Social Computing Syllabus

Course Description

This Social Computing course focuses on understanding and modeling social behavior through its digital traces. What kind of insight can we gain about social dynamics through the massive online data? The course will also focus on how social dynamics, interactions, and social networks get shaped by various online platforms and environments. Students will read relevant academic papers in social computing, as well as being introduced to some foundational methods and techniques in social media data analysis, such as network analysis, topic modeling, and sentiment analysis. They will express their learning through written (reflections) and in-class discussion of reading, individual homework assignments, and a final group research project. With their final projects, they will investigate specific questions about social behavior and analyze real world online data sets, including Twitter, OpenStreetMap, and likely Wikipedia data.


Students are expected to:


Final grades are determined using the following weights:

Undergraduate Grade Points

Graduate Grade Points


Your weekly reflection should include the following aspects:


Homework #1

Observation of social behavior in public spaces

Homework #2

Find a publically available data set and form a hypothesis

In your one-page write up:

Homework #3

Basic statistical analysis of chosen dataset

In you 1-2 page write-up:

Homework #4

Final project proposal

In you 2-page proposal:

Academic Honesty

This course’s philosophy on academic honesty is best stated as “be reasonable.” The course recognizes that interactions with classmates and others can facilitate mastery of the course’s material. However, there remains a line between enlisting the help of another and submitting the work of another.

The essence of all the individual work that you submit to this course must be your own. Collaboration on homeworks and reflections is not permitted except to the extent that you may ask classmates and others for help so long as that help does not reduce to another doing your work for you. Generally speaking, when asking for help, you may show your code to others, but you may not view theirs, so long as you and they respect this policy’s other constraints. Collaboration on the course’s final project is encouraged within the project group.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the [Accessibility Resource Center] (

Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy Statement

No form of discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct will be tolerated in this class or at UNM in general. I strongly encourage you to report any problems you have in this regard to the appropriate person at UNM. As described below, I must report any such incidents of which I become aware to the university. UNM also has confidential counselors available through UNM Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), UNM Counseling and Referral Services (CARS), and UNM LoboRespect.

In an effort to meet obligations under Title IX, UNM faculty are considered “responsible employees” by the Department of Education (see pg.15). This designation requires that any report of gender discrimination which includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence made to a faculty member, TA, or GA must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at the Office of Equal Opportunity. For more information on the campus policy regarding sexual misconduct, see this.