Undergraduate Courses

Sub Nbr Title (Units)


Course Description


ESOC 150B1 Social Media and Ourselves (3)


This course is designed as a gateway to understanding how social media sites influence and are impacted by our selves, as well as the role of social media in our relationships. This course with its focus on social media sites in particular, will examine the various implications and functions of social media in contemporary times. The study of new media takes place across disciplinary divides and from multiple theoretical perspectives. This course will thus explore social media research from across academic traditions. With a focus on both theory and practical applications, this course gives learners opportunities to think intellectually about how mobile technologies and being online impacts daily living, personal health, individual success, and interpersonal relationships. This class satisfies a Tier 1: Individuals and Society General Education Requirement. Does not satisfy an eSociety major requirement. 

ESOC 210 Hacking and Open Source Culture (3)


This course examines the popular image of hackers and hacking by considering the larger cultural context of information sharing in the digital age. This course introduces students to theories and practices of information sharing including the public domain, information as a common public good, hacking, copy left, open source software, open access publishing, and the creative commons. This class satisfies a Tier II: Individuals and Society General Education Requirement. Alternatively, this class can be applied towards the eSociety major or minor. Tier II Gen-eds can be double-dipped with a minor but not a major. 

ESOC 211 Collaborating in Online Communities (3)


With the increasing reliance on new media for collaborative work, social connection, education, and health-related support, this course will analyze human collaboration and community processes online. By considering how people create a sense of community, maintain group connections, and cooperate with others to bring about a particular outcome, this class will focus on what humans do, how they present themselves, and how they do the work of collaboration in online contexts. In addition to focusing on how humans work together in online in communities, this course will examine the many theories and interdisciplinary bodies of literature that pertain to `community? generally, and `online communities? specifically. With a focus on both theory and practical applications, this course gives learners opportunities to think intellectually about technology-based collaborations and to apply course-based knowledge in their mediated social lives. This course is not a technical experience, rather it focuses on the theories pertaining to and the processes in play when humans engage in group collaborations (e.g., gaming, teaching, learning, working, or gaining health-related support) via mobile technologies and online sites.

ESOC 212 Social Media Strategies Across Professions (3)


This course offers a broad survey of contemporary thinking about social media and examines mediated practices across sectors such as health care, education, government, museums, tourism, and business. Students will be exposed to a range of applicable theories, will be introduced to contemporary notions of information behavior (i.e., seeking, using, and negotiating information), will consider the historical evolution of new media environments, and will become familiar with information and social media literatures. In focusing on how people share social and practical information online, this course will examine how people aim to bring about particular outcomes via social media.

ESOC 213 The Past and New Media (3)


This course explores the emergence of contemporary visual culture and technological changes over time as well as how these shifts have and continue to impact human events, societal eras, and the `telling' of human stories. Specifically, this course offers an introduction into thinking critically about past events and related interpretations, handling archival materials, and visualizing human activity over time with new media technologies. Students will consider the function of digital narratives in processing, creating, and representing understandings of historical, personal, or location-based events and experiences.

ESOC 214 Introduction to Data Science (3)


As data continue to grow in volume and penetrate everything we do in contemporary work across many professions, employers are seeking data scientists to extract meanings and patterns from large quantities of data. This user-friendly course will provide an introduction to a variety of skills required for data analytics in organizations, education, health contexts, and the sciences. Specifically, this course examines information management in the context of massive sets of data, provides students proficiency with a variety of data analysis tools, and exposes learners to varied data platforms as well as skills and concepts related to data mining and statistical analysis. Particular attention will be given to toolkits imbedded in R and other platforms.

ESOC 300 Digital Storytelling and Culture (3)


This course will lay a foundation for understanding how stories shape communities, identities, memories, and perspectives on our lives. In addition, this course will provide opportunities for the theoretical analysis of self representation, composite narratives on behalf of others, cultural heritage, and memories as they are preserved and performed within stories and through narrative. Influences on digital digital storytelling such as the sociocultural context, the institutional contexts of production the audience, and the needs or goals of the digital storyteller will be examined. Students will be required to call on their own intellectual, emotional, and imaginative processes, as well as to develop their own skills in digital storytelling, interviewing, oral history collection, and the use of relevant digital storytelling tools.

