INFO 3501/5501

Online Collaboration

INFO 3501/5501 “Online Collaboration” is a semester-length, elective seminar course. The course is a research seminar that will analyze the social and technical mechanisms that enable popular online collaboration systems systems like Wikipedia. Understanding how social processes and technical structures intersect to enable new kinds of interaction is a central question within information science. How does the design of an online collaboration system tap into basic social, psychological, and organizational processes? What are historical precedents of cooperative social systems and how can their lessons be translated to online systems? What kinds of behavioral data can researcher extract and analyze from these systems? How can the success or failure of these systems inform the design of alternative incentive and governance models?

Learning objectives

  • Discuss and compare social processes occurring across different online collaboration systems
  • Ddentify and collect data generated by these systems
  • Design exploratory research using these data and interpret their findings
  • Propose and evaluate the feasibility of online collaboration to expand to other social, cultural, economic, and political spheres

Course outline

Module Week Skills
Predecessors 1 Introductions
  2 Commons and enclosures
  3 Cooperativism
Fundamentals 4 Values in design
  5 History of open source
  6 Economics of open source
  7 Culture of open source
Examples 8 Collective intelligence
  9 Peer production
  10 Crowdsourcing
  11 Creative collaborations
  12 Distributed ledgers
    Fall Break
Consequences 14 Remixing and virality
  15 Abuse and safety
  16 Hackvism and slacktivism