This course focuses on how social groups form and evolve, how members of these groups interact with each other, and how these groups are supported and augmented with computer systems. The course is interdisciplinary, drawing from the fields of computer science, psychology, and sociology. It covers key theories and technologies of social computing in terms of (1) computer systems supporting social behavior and (2) socially intelligent computing carried out by groups. Students will have a chance to explore several social computing systems and focus on design, implementation, and evaluation of a social web system as their final project for the course.


This course does not assume any particular prerequisites. However, this is a graduate course which assumes critical thinking, desire to learn and being challenged with new topics, and hard work. Background in Web application development and user studies can be beneficial.


We will be reading excerpts from a large number of books and articles. Links to electronic copies are provided.



Tuesday 2:00-3:30, 709 Information Science Building (135 North Bellefield Avenue)



1Aug 30, 2012Introduction and overviewprogramming quiz
social computing quiz
introduction to course
students' introduction
2Sep 6, 2012Social software[1]Blogging and microblogging: what are blogs? Who blogs? Twitter
Social bookmarking: what is social bookmarking
Content sharing: photos, videos, ...
3Sep 13, 2012Social software[2]Wikis and Wikipedia
Social networking sites, Facebook and beyond
4Sep 20, 2012Social computing technologiesInteractive web: Ajax
APIs: FB API, Wikipedia API,...
5Sep 27, 2012Social information processingTagging
Social navigation
Social search
Collaborative filtering
6Oct 4, 2012Evaluation methodologies and research ethicsData collection
Data analysis
Usability studies
Conducting research on the Internet
7Oct 11, 2012CrowdsourcingConcept
Mechanical turk
Purposeful games
New directions of crowdsourcing
8Oct 18, 2012Social capital, online communities, and social rolesBonding and Identity social capital
What are online communities?
Social roles in online communities
9Oct 25, 2012Socialization of newcomersMembership lifecycles
Dealing with newcomers
10Nov 1, 2012No ClassWork on Wikipedia assignment, Prepare for midterm
11Nov 8, 2012MidtermMidterm presentations
12Nov 15, 2012Encouraging contributionunder-contribution problem
Encouraging contributions to online communities
Strategies supported by social science theories
13Nov 22, 2012No classThanksgiving break
14Nov 29, 2012Diversity, conflict, and coordinationDiversity in online communities
Regulating behavior
Conflict and coordination in Wikipedia
Promoting norms and rules
Encouraging cooperation
15Dec 6, 2012Visualization and sense makingSocial sense making
Social visualization
Information cascades
16Dec 13, 2012Final projectFinal project presentation


Academic Integrity: You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted as in the course group project. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.

Attendance: Class attendance, while not mandatory, is required if you want to succeed in this course, especially since the course does not have any course book and it involves a lot of in-class discussions. If you have missed the lecture, make sure that you have a copy of the slides. All the lecture materials will be uploaded online. The class participation credit is engineered to encourage your attendance.

Late Submissions: Homework or projects submitted after due date will be accepted, but your objective grade will be scaled so that you lose 10% of the grade for every late working day. I.e., if you will submit your work one week late, you will lose 50% of the grade.

Concerning Students with Disabilities: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 216 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890/(412) 383-7355 (TTY), as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.

An important note on plagiarism: Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive no credit for the assignment on which the cheating occurred. Additional actions -- including assigning the student a failing grade in the class or referring the case for disciplinary action -- may be taken at the discretion of the instructors. You may incorporate excerpts from publications by other authors, but they must be clearly marked as quotations and properly attributed. You may obtain copy editing assistance, and you may discuss your ideas with others, but all substantive writing and ideas must be your own or else be explicitly attributed to another, using a citation sufficiently detailed for someone else to easily locate your source.