Information Course Schedule spring 2016


Foundations of data science from three perspectives: inferential thinking, computational thinking, and real-world relevance. Given data arising from some real-world phenomenon, how does one analyze that data so as to understand that phenomenon? The course teaches critical concepts and skills in computer programming and statistical inference, in conjunction with hands-on analysis of real-world datasets, including economic data, document collections, geographical data, and social networks. It delves into social and legal issues surrounding data analysis, including issues of privacy and data ownership. Also listed as Computer Science C8 and Statistics C8.

MWF 10-11 am — 155 Dwinelle
Instructor(s): John DeNero
Laboratory Section 101
W 11-1 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 102
W 12-2 — 342 Evans
Laboratory Section 103
W 1-3 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 104
W 3-5 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 105
W 5-7 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 106
W 6-8 pm — 342 Evans
Laboratory Section 107
W 7-9 pm — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 108
Th 9-11 am — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 109
Th 11-1 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 110
Th 2-4 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 111
Th 4-6 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 112
Th 5-7 — 342 Evans
Laboratory Section 113
Th 6-8 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 114
F 8-10 am — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 115
F 11-1 — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 116
F 1-3 pm — 342 Evans
Laboratory Section 117
F 1-3 pm — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 118
F 3-5 pm — 342 Evans
Laboratory Section 119
F 3-5 pm — 105 Cory
Laboratory Section 120
F 5-7 pm — 105 Cory

This course provides an introduction to critical and ethical issues surrounding data and society. It blends social and historical perspectives on data with ethics, policy, and case examples to help students develop a workable understanding of current ethical issues in data science. Ethical and policy-related concepts addressed include: research ethics; privacy and surveillance; data and discrimination; and the “black box” of algorithms. Importantly, these issues will be addressed throughout the lifecycle of data — from collection to storage to analysis and application. Course assignments will emphasize researcher and practitioner reflexivity, allowing students to explore their own social and ethical commitments.

Section 2
Tu 3:30-5:30 pm — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Anna Lauren Hoffmann


Surveying history through the lens of information and information through the lens of history, this course looks across time to consider what might distinguish ours as “the information age” and what that description implies about the role of “information technology” across time. We will select moments in societies’ development of information production, circulation, consumption, and storage from the earliest writing and numbering systems to the world of Social Media. In every instance, we’ll be concerned with what and when, but also with how and why. Throughout we will keep returning to questions about how information-technological developments affect society and vice versa?

TuTh 9:30-11 — 155 Kroeber
Instructor(s): Geoffrey Nunberg, Paul Duguid

With the advent of virtual communities and online social networks, old questions about the meaning of human social behavior have taken on renewed significance. 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 students to establish both theoretical and experiential foundations for making decisions and judgments regarding the relations between mediated communication and human community. Also listed as Sociology C167.

W 5-8 — 145 Dwinelle
Instructor(s): Edwin Lin


This course is designed to be an introduction to the topics and issues associated with information and information technology and its role in society. Throughout the semester we will consider both the consequence and impact of technologies on social groups and on social interaction and how society defines and shapes the technologies that are produced. Students will be exposed to a broad range of applied and practical problems, theoretical issues, as well as methods used in social scientific analysis. The four sections of the course are: 1) theories of technology in society, 2) information technology in workplaces 3) automation vs. humans, and 4) networked sociability.

TuTh 12:30-2 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Jenna Burrell

This course uses examples from various commercial domains — retail, health, credit, entertainment, social media, and biosensing/quantified self — to explore legal and ethical issues including freedom of expression, privacy, research ethics, consumer protection, information and cybersecurity, and copyright. The class emphasizes how existing legal and policy frameworks constrain, inform, and enable the architecture, interfaces, data practices, and consumer facing policies and documentation of such offerings; and, fosters reflection on the ethical impact of information and communication technologies and the role of information professionals in legal and ethical work.

TuTh 9:30-11 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Leslie Harris

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 to both start-up and Fortune 500 enterprises. Subjects include: communication and presentation skills, software and product development methodologies, negotiation skills, employee engagement, organizational structures and career paths, successful interviewing, and CV preparation.

