In my classes, students typically work as teams of advisors that provide guidance to institutions on issues relative to, for example, records compliance, digital preservation, or open data mandates. Through such exeperiential learning, students apply fundamental concepts in concrete situations while practicing an array of soft skills, including public speaking, report writing, interacting with clients, and giving and receiving feedback. Over the years, students have provided guidance to a broad range of organizations, among others, the Getty Research Institute, Pacifica Radio Archives, Warner Elektra Atlantic, the Margaret Herrick Library, as well as multiple small businesses and administrative services at UCLA (see links below for syllabi and sample student projects).
• Consumption & Sustainability: Designing the Future of Online Shopping
Consumption is today a complex ethical process that requires balancing cost together with environmental impact, trade and labor practices, safety, and health considerations. In making these choices, consumers have today access to vast amounts of information seeking to promote repairability, recycling, hacking, making, sharing, etc. Drawing from research in information services design, marketing, anthropology of consumption, and consumer protection, this course will explore the design of new information services that can provide, on the one hand, consumers with a broader range of choices in their consumption practices and, on the other hand, retailers and manufacturers with added tools to keep up with increasingly selective customers.
— Taught 2017.
• Systems and Infrastructures (IS 270)
This course approaches the fundamentals of information technology through its infrastructure. Starting from the material basis of computational resources (processing, storage, and connectivity), the course examines how they are assembled through architectures (mainframes, personal, cloud), the design strategy of modularity and further shaped by standardization, policy, economics, and user practices. Participants develop their ability to analyze and evaluate computing technologies, as well as anticipate their future evolution.
— Taught 2004-07, 2008-15, 2017.
• Paperwork Informatics (aka Mngmt. Digital Records IS 240)
While the coming of the paperless office has been announced for over forty years, we live in an hybrid world where paper and electronic documentary practices are profoundly intertwined. Moving beyond simplistic discourses that portray paper as antiquated and electronic media as modern, this course track this shift by drawing from multiple strands of scholarship and professional practice, including records management, paperwork studies, media archeology, and computer-human interaction. Participants learn skills to help individuals and institutions navigate the drive to paperlessness while complying with recordkeeping and institutional memory requirements.
— Taught 2006-07, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016.
• Data Governance and Entrepreneurship (IS 289)
To leverage data's capacity in the service of personal and institutional change, it is necessary to go beyond “data positivism”—the prevalent portrayal of data as immaterial, untainted, and naturally fluid information that objectively records phenomena. Such a characterization actively obscures the elaborate social and technical processes that are necessary to transform phenomena into decisions, including sensing and measurement, standardization, normalization, aggregation, classification, description, algorithmic processing, and curation. This course analyses the full data lifecycle, from creation to preservation, so as to help participants develop knowledge and skills applicable in a wide variety of institutional contexts where the power of data is being leveraged.
— Taught 2014, 2016.
• On the Record, All the Time: Archives and Surveillance Technologies (IS 289)
From bodycams to smartphones to drones, we are in the midst of an extraordinary deployment of recording technologies that promises to reconfigure a broad range of social practices. Whether dramatic, as with recordings of police incidents, or more mundane, as with the explosion of labor and paperwork generated by such technologies, the recording capabilities highlight new and emergent intersections of policy, technology and record-keeping in contemporary society. Building on the “On the Record All the Time” project, this course examines the data management needs that result from these new recording regimes, as well as the new challenges to the fulfillment of public mandates for transparency, accountability, and historical memory.
— Taught 2016 with Snowden Becker.
• Design as Research Method (IS 282)
Computing devices not longer solely reside on desktops, but may today be directly and transparently embedded into the environment, gathering data from a wide range of sensor types, communicating wirelessly with users, with other devices, and with data centers. Given this much larger space of design, it becomes essential to learn more about the networks of activities and relationships within which devices and services will be used, about how they will “fit” into the world around them, on multiple levels --- ergonomic, cognitive, institutional, economic, etc. Design-based research methods not only provide means to evaluate this fit but also for structured innovation and imagination.
— Taught 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.
• Digital Preservation (IS 241)
Digital media provides extraordinary capabilities for access, but its preservation is proving difficult both conceptually and practically. Not only does it require reformulation of traditional concepts of authenticity, authorship, and originals, but it also demands the design of new kinds of information systems to manage the preservation process, as well as new economic, legal, and policy tools with which to ensure long-term preservation. This course provides an introduction to this vibrant field, while at the same time helping participants develop practical preservation skills.
— Taught 2006, 2012, 2016.
• PhD Seminar: Academic Work (IS 291c)
Scholarship relies not only on the observance of sound research methodologies, but on a number of other institutional mechanisms, including tenure, faculty governance, peer review, public and private funding, doctoral training, etc. A significant portion of academic labor is devoted to the management of these mechanisms, and their successful performance is a requirement for promotion at all levels of the academic field. This course examines the history and current transformations (technological, institutional) of these mechanisms so as to provide participants with critical tools to analyze and proactively engage with the changes affecting the practice of scholarly inquiry and the institutions that support it.
— Taught 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016.
• Database Design and Aesthetics (IS 274)
Cross-listed in Statistics and Design/Media Arts, this course addresses significant stops along the “data pipeline”, from collection technologies, to transmission, storage, visual analysis, modeling and decision-making. The insight that guides this course is that decisions along the pipeline should not be made in an isolated way: choosing a database schema, data formats and protocols, ultimately decide the kind of analysis that can be performed; and, run in reverse, modeling often drives choices about what data to collect and how it is represented.
— Taught 2003, 2005, 2007 (with Mark Hansen).