Collaborative and Social Computing, Spring 2014

Course Coordinates:
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 8:40 PM
UL 1116

Dr. Amy Voida
IT 591
Office Hours: 5PM – 6PM Tuesdays and By Appointment


This syllabus will function as a collaboratively constructed contract among all of the stakeholders in this course. It is a living document that will evolve through in-class discussion as the dynamic needs of the students and their research emerge. Students are responsible for being in class, taking ownership of this course and their learning, and noting all changes to the syllabus as it evolves. The instructor is responsible for being attuned and responsive to the needs of the students and to the dynamic and often unpredictable nature of the research process. This draft syllabus is a starting point for ongoing dialogue…


Course Description

This is a seminar course in which students will engage with seminal research in collaborative and social computing through a series of genealogical threads linking ‘big ideas’ in the social sciences to the ways in which they have been appropriated in collaborative and social computing research. Through their synthesis of the course readings, students will connect these big ideas to the design and use of seminal ‘historic’ and contemporary social and computing technologies.

Over the course of the semester, students will also carry out research in collaborative and social computing. They will conduct a genealogical literature review about a social science theory of relevance to collaborative and social computing; analyze the ways in which that theory has and has not been applied to the design and analysis of collaborative and social computing systems; construct a design space based on their findings; and produce a series of conceptual design proposals to address either a gap in the design space and/or to flesh out a sweet spot in that space. Research papers will be curated by the instructor and high-quality work will be submitted for review to the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.

This course does not require any previous technical or design experience.


Draft Schedule

Week Of
Agenda Readings Research Deliverables
14 Jan Introduction to the Course and Your Research  N/A  N/A
21 Jan Introduction to Collaborative and Social Computing Grudin, J. (1988). Why CSCW applications fail: problems in the design and evaluation of organizational interfaces. In Proc. CSCW. New York: ACM Press, 85-93.

Ackerman, M. (2000). The Intellectual Challenge of CSCW: The Gap Between Social Requirements and Technical Feasibility. Human-Computer Interaction 15(2-3), 179-203.

Kling, R. (1980). Social Analyses of Computing: Theoretical Perspectives in Recent Empirical Research. Computing Surveys 12(1), 61-110.

Team Proposal & Covenant
28 Jan Presentation of Self Goffman, E. (1956). Introduction and Chapter 1 from The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday.

Voida, A., Grinter, R.E., Ducheneaut, N., Edwards, W.K. & Newman, M.W. (2005). Listening in: practices surrounding iTunes music sharing. In Proc. CHI. New York: ACM Press, 191-200.

Zhao, X., Salehi, N., Naranjit, S., Alwaalan, S., Voida, S. & Cosley, D. (2013). The many faces of facebook: experiencing social media as performance, exhibition, and personal archive. In Proc. CHI. New York: ACM Press, 1-10.

4 Feb Class Cancelled Due to Weather
11 Feb Research Workshop: Design Space Explorations N/A Initial Literature Review Due

One-on-One Research Team Meetings

18 Feb No Class — CSCW Conference or Research Team Meetings (Design Space Explorations)
25 Feb Awareness & Social Translucence Heath, C. & Luff, P. (1991). Collaborative Activity and Technological Design: Task Coordination in London Underground Control Rooms. In Proc. ECSCW. Heidelberg/Berlin: Springer, 65-80.

Dourish, P. & Bellotti, V., Awareness and Coordination in Shared Workspaces. In Proc. CSCW. New York: ACM Press, 107-114.

Erickson, T. & Kellogg, W. A. (2000). Social translucence: an approach to designing systems that support social processes, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 7(1), 59–83.

McDonald, D. W., Gokhman S. & Zachry, M. (2012). Building for Social Translucence: A Domain Analysis and Prototype System. In Proc. CSCW. New York: ACM Press, 637-646.

Not-Yet-A-Poster Session: Design Space Ideation
4 Mar Awareness & Social Translucence (Take II) No new readings. Please re-engage with the readings from the previous week.
11 Mar Privacy




Altman, I. (1975). Chapter 2, “Privacy: Definition and Properties”;  and Chapter 3, “Privacy Mechanisms and Functions” from The Environment and Social Behavior. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., pp. 10–51.

Palen, L. & Dourish, P. (2003). Unpacking “privacy” for a networked world. In Proc CHI.  New York: ACM Press, 129-136.

