LIB 4900 - Francoeur - Spring 2018

Course Description

Social informatics can be defined as the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of information from social and organizational perspectives. In this course, students will analyze systems of information in context to gain insight into the basic principles of social informatics, as well as relevant social and moral issues.

This course satisfies the capstone requirement of the Information Studies Minor.

Learning Goals

  • Identify the core concepts associated with social informatics
  • Apply principles of social informatics analysis to current issues
  • Use oral communication techniques effectively to present an analysis of a topic pertaining to social informatics
  • Apply knowledge gained from coursework to analyze an emerging issue from a social informatics perspective using a social science research process
  • Be able to identify an information need, find and evaluate information, and use information for a specific purpose

Course Schedule (subject to change)

This schedule is subject to change at the instructor's discretion.

See the Classroom Activities page for details on what we did in class.

Jan. 30

  • Course introduction
  • Student profile survey
  • Using Google Docs for in-class activities and homework
  • Review of basic library terminology
  • Using the course blog
  • Course readings required for next week

Feb. 6

  • Defining social informatics
  • Reading for today
    • Kling, Rob. "What Is Social Informatics and Why Does It Matter?" Information Society 23.4 (2007): 205-220. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
    • Rosenbaum, Howard. "Social Informatics." Berkshire Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Ed. William Sims Bainbridge. Vol. 2. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, 2004. 633-637. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 21 Aug. 2015.

Feb. 13

  • Introduction to social science research and your group projects
  • Reading for today
    • Smale, Maura, and Mariana Regalado. "Commuter Students Using Technology." EDUCAUSE Review, 15 Sep. 2014, Accessed 6 Feb. 2018.

Feb. 27

  • Scholarly communication & discourse
  • Developing your research topic
  • Reading for Today
    • Sawyer, Steve. "Social Informatics: Overview, Principles and Opportunities." Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 31.5 (2005): 9-12. ABI/Inform Global. Web. 3 Sep. 2015.
    • Mackenzie, Donald and Judy Wajcman. “Introductory Essay: The Social Shaping of Technology.” The Social Shaping of Technology, edited by Donald Mackenzie and Judy Wajcman, McGraw-Hill Education/Open University, 1999, pp. 3-27.
    • As you read, make sure you are thinking about these questions I posted on the class blog and are ready to answer them in class

Mar. 6

  • Technology and change at the New York Times
  • Elements of a typical journal article
  • How a literature review can help you identify a research question
  • Elements of social informatics research: information and communications technologies (ICT)
  • Reading for today
    • Bradley, Megan A. "Topic: Journal Articles: Primary Source." Cyberlab for Psychological Research. Frostburg State University. 2006. Web. 27 Feb. 2018.
    • Race, Richard. "Research Question." Encyclopedia of Research Design. Ed. Neil J. Salkind. Vol. 3. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference, 2010. 1261-1262. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Mar. 13

  • Reading for today
    • Make sure you read this blog post before you read the article below
    • Arora, Payal. "Digital Gods: The Making Of A Medical Fact For Rural Diagnostic Software." Information Society 26.1 (2010): 70-79. Library & Information Science Source.
  • First day you can schedule a midterm consultation
  • Elements of social informatics research
    • people
    • social, institutional, and organizational aspects
  • Identifying the social informatics elements in articles you read
  • Strategies for narrowing a topic and developing a manageable research question

Mar. 20

  • Assignment due today
    • 1st and 2nd blog posts
  • Video to watch before coming to class
  • Developing your literature review
    • General approach
    • Format
    • Finding articles using the database called Library and Information Science Source

Mar. 27

  • Assignment due today
    • 3rd and 4th blog posts
  • Research methods (interviews, focus groups, usability tests)
  • Finding sources with background on the ICT you're studying
  • Norms and values that shape or affect ICT use

Apr. 10

Apr. 17

  • Assignment due today
    • First group presentations


Apr. 24

  • Assignment due today
    • Bibliography

May 1

  • Review of three key aspects of the SI perspective
  • Problem solving using a SI perspective

May 8

  • Assignment due today by 11:59 pm
    • Literature review
  • Ungraded quiz (preview of what the final exam will be like)

May 15

  • Assignment due today
    • Final group presentations

May 22 (1 pm - 3 pm)

  • Final exam