ESOC 301 Qualitative Internet Research (3)

Typically offered Spring semester

This course will lay a foundation for understanding how to design and conduct qualitative research in the digital age. This course will focus on such practices as digital ethnography, online discourse or text analysis, web-based survey research, virtual interviewing, and data collection via mobile technologies. Broad paradigmatic assumptions underpinning interpretive inquiry will also be examined.

ESOC 302 Quantitative Methods for the Digital Marketplace (3)

Typically offered Fall and Spring semester

This course will explore broad research paradigms and theoretical approaches that inform contemporary social research, varying study designs, as well as the systematic methods utilized in differing types of data analyses. Though this course will introduce research processes across the academic spectrum, quantitative analysis of both small and large data sets will be emphasized. Therefore, students will learn about basic statistical analyses and will be introduced to the emerging worlds of data science and social media analytics. Students will also consider related topics such as data visualization or research presentations.

ESOC 313 Digital Discourse and Identity (3)


The focus of this course is on how social information is produced though language and identity work online, focusing on patterns of talk and interactional rules and practices across contexts (e.g., text-messaging, online communities, personal identity work, and transnational blogs). As part of this focused study of talk, this course will explore how online language use can create, maintain, reproduce, or disrupt roles and related norms (e.g., those of a friend, student, expert, or political agent), as well as identities and social categories (e.g., gender, sexuality, race, disability, or nationality). This course will also focus on the broader discourses on a 'global' level, examining human collaboration online for practices tied to elitism, the movement of social capital, racism, power, and the cultural production of inequalities.


ESOC 314 Theories of New Media (3)


This course will lay a foundation for theoretical analyses of how people socially create and negotiate information in the digital age. In addition, this course investigates a variety of approaches ranging from critical/cultural studies to positivist/behavioral research, considering the differing ways to think about social life and information in contemporary times. Broader paradigmatic assumptions (e.g., feminist theory, systems research) as well as specific theoretical topics (e.g., interactivity, mobility, telecommunity) will be examined. In addition, this class will survey the theoretical underpinnings of new media research across a variety of topic areas to include gaming, digital labor, communities, and global culture online.

ESOC 315 Publishing: From Papyrus to E-Book Readers (3)


In the early 21st Century, we see publishing in the throes of dramatic changes, from print to electronic most obviously but also in who authors books, the economics of publishing, and how books get to readers. These changes remind us that the dynamics of the movement of the written word to its audience are an integral part of the society in which books are written, produced, and circulate. This 3-credit course takes an historical perspective on publishing, which we will define as the processes by which books come into being in multiple copies and are distributed to reach their audiences. We will start with ancient societies all over the world, and we will investigate the circumstances across societies in which books distinguish themselves from administrative records and begin to serve the needs of the literate elite.  We will examine the way the physical form of the book and the technologies for producing it arise from the circumstances of each society, and in turn, how that physical format conditions the character of books and their use. We will trace the rise of publishing practices and identify the factors necessary for the reproduction and distribution of books to form an actual trade in books in varying societies. As we work our way from the ancient world to the early modern world, we will compare publishing practices in different societies and explore commonalities and differences in the relationships that develop between the creation, reproduction and distribution of books.  Of particular focus will be our comparison of the rise of publishing and book trades in Europe, Asia, and the Arab world before 1450. After the introduction of printing with metal moveable type in Europe, associated with Gutenberg in approximately 1450, we will have an opportunity to observe the changes that this new technology makes in publishing and the book trade, by comparing the mature manuscript book trade of the late middle ages to that of the hand-press book publishing of early modern Europe. In the run up to the mid-term we will see the effect of monetary capital on the book trades and the shaping of the function of the publisher (although not yet called that). We will also examine related publishing matters such as art and decorative print production as well as the emergence and social role of pamphlets.

