Relevant I-school courses


Lower-Division Courses

Upper-Division Courses

Time: TuTh 9:30-11:00
Location: 155 Kroeber
CCN: 41506

This course explores the history of information and associated technologies, uncovering why we think of ours as "the information age." We will select moments in the evolution of production, recording, and storage from the earliest writing systems to the world of Short Message Service (SMS) and blogs. In every instance, we'll be concerned with both what and when and how and why, and we'll keep returning to the question of technological determinism: how do technological developments affect society and vice-versa?

Time: Tu 5-7 (January 22 - April 23)
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41511

This class is a weekly, two hour, hands-on workshop for user interface prototyping. The goal is to introduce students to some of the ways that user interface prototypes are created and used. Most weeks will feature a different guest speaker who will first talk about how they create and use prototypes and then lead the class in a workshop where the students create a prototype in a similar format. From traditional methods such as paper and pen to digital tools such as wireframing software, you will get broad exposure to a wide range of prototyping methods as well as experience presenting your work to others and learning techniques for constructive feedback and iteration.

Core Courses

Instructor(s): Jenna Burrell
Time: TuTh 11-12:30
Location: 170 Barrows
CCN: 41566

This course is designed to be an introduction to the topics and issues associated with the study of information and information technology, from a social science perspective. As a result, this course will continuously introduce students to applied and practical problems, theoretical issues, as well as methods for answering different types of questions.

The following three questions will guide the material throughout the course: 1) Why do social scientists study information and information technology, 2) What are some of the key topics and issues that are studied, and 3) How do we study these issues? As we work our way through many different topics and problems in information, we will focus on various levels of analysis. This includes the micro (i.e., interpersonal relationships and information in small groups) to the macro level (i.e., organizational and institutional problems of information). By the end of the course, all students will be familiar with the social science approach to information and information technology, as well as many of the key problems and the methods used to solve these problems. This knowledge is essential to having a well-rounded understanding of information issues in professional environments.

NOTE: This course was offered for 3 units in Spring 2010 and Spring 2011.

Instructor(s): Michael Schaffer
Time: F 12:00 -2:00
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41575

As information and information systems projects have become increasingly strategic, information workers at all levels and in all environments must demonstrate higher levels of professionalism, not only to perform their duties competently, but to remain competitive in the job market. This course, in conjunction with the School of Information final project, gives students insight into the source and best practice of professionalism, and gives students the chance to refine the essential skills in a simulated but realistic working environment.

Note: This course is being offered on a S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) basis.

General Courses

Time: TuTh 12:30-2
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41581

This course addresses concepts and methods of user experience research. The emphasis will be on methods of collecting and interpreting many kinds of data about real-world user activities and practices and translating them into design decisions. The course includes hands-on practice with a number of major user experience research methods, including heuristic evaluation; observation; interviews, surveys and focus groups. The emphasis will be on naturalistic/ethnographic (qualitative) methods, but we will also address major quantitative methods. Finally, we will discuss methods of bringing user experience research into the design process.

This course is appropriate for both 1st and 2nd-year MIMS students, and for students from other departments with a strong interest in user experience research, with the instructor's permission. Students will complete at least one major group project related to needs assessment and evaluation. Second-year MIMS students may use this project to meet their capping project requirement.

Time: W 9-12
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41584

This course covers the practical and theoretical issues associated with computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems. CMC includes many different types of technologies such as email, newsgroups, chat, and online games. We will focus on the analysis of CMC practices, the social structures that emerge when people use these applications, and the design and implementation issues associated with constructing CMC technologies.

We will primarily take a social scientific approach to computer-mediated communication (including research from psychology, social psychology, economics, and sociology). We will investigate questions such as: How do we represent identity and perceive others in CMC environments? How are interfaces and visualizations used in CMC to help make sense of relationships? Why do some Wikis "succeed" while others do not? How is the production of open source software such as Linux similar to (and different from) a social movement? Why are reputations useful in some online environments, and not in others? Can we really develop meaningful relationships and perhaps even love-purely through CMC?

This course was previously offered as INFO 290-12.


