INF 301 Introduction to Information and Power (Lecture/Required)
This course addresses the ways in which information and information practices are shaping and being shaped by social conflicts, tensions, and alignments. It introduces and integrates issues of representation and knowledge production, privacy and community, autonomy and control, culture and property that are revealed, alleviated, or exacerbated as information practice changes.
INF 302 Integrative Approaches to Technology and Society (Lecture/Required)
This course explores how society, culture, and understanding of the human condition influence, and are influenced by, technological development. It focuses on the study of interdependent and institutionalized systems of law, economics, culture and technology, exploring the conditions of stability and instability in these systems. We will survey the available theories and methods for understanding large scale socio-technological systems.
INF 311 Information in the Cultural Imagination (Lecture/Required)
How is the idea of information constructed through cultural representation? How do imaginative works provoke us to think about information technologies? This course surveys the cultural history of the idea of information, from its historical roots to present-day representations in popular culture, drawing on film, television, video games, literature, art, advertising, performance, and other media.
INF 312 Worlds Become Data (Lecture/Required)
This course covers issues in the practices of translating phenomena to data and algorithmic description. What happens, what is gained, what is lost, when things that happen in the world are recorded and made into information or recorded as a document? The course explores representation, modeling, correctness, reliability, and bias in data and algorithms.
INF 313 Computational Reasoning (Lecture/Required)
This course introduces principles and concepts of computational thinking and reasoning by providing an overview of data structures and algorithms, logic in computing, and programming paradigms such as object orientation and functions. It is accompanied by tutorials and assignments that make these concepts tangible and enable students to engage productively in the design of computational systems.
INF 314 Information, Memory, and Culture (Lecture/Required)
This course offers an opportunity to explore the theories and practices employed by cultural heritage institutions, including libraries, archives, and museums, to acquire, manage and preserve information objects. Students will learn about traditional and contemporary approaches to the making and unmaking of collective memory, and will develop an appreciation for the challenges concerning remembering and forgetting in the digital age.
INF 315 Information Practice in Organizations (Lecture/Required)
This course provides students with an understanding of organizations as social contexts where individuals enact information practices to carry out their work. Social contexts range from corporations and governmental agencies to fan clubs and activist organizations. Topics include ethnography, requirements modeling, records management, and knowledge translation and mobilization.
INF 351 Information Design Studio I: How to Make a Computer. And Why. (Studio/Required)
By developing a working system using lightweight computing platforms such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi and networked services, students will explore the implications of choices in architecture across the range from mainframes and personal computing to mobile devices and sensors, understand the nature of different network and service architectures including cloud computing, explore the relationship of hardware, data, and programs, and appreciate the various sensing mechanisms through which the world becomes data for the computer in operation.
INF 352 Information Design Studio II: How to Design (Studio/Required)
Students will develop a general sense of design and the role it plays in the construction of our built environment. Human-centered design practices will be taught. Students will learn to identify important characteristics of the built environment using observational methods drawn from art and design practices, to analyze these characteristics using theories and perspectives drawn from relevant scholarship, and to represent their analyses using techniques of design sketching.
INF 353 Information Design Studio III: Designing Interactive Systems (Studio/Required)
Using current computational tools students will use human-centered design methods to produce interactive systems that engage with socio-cultural issues and society. The course will mobilize analytic and technical skills drawn from other lecture and studio courses. Students will also engage in self and peer critique in order to reflect on their own digital objects and those they will encounter in society at large.
INF 401 Practicum Prep (Lecture/Required)
A: Research Design in Information
As a preparation for an academic practicum, this course provides an introduction to the philosophy, language, lifecycles, and methods of qualitative and quantitative inquiry. The emphasis is on conceptualizing and designing research, based on an appreciation of the epistemological underpinnings of the approaches covered. We will consider the fundamental principles, processes, values, and roles of research into complex questions of the role of information in society. We will explore and learn the basic skills of evaluating, planning, designing, executing, and applying research. Students will be afforded the opportunity to develop research on a question of their choice.
B: Practicum Prep for the Non-academic Workplace
Where a university (or any formal educational setting) is student-centered and focused on facilitating student learning, a workplace is focused on its own strategic goals, stakeholders, and clients. Student learning is peripheral to the purpose of the organization. While it is assumed that any organization that engages a practicum student has a commitment to the educational value of the experience for all parties, employers are not responsible for the student’s academic development. In order for learning to occur in the workplace, the processes associated with learning (cognitive, emotional, affective, etc.) must be made conscious and accessible to the learner. This is the overriding purpose of this course: to create independent, autonomous and self-directed learning professionals.
INF 402 Work Integrated Learning Practicum(Practicum/Required)
The practicum provides hands-on experience to supplement theoretical knowledge and to develop professional competencies. Students will complete a minimum of 100 hours of project work through one of the following: an unpaid internship, a faculty research project, a not-for-profit or an industry-based project. Students will be required to keep a reflective learning journal based on their personal, professional and intellectual growth, as well as produce a final report on the completion of their placement or project.