ESOC 316 Digital Commerce (3)


This course will look at how commerce in information content (websites, books, databases, music, movies, software, etc.) functions. We will discuss things like switching costs, net neutrality, the long tail, differential pricing, and complementary goods. In order to successfully navigate this digital world, information consumers, information producers, and information policy makers need to understand what sorts of information goods are likely to be available and how much they are likely to cost. We cannot learn enough about digital commerce simply by studying the various information technologies that are now available to create and disseminate information content. What matters most is how people choose to spend their time using these technologies, and what sorts of content can provide earning potential for its creators. What also matters are the unique properties of information content that make it very different from other sorts of goods. For instance, while only one person at a time can drive a particular car or eat a particular hamburger, millions of people can simultaneously read the same book, listen to the same song, and use the same software. These are issues that are part and parcel to living, working, purchasing, and being entertained in an eSociety; these are the issues addressed in this course.

ESOC 317 Digital Crime and Social Media (3)


This course provides a powerful introduction to some of the criminal activities taking place in relation to digital information, big data, and social media. Related to the exploration of criminal activity in an eSociety, this course focuses on some of the most common legal issues faced today, with regard to our own personal data (e.g., our health histories, our genetic make up, our cloud-based photos and messages, our past) and in relation to organizational or political data on social media and in society. In this course, students as future technologists, will be exposed to the 'dark side' of this current 'information society' (e.g., deception, cybercrime) as well topics such as big data privacy, digital disruptions, consumer data and related sales, gaming protections, youth safety online, big science data sharing issues and related trust, digital security, as well as how certain groups -- law firms, advocacy groups, marketing professionals, and political or lobbying groups -- are mining data for particular use. Students will be required to consider recent court cases and contentions around the use, management, and protection of data in society as well as the risk humans face in this digital information and mediated age.

ESOC 318 Disruptive Technologies (3)


This course introduces key concepts and skills needed for those working with information and communication technologies (ICT). Students will be exposed to hardware and software technologies, and they will explore a wide variety of topics including processing and memory systems, diagnostics and repair strategies, operating systems in both desktop and mobile devices. As part of this course, students will consider current technological disruptions, those issues emerging as technologies and social needs collide. Students will also learn about design issues and user needs tied to mobile or computer applications and web-based tools, sites, games, data platforms, or learning environments.

ESOC 330 Digital Dilemmas (3)


This course focuses on the ethical issues that arise in the context of new and emerging information technologies-- e.g., threats to privacy of ubiquitous technological surveillance, limitations on access created by digital rights management. The course will use the framework of ethical theory to analyze these issues and to propose policy solutions. The goal of the course is to give students the necessary theoretical foundation to be involved in the evaluation and construction of information policies at the local, national, and international level.

ESOC 400 Information, Multimedia Design & the Moving Image (3)


We are living in a time when nearly everyone has the means to make movies, music and photos using just their own personal tools like smartphones, iPads, and similar mobile gadgets. This course will develop and refine skills and understanding of multimedia in contemporary culture. Offering a survey of innovative works in film and information arts, this course will allow students a hands-on opportunity to respond to concepts covered in class using self-produced media. This course will address how information functions in time-based forms of multimedia and video in this era of interactive information and displays. Drawing on historical precedents in the media and computational arts, this course focuses on both linear and non-linear approaches of using image, sound and text to create critical and creative works that function in a the context of social media and our contemporary digital society. How and why do certain images, music or films affect us so profoundly? We will address this question through a study of the components of media literacy that include: Production, Language, Representation, and Audience. These concepts will be examined through a cross-section of writers including: Marshall McLuhan, John Berger and Susan Sontag.

ESOC 414 Computational Social Science (3)

ESOC 214 or ISTA 116 required.

This course will guide students through advanced applications of computational methods for social science research.  Students will be encouraged to consider social problems from across sectors, including health science, environmental policy, education, and business. Particular attention will be given to the collection and analysis of data to study social networks, online communities, electronic commerce, and digital marketing.  Students will consider the many research designs used in contemporary social research, including “Big” data, online surveys, and virtual experimental labs, and will think critically about claims of causality, mechanisms, and generalization.

ESOC 477 Information Security (3)


Security is about protecting assets, such as money and physical possessions.  For instance, we use walls, locks, burglar alarms, and even armed guards to keep other people from stealing and/or destroying our stuff. These days, information is typically one of our most important assets.  Thus, we have to worry about the possibility of other people stealing and/or destroying it. For instance, criminals threaten our data with scareware or ransomware in order to extort money from us. 

