245e is203 - Social and Organizational Issues of Information » about

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Time: Tues and Thurs, 12:30-2pm
Location: 202 South Hall

Instructor: Coye Cheshire
Office: 305A South Hall
Office Hours: Tu./Th. 4-5, or by appt.
GSI: Judd Antin
Office: 305A South Hall (or the PhD office)
Office Hours: Tu./Th. 4-5, or by appt.

Course Description:

Three hours of lecture per week. This course focuses on the relationship between information and information systems, technology, practices, and the social environment. We will examine information and information technology on several levels: individual, group, organizational, and societal. Key topic areas include: information production and use, social networks and information dissemination, and social problems associated with information. In addition to exposing students to current research and issues in information and information technology, one of the primary goals of this course is to help students learn to identify social problems. Thus, students will also be introduced to qualitative and quantitative social science research methodologies.

Course Design:

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 methodologies 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 also move from the micro (i.e., interpersonal) to the macro (i.e., organizational and institutional) levels of analysis. 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 and research-oriented environments.


There will be two writing assignments in this course (in addition to the final exam paper). Each assignment will deal with a set of topics and issues from the course readings and lectures. The purpose of these papers is to teach you how to think critically about the course topics, but also to help you develop good skills for writing and organizing your thoughts. The two course assignments will each represent 20% of your grade, for a combined total of 40%.

20% of your grade will be determined by class participation. Your class participation is a combination of your participation in class and your participation on the course website.

The remaining 40% of the course grade will come from the final paper. You will be required to submit a 1-page paper proposal on March 22nd, and the paper itself will be due on May 14th. Details about choosing topics for the final paper will be distributed at the midpoint of the semester. Unlike the other course writing assignments, the final paper will require you to use material outside of the class readings (though this can be in addition to relevant course readings).


Smith, Marc and Peter Kollock. 1999. Communities in Cyberspace. London ; New York: Routledge.

Course Reader: Available at Copy Central on Bancroft

January 1st, 2007
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1 Comment

  • 1. is203 - Social and Organi&hellip  |  January 11th, 2007 at 10:04 am

    […] A few quick comments about this site. First, you’ll find all the usual stuff - syllabus, presentation slides, and assignment information - through the links at the top of the page. Detailed course information, contact information, required texts, office hours and such is available in the about box on the right, and on the detailed page you can reach by clicking on the ‘More’ link at the bottom of the about box. […]

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