Online Interaction Graduate Seminar to be offered during the fall semester 2011 at Purdue University

Virtual Sociability: First volume of the collected papers of the Online Interaction Seminar Collected Papers
Virtual Sociability: First volume of the collected papers of the Online Interaction Seminar Collected Papers

Next fall I will teach the Online Interaction Seminar at Purdue University. The class is listed as 47566 – COM 63200 – 001 and it will meet on Tuesday – Thursday from 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm PM.

This is a fun class, with great group projects and paper writing opportunities. The best papers written for this seminar are published in the Online Interaction Collected Papers series, which is distributed by Ubimark books, an experimental publishing initiative I started while teaching this class at Purdue. The book will appear simultaneously online and in print (see first volume of the Online Interaction Seminar Collected Papers – Virtual Sociability, From Community to Communitas ) .

The class presentation and past class syllabus follow:

As more and more traditional institutions and groups move their transactions on-line, the need to understand the relevant advantages and disadvantages inherent in the new medium has increased. The course will discuss the social, organizational, and design implications of on-line social interaction. It will discuss traditional and newer social theory related to organizational and social interaction in the context of on-line groups. At the same time, the students will be exposed to the main practical literature related to web usability and community design in an on-line context. The class is designed for the PhD or MA students with interests both in the practical application and theoretical implications of on-line interaction and facilitation. The course is also a good opportunity for identifying a dissertation/conference paper topic and for starting a research project.

Class activities include writing theoretical papers on contemporary trends in online interaction research, analysis/critique of facilitation style and interactional success in various on-line groups, and designing facilitation techniques in a real on-line context. The final project usually focuses on designing policies for an ideal online community the students will design and implement using popular content management systems, such as WordPress, Simple Machine Forums, or MediaWiki. The experience will be summarized in a final report/research paper that will discuss how principles of interaction and facilitation were implemented and with what success.

The class is open to students from all majors. Past students were recruited from  communication, hospitality, sociology, political science, technology, computer sciences, business, etc.

A previous class syllabus can be found on our experimental wiki site, Visible Effort

Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social integration. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Ethical Reasoning in Big Data. He also co-edited Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , both the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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