ESOC 478 Science Information and its Presentation (3)


In today’s digital society, people have access to a wide variety of information sources and scientific data. In this course, students will learn about the role of science and scientific data in society, and they will consider means for making science information findable and understandable for a wide variety of audiences. This course will provide students an interdisciplinary experience for considering science data and how that information gets shared across contexts.

ESOC 480 Digital Engagement (3)

Required in the eSociety major. Typically offered Fall and Spring semester.

This course is designed to be a culminating experience for the eSociety degree program, a course that engages students in practical activity as well as prepares learners for contemporary work. eSociety major and minor students as well as other undergraduates preparing for work relating to digital information or related fields can enroll in and will benefit from this course. Students will be given opportunities to discuss, review and reflect on their learning in their undergraduate work relative to an eSociety and will be provided the mechanisms through which their coursework can be applied to `real-world' contexts (e.g., internships, interviews with leaders in their area of study, professional shadowing experiences, service learning projects, or community-based event planning). Ultimately, this course provides students the opportunity to learn about what it means to be prepared in an eSociety as well as reflect on their own skill sets and the professional preparation needed for career satisfaction and success.

LIS 417 Introduction to Digital Cultures (3)


Digital information technologies shape our lives.  The benefits and the possible dangers of digital information technologies will be explored from a multidisciplinary perspective, looking at the insights into our digital age from history, linguistics sociology, political theory, information science, and philosophy.  Students will have opportunities for active reflection on the ways in which digital technology shapes learning and social interaction.

LIS 418 Information Quality (3)


This course will focus on how to insure that we can reliably get quality information and will also consider information quality from the perspective of the suppliers of information.  Principles of evaluating information exchanges and sources will be discussed and topics will include the verification of the accuracy of information and the evaluation of resources in specialized subject domains.

LIS 419 Knowledge in a Digital World (3)


We do all sorts of things with information technology: we play games, we listen to music, we watch movies, and we communicate with other people. But one of the main things that we use information technology for is to learn things. Toward this end, we visit Wikipedia, Ask.com, The New York Times, and other such sites. Or we just Google stuff that we want to know about. This course is about how information technology is affecting the ability of individuals and institutions to acquire and share knowledge.

LIS 432 Online Searching (3)


Using readings, lectures, demonstrations, and varied assignments, introduces students to search functions and indexes on the Web; proprietary databases that provide full-text articles not available on the open Web; search syntax and protocols; non-text retrieval of numeric data, photos, and other forms of information; and how to evaluate and reformulate search results.

IRLS 441 Children's Literature in Spanish (3)

SPAN 350


LIS 470 Database Management and Development (3)


This course covers theory, methods, and techniques widely used to design and develop a relational database system and students will develop a broad understanding of modern database management systems. Applications of fundamental database principles in a stand-alone database environment using MS Access and Windows are emphasized. Applications in an Internet environment will be discussed using MySQL in the Linux platform.

LIS 472 Government Information: Policy & Resources (3)


The U.S. government collects, generates, publishes and distributes a vast amount and variety of information. All information professionals-even those who do not intend to specialize as government document librarians-should understand the organization of and promote access to this body of work. In this course, lectures, discussions, and readings will acquaint students with theoretical and practical knowledge. The assignments will provide opportunities for deeper exploration of government information policies and resources.

LIS 475 User Interface and Website Design (3)


Study of the user interface in information systems, of human computer interaction, and of website design and evaluation.

LIS 484 Introduction to Copyright (3)


Introduces the basics of copyright law and fair use, also discusses the theoretical foundations and history of copyright and the public domain. These issues are placed within a broader multicultural and international context. By the end of the course students will: (a) know the basics of copyright law and fair use as they apply to libraries and related information services, and (b) understand the importance of balancing the rights of intellectual property owners with the societal need for a robust public domain.

LIS 487 Information Seeking Behaviors


Information seeking is the process or activity of attempting to obtain and use information from both human and virtual sources. It is a basic skill that people in the 21st century need for their academic and career work. LIS 487 addresses how to assist users of information services and libraries to accomplish this important task. The course addresses information-seeking theories, methods, and user behaviors with a goal of students gaining an understanding of how people seek, gather, retrieve and use information. The course draws on literature from library and information science, psychology, and communications. Understanding information seeking is applicable broadly for information professionals LIS 487.