M 4-6 pm — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): Peter Weis

This course addresses concepts and methods of user experience research, from understanding and identifying needs, to evaluating concepts and designs, to assessing the usability of products and solutions. We emphasize methods of collecting and interpreting qualitative data about user activities, working both individually and in teams, and translating them into design decisions. Students gain hands-on practice with observation, interview, survey, focus groups, and expert review. Team activities and group work are required during class and for most assignments. Additional topics include research in enterprise, consulting, and startup organizations, lean/agile techniques, mobile research approaches, and strategies for communicating findings.

Th 3:30-6:30 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): Steve Fadden

Three hours of lecture per week. This course covers the practical and theoretical issues associated with computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems (e.g., email, newsgroups, wikis, online games, etc.). We will focus on the analysis of CMC practices, the relationship between technology and behavior, and the design and implementation issues associated with constructing CMC systems. This course primarily takes a social scientific approach (including research from social psychology, economics, sociology, and communication).

TuTh 11-12:30 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): Coye Cheshire, Jennifer King

Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Graduate standing. As it's generally used, "information" is a collection of notions, rather than a single coherent concept. In this course, we'll examine conceptions of information based in information theory, philosophy, social science, economics, and history. Issues include: How compatible are these conceptions; can we talk about "information" in the abstract? What work do these various notions play in discussions of literacy, intellectual property, advertising, and the political process? And where does this leave "information studies" and "the information society"?

TuTh 12:30-2 — 205 South Hall
Instructor(s): Geoffrey Nunberg, Paul Duguid

Three hours of lecture per week. This course applies 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 goods, services, and platforms; economics of information and asymmetric information; economics of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data privacy, and peer production; strategic pricing; strategic complements and substitutes; competition and antitrust; Internet industry structure and regulation; network cascades, network formation, and network structure.

TuTh 2-3:30 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): John Chuang

The design and presentation of digital information. Use of graphics, animation, sound, visualization software, and hypermedia in presenting information to the user. Methods of presenting complex information to enhance comprehension and analysis. Incorporation of visualization techniques into human-computer interfaces. Three hours of lecture and one hour of laboratory per week.

MW 10:30-12 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Marti Hearst
Laboratory Section 101
W 12-1 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): TBA

This course will cover new interface metaphors beyond desktops (e.g., for mobile devices, computationally enhanced environments, tangible user interfaces) but will also cover visual design basics (e.g., color, layout, typography, iconography) so that we have systematic and critical understanding of aesthetically engaging interfaces. Students will get a hands-on learning experience on these topics through course projects, design critiques, and discussion, in addition to lectures and readings. Two hours of lecture per week.

F 11-1 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): Lisa Prescott

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.

Section 2
M 2-4 — I-Lab 124 Memorial Stadium
Instructor(s): Thomas Lee

Many products of human invention — political speeches, product reviews, status updates on Twitter and Facebook, literary texts, music and paintings — have been analyzed, not uncontroversially, as “data”. In this graduate-level course (open to all departments, especially those in the humanities and social sciences), we will pursue two ends: we will investigate the landscape of modern quantitative methods for treating data as a lens onto the world, surveying a range of methods in machine learning and data analysis that leverage information produced by people in order to draw inferences (such as discerning the authorship of documents and the political position of social media users, charting the reuse of language in legislative bills, tagging the genres of songs, and extracting social networks from literary texts). Second, we will cast a critical eye on those methods, and investigate the assumptions those algorithms make about the world and the data through which we see it, in order to understand their limitations and when to apply them. How and when can empirical methods support other forms of argumentation, and what are their limits? Many of these techniques are shared among the nascent communities of practice known as “computational social science”, “computational journalism” and the “digital humanities”; this course provides foundational skills for students to conduct their own research in these areas. No computational background is required.

