This course provides students an introduction to the study of social networks. We will focus on understanding the causes and consequences of the patterns of relationships between individuals. Topics will include the small-world puzzle (six degrees of separation), the strength of weak ties, and the spread of diseases and fads.
See the logistics page for more information about time and location, prerequisites, required texts, grading, regrading procedures, collaboration policy, precept philosophy, precept conflicts, and Piazza.
Student grades will be based on the following:
The midterm exam will take place on Wednesday March 11, 2015 during the regular class time. If you have a conflict during this time, please read the change of exam time request policy.
The in-class final exam will cover the material from the entire semester. The exam will be Tuesday, May 19 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm in Jadwin Hall A09 and Jadwin Hall A10. If you need to reschedule the final exam time, please follow the standard university rescheduling policies for final exams.
Each precept session will have an assignment that will serve as the basis of the discussion. Some assignments will involve data collection and analysis, while others will involve writing. Hard copies of these assignments will be due in class each Wednesday. If you cannot be in class on Wednesday, you can email your assignment to the leader of your precept, but they must receive it by 10am on Wednesday. If you do not turn in your assignment on time, you can still turn it in at your precept for a reduced grade (20% penalty). After your precept, you will not be able to submit your assignment for a grade unless you have a letter from the Dean of your college.
I have marked open access materials with a and closed access materials with a . If you do not have access to a university library, copies of many of the closed access articles can be found through Google Scholar.
|1||Introduction (2/2/15)||The connected age and the small world problem (2/4/15)|
|2||More on the small world problem and some history (2/9/15)||Understanding the small world phenomena (2/11/15)|
|3||Degree distributions and power laws (2/16/15)||Foci (2/18/15)|
|4||Social search (2/23/15)||Spread of disease in networks (2/25/15)|
|5||The madness of crowds (3/2/15)||Thresholds, cascades, and predictability (3/4/15)|
|6||Cascades and fads in cultural markets (3/9/15)||Midterm exam (3/11/15)|
|7||Strength of weak ties (3/23/15)||Weak ties and complex contagion (3/25/15)|
|8||Core discussion networks of Americans (3/30/15)||Friends of friends (4/1/15)|
|9||Networks and hidden populations at risk for HIV (4/6/15)||Concurrency and the spread of HIV (4/8/15)|
|10||Who knows what about who? (4/13/15)||Obesity is contagious . . . maybe (4/15/15)|
|11||Experimental studies of contagion (4/20/15)||Going viral (4/22/15)|
|12||Digital traces (4/27/15)||What Facebook knows (4/29/15)|
There will be no precept during the first week of the course.