Time: TuTh 1-2:30
Location: 107 South Hall
CCN: 41587

Three hours of lecture per week. 
Prerequisites: Graduate standing.

As it's generally used, "information" is a collection of notions, rather than a single coherent concept. In this course, we'll examine conceptions of information based in information theory, philosophy, social science, economics, and history. Issues include: How compatible are these conceptions; can we talk about "information" in the abstract? What work do these various notions play in discussions of literacy, intellectual property, advertising, and the political process? And where does this leave "information studies" and "the information society"?

Instructor(s): Morten Hansen
Time: F 9-12
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41590

This course focuses on managing people in information-intensive firms and industries, such as information technology industries. Students who seek careers in these industries will soon be asked to manage people, teams, departments, and units. They need to learn how to manage. However, managing is sometimes very different in these settings: Employees are highly educated; work is more fluid; teamwork and collaboration are essential; and external situations and strategies change rapidly. For these reasons several management principles born in a traditional manufacturing era no longer apply. In particular, the old style of “command and control” needs to give way to more distributed ways of work, with significant consequences for how managers need to manage. Of course, some universal management principles apply no matter what circumstance.

While we will cover these universal management principles in this course, we will pay particular attention to management issues that are highly relevant in information-intensive settings. Topics to be covered will likely include: managing knowledge workers; managing teams (incl. virtual ones); collaborating across disparate units, giving and receiving feedback; managing the innovation process (incl. in eco-systems); managing through networks; and managing when using communication tools (e.g., tele-presence). The course will rely heavily on cases as a pedagogical form.

May not be taken for credit if student has previously taken INFO 290,Section 1 (Spring 2009) or Section 6 (Fall 2009)

This course satisfies the Management of Information Projects & Organizations requirement.

Instructor(s): Paul Laskowski
Time: TuTh 2-3:30
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41596

This course examines information from an economic perspective. We will introduce a range of seminal theories that describe how information is created, shared, and valued. Our focus covers both the role of information in the general economy, as well as the specific behavior of information markets. Topics will include information technology, knowledge production, markets with hidden information, digital goods, and networks. While this is a theoretical course, the tools and insights it provides may benefit any student navigating issues in the information economy.

235. Cyberlaw (3 units)
Time: MW 2-3:30
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41599

Three hours of lecture per week. The emergence of global digital networks, such as the Internet, and digital technologies that enhance human abilities to access, store, manipulate, and transmit vast amounts of information has brought with it a host of new legal issues that lawyers preparing to practice in the 21st century will need to understand and address. Although many are trying to "map" existing legal concepts onto problems arising in cyberspace, it is becoming increasingly evident that this strategy sometimes doesn't work. In some cases, it is necessary to go back to first principles to understand how to accomplish the purposes of existing law in digital networked environments. The course will explore specific problems in applying law to cyberspace in areas such as intellectual property, privacy, content control, and the bounds of jurisdiction. Students with familiarity with the Internet and its resources or with backgrounds in some of the substantive fields explored in this course are especially welcome, but there are no formal prerequisites. Grades for the course will be based either on a series of short papers or on a supervised term paper.

Note: This course is cross-listed with Law 276.1.

Instructor(s): Ray Larson
Time: MW 11-12:30
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41602

Three hours of lecture per week. Theories and methods for searching and retrieval of text and bibliographic information. Analysis of relevance and utility. Statistical and linguistic methods for automatic indexing and classification. Boolean and probabilistic approaches to indexing, query formulation, and output ranking. Filtering methods. Measures of retrieval effectiveness and retrieval experimentation methodology.

This course is intended to prepare you to understand the underlying theories and algorithms of advanced information retrieval systems and to introduce the methodology for the design and evaluation of information retrieval systems. The course will introduce you to the major types of information retrieval systems, the different theoretical foundations underlying these systems, and the methods and measures that can be used to evaluate them. The course will focus on the both the theoretical aspects of information retrieval design and evaluation, and will also consider the practical aspects of how these theories have been implemented in actual systems. These topics will be examined through readings, discussion, hands-on experience using various information retrieval systems, and through participation in evaluation of different retrieval algorithms on various test collections. The prerequisite for the course is INFOSYS 202, though this may be waived with the consent of instructor. A good familiarity with computers and programming is highly desirable.


