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Social Web

The Web has always been about more than technology, it is about the interactions it enables. The growth of online environments like MySpace, Second Life, Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, blogs, online support groups, open source development communities, and even YO, clearly shows that the Web is no longer only about static delivery of information but about connecting with one another. In this course, we’ll examine a sampling of the social, technical and business challenges inherent in the social web, and learn how to use tools to analyze, design and build online communities. More broadly, we’ll seek to understand the social impact of spending part of our lives online.

This class is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students with either technical or non-technical backgrounds. Course work will include lectures and class discussion, homework, class presentations, and a group research or design project.

True to the spirit of the course, reading materials will be drawn from the Web. No books to buy.

Your Teaching Staff

Jeffrey P. Bigham

Office Hours:  Fridays, 10:30-12:00pm

Office:  407 S. Craig (2nd floor)


Jess Phoa

Teaching Assistant

Office Hours: By Appointment (please email!)




Full schedule with links to readings is here.

Week 1:  “The Web Was Built to be Social”  (9/1, 9/3)

Week 2: “Who’s In Charge?” (9/8, 9/10)

Week 3:  “Newcomers and Socialization” (9/15, 9/17)

Week 4:  “Coordination and Conflict” (9/22, 9/24)

Week 5:  “Privacy and Security on the Social Web” (9/29, 10/1)

Week 6:  “Crowdsourcing, Social Q&A, and Microvolunteering” (10/6, 10/8)

Week 7:  “Future of Crowd Work” (10/13, 10/15)

Week 8:  “Motivation and Contribution” (10/20, 10/22)

Week 9: “Final Project Pitches” (10/27, 10/29)

Week 10: “Social Networks and Online Relationships” (11/3, 11/5)

Week 11: “Wisdom of the Crowd” (11/10, 11/12)

Week 12: “Taking the Web Mobile” (11/17, 11/19)

Week 13: “Distributed Innovation” (11/24)

Week 14: “Intellectual Property and a Sharing Web” (12/1, 12/3)

Week 15: “Final Project Presentations” (12/8, 12/10)


This page and contents are copyright Jeffrey P. Bigham except where noted. This course builds on the successful Social Web courses at CMU created by Robert Kraut, Jason Hong, and Niki Kittur.