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Special topics courses

Fall 2023 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.

*Application Required*

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 - 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 - J. Westphal (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.

Social Media & Politics - J. Pal (SI 311.072 - 3 credits)

This class is at the intersection of political communications and social media behavior. It is meant to introduce students to a range of global cases in the use and deployment of social media in promoting or managing political campaigns. Students will consider electoral campaigns, party strategies, brand management of individual politicians, as well as political movement building. The core of the class will be a case-based examination of several key politicians and parties with the goal of understanding practices and strategies.

By the end of this class, all students are expected to be able to:

  •  Identify some of the key strategies in political brand and campaign management on social media;
  • Understand the institutional, economic, and network drivers of such political outreach online;
  • Discuss the historical and philosophical roots of such actions;
  • Contribute to empirical knowledge on political campaigns on social media, and potentially assess the efficacy of such efforts.

Using AI Effectively - D. Jurgens (311.110 - 1 credit)

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion put powerful AI in the hands of the general public. By simply writing instructions like “write a song about AI” or “a dancing wolverine”, we can use AI models to generate new text and image creations. However, these tools raise many questions for how to effectively use them. How do we write good instructions to accomplish a task? What kinds of tasks are different generative AI systems good or bad at? When can we trust their output? This course will provide a hands-on interactive tour through different Generative AI systems to answer these questions and more. Students will learn techniques for productively using these systems — including how to use them to help learn and study new material. This course uses AI as a tool, so no background in programming or technology is required. 

Privacy & Surveillance in a Digital Era - S. Berman (SI 311.149 - 3 credits)

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.

Auto UX - J. Rampton (SI 311.150 - 3 credits)

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.

Winter 2024 Offerings

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.

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.

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.