Data Science in Context

Data science in context works to place data science in the larger context. In these courses, students hone their skills in communication skills, ethics, and reproducibility.


Data Science in Context (choose one of the following)

This course introduces social and communication issues in the context of online interaction. Surveys a range of social internet technologies (e.g., newsgroups, chat, MUDs, etc.). Focus is on the interpersonal topics, including the establishment and maintenance of individual and cultural identities, personal relationships, the emergence of online communities, power and conflict in online groups, language use in online contexts, and how online groups are used to enhance or alter civic and global cultures.

The primary goal of this course is to critically examine the role of mass media in U.S. politics. Students learn how information makes it into news coverage, as well as how media content affects individuals, political campaigns, and governing decisions. The course covers media effects theories, news bias and polarization, political entertainment, and other topics. Although the primary focus of the course is politics, students interested in public relations and strategic communication also benefit from learning about U.S. journalism. By the end of the semester, students will be able to critically evaluate political and media systems in the U.S. (Same as POLS 521.) Prerequisite: COMS 130.

Examines the social, cultural, and economic challenges and opportunities advanced communication technologies and globalization pose to processes such as democratic deliberation, urban governance, and environmental sustainability. Prerequisite: COMS 130.

This course will examine the communication involved in political campaigns. Students will be exposed to theories and ideas related to campaigns and will apply this knowledge to current political activity. Although the primary focus of the course is politics, students interested in public relations and strategic communication also benefit from learning and practicing media relations strategies. The mediated nature of modern political communication, as well as the communication strategies of campaigns and journalists, will be examined in a semester-long simulated campaign. By the end of the semester, students will become more informed users and consumers of political campaign messages. (Same as POLS 520.) Prerequisite: COMS 130.

This course explores the impact of new communication technology on individuals and groups in various contexts. Topics include: The development of computer-mediated communication, social and psychological impacts of new communication technology, the evolution of telework and advances in interactive telecommunications.

This course surveys and applies theories, principles and critical-thinking strategies for making ethical decisions related to personal and professional use of media. Students will examine and strive to resolve specific ethics challenges posed by participation in media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blackboard, news media websites, dating websites, and more. Course is not open to students, including minors, enrolled in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Computers are everywhere, and they seem to be getting increasingly intelligent. However, it is surprisingly difficult to say what exactly a computer is, and what it means for one to be intelligent. In this course, we will examine arguments about the nature of computation, including how computation is used in science, whether computers and robots could really have minds (or could only just simulate having a mind), and whether the brain might literally be a computer. Prerequisite: An introductory course in philosophy or permission of instructor.

This is a course in social epistemology. It explores how social phenomena within communities and between individuals bear on issues of belief, justification, and knowledge. Topics may include philosophical examinations of lies, BS (in the technical sense of Frankfurt and others), conspiracy theories, propaganda, disagreement, testimony, expertise, trust, group belief, and epistemic injustice.

After surveying the nature of ethics and morality and learning some standard techniques of moral argumentation, we shall examine such topics as: property and ownership rights in computer programs and software; privacy in computer entry and records; responsibility for computer use and failure; the "big brother" syndrome made possible by extensive personal data banks; censorship and the world-wide web; computer illiteracy and social displacement; and ethical limits to computer research.

This course surveys the central concepts, issues and debates surrounding the philosophy of economics. The course is divided into three parts. The first is focused on the nature of economic science, whether it can be separated from value judgments, along with the foundational and methodological issues that arise in economics. The second part of the course provides a survey of several central topics in the philosophy of economics including rational choice theory, game theory, social choice theory, behavioral and neuroeconomics. The third part concerns welfare economics (broadly understood), including the aims of welfare economics, the nature of well-being, the possibility of interpersonal utility comparisons, and the aims of economic institutional design. At the end of this course, students should have knowledge and understanding of central methodological and substantive debates regarding the nature of economic theories. This course should also enhance students' ability to think critically and analytically about the nature of economic theories and the key concepts in the philosophy of economics, write clearly and cogently about philosophical issues that arise in economic, incorporate the ideas, theories and techniques that arise in both philosophy and economics to understand social and economic issues. (Same as ECON 551.) Prerequisite: An introductory course in philosophy or economics, or permission of instructor.

This course examines the construction, administration, and interpretation of public opinion polls. The course will also examine the role of public opinion in the democratic process and the formation of public opinion.

*Pending approval, please submit a substitution request.