environment. Both desktop and mobile products and services are prototyped in the Web context to leverage common development and testing resources. For purposes of the course, the product or service should be aimed at consumers in the range 25 - 45. We define this target audience so that we can use classmates as preliminary subjects of interviews, testing, and surveys. For the purposes of this course, the product or service need not have a compelling business model. The focus is on creating a product or service that solves a real problem, not necessarily creating a new business.
This course teaches a process-oriented approach to product and service design with heavy emphasis on user experience design. Students interested in design aesthetics, semiotics and cognitive psychology should look elsewhere. Neither is this a class about technology. The course syllabus does not include tutorials on specific software packages. Students interested in technical questions such as platform selection and scaling should look elsewhere.
This course is cross-listed as MBA 247.
In Spring 2015 and Spring 2016, this course was offered for 2 units.
The mobile landscape is constantly changing — new devices, new operating systems, new applications. Even seasoned designers are overwhelmed by the chaos, sometimes creating less than optimal designs that are soon outdated. But the successful designs, the ones that surprise and delight their users, look beyond the here and now.
Designing Mobile Experiences will start with an overview of current device and OS differences, featuring guest lecturers with deep Android and iOS expertise. The second part of the course will lay the foundation to create mobile application designs that can truly stand the test of time. Some of the topics we’ll cover include: exploratory mobile research, gesture design, and touch design. The latter part of the course will introduce ways to bring apps to life through animation, sound, and prototyping.
Course material will be covered through lectures, in class activities, readings, and a group project. Early in the semester students will pitch mobile application ideas; they will spend the rest of the term iteratively designing the app with their teammates. Ongoing design critiques will be provided by the instructor, classmates, and industry leaders.
Priority for attending this class is given to I School students. Programming mobile applications will not be covered in the course.
This is a 2-hour, intensive weekly discussion of current and ongoing research by Ph.D. students with a research interest in issues of information (social, legal, technical, theoretical, etc). Thus, we welcome Ph.D. students from inside and outside the I School who focus on these issues. Our goal is to focus on critiquing research problems, theories, and methodologies from multiple perspectives so that we can produce high-quality, publishable work in the interdisciplinary area of information research. We welcome a mix of older and newer Ph.D. students, which usually means we will have a mix of dissertation chapters from some and potential qualifying papers from others. For newer PhD's, a separate article or very new project idea might make more sense. No matter what you present to the group, the goal will be to compliment, critique, and suggest specific improvements. We want to have critical and productive discussion, but above all else we want to make our work better: more interesting, more accessible, more rigorous, more theoretically grounded, and more like the stuff we enjoy reading.
The purpose of this course is to provide a health care industry context for information systems as an important element for student work in
systems design and evaluation. Specifically, I hope to:
- Provide an overview of issues and trends which will shape the need for and structures of information systems within health care:demographic, epidemiological, social and technologic
- Identity and explore key topics in health care information systems: background, issues, examples, implications for future development
(In Spring 2011, this course was offered for 1–2 units.)
What insights about student learning can be revealed from data, and how can those insights be used to improve the efficacy of educational technology? This course will cover computational approaches to the task of modeling learning and improving outcomes in Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We will cover theories and methodologies underpinning current approaches to knowledge discovery and data mining in education and survey the latest developments in the broad field of human learning research.
This course will be project based, where teams will be introduced to online learning platforms and their datasets with the objective of pairing data analysis with theory or implementation. Literature review will serve to add context and grounding to projects.
Suggested background includes one programming course and familiarity with one statistical/computational software package.
The study of learning in online environments is an interdisciplinary pursuit, and therefore all majors are welcomed and encouraged to bring complimentary backgrounds.
Undergraduates with the appropriate background and motivation are encouraged to enroll but must contact Associate Director of Student Affairs Catherine Cronquist Browning for enrollment permissions.
NOTE: This course is cross-listed as Education 290A. Formative Assessment in Virtual Learning Environments.
Just as the web browser brought us click-stream data and the mobile phone brought us geo-location data, ubiquitous low-cost sensors integrated with wearable and Internet-of-Things devices will bring us a new torrent of user data to collect, analyze, and exploit. The course takes a hands-on approach to exploring the possibilities and limitations of consumer-grade sensing technologies for physiological and contextual data.
We will survey the intellectual foundations and research advances in ubiquitous computing, physiological and affective computing, with applications in health and wellness, social computing, information security, novel user interfaces, etc. We will cover temporal and spectral techniques for time-series data analysis. We will consider data stewardship issues, including data ownership, data privacy, and research ethics. The class lending library will provide access to a variety of devices that can be used for data collection and application prototyping.
Project work can be undertaken in a variety of application domains, such as affective computing, ambient assisted living, biometric authentication, privacy by design, quantified self, smart cars and homes, social robotics, and virtual and augmented reality.