Instructor(s): Michael Porath
Time: TuTh 3:30-5
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41605

Information visualization is widely used in media, business, and engineering disciplines to help people analyze and understand the information at hand. The industry has grown exponentially over the last few years. As a result there are more visualization tools available, which have in turn lowered the barrier of entry for creating visualizations.

This course provides an overview of the field of Information Visualization. It follows a hands-on approach. Readings and lectures will cover basic visualization principles and tools. Labs will focus on practical introductions to tools and frameworks. We will discuss existing visualizations and critique their effectiveness in conveying information. Finally, guest speakers from the industry will give an insight into how information visualization is used in practice.

All students are expected to participate in class discussion, complete lab assignments, and create an advanced interactive data visualization as a semester project.

Priority for attending this class is given to I School students. The semester project involves programming; therefore students are expected to have some coding experience. Interested students from other departments are invited to join the class if they can demonstrate the required skills.

Instructor(s): Kimiko Ryokai
Time: MW 2-3:30 (Lab: TBA)
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41611

This course will explore the theory and practice of Tangible User Interfaces, a new approach to HCI which focuses on the physical interaction with computational media. The topics covered in the course include:

  • Theoretical framework of Tangible User Interfaces
  • Design examples of Tangible User Interfaces
  • Enabling technologies for Tangible User Interfaces

Students will design and develop experimental Tangible User Interfaces, applications, underlying technologies, and theories using concept sketches, posters, physical mockups, working prototypes, and a final project report. The course will have 3 hours of lecture and 1 hour of laboratory per week.

Note:  Previously listed as Info 290: Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces. Students who completed INFO 290 section 4 in Fall 2008 will receive no credit for Info 262.

This course is cross-listed as New Media C262.

Special Topics Courses

Instructor(s): Marti Hearst
Time: M 9-12
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41615

This course will bring together students from the humanities who want to learn how technology can change how they do research, and students from information and computer science who want to help build the next generation of tools for humanities scholars, with a focus on analysis of written literature.

Students from each discipline will be expected to be open to learning from the other. The course will consist of readings and discussion of research papers as well as analysis and evaluation of existing tools. Students will be expected to contribute to the design, analysis, and/or evaluation of a new software tool for scholarly literature analysis.

Information and computer science students should have experience or backgrounds in some subset of database programming, XML design, graphic design, user interface design, information visualization, natural language processing, machine learning, data mining and/or statistical analysis as well as general programming skills.

Humanities students should have an open mind and a passion to learn about new techniques.

Open to graduate students in all fields and upper-division undergraduates by permission of instructor.


290. Innovation and Information (Sec 3) (3 units)
Instructor(s): Clark Kellogg
Time: F 9-12
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41616

In your present and future work, you will increasingly face what have been called “wicked problems.” They are volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Dealing with them requires new ways of thinking about issues and new ways of innovative leadership. This class focuses on having you learn about and practice some of the processes and tools — drawn from the fields of critical thinking, design thinking, systems thinking and creative problem solving — that will help you grapple with the “wicked problems” presented to you in school and beyond. Specifically, we’ll work with ways of collecting information to characterize a problem, framing and re-framing that problem, coming up with a range of solutions and then gathering feedback to assess those solutions. We’ll work in a “learn-by-doing” mode in five zones: observations, insights, ideas, solutions and stories and apply those processes and tools to designing and redesigning in real settings.

NOTE: Class attendance is required during the first week of instruction. Students who do not attend during the first week will be dropped from the class.


Instructor(s): Alex Thayer
Time: M 5-7
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41878

Kultima and Kuittinen (2011) characterize the gaming industry as follows: “As a hybrid of engineering and arts, the game industry seems to be essentially coupled with constant change, whether it is change within one project and game concept, change in personnel and company structures, change in production models and tools or business models, contents, platforms, and consumer base — the systematization and standardization of [game design] processes face the challenge of change.”