Original Option:
Secondary Literature Review & Initial Design Space (Due 11:59 PM on Sunday, 16 March)

Alternate Option Part A:
Fully fleshed out visualization of the design space due (Due on Tuesday for feedback; not graded)

18 Mar No Class — Spring Break
25 Mar Communities of Practice & Participation


Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Bryant, S.L., Forte, A. & Bruckman, A. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. In Proc. GROUP. New York: ACM Press, 1-10.

Alternate Option Part B:
Full secondary literature review due on Friday at 9AM
1 Apr Community & Social Capital Resnick, P. (2001). Beyond bowling together: Sociotechnical capital. In J. Carroll (Ed.), HCI in the New Millenium. Addison-Wesley.

Ducheneaut, N., Yee, N., Nickell, E. & Moore, R.J. (2006). “Alone together?”: exploring the social dynamics of massively multiplayer online games. In Proc. CHI. New York: ACM Press, 407-416.

Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C., Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication 12(4), 1143-1168.

8 Apr  Strong Ties / Weak Ties Granovetter, M. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology 78(6), 1360-1380Gilbert, E & Karahalios, K. (2009). Predicting Tie Strength with Social Media. In Proc. CHI. New York: ACM Press, 211-220

Bond, R., Fariss, C.J., Jones, J.J., Kramer, A.D.I., Marlow, C., Settle, J.E. & Fowler, J.F. (2012). A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization. Nature 489(7415), 295-298.

15 Apr Conceptual Design Poster Presentations  N/A Conceptual Design Posters Due
22 Apr Crowds Surowiecki, J. (2005). “Introduction” and Chapter 1, “The Wisdom of the Crowds” from The wisdom of crowds. New York: Anchor Books, pp. xi-22.

Kittur, A. & Kraut, R.E. (2008). Harnessing the wisdom of crowds in wikipedia: quality through coordination. In Proc. CSCW. New York: ACM Press, 37-46.

Irani, L.C. & Silberman, M.S. (2013). Turkopticon: interrupting worker invisibility in amazon mechanical turk. In Proc. CHI. New York: ACM Press, 611-620.

29 Apr No Class  — CHI Conference &/or Research Team Meetings (Work on Final Paper)
Finals Week Annotated Bibliography (with Reflections) of Reading Summaries Due 4 May

Final Paper Due 6 May

4 Jun Optional CSCW Submission Deadline



The texts for this course will consist primarily of conference and journal publications that are all available online via university site licenses. You will need to be logged in to the university network or connected via VPN to access these articles for free. Students will need to purchase the following book(s) for the course (not used until after spring break):

  • Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Surowiecki, J. (2005). The wisdom of crowds. New York: Anchor Books. (Don’t buy this one yet; we may only read selections)

Other supplementary readings will be provided by the instructor.


Assessment & Evaluation

Reading Summaries 25%
Class Participation 25%
Research Deliverables:
 • Initial Literature Review 5%
 • Secondary Literature Review & Design Space Analysis 5%
 • Conceptual Design Presentation 5%
 • Final Research Paper 35%


All grades will be recorded as individual grades. All reading summaries must be completed independently. Each research deliverable will receive a team score; each individual’s grade will be computed as a modulation of the team score based on their percentage contribution as agreed upon by all team members (see the assignment section for more information). All students are assumed to have unique strengths, which will influence their contribution to each deliverable. If students elect to contribute more on some deliverables than others, the modulated grading will balance out in the end, reflecting each students’ overall engagement over the course of the entire research lifecycle.

Numerical grades will be converted to letter grades based on the following scale:

A+       97 – 100 B+       87 – 89.99 C+       77 – 79.99 D+       67 – 69.99 F          0 – 59.99
A         93 – 96.99 B         83 – 86.99 C         73 – 76.99 D         63 – 66.99
A-        90 – 92.99 B-        80 – 82.99 C-        70 – 72.99 D-        60 – 62.99


Incomplete grades will not be given to individuals in this course, as any successful research enterprise requires the commitment of all researchers.

If you experience a personal emergency during the semester, please obtain a letter from a doctor or other legitimate source of verification. Although some of the work in this course cannot be made up after the fact, we will work with your research team to re-balance contributions to the research deliverables and to provide any opportunities possible to help you succeed.



