Teaching matters. A lot. I’ve spent a significant amount of time developing and presenting content in my classes and have tried to create an open environment, where students are encouraged to question, to interact, and to grow as critical thinkers. You can read my Teaching Philosophy statement (updated in Fall 2018) here. Below are the classes I have taught at UMD (2012-present) and Michigan State (2011).
University of Maryland, College Park
INST-201 Introduction to Information
UMD’s iSchool launched an undergraduate degree program in fall 2016 offering a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Science. The first specialization offered is in Data Science. I created the introductory course and have taught it many times, both online and in person. It’s a fun overview course that also fulfills a General Education requirement for history and social science. FA20 syllabus [Word Doc]
INST466 Technology, Culture, & Society
Description: In a single generation, we have witnessed unprecedented change in how technology is used in work, play, and everyday lives. Most of today’s college students take smartphones and social media for granted; however, how often do they stop to consider the implications of these technologies on their daily lives? In this course, we move beyond the surface to consider the role of contextual factors in technology. How does one’s race, gender, religious/political affiliations, and sexual orientation influence their use of technology? How does technology help and hinder marginalized groups? How do these groups’ experiences vary in other parts of the world? This course provides an opportunity for students to explore how people with different backgrounds and life experiences engage with technology, as well as the technology-related challenges these groups face. Moreover, the class examines these topics within the broader framework of power and how existing structures of power and privilege create additional challenges for culturally marginalized and minority groups.
I created this course in 2016 to be an upper-level elective in the InfoSci program and to fulfill the General Education requirement for “cultural competence” at UMD. Many other faculty have taught it and put their own spin on the content, but here’s the version I teach: FA18 syllabus [pdf]
INST366 Privacy, Security, and Ethics for Big Data
The increasing number of networked information technologies— including internet of things (IoT), wearables, ubiquitous sensing, social sharing platforms, and other AI-driven systems—are generating a tremendous amount of data about individuals, companies, and societies. These technologies offer enormous benefits but also create enormous risks to individual privacy and national security. Further, the ease with which data can be collected from online sources, analyzed, and inferences drawn about individual users raises a wide range of ethical questions about these technologies, their creators, and their users. In this course, students will evaluate major privacy and security questions raised by big data and related technologies. Students will learn about the history of research ethics and consider how ethical frameworks can and should be applied to digital data. They will work through case studies from real world scenarios to understand the complex interactions between data security, privacy, and ethics in modern businesses.
I created this course in 2018 to be one of the core courses in our Cybersecurity & Privacy specialization in the InfoSci bachelor’s degree. The course is driven by case studies, so in addition to the syllabus, I’m also linking to a Google Drive with the course assignments. SP21 syllabus [pdf] | Google Drive for Assignments [link]
INST-611 Privacy & Security in a Networked World
Technological innovations in how individuals, organizations, and governments collect and share personal information have raised myriad concerns regarding how that information can be best protected. In today’s highly networked world, individuals must acquire the knowledge and skills to engage with technologies in a safe and secure manner. This course provides an interdisciplinary exploration of the social, legal, ethical, and design challenges that arise when it comes to securing personal information and helping individuals maintain desired levels of privacy at home, work, and everywhere in between.
