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University of Michigan School of Information



106 - Programs, Information and People

Introduction to programming with a focus on applications in informatics. Covers the fundamental elements of a modern programming language and how to access data on the internet. Explores how humans and technology complement one another, including techniques used to coordinate groups of people working together on software development.

110 - Introduction to Information Studies

This course will provide the foundational knowledge necessary to begin to address the key issues associated with the Information Revolution. Issues will range from the theoretical (what is information and how do humans construct it?), to the cultural (is life on the screen a qualitatively different phenomenon from experiences with earlier distance-shrinking and knowledge-building technologies such as telephones?), to the practical (what are the basic architecture of computing networks?). Successful completion of this "gateway" course will give you the conceptual tools for an initial understanding of the politics, economics, and culture of the Information Age, providing a foundation for later study in Information or any number of other disciplines. You will be more thoughtful about thorny information issues, and more "information literate" than you were before.

206 - Data-Oriented Programming

Students develop their core programming and software development skills, to build competency and literacy in important areas that includes basic data structures, debugging and testing, using distributed code repositories, pattern matching, and programmatic gathering and processing of data. Applications in assignments and labs are oriented around data manipulation.

301 - Models of Social Information Processing

This course focuses on how social groups form, interact, and change. We look at the technical structures of social networks and explore how individual actions are combined to produce collective effects. The techniques learned in this course can be applied to understanding friend systems like Facebook, recommender systems such as Digg, auction systems such as Ebay, and information webs used by search engines such as Google. This course introduces two conceptual models, networks and games, for how information flows and is used in multi-person settings. Networks or graph representations describe the structure of connections among people and documents. They permit mathematical analysis and meaningful visualizations that highlight different roles played by different people or documents, as well as features of the collection as a whole. Game representations describe, in situations of interdependence, the actions available to different people and how each person's outcomes are contingent on the choices of other people. It permits analysis of stable sets of choices by all the people (equilibrium's). It also provides a framework for analysis of the likely effects of alternative designs for markets and information elicitation mechanisms, based on their abstract game representations. Assignments in the course include problem sets exploring the mechanics of the models and essays applying them to current applications in social computing.

310 - Information Environments and Work

This course looks at information's role in organizations, including psychological, economic, management and sociocultural perspectives. Explores sense-making and effective communication, including the importance of "story-telling." Covers key humanistic perspectives and ethical issues related to information. Goes into the nature of requirements and helps students learn to "swim in a sea of data" in organizations. The course focuses on the importance of working at the frontier.

315 - Interpersonal and Psychological Implications of Social Media

This course provides students with a strong theoretical foundation for approaching the ways in which new social media platforms can shape how interpersonal relationships are initiated, maintained, and developed as well as the implications of these tools for psychological processes.

320 - Graphic Design

The conceptual part of the course covers the graphic design theory discourse. Students will reinforce the practical application of critical thinking; will learn how to apply it to a broader cultural, technological, and social context. Students will develop their aesthetic sensibilities and design skills through mastering visual language vocabulary, understanding principles of effective visual communication, solving creative problems, and developing analytical thinking, promoting thus their ability to respond professionally to rapidly changing needs of the modern world. While studying the elements of color, layout and grids, typography, illustrations, and web/digital design, students will build their own portfolio, in the hands-on part of the course, students will explore issues at the intersection of visual information and technology. They will work on versatile tasks related to digital graphic productions for web: file formats and images, background textures, collages, UI elements, grid-based website mockups for CSS frameworks. The tools and features of Adobe Creative Suite will allow students to get the necessary skills, providing them with hands-on experience, and familiarizing them with the standard professional tasks of the always-changing world of digital environment.

330 - Data Manipulation

Data analysis is crucial to application evaluation, as well as understanding users' information needs. When the data required are numerous we need an automated way to gather, parse, and summarize the data. In this course, you will learn to use Python and its modules to accomplish these tasks.

334 - Persuasion and Social Influence

Social Influence is one of the most pervasive and powerful mechanisms for behavior change whether you are an informatics professional who is building up your design tool-box, designing a new information system or managing a team. In this course we will learn why and under what conditions an individual's thoughts and actions can be influenced by those around them.

The primary goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the theories and key research findings in the field of persuasion and social influence through the lens of economics and social psychology. The second goal is to have you applying the tools of influence from day one of the course: you will learn techniques for persuasive speaking, writing and designing. All written and oral assignments will use short and targeted exercises to gain fluency in applying the techniques and ideas of persuasion. Finally, the course will culminate in an application of these techniques in two case studies (one covering a management problem and one a design challenge).

Though we will rely on theories, and learn about the key research findings, this course is suitable for anyone with any background but tailored directly to the needs of informatics students. The class will be heavily directed toward applying what we learn to practice and real world situations. Class meetings include a mixture of lecture and exposition through the use of experiments, an assortment of group activities and class discussion so that you can see and test some of the theories and techniques of social influence first hand.