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 social computing systems, get experience with social data analyses and focus on design, and evaluation of a social software 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.


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



Wednesday 10:00-11:00, or by appointment, 709 Information Science Building (135 North Bellefield Avenue)



1Aug 28, 2014Introduction and overviewintroduction to course
students' introduction
2Sep 4, 2014Social Network Sites and Social MediaBlogging and microblogging: what are blogs? Who blogs?
Social networks: Design, Technology, Features, and Impacts
3Sep 11, 2014Distributed collaborationWikis and Wikipedia
Computer supported collaboration tools
Content sharing
4Sep 18, 2014Social information processingTagging
Social navigation
Social search
Collaborative filtering
Recommender systems
Reading assignment 1 due
5Sep 25, 2014Social data analysisVisualization
APIs: FB API, Wikipedia API,...
Wikipedia assignment step 1 due
6Oct 2, 2014Social data analysisVisualization
APIs: FB API, Wikipedia API,...
Project ideas
7Oct 9, 2014no classWork on project ideas and Wikipedia assignment
8Oct 16, 2014Social network analysisNetworks: definition, metrics
Modeling and visualization
Practical applications
9Oct 23, 2014Midterm
10Oct 30, 2014Evaluation methodologies and research ethicsData collection
Data analysis
Usability studies
Conducting research on the Internet
Social data analysis assignment due
11Nov 6, 2014Social capitalDefinitions and measures
Social capital and social networks
Role of online communities on social capital
Wikipedia assignment step 2 due
12Nov 13, 2014Human computation and collective intelligenceCrowdsourcing
Mechanical turk
Purposeful games
Creative crowdsourcing
13Nov 20, 2014Online communities - Socialization of newcomersMembership lifecycles
Dealing with newcomers
Reading assignment 2 due
14Nov 27, 2014No classThanksgiving break
15Dec 4, 2014Online communities - Encouraging contributionunder-contribution problem
Encouraging contributions to online communities
Strategies supported by social science theories
Wikipedia assignment step 3 due
16Dec 11, 2014Final projectFinal project poster session


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 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.