All assignments are due by the date and time posted. There is no “late policy” in this class; there are deadlines. If you want to earn credit for your work, you should plan on meeting these deadlines. You may earn partial credit on assignments by submitting whatever you have finished at the time of the deadline.

Reading Summaries
By midnight two days before before each class for which a reading was assigned (Sunday night, in our case), students will be required to post a reading summary of each text to the Google Docs folder for that week. Each of your reading summaries should be ~500 words and address the following:

  • A full reference to the text (in whatever format is most relevant to you, e.g. APA)
  • A  summary of the main points of the text in your own words (not a restatement of the abstract!)
  • A brief discussion of some of the ways this text connects to your own research, life experiences or other things you have read (in this class or otherwise)
  • Optional: A list of references (writ broadly… could be texts, ideas, people, projects, etc…) that you might want to explore further (I also find that jotting a quick note about why each reference seemed interesting to be useful down the road…)
  • A list of questions you’d like to discuss in class (this is be a valuable resources to the discussion lead each week)

Over the course of the semester, the compilation of these reading summaries will become your own personal annotated bibliography of social and collaborative computing.

Class Participation
Your participation in class is the primary way in which you will demonstrate your engagement with the material and contribute to our collective understanding of collaborative and social computing.

At the beginning of the semester, students will sign up to take on several different roles that will help to ensure engagement and structure class participation. Because this is a class about collaborative computing, we will be experimenting first-hand with the use of collaborative writing technologies during class. For each class session, one student will be responsible for adopting each of the following roles:

  • Discussion Lead: This student (or students) will prepare and present a short summary of the day’s texts and will craft a semi-structured discussion protocol for class (posted to our shared Google Docs folder). He or she is encouraged to use peer questions as input but should spend time thinking in advance about which questions will build on prior class discussions, how the questions can be structured to build on each other and about how to create a coherent arc of discussion. We will treat the protocol as a working starting point that can evolve if and when the discussion moves in interesting new directions. The protocol should also be used to reign in and refocus discussion that moves too far afield of the content of this course.
  • Primary Notetaker: This student will be responsible for producing the first draft of our collaborative class notes. This student should plan on typing almost continuously for the duration of the class and producing a roughly structured document in Google Docs that captures as much of the content in the discussion as possible.
  • Secondary Notetaker: This student will follow behind the primary notetaker in real time during class. His or her key responsibility will be elaborating on the work of the primary notetaker to provide additional context, framing, or organization that will help clarify the existing set of notes. The secondary notetaker should be working closely enough on the heels of the primary notetaker to add additional content in instances where the primary notetaker didn’t capture everything.

Other students are primarily responsible for contributing to the class discussion but all are encouraged to jump in and help with the notetaking as needed.

Research Deliverables
In this course, you will conduct collaborative research (in teams of three or more) in collaborative and social computing. The research process will entail a genealogical literature review about a theory (broadly speaking) of relevance to collaborative and social computing; an analysis of the ways in which that theory has and has not been applied to the design and analysis of collaborative and social computing systems;  a design space exploration based on your findings; and a series of conceptual design proposals to address either gaps in the design space and/or to highlight sweet spots in that space. Research papers will be curated by the instructor and high-quality work may be submitted for peer review to the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.

More details about each deliverable will be provided as the course progresses. Note that for each deliverable, each research team must also submit a corresponding team assessment. These team assessments must be signed by each team member and submitted in hardcopy.


Additional Policies

A complete list of campus policies governing IUPUI courses may be found online at: Selected policies are highlighted below.

Academic Integrity
Each student in this course is expected to adhere to the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct ( Academic dishonesty is completely unacceptable and any persons involved in such conduct will be disciplined in accordance with university regulations and procedures.

Educational Accommodations
I strive to design my courses in ways that accommodate students with a diversity of learning needs and styles. If you have needs that I haven’t anticipated, please register with Adaptive Educational Services ( and notify me during the first week of classes about any approved accommodations.

If you require accommodation for religious observances, please notify me by the end of the second week of the semester using the Request for Course Accommodation Due to Religious Observance Form (


Creative Commons License
This Collaborative and Social Computing syllabus by Dr. Amy Voida is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

If you re-use and/or adapt this syllabus for use at your institution, in addition to providing attribution please consider dropping me an email and letting me know. This information is extraordinarily useful for tracking the broader impact of my curriculum development. Thanks!