This is the home page of the 2010 COINs course, the home page for the 2011 course is here


The emergence of online social networks opens up unprecedented opportunities to read the collective mind, discovering emergent trends while they are still being hatched by small groups of creative individuals. The Web has become a mirror of the real world, allowing researchers in predictive analytics to study and better understand why some new ideas change our lives, while others never make it from the drawing board of the innovator. 

In this seminar we study a wide range of methods for predictive analytics (coolhunting) and online social marketing (coolfarming), mostly based on social network analysis and the emerging science of collaboration. Our methods are based on analysis of large corpora of digital traces of human activity, in particular the Web, Blogs, online forums, social networking sites, e-mail archives, phone logs, and face-to-face interaction through using sociometric badges.

Students will be asked to do preparatory readings. During class, small teams will be asked to present an overview of research topics based on the papers listed below. In the second half of the seminar (after Oct 28), small student teams with participants from MIT, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Aalto University Helsinki, and University of Cologne, Germany will work on their own trend analysis, prediction, and viral marketing projects using Web mining and dynamic SNA tools and methods.


Course participants will be advanced undergraduate and graduate students from 4 universities in the US and Europe, forming virtual teams with at least one member from each university

  • MIT (Sloan School of Management)
  • SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design)
  • University of Cologne (Dept. of Information Systems and Inf. Mgmt.)
  • Aalto University, Helsinki (SoberIT)

Course Goals

Learn the basics of social network analysis, of predictive analytics in digital social networks, and of netnography in online forums, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia.

Learn how to Coolhunt on the Web, in blogs, online forums, and other communication archives using the dynamic social network analysis tool Condor.

Learn how to Coolfarm, making the COINs you discover in your Coolhunt more effective and productive.

Learn about yourself and your own communication behavior by watching a “virtual mirror” of your own communication behavior. See how team members perceive you, as a communicator, a collaborator, or a coordinator.

Learn to communicate in a multinational, multicultural multidisciplinary group with people from Finland, Germany, and the US, by collaborating in a globally distributed virtual team.

Learn how to use instant messaging, e-mail, blogs, wikis, web conferencing most effectively.

Students will work as self-organizing teams on a project individually chosen by each group of students. Participants can contribute their own project ideas or choose to work on one of the many interesting project suggestions. Exceptional results will lead to a scientific publication.