In 2021-22, the School of Information launched a new Minor in Informatics, which expanded the school’s teaching to the undergraduate level. The course offering in 2022-23 includes a wide range of topics, including Media Design, Cultural Informatics and Information and Data Design. UBC iSchool students can take up to two upper-level undergraduate courses (i.e. 300 and 400 level) and have them count towards their graduate degree. You can register for these courses via the Student Service Centre.
WINTER TERM 1 2022/23
INFO 441 – Media Design for Contemporary Childhood (*)
What issues arise from the creation and use of emerging media forms and formats, and how do they affect the lives of many young people?
“New Media” in this course is broadly defined to encompass a wide array of artifacts and technologies which flavour modern childhood, including but not limited to: movies, games, videos, websites, virtual reality, apps, toys and transmedia assemblages. The goal is to engage critically with these media forms, examining how children incorporate them (or don’t) in their daily lives and how adults shape and reshape notions of child culture and play. We will grapple with diverse conceptions of both media and children and confront issues that sometimes lie below the surface of media creation and use, such as power and control, privacy, safety, gender bias, cultural stereotypes, authority and violence.
WINTER TERM 2 2022/23
INFO 300 – Information and Data Design
Instructor: Dr. Olivier St-Cyr
Design is the intend behind the outcomes. Learn how human-centred design and UX principles are practiced to ensure technology, people, and information co-exist in harmony.
Designing effective interactive information systems requires understanding the needs and capabilities of the people who will be using them and the purposes for which the system will be used. This course will examine human capabilities and behaviour as they relate to the design of these interactive information systems. This course is important to develop a ‘design thinking’ frame of mind essential to meeting any number of real-world information design challenges. The course will provide students with a robust, user-centred design method along with exposure to, and practice with, techniques and procedures typically found effective in support of the method (for example, techniques and procedures for user data collection and analysis, usability and user experience evaluation, etc.,). The course will explore contemporary theories and findings from the social sciences and information design literature, with special attention given to how these concepts influence the way we design for human interaction with information.
INFO 301 – Cultural Informatics: Digital Collections
Instructor: Dr. Hannah Turner
How do information and data technologies shape, share, study and preserve different cultures and peoples’ ways of life?
What do the Internet Archive zine collection, a virtual reality reconstruction of an ancient temple, and a repository of Indigenous language recordings have in common? These are all applications of cultural informatics, an area of study that explores how culture – peoples’ ways of life – are shaped, shared, studied and preserved using information and data technologies. Digital collections play an important role in cultural informatics. While cultural collections have enormous potential to support community memory and identity, cross-cultural understanding and other positive outcomes, they are also complicit in legacies of exploitation and appropriation, which need to be acknowledged and addressed.
Students will have the opportunity to explore the ethical, social and technical issues at the intersection of information technology and culture through a wide range of historical and contemporary examples of digital collections, including community archives, museum collections, and digital libraries, and to develop critical perspectives on their design and use.
INFO 303 – Search Engines and Society
Instructor: Dr. Luanne Sinnamon
How do Google and other search engines mirror and shape our lives and everyday decisions?
Every day, Google handles billions of searches. How do search engines organize the web to make even obscure information findable? How do search results mirror and shape our everyday decisions, our lives and patterns of social behaviour? This course provides an introductory review of the science of search engines, including how search engines discover webpages, analyze their content, and index and rank webpages in response to a user query. Building on this foundation, the course then examines the many profound and fascinating implications of this technology.
Students will explore the opportunities and the sociotechnical and ethical concerns that arise from the massive and global-scale deployment of search technologies by companies such as Google, Microsoft, Baidu, and Yandex. Specific topics, including algorithmic bias, censorship, misinformation, privacy, and gatekeeping, will be covered.