Given that designing games is such a dynamic process, this course will focus on deeper topics that inform the design of interesting, enjoyable games regardless of the latest trends. For example, consider the recent rise of “gamification” and its application to everything from the software test process to call center operations to exercise regimes. Before gamification, the buzzword among digital gaming researchers was “serious.” Everyone wanted to talk about “serious” games as opposed to “casual” games, which had been the hot topic only the year before. And prior to that, there was plenty of speculation about what might become the first truly popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). World of Warcraft concluded that discussion with a flourish by the end of 2006 when nearly 6 million players had subscribed to the game. That number nearly doubled by 2009, although as of July 2012 the game has 9.1 million subscribers.

This course does not teach any specific software tools for prototyping graphics engines, nor will you learn how to model characters in 3D or get your mobile app to the top of the best-seller list. Instead, this course is designed to help you understand the processes that underpin innovation and creativity, as well as the history and future of the digital gaming industry. By studying and experimenting with tools that will help you systematize your creative thoughts and innovative concepts, you will become a better game designer. Expect to learn a little bit about how creative thinking works, a little bit more about different development models in use within the digital gaming industry, and quite a lot about how to hone your creative ideas as tools to generate game designs and design ideas.

The course will be run in a colloquium style, which means you can expect a couple of readings each week that you and your peers will review and present to the rest of us. You will also get a taste for the intense pressures of game development cycles by working in teams on game ideas. You will complete this course with multiple portfolio pieces that highlight your ability to take a game concept from idea to prototype, collaborate with others in the process of developing that idea, reflect critically on your design processes, and harness your creative thinking.


290. The Future of E-books (Sec 5) (1-2 units)
Instructor(s): Robert Glushko
Time: M 12-2
Location: 107 South Hall
CCN: 41617

This is a hands on course that will address two major challenges associated with the current shift from text-based to e-books: making them more engaging and informative through use of the capabilities of the medium, and identifying and analyzing the issues surrounding the collaborative authoring and usage of e-books in an educational context.

Course may be repeated for credit, as new issues will be explored.

(In Fall 2012, this course was offered for 1 unit.)


Instructor(s): Coye Cheshire
Time: Th 12-2
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41620
This is a 2-hour, intensive weekly discussion of current and ongoing research by Ph.D. students with a research interest in issues of information (social, legal, technical, theoretical, etc). Thus, we welcome Ph.D. students from inside and outside the I School who focus on these issues. Our goal is to focus on critiquing research problems, theories, and methodologies from multiple perspectives so that we can produce high-quality, publishable work in the interdisciplinary area of information research. We welcome a mix of older and newer Ph.D. students, which usually means we will have a mix of dissertation chapters from some and potential qualifying papers from others. For newer PhD's, a separate article or very new project idea might make more sense. No matter what you present to the group, the goal will be to compliment, critique, and suggest specific improvements. We want to have critical and productive discussion, but above all else we want to make our work better: more interesting, more accessible, more rigorous, more theoretically grounded, and more like the stuff we enjoy reading.
Instructor(s): Jim Blomo
Time: F 2-5
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41622

The purpose of this course is to train students in:

  • Data mining and big data analytics (and a subset of topics in information retrieval, extraction, and machine learning);
  • Providing an intelligent business services context (in areas and topics such as digital marketing and computational advertising, financial analytics, healthcare analytics, service analytics, energy analytics, social media and social networks)

Specifically, we hope to:

  • Provide an overview of issues and trends which will shape the need for and structures of data mining, information extraction, and analytics in business information systems within areas and industries such as online marketing and ads, healthcare, financial services, energy services, social media and networks, and service centers.
  • Identify and explore key topics, followed by the development of analytic methods, for data mining, analytics, and information extraction, in these contexts

We will have industry speakers and industry projects as well, to provide real-world perspective and real-world engagement.