Section 6
MW 9-10:30 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): David Bamman

Specific topics, hours and credit may vary from section to section, year to year. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

Section 4
W 11-12 — 205 South Hall
Instructor(s): Jenna Burrell

Many of us are interested in looking forward towards future challenges and opportunities (near, medium, and occasionally long term) of the information economy and society. But technology prognostication has a terrible track-record. And keying on worst-case and best-case possibilities is an unrealistic, inefficient, and sometimes dangerous way to generate insight. Scenario thinking is an alternate methodology, developed first by Royal Dutch Shell for use in the energy sector after the oil shocks of the 1970s and later extended more broadly to business, government, and non-profit sectors. Scenario thinking starts from the proposition that the future is unpredictable in any meaningful sense… and that it is possible instead to systematically develop a landscape of possible futures from which useful insights can be drawn, and against which strategic action can be planned. In this seminar we will learn, practice, and develop scenario thinking for the information economy and society. We’ll explore the scientific limits of prediction; decision biases in that setting; and alternative methods for gaining and communicating insight that changes what people think and what they do. We’ll develop our own scenarios and use them to explore systematically challenges and opportunities ahead for the things we care about — business ideas, governance challenges, social change, etc. This seminar will call on a high level of energy, creativity, and open-mindedness as well as great teamwork.

Section 7
Tu 3:30-6:30 — 205 South Hall
Instructor(s): Steven Weber

Specific topics, hours and credit may vary from section to section, year to year. May be repeated for credit with change in content.

Section 1
W 2-4 — 205 South Hall
Instructor(s): Coye Cheshire

This course considers at the Internet of Things (IoT) as the general theme of real-world things becoming increasingly visible and actionable via Internet and Web technologies. The goal of the course is to take a top-down as well as a bottom-up approach, thereby providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the IoT: from a technical viewpoint as well as considering the societal and economic impact of the IoT.

By looking at a variety of real-world application scenarios of the IoT and diverse implemented applications, the various understandings and requirements of IoT applications become apparent. This allows students to understand what IoT technologies are used for today, and what is required in certain scenarios. By looking at a variety of existing and developing technologies and architectural principles, students gain a better understanding of the types of technologies that are available and in use today and can be utilized to implement IoT solutions. Finally, students will be given the opportunity to apply these technologies to tackle scenarios of their choice in teams of two or three, using an experimental platform for implementing prototypes and testing them as running applications. At the end of the semester, all project teams will present their completed projects.

Section 9
W 1-3 — 107 South Hall
Instructor(s): Simon Mayer, Florian Michahelles
W 3-4 — 107 South Hall
Instructor(s): Simon Mayer, Florian Michahelles

This seminar will discuss topics of current interest in the multi-disciplinary field of ubiquitous sensing. The format will include paper discussions, invited lectures from both within and outside the class, and short written assignments. Students will also be responsible for presenting during at least one class session, either on their own research and ideas or on a selected set of papers relevant to the course topic.

Section 3
F 1:30-2:30 — 107 South Hall
Instructor(s): John Chuang

This seminar will explore the educational technology (Edtech) sector from policy, design, and legal lenses. Edtech is among the most exciting fields for personalization because such tools may enhance learning. But in practice, Edtech is often poorly implemented. An OECD report recently found that “student performance is mixed at best” from the incorporation of internet and communication technologies in the classroom. At least four different privacy regulatory regimes touch Edtech, yet enthusiasm for the field remains high, with venture funding now reaching almost $2b for the sector. This seminar, following a problem-based learning approach, will explore the Edtech field in depth. What can we realistically expect from Edtech? How can Edtech be used most efficaciously? How do we regulate student privacy and why? How can technology serve the regulatory requirements and ends of policy?

Section 10
F 10-12 — 205 South Hall
Instructor(s): Chris Jay Hoofnagle

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#).

Section 1
M 1-4 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Jez Humble

This course is currently offered as Info 254. Data Mining and Analytics.

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.

Section 2
TuTh 2-3:30 — 210 South Hall
Instructor(s): Zachary Pardos

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.

WF 2:30-4 — 210 South Hall

One hour colloquium per week. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites: Ph.D. standing in the School of Information. Colloquia, discussion, and readings designed to introduce students to the range of interests of the school.

M 1-2:30 — 107 South Hall
Instructor(s): Steven Weber

Course may be repeated for credit as topic varies.  Two to four hours of seminar per week. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor. Topics in information management and systems and related fields. Specific topics vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit, with change of content.

Section 2
M 2-4 — 202 South Hall
Instructor(s): Ramakrishna Akella

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.

Section 3
Th 4-6 — 107 South Hall
Instructor(s): Xiao Qiang

Topics in information management and systems and related fields. Specific topics vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit, with change of content. May be offered as a two semester sequence.

Section 1
F 3-5 — 107 South Hall