CMSC 838C - Social Computing - University of Maryland - Fall 2011
Prof. Ben Bederson

Class hours: Mon, 4pm - 6:30pm Room: 3118 CSIC
Contact information
Email (
Office Hours
Ben Bederson
Sign up: Thu, 11-12:30pm
and by appointment
2117D Hornbake Library
South Wing

Description: This course will look at a broad range of issues related to social computing with a focus on crowdsourcing and human computation. It will be structured as a research seminar with discussions led by students focused on weekly readings selected from the research literature along with regular presentations and feedback on student projects.

Format: For each class period, students will read papers and submit short reading responses online by midnight on the day before class. In addition to commentaries, students will be asked to lead one class discussion. The discussant should read all student commentaries before class and integrate them into the discussion. A small number of assignments will ensure students are familiar with current technologies.

This is a project course, and the primary deliverables for the course will be a software artifact and an accompanying paper suitable for submitting to a conference such as CHI or UIST. Projects can be done individually or in small groups. This course will be modeled to some extent on this one (Also see this one). This will be a somewhat technical class, and I expect that primarily computer science students will participate. However, I am open to more technical students from other areas (i.e., iSchool, SOCY, JOUR, BMGT) joining.

This course will count as a CS MS qualifying course, but will not count towards MS Comps or PhD qualifying course.

Web resources: Kraut/Resnick book, Easley/Kleinberg book, TMSP bibliography
Tools: Eclipse, JQuery, Python, SQLite, Google AppEngine
Refs: W3Schools: HTML, JavaScript, CSS, JSON, Dive Into Python (book)

Student Projects


Part 1: Common social systems such as blogs, micro-blogs, Q&A systems, online communities, social bookmarking, and email

Sept 12: Introduction - Ben Bederson

Sept 19: Technology Mediated Social Participation (see IEEE Computer special issue)

Sept 26: Motivation

Part 2: Crowdsourcing
Oct 3: Human Computation

Oct 10: Tools

Oct 17: Labor issues

Oct 24: Applications I

Oct 31: Applications II

Nov 7: Applications III

Part 3: Social Network Analysis

Nov 14:

Nov 21:

Nov 28:

Dec 5:

Dec 12: Final project presentations. Functioning prototype.
Dec 20: Final paper due @ 5pm.