Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the complex relationships among information technology (IT), people, and institutions in any social setting;

  • identify and critique popular discourses regarding IT;

  • apply the analytical tools learned in this class to solve a variety of practical challenges involving IT.


Required textbook: Turkle, S. (2015). Reclaiming conversation: The power of talk in a digital age. New York: Penguin Press.

Optional for graduate students: Webster, F. (2016). Theories of the information society (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

You will find all of the articles on the course website.

Course Schedule and Readings by Week


Topics; Project and Presentation dues


Week 1.

  • Introduction


Week 2.

  • Discourses about Information Technology

Sawyer & Chen
Lindqvist & Neumann

Week 3.

  • The social shaping of technology: Social Informatics

  • Science & Technology Studies

Post your choice of journal/magazine on Canvas

Kling et al.
Bauchspies et al.
Sanfilippo & Fichman

Week 4.

  • Content production

  • Wikipedia

Kane et al.
Morgan et al.

Week 5.

  • Science Communication

  • Credibility

    Review of Journal/Magazine Presentation (Ph.D. students)


Week 6.

    Review of journal/magazine presentation

    Review of journal/magazine due

Week 7.

  • Boundaries

Star & Griesmer
Jain et al.
Hara & Fichman

Week 8.

  • IT and political/civic participation

Webster Ch. 9
Bonilla & Rosa
Bennett & Segerberg

Week 9.

  • Net neutrality

  • Guest lecture by Dr. Jeff Hart

Post short paper idea on Canvas

Faris et al.

Week 10.

  • Unintended consequences of social media

Ferrara et al.
Silverman & Singer-Vine

Week 11.

No Class—ASIST

Short paper due at 5pm

Week 12.

  • Scholarly communication

  • Open Access


Week 13.

  • Technology and privacy

Post the topic for the final project on Canvas

Hubaux & Juels
Rubel & Jones

Week 14.

No Class – Thanksgiving Recess

Week 15.

  • Infrastructure

Plantin et al.
Khatoun & Zeadally

Week 16.

  • Wrap-up

Final project paper presentation


Final project paper due

Course Deliverables and Grading

Readings will typically be assigned for each class period, and the latest information about readings will be listed in the on the class website. Please come prepared. Class discussions are important, and I expect all students to participate. Your grade will be based on five assignments:

  • Review of Journal/Magazine: 25% (15% report + 10% presentation)

  • Short paper: 15%

  • Online Discussion Participation: 10%

  • Class Participation: 10%

  • Final Project: 40%

      For master's students:

      Final project paper: 25%

      Final project poster: 15%

      For doctoral students:

      See a separate requirement decision

The class will be conducted in a participative manner, with members of the class having significant control over the specific content of each class session.

To receive a passing grade in this course, you must turn in all of the assignments and the term project and complete all presentations. You cannot pass this course without doing all of the assigned work (which includes the final presentation), however, turning in all of the work is not a guarantee that you will pass the course.

To earn a B in this course your work must consistently demonstrate and/or include:

  • a base line level of competence

  • an understanding of lecture content and reading assignments

  • correct and complete answers

Your work must also meet all of the requirements of the assignment. To earn a higher grade you must surpass the criteria and expectations for a B; to do so your work should consistently demonstrate and include:

  • Enthusiasm - exhibited both in class and in assigned course work

  • Synthesis - demonstrated by identifying connections between and crossover in the various topics relevant to social aspects of information technology

  • Investigation - exploring readings and experiences relevant to the class beyond those which are assigned

Your work should also demonstrate the ability to see the relationship between coursework and the larger issues regarding social aspects of information technology.

Course Policies

On honor and collaboration:

Course assignments are designed to help you build a professional portfolio and gain practical experiences. You will be provided with some class time to discuss projects, but you are expected to spend outside of class time each week to practice your skills, work on assignments, and complete readings. You are encouraged to help each other throughout this course. However, the work you submit must be your own. Any students who submit work completed by someone else will receive a 0 score for that assignment, and may receive an F for the course.

On due dates:

Unless otherwise noted, due dates are at the beginning of the class time on the due date. Due times for non-class days are 5 PM. Unexcused late work may be penalized. Assignments that are over 6 days late will not be accepted unless arrangements have been made with me. If you have unexpected events and need to submit the assignments late, please contact me beforehand.

On attendance:

I expect you to attend all class meetings. If you cannot attend class, you must notify the instructor in advance (preferably more than 24 hours prior to the class). Attendance will factor into your final grade. Unexcused absences will not be tolerated; numerous absences are frowned upon, and if you foresee yourself missing multiple classes, be sure to see the instructor the first day after class. Make-up work may be negotiated only in cases of documented, excused absences. If you do not come to the class on time, it will affect the participation grade.

On personal technologies:

Please turn off your cell phone before each class starts. It is rude for class activities to be interrupted by a ringing cell phone. Similarly, text messaging will not be tolerated in class; any student found to be sending or checking text messages during class will be invited to make a choice either to cease the texting or leave the classroom.

You are welcome to bring your laptop to class and use it to take notes, access readings we are discussing, etc. You are not welcome to surf the web, check e-mail, or otherwise perform non-class-related activities during class. If I find you using it not to perform a task specifically related to what we are doing in class at that very moment, it will affect your participation grade.

Academic Dishonesty

There is extensive documentation and discussion of the issue of academic dishonesty here in the Indiana University "Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct." Of particular relevance is the section on plagiarism:

3. Plagiarism A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following:

a. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.

b. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge indebtedness whenever:

1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;

2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;

3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;

4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or

5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.


Indiana University and the School of Library and Information Science policies on academic dishonesty will be followed. Students found to be engaging in plagiarism, cheating, and other types of dishonesty will receive an F for the course. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, cite the source!

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact IU Disability Services for Students.