ISTA 100 Great Ideas of the Information Age (3)

Required in the ISTA majors.  

Important ideas and applications of information science and technology in the sciences, humanities and arts. Information, entropy, coding; grammar and parsing; syntax and semantics; networks and relational representations; decision theory, game theory; and other great ideas form the intellectual motifs of the Information Age and are explored through applications such as robotic soccer, chess-playing programs, web search, population genetics among others.

ISTA 116 Statistical Foundations for the Information Age (3)

Required in the ISTA majors. MATH 107 or MATH 112 or placement beyond the level of College Algebra required.

Understanding uncertainty and variation in modern data: data summarization and description, rules of counting and basic probability, data visualization, graphical data summaries, working with large data sets, prediction of stochastic outputs from quantitative inputs.  Operations with statistical computer packages such as R.

ISTA 131 Dealing with Data (4)

Required in the ISTA majors. Completion of ISTA 130 or CSC 110 or equivalent or consent of instructor required. Typically offered in Fall. 

At the core of Information Science lies the digital data that is the object of study. This course aims to introduce the tools, techniques, and issues involved with the handling of this data: where it comes from, how to store and retrieve it, how to extract knowledge from the data via analysis, and the social, ethical, and legal issues involved in its use. Throughout the course, students will be given hands-on experience with actual datasets from a variety of sources including social media and citizen science projects, as well as experience with common tools for analysis and visualization. Students will also examine topical case studies involving legal and ethical issues surrounding data.

ISTA 130 Computational Thinking and Doing (4)

Required in the ISTA majors.  College algebra recommended.

An introduction to computational techniques and using a modern programming language to solve current problems drawn from science, technology, and the arts. Topics include control structures, elementary data structures, and effective program design and implementation techniques. Weekly laboratory.

ISTA 161 Ethics in a Digital World (3)

Required in the ISTA majors. 

This course explores the social, legal, and cultural fallout from the exponential explosion in communication, storage, and increasing uses of data and data production. In this class, we emphasize the opposing potentials of information technologies to make knowledge widely available and to distort and restrict our perceptions. In a world of rapid technological change, topics include (but are not limited to): eavesdropping and secret communications, privacy; Internet censorship and filtering, cyberwarfare, computer ethics and ethical behavior, copyright protection and peer-to-peer networks, broadcast and telecommunications regulation, including net neutrality, data leakage, and the power and control of search engines.

ISTA 230 Introduction to Web Design and Development (3)


An introduction to web design and development, with an emphasis on client-side technologies. Topics include HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, and web design best practices.

ISTA 251 Introduction to Game Design (3)


This course provides an introduction to game design and teaches students the fundamental concepts for creating games. Students will survey many different games, exploring the issues game designers face when designing games in different genres. Students will participate in a series of game design challenges and will be responsible for designing and prototyping simple games using a game building tool. Students will present their solutions to these challenges in front of the class for general discussion and constructive criticism.

ISTA 263 Learning in the Information Age (3)


Students will study how digital technologies are changing how people learn, how technology-based learning supports new approaches to assessment, how theories of learning are being developed to support research in these emerging areas, and how research on human learning is informing the design of computers that learn. This class satisfies a Tier II: Individuals and Society General Education Requirement. Alternatively, this class can be applied towards the ISTA BA/BS. 

ISTA 301 Computing and the Arts (3)


This course examines the ways in which computing and information science support and facilitate the production and creation of art in current society. A particular focus of the course will be to discuss how artists have used advances in technology and computing capacity to explore new ways of making art, and to investigate the relationships between technical innovation and the artistic process. This class satisfies a Tier II: Arts General Education Requirement. Alternatively, this class can be applied towards the ISTA BA/BS and ISTA minor. Tier II Gen-eds can be double-dipped with a minor but not a major. 

ISTA 302 Technology of Sound (3)


This course will provide the student with the information and experience necessary for the creation and manipulation of digital audio. Students will have the opportunity to experience the music-making process with the technology tools and techniques that are common in both home and professional studios. The class will make use of a variety of software packages designed for contemporary music production, explaining the universal techniques and concepts that run through all major software programs. Topics will include musical analysis, MIDI control, synthesis techniques, audio editing, and audio mixing. Lab assignments will emphasize hands-on experience working with musical hardware and software to provide the necessary skills to create music based on today's musical styles. The course provides the foundation for further study, creative applications, and personal expression.