This course will explore the make-up of the healthcare industry, how healthcare players set strategy, the impact of system design on healthcare strategies, and the implications of these strategies on the future of the healthcare sector and society more broadly. The first two-thirds of the course will examine strategy in the US context. The last third will explore how different international models of healthcare influence strategy, and what these might mean for the future of US healthcare as well.
News, online, movies, advertising, television, mobile, videogames, music, books, social media — all part of the industry of informing and entertaining, and all being revolutionized. In this course we will do a quick overview of the media business — from startups to global conglomerates.
We will address a wide range of topics: the economics of media organizations (and industries), their organizational structures, cultures, brands, and approaches.
Some of the questions we'll discuss:
- How do traditional media address changing technologies?
- How is the media business driven by metrics and data? How is it driven by artistic creativity?
- Are media companies too big? Are they too small?
Students will present strategies for media companies, hear from guest speakers, and discuss the transformations happening in media. Students should expect to have significant input into the companies and topics we discuss.
We will make every attempt to avoid predictions about the future; we might occasionally succeed.
Note: This course is cross-listed in the Haas School of Business.
May not be taken for credit if student has previously taken Info 290: Media, New and Otherwise.
In this course you’ll learn industry-standard agile and lean software development techniques such as test-driven development, refactoring, pair programming, and specification through example. You’ll also learn good object-oriented programming style. We’ll cover the theory and principles behind agile engineering practices, such as continuous integration and continuous delivery.
This class will be taught in a flip-the-classroom format, with students programming in class. We'll use the Java programming language. Students need not be expert programmers, but should be enthusiastic about learning to program. Please come to class with laptops, and install IntelliJ IDEA community edition. Students signing up should be comfortable writing simple programs in Java (or a Java-like language such as C#).
The goal of Data Mining and Analytics is to introduce students to the practical fundamentals of data mining and machine learning with just enough theory to aid intuition building. The course is project-oriented, with a project beginning in class every Thursday and to be completed outside of class by the following week, or two weeks for longer assignments. The in class portion of the project is meant to be collaborative and a time for the instructor to work closely with groups to understand the learning objectives and help them work through any logistics that may be slowing them down. Tuesdays are lecture days which introduce the concepts and algorithms which will be used in the upcoming project. The primary objective is for everyone to leave the class with hands-on data mining and data engineering skills they can confidently apply. Knowledge of basic python programming is a strong prerequisite for this course.
Foster critical thinking about real world actionability from machine learned analytics.
Develop intuition in various machine learning classification algorithms (e.g. decision trees, neural networks / deep representation learning, support vector machines), clustering techniques (e.g. kmeans, spectral), as well as big data processing tools (e.g. map reduce).
Develop data engineering and High Performance Computing systems skills
Provide a preview of trends that will shape the need for data mining and analytics across a variety of disciplines.
(Previously offered as Info 290.)
Open data — data that is free for use, reuse, and redistribution — is an intellectual treasure-trove that has given rise to many unexpected and often fruitful applications. In this course, students will 1) learn how to access, visualize, clean, interpret, and share data, especially open data, using Python, Python-based libraries, and supplementary computational frameworks and 2) understand the theoretical underpinnings of open data and their connections to implementations in the physical and life sciences, government, social sciences, and journalism.
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 leading-edge trends in data science and analytics at Silicon Valley and tech firms. The speakers will include executives, entrepreneurs, and researchers from leading firms.
The topics covered will include (a subset of):
- Data analytics and “Big Data”
- Machine learning and scalability
- Business analytics including online marketing and advertising, financial services and risk analytics, operational and service analytics
- Information retrieval (search)
- Information extraction
- Social networks and social media
- Healthcare analytics
- Energy analytics
The seminar will cover the types of problems being addressed in data science and analytics, the component methods and technologies being developed, and fruitful areas for research and entrepreneurial efforts.
This requires attendance and participation in the seminar series and is open to the broader student and faculty community.
This participatory class explores civic engagement and political activism in the information age, through the lens of technology-enabled collective action. We will focus on both the theory and real-world cases of the Internet mobilizing people by spreading alternative views and news — and the parallel emergence of collective identity and civic action. Students will read books on communication power, watch documentary films on the Arab Spring, and do case studies about US, Iran, China, and elsewhere. The class will also look into issues such as online surveillance and filtering, circumvention tools, and how repressive regimes have countered digital activism.
In addition to analytic readings, students will engage in collective knowledge-gathering and construct a resource wiki as public good. Students will do individual or group projects relating to concepts and themes discussed in this course.
This research seminar class is not limited to the graduate students in the School of Information; students from other departments on campus, including undergraduates, are welcome.
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.
Individual & Group Study
This course is intended for graduate student instructors (GSIs) and is meant to be taken simultaneously with teaching as a GSI and to satisfy the Graduate Council's 300-level pedagogy course requirement. The practicum may include discussion, reading, preparation, and practical experience under faculty supervision in teaching, with a focus on topics within information management and systems.
Course may be repeated for credit as topic varies. Four hours of work per week per unit. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Does not count toward a degree.
Spring 2014: Info 375 will be offered for 2 units.