We expect that this course will be unlike any course that we’ve taught and that you’ve taken. Broadly speaking, we think that many graduate sociology courses emphasize reading and many computer science courses emphasize doing. In this course, you can expect a hybrid. If you are used to computer science graduate courses, this course will have more reading and less doing. Alternatively, if you are used to sociology graduate courses, this course will have less reading and more doing. We want to be clear that this course will not—and cannot—have as much reading as a sociology course and as much doing as a computer science course.
This course will also be unlike other courses you might have taken previously because it will be entirely online due to COVID-19. No part of the course will require physical presence on campus, but there will be synchronous meetings during our classes’s scheduled time: Tuesday, Thursday 11:00 - 12:20 ET. You can participate in the course from wherever you want as long as you have a solid internet connection and can be awake and alert doing the meeting time.
Because the course is online there will be no synchronous lecturing. Rather, we will use our time together for more interactive activities. Here’s how we are imagining each class meeting happening. First, we will provide you a short video or written pre-reading guide to offer some context about the reading. Then, you will do the reading carefully. Next, our class time will have a “sandwich” structure. First, the instructors will provide a short introduction to the activity for that day. Next, we will split you into small groups (maybe 3 students each) using Zoom breakout rooms, and then you will complete the activity with your group. At the end of class, we will come back together to compare and contrast the approaches taken by the different groups.
Some days the main activity might be to discuss a series of questions about the readings for that class. Other days the main activity might be to begin replicating the results of one of the paper. In yet other days, the main activity might be to begin to design a new project or to give feedback to a peer on their project. In no cases will the main activity be listening to your teachers lecture.
(All times U.S. Eastern time.)
For office hours, please use the same Zoom link that we use for class. If you are not able to attend office hours, please email one of the instructors to schedule a meeting.
Because some people may have to miss class due to COVID, we will record the Zoom meetings, and post them on Piazza where they can be watched by other members of our class. We will not post these videos publicly, and we will delete them once we have submitted final grades for the course.
Your camera should be on by default. We have this policy because we think it leads to more engaging and effective discussions, and hence better learning. If for some reason you need to turn your camera off for a specific class meeting, just contact both instructors before class, and you can keep your camera off (no questions asked).
We recognize that it may be more difficult for some students to comply with this policy. If there are reasons it will be difficult for you to have your camera on regularly, please contact both instructors and we can try to find a solution.
Unfortunately not all of the material that we assign in this class is available open access. We have marked open access materials with a and closed access materials with a . If you do not have access to a university library, copies of many of the closed access articles can be found through Google Scholar.