ISTA 303 Introduction to Creative Coding (3)

One semester programming experience required: ISTA 130 or CSC 110 or ECE 175.

This course provides an introduction to software and hardware packages that allow students to explore rapid prototyping, object design, and physical computing using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, 3D printing technology, laser cutting, and Arduino microcontrollers. The processing language will also be introduced, and used for visualization and interfacing. This interdisciplinary course combines elements of computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical design, robotics, and visualization.

This is a hands-on practical course where fluency is largely built through experience building projects, rather than written exams. This course will require extensive technology training and substantial reference to open resources on the web. This course includes a team-based design competition as a final project.

ISTA 310 Sequence Data: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (3)


Sequences are common representations in biology, music, linguistics, business and many other disciplines. The things we do with sequences — searching them, cutting them up and reassembling them, aligning them, making predictions, detecting patterns and changes in their structures, and so on — also are similar across disciplines. This course uses examples from across campus to teach the common data structures and algorithms for working with sequences.

ISTA 311 Foundation of Information and Inference (3)

ISTA 116 (or MATH 163), & ISTA 130 (or CSC 110) required. 

An introduction to the mathematical theories of probability and information as tools for inference, decision-making, and efficient communication. Topics include discrete and continuous random variables, measures of information and uncertainty, discrete time/discrete state Markov chains, elements of Bayesian inference and decision-making, Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood parameter estimation, and elementary coding theory.

ISTA 321 Data Mining and Discovery (3)

ISTA 311 & ISTA 350 or consent of instructor required.

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of data mining for knowledge discovery. This includes methods developed in the fields of statistics, large-scale data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for automatic or semi-automatic analysis of large quantities of data to extract previously unknown and interesting patterns. Topics include understanding varieties of data, classification, association rule analysis, cluster analysis, and anomaly detection. We will use software packages for data mining, explaining the underlying algorithms and their use and limitations. The course will include laboratory exercises, with data mining case studies using data from biological sequences and networks, social networks, linguistics, ecology, geo-spatial applications, marketing and psychology.

ISTA 331 Principles and Practice of Data Science (3)

ISTA 116, 130, and 131 required.

This course surveys the techniques central to the modern practice of extracting useful patterns and models from large bodies of data and the theory behind these techniques.  Students will learn the purpose, power, and limitations of models, with concrete examples from business and science.  Course subject matter may include classification and regression, supervised segmentation and decision trees, similarity/distance metrics and recommender systems, clustering and nearest neighbors, support vector machines, understanding and avoiding overfitting, natural language processing and sentiment analysis, machine learning, neural networks, and AI, and logistic regression.

ISTA 350 Programming for Informatics Applications (4)

ISTA 116, ISTA 130, & ISTA 131 or equivalent required.

This course will provide an introduction to informatics application programming using the python programming language and applying statistical concepts from a first semester statistics course. A key goal of this course is to prepare students for upper division ISTA courses by expanding on the skills gained in ISTA 116 and 130 but will be broadly applicable to any informatics discipline.  Throughout the semester students will be faced with information application problems drawn from several different disciplines in order to expand their breadth of experience while simultaneously increasing their depth of knowledge of scientific and informatics programming methods.  Students will practice problem decomposition and abstraction, gaining experience in identifying commonly occurring information processing issues and in applying well-known solutions.  In addition, students will design their own algorithmic solutions to problems and will learn how to effectively compare different solutions, evaluating efficiency in order to choose the best solution for a given problem. Periodic code reviews will be held in order to expose students to a range of different solution methods, which will aid them in discovering weaknesses in their own work and will improve their ability to communicate with others on technical topics.  The course will include an introduction to the python scientific computing libraries and other statistical packages.  Additional course topics will include the use of version control systems, software profiling, general software engineering practices and basic shell scripting.