290. ICTD Research Seminar (Sec 12) (1 units)
Instructor(s): Jenna Burrell
Time: Th 1-2
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41626

The ICTD group seminar will discuss topics of current interest in the emerging multidisciplinary field of Information and Communications Technologies and Development, or ICTD. Each semester will be focused on a particular topic or set of topics, under the direction of appropriate faculty from the I School's ICTD group. The course content will consist of paper discussions, invited lectures from both within and outside the class and a some relatively short written assignments. Students will also be responsible for presenting during at least on class session, either on their own research, ideas or on a selected set of papers relevant to the semester's chosen topic.

Instructor(s): Steven DeMello
Time: Tu 3:30-5:30 (January 22 - March 12)
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41629

The purpose of this course is to provide a health care industry context for information systems as an important element for student work in 
systems design and evaluation. Specifically, I hope to:

  • Provide an overview of issues and trends which will shape the need for and structures of information systems within health care:demographic, epidemiological, social and technological.
  • Identity and explore key topics in health care information systems: background, issues, examples, implications for future development.

NOTE: This course was previously offered as Info 290: Information Systems and Health Care. May not be taken for credit if student has previously taken Info 290: Information Systems and Health Care.

290A. Media, New and Otherwise (Sec 2) (1 units)
Instructor(s): Roy Bahat
Time: M 4-6 (January 28 - March 18)
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41632

News, online, movies, advertising, television, mobile, videogames, music, books, social media — all part of the industry of informing and entertaining, and all being revolutionized. In this course we will do a quick overview of the media business — from startups to global conglomerates.

We will address a wide range of topics: the economics of media organizations (and industries), their organizational structures, cultures, brands, and approaches.

Some of the questions we'll discuss:

  • ­How do traditional media address changing technologies?
  • ­How is the media business driven by metrics and data? How is it driven by artistic creativity?
  • ­Are media companies too big? Are they too small?

Students will present strategies for media companies, hear from guest speakers, and discuss the transformations happening in media. Students should expect to have significant input into the companies and topics we discuss.

We will make every attempt to avoid predictions about the future; we might occasionally succeed.

Note: This course is cross-listed in the Haas School of Business.

May not be taken for credit if student has previously taken Info 290: Media, New and Otherwise.


Instructor(s): John Danner
Time: Th 9-11
Location: 202 South Hall
CCN: 41636

Every business depends on information — about customers, competitors, trends, performance, etc. Entire curricula have been focused on the technological, systems, strategic, and management challenges associated with that dependency. This course, however, looks at a different intersection between information and business. Specifically, it will explore how entrepreneurs across the world are developing ventures fundamentally centered on new and emerging information technologies and the business models and strategies they make possible. These include not only the Googles, Amazons, and Facebooks of the world, but also ventures like Comat and Samasource. In some cases, these are efforts on the proverbial cutting edge of technology; more often they involve creative application and/or integration of existing information technologies in innovative ways.

We will first examine the key elements of business models and the entrepreneurial process, before looking in more detail at a variety of ventures leveraging information-based technologies and strategies in an array of markets. Using of mix of case-study discussion, short lectures, and focused conversations with active entrepreneurs, this will be a highly interactive and collaborative course — not a sit-listen-take-notes type of class.

Expect to be actively involved in a series of in-class and outside assignments, both individual- and team-based, that will help you develop an understanding of how entrepreneurs are using information-centric technologies to create new markets and redefine old ones, and the lessons learned along the way. You may also explore your own ideas for new ventures along the way.

NOTE: This course was previously offered as 290. Information-Centric Entrepreneurship & Startup Strategies.


Instructor(s): Anne Walker
Time: Th 5:30-7:30
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41638

It takes critical thinking, outstanding leadership, and a little magic to be a successful project manager. Come and learn not only the essential building blocks of project management, but the tricks to managing a variety of complex projects. We will have a combination of interactive lectures, guest speakers, and case studies discussions to  cover globally recognized standards, best practices and tools that successful project managers use.

This course satisfies the Management requirement for the MIMS degree.

Students will receive no credit for 290MA after taking 290. Effective Project Management.

