Social Computing and Web 2.0 Coursework Site

Julita Vassileva (jiv at cs dot usask dot ca)


Assignment 1 : Pick a community of your choice and discuss how you can design a community visualization for it that can be used to enhance the user experience, provide information or motivate participation. If the community already has such a visualization, describe the design and analyse it with respect to the goals that you think underlied its design. Use the ideas about community awareness and visualizations discussed in Week 9 of the class. (due - Nov. 16).
Deliverable - a 2 page (single spaced, 12 pt) paper.

Assignment 2 : Pick a community and analyse its purpose and design, e.g. interaction functionality, awareness, rewards, using your knowledge about the behavioural or analytical theories or some of the technologies discussed in Weeks 7 to 12 of the class. (due - Dec. 4).
- a 5 page (single spaced, 12 pt) discussion of the community in light of the chosen theory with refereneces.

Team Project:

Using DRUPAL design a framework to support an online community accompanying a graduate class like the one you are taking. It should provide functionality for the teacher to upload reading materials, allow students to discuss topics, to summarize specific readings, to write individual and collaborative reflections on what they have learned about a given topic, to share links and files with new resources. (due - Dec. 4).
Deliverable - your part of the code (functional package) and a 5 page paper discussing the functionality, the structure of the modules, a usage scenario and a discussion of the problems you encountered during the design and coding and your experience with DRUPAL.

Weekly Coursework using different online community frameworks:

to post your discussion entry for each reading listed for the week and comment on the entries of the others.
Each entry should contain:

  • summary: statements or questions raised by the author,
  • critique: if you think the author is right or what was left out,
  • connection: how the claims relate to other readings,
  • application - how the reading applies to your chosen community or technology
Two alternative systems are used for submitting the weekly discussion entries:

to post your weekly reflection on what you have learned from all the papers read and discussed during the week

  • individual - using a blog system, or
  • collaborative - using a wiki system
Two alternative systems are used for posting the weekly reflections:

to store booksmarks of additional papers related to the class topics that you find we will use two systems:

  • CiteULike - to create your personal library of links to relevant papers and once you have shared them there,
  • Umtella - to share once again the CiteULike bookmarks of the papers you find. Umtella allows to upload brief summaries of the papers, search, read and rate the papers shared by others. Also it allows to see who has shared what.
Comtella-D(iscussion) (used from Sept 11 - Nov 1, 2007) MADMUC Blog (used from Sept 11 - Oct 21, 2007)


CoPe System (used from Nov 1 - Dec. 4, 2007) MadWiki (used from Oct 21 - Dec 4, 2007) UMtella



Topics and Required Readings (advice on how to get the most out of the text when reading)


Fun Stuff (videos)

Week 1: Sept 11, 2007

Introduction to Web 2.0:

Introduction to Online Communities:

Tim O'Reilly's 50 sec video summary of his paper :-)

The Machine is Us/ing Us (4:33 video)

What is Web 2.0? Is it the new bubble? (09:07 video with Aaron Cohen (Bolt), Scott Milener and Steven Lurie (Browster), Keith Teare (edgeio), Steven Marder (Eurekster), Joe Kraus (JotSpot), Jeremy Verba (Piczo), Auren Hoffman (Rapleaf), Chris Alden (Rojo), Gautam Godhwani (Simply Hired), Jonathan Abrams (Socializr), David Sifry (Technorati), Matt Sanchez (Video Egg) and Michael Tanne (Wink).)

Wikipaedia timelapse (5:20 video)

Participative Web OECD-Canada Forum (several interviews)

Map of Online Communities (comic)

Week 2: Sept 18, 2007

Technologies (Web 2.0) - P2P, Web-services, SOAP and SOA, RSS, REST, Ajax, Semantic Web, APIs, mashups - lecture presented by Yao Wang, Andrew Webster and Tariq Muhammad

Technologies (Content Management Systems) - DRUPAL


What is Web 2.0? (3:00 video about the techniques driving Web 2.0)

Week 3: Sept 25, 2007

Coding: Open Source Movement

Software and Community in the Early 21st Century (65 min video of Eben Moglen's inspiring keynote address at the Plone Conference 2006)

Week 4: Oct 2, 2007

Publishing: Blogs

Collaborative Publishing: Wikipedia


Why Wikipaedia Sucks? (3:15 min video clip)

Video of Fernanda Viegas talking about interactions on Wikipedia at the Social Computing Symposium, 2006 (7:00 min)

You may find following paper useful for the project:

Andrea Forte and Amy Bruckman (2007) Constructing Text:Wiki as a Toolkit for (Collaborative?) Learning

Week 5: Oct 9, 2007

Discussions and Socialization: Forums, Bulletin Boards, Chat, IM, Social Networking

How many list subscribers does it take to change a lightbulb?


The 10 strangest niche social networking sites
(Vampires, Hot or Not, the Doll Palace, MyChurch, Agent space, Petster, Respectance etc.)

Week 6: Oct 16, 2007

Sharing, Trading and Playing




Pervasive Gaming (6:00 min video, Daniel Pargmann)

What is Second Life

Week 7: Oct 23, 2007

Behavioural Theories Applied to Online Communities

Social Psychology


Organizational Science


Cognitive Consistency - a brief course onPersuasion for Advertisement

Week 8: Oct 30, 2007


Motivating Participation in Online Communities


Week 9: Nov 6, 2007


Community Awareness and Visualization


Erickson Th. (2003) Designing Visualizations of Social Activity: Six Claims (2 pp, very useful guidelines for visualization design!)

Erickson Th (2006) Coopeartion among Strangers: Visualizing Norms as a Means of Supporting Cooperation in Online Systems (4 pp, provides a brief overview of Tom's research, generally overlapping with his 2007 paper on the left)

Sun, L., Vassileva J.(2007) An Improved Design and a Case Study of a Social Visualization Encouraging Participation in Online Communities (16 pp, continuation of the work presented in the Vassileva, Sun paper on the left).

JUNG - software for drawing graphs (social networks)

Week 10: Nov 13, 2007


Search for Meaning: Tagging, Ontologies

Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia by Cory Doctorow

Everything is Miscallaneous (As told by Video) (4 min videoclip)

Blog for "Everything is Miscellaneous" by David Weinberger

Week 11: Nov 20, 2007


Recommender Systems, Trust and Reputation Mechanisms


Week 12: Nov 27, 2007

Analytic Theories

Metcalfe's law, Network effects, Scale-Free networks

Mattis J. QuickStudy: Scale-Free Networks

The Santa Fe Institute - Physics of Complex Systems