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Mastery courses

Mastery courses are special types of courses that require students to demonstrate synthesis of the major theories, methods and approaches to inquiry and/or schools of practice necessary for entry into a particular career in the information professions. Mastery is defined as a student’s ability to do a task, solve a problem, produce an outcome, design a product, deliver a service, etc. at the level comparable to or exceeding a well-launched beginner in a field, profession or discipline.

Mastery courses require a high level of independence from students. Instructors assume the role of mentor, facilitator or advisor, and the courses are driven by problem analysis, information gathering and sharing, creative solutions for a project, or a combination of these elements.

MSI students are required to complete one mastery course or the Master’s Thesis Option Program (MTOP). Each mastery course has five to eight prerequisite courses that must be taken in advance of the mastery course.

Winter 2020 mastery courses

UX Research and Design (699-001)

This mastery course provides you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in User Experience (UX) research and design. This includes the application of design theories, concepts, and principles in order to:

  1. Identify and articulate a meaningful user experience challenge or problem
  2. Conduct UX research with appropriate methods to uncover user needs, document UX research
  3. results, and articulate user experience requirements
  4. Develop, refine, prototype, and validate user experience design solutions, and
  5. Effectively communicate with stakeholders.

Syllabus

UX Research and Design (699-002)

User Experience Research & Design is an interdisciplinary approach to technology that emerged out of earlier research and design methods and fields including but not limited to Participatory Design, Human-Computer Interaction and User Interface Design. It is often understood as a reaction to and intervention into engineering approaches to technological development. User Experience Research and Design as such can mean a variety of approaches and range of activities – often what is meant is highly dependent on the specific culture of an employer or the institution. Across various instantiations it is always though some form of blend of social scientific, technical, creative, and critical thinking skills, and this course will reflect this interdisciplinary commitment.

Syllabus

User-Centered Agile Development (699-003)

This is a mastery course for students interested in pursuing a career in software development with a UX focus. Students will work in groups of 4-6 on a semester-long project, integrating UX research and design methods with agile software development, with the goal of producing a Minimally Viable Prototype at the end.

Syllabus

Big Data Analytics (699-004)

The big data analytics mastery course will require students to demonstrate mastery of data collection, processing, analysis, visualization, and prediction. To develop these skills students will work on semester-long projects that deal with large or industry-scale data sets, and solve real-world problems. Aligned with best industry practices, students will be expected to work in a fast-paced, collaborative environment, while demonstrating independence and leadership. Students must be able to create and use tools to handle very large transactional, text, network, behavioral, and/or multimedia data sets.

Syllabus

Digital Curation (699-005)

This mastery course is designed for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in digital curation through the completion of a client-based project with a specific outcome. Working in independently or in small teams, students will work with a client on a digital curation problem, such as:

  • Data rescue & digital forensics
  • Assessing and improving metadata capture for a web archive
  • Modeling information packages for a new collection of digital content
  • Analyzing and improving an existing collection
  • Designing and implementing new systems/tools for access to a digital collection

Syllabus

Big Data Analytics (699-007)

The big data analytics mastery course will require students to demonstrate mastery of data collection, processing, analysis, visualization, and prediction. To develop these skills students will work on semester-long projects that deal with large or industry-scale data sets, and solve real-world problems. Aligned with best industry practices, students will be expected to work in a fast-paced, collaborative environment, while demonstrating independence and leadership. Students must be able to create and use tools to handle very large transactional, text, network, behavioral, and/or multimedia data sets.

Syllabus

Librarianship & Archival Practice (699-008)

This mastery course prepares students for careers in librarianship, archives, and cultural heritage collections management, representation, access, and/or preservation. It is designed for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through completion of a client-based project with a specific outcome. Students will work with one client on a specific problem in archival or library setting, such as:

  • Creating and implementing a preservation policy
  • Designing methods and tools for collections development, management, or processing
  • Analyzing and improving an existing collection
  • Developing a reference resource or tool
  • Implementing a digitization plan
  • Developing tools that help users to discover and use collections
  • Evaluating and assessing user access and experience, etc.

Syllabus

Fall 2019 mastery courses 

UX Research and Design (699-001)

This course will require you to demonstrate mastery in application of design theories, concepts and principles to defining valid problems, uncovering user needs, articulating service requirements, documenting UX research results, proposing, refining, and prototyping design solutions, and communicating with stakeholders effectively. You will have opportunities to integrate methods and theories about user experience design in this course by engaging in a whole process from identifying design issues to developing design solutions. You will work on a single project end-to-end during the semester. You will either work on a project individually or in pairs. For the most part, you will choose and design projects from scratch, though projects for real-world clients will be allowed as long as you meet the course requirements.

Syllabus

UX Research and Design (699-002)

User experience research & design is an interdisciplinary approach to technology that emerged out of earlier research and design methods and fields including but not limited to participatory design, human computer interaction and user interface design. It is often understood as a reaction to and intervention into engineering approaches to technological development. User experience research and design as such can mean a variety of approaches and range of activities — often what is meant is highly dependent on the specific culture of an employer or the institution. Across various instantiations it is always though some form of blend of social scientific, technical, creative and critical thinking skills, and this course will reflect this interdisciplinary commitment.

Syllabus

Developing Social Computing (699-012)

The mastery course provides students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in user research, application design and system implementation by creating novel social computing applications. This course will challenge students to build on prior coursework in human computer interaction and programming to apply and adapt their existing skill sets to identify and solve the problems that arise in the design of new social computing systems, including the areas of user experience, technical implementation and stakeholder communication. It is intended for students who want to go beyond prototypes to understand the full experience of creating and launching a new system.

This course is intended to be very advanced in nature and assumes that students will approach the course with a solid design, user research and technical foundation. This course will result in at least three to four items for a student's portfolio.

Syllabus