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Special topics courses

Winter 2023 Offerings

C Programming: A Historical Perspective - C. Severance (SI 311.040 - 2 credits)

This course studies computer architecture and low-level programming by using the "classic" version of the C Programming language from the 1978 book written by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie. The K&R book places the reader in the middle of the 1970's transition from a hardware-centered computer science to a focus on writing portable and efficient software. 

While students will learn the C language, there is no expectation that this course will produce programmers that will write C code professionally.  Instead, it will greatly deepen our understanding of the nature of computing.  C is the foundation of modern computing.  C was used to develop operating systems like Unix, Minix, and Linux and programming languages like C++, Java, JavaScript, and Python.

This course will have limited enrollment. Please complete this FORM to apply. 

SQL & Databases - M. Hess (SI 311.050 - 3 credits  OR  SI 311.049 - 1.5 credits)

This course will introduce the students to beginning and intermediate database concepts to prepare the  student to use databases as part of a data analysis workflow. The students will learn data modeling, SQL Syntax, understanding how to evaluate different database systems for suitability, how to evaluate and improve the performance of database operations, how to use a database in a multi-step analysis process.

Seminars in Organizational Studies - L. Cortina (SI 311.069 - 1 credit)

This seminar provides a forum for the discussion of research and theory about organizations and organizational processes.  In keeping with its interdisciplinary character, the seminar will consider both macro and micro-processes and their intersection.  Presentations will be made by faculty and advanced graduate students from within the university, as well as from other universities and centers for research on organizations.

Laws of UX - J. Rampton (SI 311.150 - 3 credits)

This course provides hands-on experience with the basic laws and guidelines that govern a common understanding of user experience (UX) design, and how to present it. Students will work individually to create designs of their own that illustrate these laws and guidelines.  The 14 week course will cover 10 principles in addition to a practical framework for applying these principles in a design, and telling the story of that design. Students may build portfolio pieces through the real examples required for each principle and the two design challenge submissions that bring these principles together.

CXD in the Automotive Industry - W. Thompson (SI 311.155 - 3 credits)

Customer Experience Design: Propelled by digital experience and connected services, the automotive industry is transforming at a historically exponential rate. In this course, we will examine the factors driving this change to identify, design and propose solutions for Cross-Channel experiences in the world of connected vehicles. Students will be asked to evaluate current experiences and identify business and experience trends to discover what brings value to a business and its users. We will learn how to unlock the power of design thinking and apply modern UX business practices to drive meaningful results and drive industry transformation. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify and analyze areas of opportunity, create design proposals and present findings using a range of mediums.

Games & UX - J. Pierre (SI 311.156 - 3 credits)

This course is an introduction to the field of games user experience (UX) theory and practice. This course will use cross-disciplinary readings, lectures, and resources to explore the industry practice of games user research and game design, and the academic field of games research. It satisfies an undergraduate elective.

Social Movements & The Internet - J. Sheng (SI 311.157 - 3 credits)

Over the past few decades, social movements have increasingly relied on social movement participants leveraging internet technologies in mobilization, coordination, and public outreach to assist in their movement goals. How have new online tools such as social media and digital connectivity changed the processes of contemporary social movements? This course examines the ways social movements have adapted to online technologies to critically think about how the internet has altered traditional forms of social movement mobilization. We start with an introduction and review of traditional social movement literatures, building up to recent scholarship that examines how the internet has changed social movements. The last few weeks are focused on different contemporary social movement case studies where the internet played an important role, including the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ equality, feminism and the #MeToo movement, recent international social movements, and the internet’s role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Students will be encouraged to think about the ways social movement processes have been accelerated and/or changed due to online technologies.

Automotive & Mobility UI Design - S. Martin (SI 311.158 - 3 credits)

This course is a studio class that teaches students how to learn how to apply basic graphic design principles to user interface designs in the automotive and mobility spaces. Students will be assigned assignments that teach them how to create high fidelity user interfaces. Through this course the students will learn how to identify visual styles, design trends, how to create a visual blueprint and branding trajectory when tasked with the needs of a UI through the mobility UX lens.

Fall 2022 Offerings

Sports Analytics - T. Finholt (SI 311.030)

In this course students will work with the instructor and with training/coaching personnel in U-M Athletics to address a set of analyses related to athlete health, safety or performance, such as by using data gathered from: tracking devices worn in practice and competition (e.g., Catapult); cameras (e.g., TrackMan); or boxscore and other statistical data (e.g, Pro Football Focus).  These datasets can be large and complex. For example, wearables data typically consist of a hundred records per second with a dozen or so variables per record (e.g., distance traveled, direction of movement, number of explosive movements) – collected longitudinally across up to fifteen athletes per team per season.

Pre-requisites: Students should have completed (or be currently taking) an introductory level stats course (e.g., STATS 250) and an introductory programming course (e.g., EECS 183, ENGR 101/151 or INFO 106).

SQL & Databases - M. Hess (SI 311.050) 

This course will introduce the students to beginning and intermediate database concepts to prepare the student to use databases as part of a data analysis workflow. The students will learn data modeling, SQL Syntax, understanding how to evaluate different database systems for suitability, how to evaluate and improve the performance of database operations, how to use a database in a multi-step analysis process.

Privacy & Surveillance - S. Berman (SI 311.149)

Ubiquitous technology, pervasive data collection, machine learning and artificial intelligence have led to an unprecedented ability for individuals and organizations to watch, observe,  and surveil. This course will examine the intersections of observation, surveillance and privacy from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, and, informed by the past and present, critically explore potential future scenarios and outcomes.

Automotive User Interfaces - J. Rampton (SI 311.150)

Taught by industry professionals who currently work in the automotive industry, this course provides hands-on experience with the best practices and theory that exist within Automotive User Experience (UX) design space. Students will be asked to create designs of their own to convey their understanding. The primary context for this class will be the in-vehicle digital interfaces, but other devices such as mobile, web, and physical devices (ex. Charging stations, key fobs) will be referenced. This class will not cover exterior automotive design.