This seminar adopts an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of collaboration systems and the politics of collaboration, drawing from science and technology studies, communications and media studies, political anthropology, globalization studies, and social theory. Over the course of the semester, we’ll occasionally invite informatics practitioners, educators, and activists to join us to reflect on their collaborations and use of collaborative technologies. Our seminar is designed for researchers interested in studying collaboration networks as social, technical, and political formations, and the cultural conditions that allow them to emerge as such. A key site of interrogation will be emergent experiments in collaborative interventions and technological performances by transnational hacktivist groups, global citizen labs, and lay science networks.


We’ll be taking an engaged approach to interrogating collaboration systems, by trying our own hand at cultivating grounded collaborative designs and practices over the course of the semester.

Collaborative Syllabus Design (Annotated): Our final project requirement entails the co-creation of a semester-long class syllabus, designed in collaboration with a partner of your own selection, who is outside your own department or discipline. This design/pedagogical partner can be someone who represents a contact from your fieldwork or past/present research project, an existing NGO or community-based organization, or a fellow researcher outside of your own department or discipline with distinct research practices/conventions and audience expectations than your own. Aim for a 15-page annotated syllabus, that includes reflections and explanations of co-selected weekly readings, and co-created class activities. This can include/address:

  • brief summaries of the readings you co-selected, and the key concepts you want to flush out in the class.
  • a reflection on how such readings are typically framed (within the disciplines, or are normally taught), how you (and/or your collaborator) want those readings to function, and why they were compiled together, what you left out and decided not to include, and any key questions you want to explore with students or your collaborator in the course of the putting them to work in class.
  • activities planned (beyond discussion and analysis of the readings), a reflection on how such activities were designed, and a consideration of what work you want them to do as a potentially novel addition to the teaching of “subject X.”
  • how such class materials (ie. readings, activities, etc) mean to translate your topic and key questions to your particular audience (so that the concepts might resonate differently for that audience).
  • a reflection and report on any difficulties – theoretical, pragmatic, or even with your collaborator – that were encountered in the process of designing that module, and how (if at all) it was resolved.

Collaborative Design: Class Module: You’ll get to present and run a sample class activity/module from your co-created course syllabus in class during the final weeks of the semester. Each presenter will be allotted 45 min. for their syllabus activity. (Please let me know as soon as you can if you think you might like more time for this.) During the middle of the semester, I will meet with you one on one to discuss proposals and planning.

Semester Paper: A 12-15-page long paper will also be due at the end of the semester, that applies readings and theory from class to a research project.

Blogging Reading Reactions: should be posted to our course blog by 11:59P Sunday. Reactions should aim to extend insights, questions, or tensions garnered from the readings, and avoid summaries them. Connections to current events, links to other archives, digital manifestations, and other blog-friendly uses of multi-media are especially welcome. Note: you’re welcome to add more than 1 post per week, or to add extensions to your original weekly post. Do aim, however for 1-2 typed pages per week.

Our blogs posts and visuals will kick off our class discussion on readings. And you could be invited to contribute your post to the campus IPRH blog ( whose new 2014-15 theme starting in September will be “Collaboration.” Feel free to be as creative as you like here, and to draw in video, images, or sound-based material – as well as the always reader-friendly connections to current events.

  • Collaborative Syllabus:                  25%                 Due 12/8
  • Class Module:                                  15%
  • Semester Paper:                              20%                 Due 12/8
  • Weekly Blog Reactions                    30 %
  • Participation:                                   10%

1 thought on “Syllabus

  1. Pingback: Teaching Collaboration

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