INF 411 Information in the Global Economy (Lecture/Required)
This course surveys how information technologies, information services, and information itself are produced, circulated, and consumed. How is information made into a commodity? How are markets for information and information services created and sustained? Students will develop a basic understanding of the political, economic, cultural, and regulatory environment in which information, culture, and technologies are produced, as well as the implications of processes such as globalization, digitization, and commodification for social life.
INF 412 Data Analytics (Lecture/Required)
This examines core topics in probability and statistics through the study and practice of data analysis. Topics include hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, counts and tables, analysis of variance, regression, principal components, data summarization, and cluster analysis. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to critically think about data and use/implement standard statistical procedures to perform a wide range of analyses.
INF 413 Information Policy in Canadian and Global Contexts (Lecture/Required)
This course provides students with an introduction to the history and development of information policy. Topics include Canadian and international regulations concerning data protection and privacy, intellectual and cultural property, and industrial organization. The course will also cover emerging models of governance and the politics of standards setting bodies and global treaty organizations.
INF 451 Information Design Studio IV: Information Visualization (Studio/Required)
Problems, practices, and techniques of conveying complex information analysis. Issues of clarity, persuasion, visual literacy, and cultural context will be explored. Students will develop a data visualization project that will speak to or engage surveillance, data analytics, activism, or other issues covered in advanced IDM courses.
INF 452 Information Design Studio V: Coding (Studio/Required)
Students will develop skills in coding principles and practice by working with media artifacts. Students will write and modify code to address and engage issues covered in lecture based courses.
INF 453 Capstone Project (Studio/Required)
A self-guided and collaborative student project. Students will identify a design problem, design a creative solution to the problem using a combination of skills from previous courses, and share their project with the class. Students will present the outcomes of their project in both visual and written formats.
INF 481 Special Topics in Information Studies I (Lecture/Elective)
INF 482 Special Topics in Information Studies II (Lecture/Elective)
INF 483 Special Topics in Information Studies III (Lecture/Elective)
INF 484 Special Topics in Information Studies IV (Lecture/Elective)
Special topics courses offer In-depth examinations of selected topics in Information, including, for example:
Audiences are social constructions which must be imagined to be actualized. In emerging social media space capacity to characterize imagined audiences provides a foundational framework for determining the information representations and presentations necessary to create those virtual audiences. This approach is foundation to personal, commercial and public sector exploration of virtual worlds. Beginning with an exploration of the nature and role of audiences across multiple virtual and electronic media, the students explore the conception, perception and reality of imagined and actual audiences. Broadcast models, interactive models, live audience, audience reading, gender, culture, and audience feedback are investigated.
Information and Political Activism
This course offers students an opportunity to investigate the evolving relationship between cultural production, social order, and the development and use of information technologies. Students will critically assess how a wide variety of technological-mediated practices have brought about significant social changes by affecting community structures and notions of individual identity, facilitating cultural exchanges and misunderstandings, impacting public opinion, and enabling new modes of political organization and unrest. As part of that endeavour we will examine various theories of collective action, including collective behaviour theory, resource mobilization, new social movements, gift economies, and class struggle. These theoretical perspectives will be evaluated based on their potential to inform our understandings of historical and contemporary examples of communities of practice.
Critical Histories of Information Technologies
This course approaches current information and communication technologies from critical and historical perspectives. It investigates the interests, motives, and tactics of news media, pop culture producers, amateurs, universities, corporations, and governments in promoting, sustaining, and interpreting information and communication systems. It also asks how information systems mediate, alter, or entrench power relations and cultural practices. While the focus will be on media and information technologies, more theoretical or methodological readings will necessarily cover other systems. Case studies may include investigations of orality, writing, the printing press, industrialized printing, and electronic media from the telegraph and the telephone to broadcasting and the internet.
Digital Material Culture
This course explores the materiality of digital objects, from image and music files to digital documents to video games and other software, and considers their past, present, and future status as material culture. The course involves the primary study of digital objects themselves, but also considers the technological infrastructures and cultural contexts in which they are produced, circulated, and interpreted.
Surveillance has become an everyday facet of modern life. It is a foundational structure of current social, political, and technological interrelationships. Studying surveillance can help us more effectively understand how power, identity, and control operate in modern life. This course will integrate theory (economic, political, and social) and case studies to investigate how data, economics, militarism, policy, identity, visibility, fear, desire, and risk all interoperate in a global context to create and mediate the world we live in.
Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning
Recent developments in deep learning, parallel hardware, and the accessibility of big data are leading to rapid advances in delivering on artificial intelligence’s dream of building intelligent computers. This course will develop: (i) a conceptual understanding of these new brain-inspired computational architectures, (ii) an analysis of what tasks they are appropriate for, what sorts of performance they offer and promise in the future, and what types of human work they will be able to automate; and (iii) an exploration of both their immediate and their potential long-term impact on the nature of human labour, creativity, social configuration, and self-conception.
- Advanced Topics in Policy
- Advanced Topics in User Interface Design
- Advanced Topics in Information Systems Design
- Advanced Topics in Information and Culture