ISTA 352 Images: Past, Present, and Future (3)


A significant portion of the human brain is devoted to understanding spatial data and its relation to the world. Through the ages humans have naturally developed external representations of such information for communication, planning, understanding, and entertainment. Further, the digital age has led to an explosion of images available to everyone in forms that are convenient to share, manipulate, and automatically mine for information. In this thematic course we will study images from perspectives that transcend disciplines, and applicable to many of them, including the arts, science and biomedicine, computational intelligence, geography, and security. We will study what images are, how images are stored and distributed, the reproduction of images, how they can be manipulated, using images for visualization, and extracting semantics from images.

ISTA 401 Designing Installations (3)


This course is a hands-on, project-based approach to understanding and designing art installations. Enrollees will learn principles, tools, and techniques of rapid prototyping and installation design, and will collaborate to design and implement a large-scale installation by the end of the semester. The course lectures will also provide an overview of the history, theory, and aesthetics of installation art.

ISTA 403 Advanced Creative Coding (3)

ISTA 303 required.

This course continues the exploration of creative coding that began in ISTA 303. Students will develop experimental and creative works based, in part, on techniques from the fields of human-computer interaction, computer vision, virtual reality, machine learning, and other disciplines that have the potential to impact our culture through the introduction of new technologies. Aside from gaining technical proficiencies needed to engage with these topics (e.g., software engineering, physical computing techniques, familiarity with multimedia packages and libraries), students will have the opportunity to explore the use of novel interaction devices (e.g., Kinect, Wii, LeapMotion, Glasses, and Oculus Rift) as well as to experiment with a range of digital media environments (e.g., projection mapping, live coding, sonification, mobile devices, physical sensors,augmented reality, immersive systems). Moreover, students will become more familiar with the history and current state of the fields of new media art and creative coding. Students will read widely from journal articles and from media arts conference and festival proceedings, and will be expected to document their own work in a clear, professional manner, both through writing assignments and the creation of an online portfolio of creative projects. By the end of this course students will have the ability to participate meaningfully (through the implementation and documentation of creative projects) in contemporary discourse regarding art and technology.

ISTA 410 Bayesian Modeling and Inference (3)

1) MATH 223 and MATH 313 and MATH 464; and ISTA 350 or CSC 345
2) ISTA 421
consent of the instructor required.

Bayesian modeling and inference is a powerful modern approach to representing the statistics of the world, reasoning about the world in the face of uncertainty, and learning about it from data. It cleanly separates the notions of representation, reasoning, and learning. It provides a principled framework for combining multiple source of information such as prior knowledge about the world with evidence about a particular case in observed data. This course will provide a solid introduction to the methodology and associated techniques, and show how they are applied in diverse domains ranging from computer vision to molecular biology to astronomy.

ISTA 416 Introduction to Human Computer Interaction (3)

One semester programming experience required: ISTA 130 or CSC 110 or ECE 175. Further programming experience recommended.  

The field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) encompasses the design, implementation, and evaluation of interactive computing systems. This course will provide a survey of HCI theory and practice. The course will address the presentation of information and the design of interaction from a human-centered perspective, looking at relevant perceptive, cognitive, and social factors influencing in the design process. It will motivate practical design guidelines for information presentation through Gestalt theory and studies of consistency, memory, and interpretation. Technological concerns will be examined that include interaction styles, devices, constraints, affordances, and metaphors. Theories, principles and design guidelines will be surveyed for both classical and emerging interaction paradigms, with case studies from practical application scenarios. As a central theme, the course will promote the processes of usability engineering, introducing the concepts of participatory design, requirements analysis, rapid prototyping, iterative development, and user evaluation. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation strategies will be discussed.

ISTA 422 Applied Cyberinfrastructure Concepts (3)

Programming experience at the level of CSC 120 is preferred. 

Students will learn from experts from projects that have developed widely adopted foundational Cyberinfrastrcutrue resources, followed by hands-on laboratory exercises focused around those resources. Students will use these resources and gain practical experience from laboratory exercises for a final project using a data set and meeting requirements provided by domain scientists. Students will be provided access to computer resources at: UA campus clusters, iPlant Collaborative and at NSF XSEDE. Students will also learn to write a proposal for obtaining future allocation to large scale national resources through XSEDE.

ISTA 421 Introduction to Machine Learning (3)

Calculus I and II, linear algebra  (MATH 313), & ISTA 311 or consent of instructor required.

