Computer-Mediated Communication :: Spring 2013
Course basics
What   Computer-Mediated Communication (i216)
When   Spring 2013, Wednesdays, 9 am to noon
Where   210 South Hall
Instructors   Coye Cheshire (coye@ischool)
Andrew T. Fiore (atf@ischool)
Office hours   Wednesdays, 2:00 to 3:30 pm, 305A South Hall
News and Announcements

Wed 23 Jan :: Readers available this Friday (January 25th)

The electronic reader will be available on Friday at Copy Central, 2576 Bancroft Way.

Wed 23 Jan :: Post one review by this Friday (January 25th)

Please click the Syllabus link above and enter the course password on that page to access reviews. If you were not in class today to get the course password, just email Coye or Andrew and we'll send it to you.

The requirement this week is to post one brief review by Friday at 5 pm. Next week, we go to the usual schedule of one brief review by Tuesday at 5 pm.

Wed 23 Jan :: Subscribing to the class mailing list

The class mailing list is You can subscribe and unsubscribe here.

Course description

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?

Grading and assignments
An overview is available on the Assignments page. We'll post more detailed information over the course of the semester and discuss the assignments in class.
Course readings

The readings in this course include current academic research articles, "classic" texts from the area of computer-mediated communication, book chapters, and some popular-press pieces. Students are expected to do the readings before the day for which they are assigned.

Most of the readings for the course are available online, usually through one of the many online journal subscriptions that are carried by UC Berkeley. If you choose to read/print the articles yourself, you can follow the links provided (where applicable) and make your own copy. To access some of these links from off campus, you will need to use the Berkeley library proxy server. Please contact Megan if you have any trouble accessing them.

There is a reader with the materials that aren't online available from Copy Central (2560 Bancroft Way at Telegraph, 510-848-8649).

Other resources