CS 598 KGK
Social Spaces on the Internet

The Rise of Algorithmic Society

Course Topic

The Internet is home to a panoply of varieties of human interaction. Social media, interactive games, telepresence, online environments, and simple text e-mails now mediate our normal experiences of education, medicine, politics, business, sociality, collective action, and more. Unbeknownst to many users, these systems incorporate algorithmic interventions that alter prior expectations. As the Internet has become an infrastructure for social life and society itself, our ability to measure and represent that society is transforming. This class explores the presentation of self, the presentation of collectives, the presentation of news, and social dynamics in these online spaces--and how algorithmic intervention shapes them from the perspective of social signalling theory. Topics covered include: resumes of the 22nd century, why people share misinformation, the mitigation of trolling, ethics, and bias in social media systems. Upon completion of this course, students will have an up-to-date understanding of the design of social media interfaces with incentive structures from social signaling theory.

Upon completion of this course, students will have an up-to-date understanding of the design of social media interfaces with incentive structures from social signaling theory.

There are no required texts for this course. Recommended reading is listed below for additional information.

1. Animal Signals by John Maynard Smith and David Harper

2. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

3. On Individuality and Social Forms by Georg Simmel

4. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte


TR 9:30-10:45 am

Karrie Karahalios <kkarahal@illinois.edu> (Instructor)
Beleicia Bullock < bbb4@illinois.edu> (TA)


The calendar link (disabled) above provides Zoom urls for classes and office hours. (Note: this is accessible only to UIUC students).


Course lectures will be presented synchronously via Zoom and recorded. (Class discussion after the lecture will not be recorded).

We will be using several collaborative tools in the course. Please familiarize yourself with them:

Zoom: If you have not already, please download the client at: https://zoom.us/download

Piazza: We will be using Piazza for asynchronous Q&A. Please add yourself to the course at: https://piazza.com/illinois/fall2020/cs598kgk

Slack: We will be using slack to share and comment on designs, share resources, etc. The link to join is on Piazza.

Compass2g: We will be using Compass2g for assignment submissions.

20% class participation (missed classes should be cleared with instructor, 2 missed classes result in a lower letter grade, i.e. A to A-)

20% class assignments

20% design projects

40% final project/paper

Disability-Related Accommodations
To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES, you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603, e-mail disability@illinois.edu or go to https://www.disability.illinois.edu. If you are concerned you have a disability-related condition that is impacting your academic progress, there are academic screening appointments available that can help diagnosis a previously undiagnosed disability. You may access these by visiting the DRES website and selecting “Request an Academic Screening” at the bottom of the page.

Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: https://studentcode.illinois.edu/article1/part4/1-401/. Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

While this class meets on Zoom, some students may collaborate on group projects. Following University policy, all students are required to engage in appropriate behavior to protect the health and safety of the community, including wearing a facial covering properly, maintaining social distance (at least 6 feet from others at all times), disinfecting the immediate seating area, and using hand sanitizer. Students are also required to follow the campus COVID-19 testing protocol.

In the case that a student tests positive for COVID-19 and cannot attend attend class, the University will provide information to the instructor in a manner that complies with privacy laws. These students are judged to have excused absences for the class period and should contact the instructor via email about making up the work.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Obligation
The University of Illinois is committed to combating sexual misconduct. Faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX Office. In turn, an individual with the Title IX Office will provide information about rights and options, including accommodations, support services, the campus disciplinary process, and law enforcement options.

A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors, confidential advisors, and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here: wecare.illinois.edu/resources/students/#confidential.

Other information about resources and reporting is available here: wecare.illinois.edu.

Mental Health
Significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional well-being. The University of Illinois offers several confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above or other health concerns, please contact or visit one of the University's resources below.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John St. Champaign, IL
McKinley Health Center: 217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Ave. Urbana, IL

Religious Observances
Illinois law requires the University to reasonably accommodate its students' religious beliefs, observances, and practices in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. You should examine this syllabus at the beginning of the semester for potential conflicts between course deadlines and any of your religious observances. If a conflict exists, you should notify your instructor of the conflict and follow the procedure at https://odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/resources/students/religious-observances/ to request appropriate accommodations. This should be done in the first two weeks of classes.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See https://registrar.illinois.edu/academic-records/ferpa/ for more information on FERPA.