I’m teaching this class in FA21 for the first time in four years, so I’m in the process of updating the content. This is a draft syllabus, which I’ll update once finalized. FA21 Draft Syllabus [pdf]
SURV699A: Ethical Considerations for Data Science Research (1 credit)
Networked technologies—including the internet of things (IoT), wearables, ubiquitous sensing, social sharing platforms, and other AI-driven systems—are generating a tremendous amount of data about individuals, companies, and societies. These technologies provide a range of new opportunities for data scientists and researchers to understand human behavior and develop new tools that benefit society. At the same time, the ease with which data can be collected and analyzed raises a wide range of ethical questions about these technologies, their creators, and their users. In recent years, we have seen numerous examples of research and technologies that are ethically problematic. For example, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed researchers using problematic tactics to collect profile data from millions of Facebook users. In addition, algorithms and machine learning techniques have been revealed as systematically biased in how they evaluate resumes, recommend parole for prisoners, decide where police units should deploy, and identify people through facial recognition technology, just to name a few. Therefore, it is critical that data scientists and others who will be working with big data can critically assess the potential risks and benefits of any end products, whether they are developing a search engine or a tool for detecting terrorists. This course will provide an overview of key ethical issues that arise when working with big data, and it will provide opportunities to review and reflect on past mistakes in this space. FA20 syllabus [pdf]
INST-627 Data Analytics for Information Professionals:
Advances in hardware and software technologies have led to a rapid increase in the amount of data collected, with no end in sight. Decision making in the coming decades will depend, to an ever greater extent, on extracting meaning and knowledge from all that data. In this class we focus on one branch of statistics, inferential statistics, to help us reason about data. By gathering datasets, formulating proper statistical analyses and executing these analyses, information professionals play a significant role in bridging the gap between raw data and decision making.This course will introduce basic concepts in data analytics including study design, measure construction, data exploration, hypothesis testing, and statistical analysis. The course also provides an overview of commonly used data manipulation and analytic tools. Through homework assignments, projects, and in-class activities, you will practice working with these techniques and develop statistical reasoning skills. FA15 Syllabus [pdf]
INFM-600: Information Environments
Information Environments will explore various models and methodologies used to capture and deploy internal and external information and knowledge in a number of settings. Students will analyze organizations in terms of information creation, flow, sharing, conservation, and application to problem solving. The course will take into account both internal and external influences on the management of information and knowledge. We will also examine how information flows, and is managed, in online settings, and examine a number of examples of successful and unsuccessful online information management. Course assignments will give students the opportunity to review the interaction between information flows, organizational structures, and social relations, as well encourage discussion regarding how to improve existing information policies and operating procedures. SP15 Syllabus [pdf]
INST808: Qualitative Research Methods for Social Science Research
This course is designed to provide a general understanding of qualitative research methods and issues related to the design and conduct of qualitative studies. It is important for researchers to understand how different methods can be used to investigate different research objectives. Qualitative research seeks the answers to how and why; it analyzes and describes; and it may shape preliminary questions to quantitative research. Qualitative methods include interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and content analysis. If you plan to use qualitative research in your future career or studies, or want to become familiar with the various methods to qualitatively evaluate research questions, this class will provide a strong foundation in the primary research methods used in social and informational science research. SP16 Syllabus [pdf]
Michigan State University
TC 401: Social Impacts of Media (Instructor)
Description: This course focuses on the social impacts, both practical and theoretical, of computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems. CMC includes many different types of technologies, such as social networking sites, email, forums, chat, and online games. We will focus on the analysis of CMC practices, the social processes and structures that emerge when people use these applications, and the problems and barriers that emerge from use. Key concepts such as privacy, identity, the digital divide and virtual communities will be discussed and critiqued. My role: I redesigned this course to reflect the evolution of social media technologies, as well as its new status as a 400-level course. This involved developing a new syllabus and course plan, selecting appropriate topics and readings, building new lectures, and finding experts in various social media subareas to Skype in and speak to the class about their area of work. This is the first class that I have had full control over every aspect, from overall design to class structure, topics, and grading scheme. Course Syllabus [pdf]
TC 100/101: The Information Society (Instructor)
Description: This course provides an introduction to and overview of the ﬁeld of telecommunication, information studies, and media. As a survey course, it addresses a wide range of topics, including: (1) critique and analysis of media, including television, radio, ﬁlm, video games, social media, and the Internet; (2) media history, policy, industry structure, and ethics; and (3) technology, industry and social trends affecting the media in the information society. My role: I assisted in developing this class, which combined two previously offered classes, TC100 and TC110. This involved selecting appropriate topics, designing a syllabus and course plan to effectively teach the content and measure students’ growth in knowledge from the class, and building new lectures to reflect the revamped course. This course consisted of 12 three-hour lectures and two exam days. Course Syllabus [pdf]
TC 110: Understanding Media (TA)
Description: This class gives students the knowledge and tools to become more thoughtful, successful, and informed consumers and producers of media messages. It focuses on media content and better understanding the processes by which messages are created and consumed. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to analyze, critique, and assess media messages and describe their impacts on individuals and society. We will learn how media effects research is conducted, and what these studies can and cannot tell us. My role: In this class, I primarily served as the liaison between students and the instructor. I was responsible for handling all emails related to the class and all grading. In addition, I lectured four times during the semester, covering: McLuhan & Technological Determinism, Psychological Effects of Media Messages, and New Media (two lectures). Course Syllabus [pdf]