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Courses in School of Information

Courses in the School of Information are listed in the Schedule of Classes under the School of Information. The following courses count as LSA courses for LSA degree credit.

Information (SI)
SI 106 / UC 109. Programs, Information and People
(4). May not be repeated for credit.

Introduction to programming with a focus on applications in informatics. Covers the fundamental elements of a modern programming language and how to access data on the internet. Explores how humans and technology complement one another, including techniques used to coordinate groups of people working together on software development.

SI 110 / UC 110. Introduction to Information Studies
(4). (SS). May not be repeated for credit.

This course will provide the foundational knowledge necessary to begin to address the key issues associated with the Information Revolution. Issues will range from the theoretical (what is information and how do humans construct it?), to the cultural (is life on the screen a qualitatively different phenomenon from experiences with earlier distance-shrinking and knowledge-building technologies such as telephones?), to the practical (what are the basic architecture of computing networks?). Successful completion of this "gateway" course will give you the conceptual tools for an initial understanding of the politics, economics, and culture of the Information Age, providing a foundation for later study in Information or any number of other disciplines. You will be more thoughtful about thorny information issues, and more "information literate" than you were before.

SI 182 / EECS 182. Building Applications for Information Environments
(4). (MSA). (BS). May not be repeated for credit. F, W.

Fundamental programming skills in the context of end-user software applications using a high-level language, such as Ruby or Python. Rapid design of a variety of information-oriented applications to gather, analyze, transform, manipulate, and publish data. Applications drawn from statistics, pattern matching, social computing and computer games.

SI 301. Models of Social Information Processing
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course focuses on how social groups form, interact, and change. We look at the technical structures of social networks and explore how individual actions are combined to produce collective effects. The techniques learned in this course can be applied to understanding friend systems like Facebook, recommender systems such as Digg, auction systems such as Ebay, and information webs used by search engines such as Google. This course introduces two conceptual models, networks and games, for how information flows and is used in multi-person settings. Networks or graph representations describe the structure of connections among people and documents. They permit mathematical analysis and meaningful visualizations that highlight different roles played by different people or documents, as well as features of the collection as a whole. Game representations describe, in situations of interdependence, the actions available to different people and how each person's outcomes are contingent on the choices of other people. It permits analysis of stable sets of choices by all the people (equilibrium's). It also provides a framework for analysis of the likely effects of alternative designs for markets and information elicitation mechanisms, based on their abstract game representations. Assignments in the course include problem sets exploring the mechanics of the models and essays applying them to current applications in social computing.

SI 410. Ethics and Information Technology
(4). May not be repeated for credit.

This course explores the ethical dilemmas that exist where human beings, information objects, and information systems interact. The course introduces students to a variety of ethical models from historical and cross-cultural perspectives and then explores the relevance of these models to a variety of new and emerging technologies that are inherently social in their construction and use. Initial examples of issues that the course covers include interpersonal engagement through online games and virtual environments, maintaining the integrity of digital content in a networked world, and balancing trade offs between secrecy (security) and openness of code, data, and information systems. Students explore the technological underpinnings of associated technology systems, experiment with individual and group interaction with technologies, and examine the mechanics of ethical and unethical behaviors.

SI 422. Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

Any product--whether a website, a technological system, or an electronically mediated service--benefits from evaluation before, during, and after the development cycle. Too often, the people who use a product cannot find what they want or accomplish what they need to do. Products are more successful when they are developed through a process that identifies how the products will be used, elicits input from potential users, and watches how the product function in real time with real users. This course provides a hands--on introduction to methods used throughout the entire evaluation process--from identifying the goals of the product, picturing who will use it, engaging users through a variety of formative evaluation techniques, and confirming a product's function through usability testing and summative evaluation. Specific methods include personas and scenarios, competitive analysis, observation, surveys, interviews, data analysis, heuristic evaluation, usability testing, and task analysis. Students will work on group projects that apply these techniques to real products in use or development.

SI 429. Online Communities: Analysis and Design of Online Interaction
(3). May not be repeated for credit.

This course gives students a background in theory and practice surrounding online interaction environments. For the purpose of this course, a community is defined as a group of people who sustain interaction over time. The group may be held together by a common identity, a collective purpose, or merely by the individual utility gained from the interactions. An online interaction environment is an electronic forum, accessed through computers or other electronic devices, in which community members can conduct some or all of their interactions.

SI 561 / EECS 595 / LING 541. Natural Language Processing
Senior standing. (Prerequisites enforced at registration.) (3). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

This course is an introduction to computational and linguistic concepts and techniques for modeling and analyzing natural language. Topics include finite-state machines, part of speech tagging, context-free grammars, syntax and parsing, unification grammars and unification-based parsing, language and complexity, semantics, discourse and dialogue modeling, natural language generation, and machine translation.

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