290T. Working with Open Data (Sec 1) (3 units)
Instructor(s): Raymond Yee
Time: TuTh 2-3:30
Location: 210 South Hall
CCN: 41640

Open data — data that is free for use, reuse, and redistribution — is an intellectual treasure-trove that has given rise to many unexpected and often fruitful applications. In this course, students will 1) learn how to access, visualize, clean, interpret, and share data, especially open data, using Python, Python-based libraries, and supplementary computational frameworks and 2) understand the theoretical underpinnings of open data and their connections to implementations in the physical and life sciences, government, social sciences, and journalism.

Seminar Courses

Instructor(s): Paul Duguid
Time: M 12:30-2
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41644

One hour colloquium per week. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Colloquia, discussion, and readings are designed to introduce students to the range of interests of the school.

296A. Information Access (Sec 1) (3 units)
Time: F 3-5
Location: 107 South Hall
CCN: 41647

The seminar explores selected advanced topics relating to 'digital libraries' with special emphasis on:

  • Access to networked resources
  • Use of two or more resources in conjunction
  • Combined use of two or more retrieval systems (e.g. use of pre- or post-processing to enhance the capabilities)
  • The redesign of library services

It is expected that these issues will require attention to a number of questions about the nature of information retrieval processes, the feasibility of not-yet-conventional techniques, techniques of making different systems work together, social impact, and the reconsideration of past practices. More generally, the seminar is intended to provide a forum for advanced students in the School. Anyone interested in these topics is welcome to join in -- and to talk about their own work. This is a continuation of the previous Lynch/Buckland seminars.


Time: W 2-4
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41650

The seminar explores leading-edge trends in data science and analytics at Silicon Valley and tech firms. The speakers will include executives, entrepreneurs, and researchers from leading firms.

The topics covered will include (a subset of):

  • Data analytics and “Big Data”
  • Machine learning and scalability
  • Business analytics including online marketing and advertising, financial services and risk analytics, operational and service analytics
  • Information retrieval (search)
  • Information extraction
  • Social networks and social media
  • Healthcare analytics
  • Energy analytics

The seminar will cover the types of problems being addressed in data science and analytics, the component methods and technologies being developed, and fruitful areas for research and entrepreneurial efforts.

This requires attendance and participation in the seminar series and is open to the broader student and faculty community.


296A. Technology and Delegation (Sec 4) (2 units)
Instructor(s): Deirdre Mulligan
Time: M 2-4
Location: 205 South Hall
CCN: 41655

Information technology has been integrated into an array of complex interactions between individuals and the state. Often these technological changes are put forth as inevitable progress toward modernization and as value-neutral means for acting upon policies established through the political branch of government. However, the adoption or introduction of specific technology can obscure profound policy choices and options. Obscurity can arise due to barriers to transparency created by law, such as intellectual property rights asserted to prevent the analysis of software code used in electronic voting systems, due to a lack of necessary expertise to understand the ramifications of a technological shift within the public and private sector entities focused on the relevant policy issues, or, more fundamentally, due to shifts in technology that remove or shift the assumptions on which earlier policies were developed. As a result, the agency, the public, and the political branch of government may overlook the policy-implications in the choice of a new technology. Through case studies this class will explore existing examples where discretion has been delegated to, or embedded in technology, mechanisms that have or could be used to limit and manage this delegation, and techniques for early identification of inappropriate delegations.

296A. Digital Activism (Sec 5) (2 units)
Instructor(s): Xiao Qiang
Time: Th 4-6
Location: 107 South Hall
CCN: 41881

This participatory class explores civic engagement and political activism in the information age, through the lens of technology-enabled collective action. We will focus on both the theory and real-world cases of the Internet mobilizing people by spreading alternative views and news — and the parallel emergence of collective identity and civic action. Students will read books on communication power, watch documentary films on the Arab Spring, and do case studies about US, Iran, China, and elsewhere. The class will also look into issues such as online surveillance and filtering, circumvention tools, and how repressive regimes have countered digital activism. Students will do individual or group projects relating to concepts and themes discussed in this course.

This research seminar class is not limited to the graduate students in the School of Information; students from other departments on campus, including undergraduates, are welcome.

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