Machine learning describes algorithms which can modify their internal parameters (i.e., "learn") to recognize patterns and make decisions based on examples or through interaction with the environment.  This course will introduce the fundamentals of machine learning, will describe how to implement several practical methods for pattern recognition, feature selection, clustering, and decision making for reward maximization, and will provide a foundation for the development of new machine learning algorithms.

ISTA 424 Virtual Reality (3)


Virtual reality is an emerging novel area of technology that has been becoming more and more widely used. It enables a more immersive user experience as the head mounted displays surround 360-degree view. It encompasses many disciplines such as computer science, human computer interaction, game design and development, information science and psychology. This course merges a theoretical, practical and project based approach to give students the necessary knowledge required to design and develop their own virtual reality projects using Unity, which is one of the most widely used 3D game engines worldwide.

ISTA 425 Algorithms for Games (3)


Algorithms are a crucial component of game development. This course will provide students with an in-depth introduction to algorithm concepts for game development. The course will cover basic algorithm and data structures concepts, basic math concepts related to game algorithms, physics and artificial intelligence based game algorithms that are supplemented with modern examples. Unity Game Engine along with C# programming language will be used throughout the class.

ISTA 450 Artificial Intelligence (3)

ISTA 350 or CSC 245 or MATH 243 or consent of instructor  required.

The methods and tools of Artificial Intelligence used to provide systems with the ability to autonomously problem solve and reason with uncertain information. Topics include: problem solving (search spaces, uninformed and informed search, games, constraint satisfaction), principles of knowledge representation and reasoning (propositional and first-order logic, logical inference, planning), and representing and reasoning with uncertainty (Bayesian networks, probabilistic inference, decision theory).

ISTA 451 Game Development (3)

One semester programming experience required: ISTA 130 or CSC 110 or ECE 175 required. Further programming experience recommended.  

This course provides an introduction to video game development. We will explore game design (not just computer games, but all games) and continue with an examination of game prototyping. Once we have working prototypes, we will continue with the development of a complete 2D computer game. The remaining course topics include: designing the game engine, rendering the graphics to the screen, and artificial intelligence. Students will be given periodic homework that reinforces what was learned in class. Homework will include developing a game prototype, game design documentation, some programming tasks. Students will work in small teams to develop a working game as a term project. Grades will be primarily based on the term project with some small amount of weight to homework. The examples provided in class will be programmed in Java and available for execution on any operating system. Programming homework assignments will be done in either Java or the language chosen by the instructor. The term project can be written in any programming language with instructor permission.

ISTA 454 Informatics in Biology (3)


Analyze genomic sequences through understanding and using a variety of bioinformatics algorithms and software tools. Interdisciplinary approach integrating informatics, statistics, and biology.

ISTA 455 Applied Natural Language Processing (3)

ISTA 350 or CSC 345 required.

Most of web data today consists of unstructured text. This course will cover the fundamental knowledge necessary to organize such texts, search them a meaningful way, and extract relevant information from them. This course will teach natural language processing through the design and development of end-to-end natural language understanding applications, including sentiment analysis (e.g., is this review positive or negative?), information extraction (e.g., extracting named entities and their relations from text), and question answering (retrieving exact answers to natural language questions such as “What is the capital of France” from large document collections). We will use several natural language processing toolkits, such as NLTK and Stanford’s CoreNLP. The main programming language used in the course will be Python, but code written in Java or Scala will be accepted as well.

ISTA 457 Neural Networks (3)

ISTA 350 or CSC 345 or  NSCS 344 or consent of instructor required. MATH 313 recommended.

Neural networks are a branch of machine learning that combines a large number of simple computational units to allow computers to learn from and generalize over complex patterns in data. Students in this course will learn how to train and optimize feed forward, convolutional, and recurrent neural networks for tasks such as text classification, image recognition, and game playing.

ISTA 456 Text Retrieval and Web Search (3)


This course will cover the fundamental knowledge necessary to build systems, such as web crawling, index construction and compression, boolean, vector-based, and probabilistic retrieval models, text classification and clustering, link analysis algorithms such as PageRank, and computational advertising. The students will also complete one programming project, in which they will construct one complex application that combines multiple algorithms into a system that solves real-world problems.



College of Social and Behavioral Sciences