Individual in the Information Age: The Living and Informative Web


Section: Monday and Wednesday, 2:30pm-3:45pm

Room: BH 322

Instructor: Wayne Buente

Email: wbuente at

Office hours
: 12:00pm-2:00pm Wednesday or by appointment

Number of credits: 3

  Tech News

Course description

Internet as cyberspace is dead. The metaphor that cyberspace exists as a place somewhere else in our lives is no longer true. As Newsweek (2006) declares, we are all part of the "Living Web." Web 2.0 applications seek to draw upon the collective intelligence of all Internet users allowing them to create content, organize information and build community. During the semester we will examine the applications of the living web such as Google, MySpace, Facebook and Flickr, among others, and explore their impact on our information environment. We will also review the contribution of virtual worlds and interactive gaming environments and how the "real" links to the "virtual". The course will appraise both conceptual and practical aspects of how these technologies incorporate into our own social lives of information. The course is divided into different thematic modules, each focusing on the relationships between new communication technology and the individual information environment, as well as the intersection of media, social life and entertainment. This course will be of interest to all majors.

View or download entire syllabus:

syllabus pdf version syllabus html version  



Course objectives

Introduce students to the human-centered focus on information and technology and the social, intellectual, and technological challenges in their own information environments.

Other specific objectives:

  1. Evaluate information on the Web and that you use in your everyday life;
  2. Evaluate technology trends and what we can expect in the future;
  3. Understand socio-technical and user-centered approaches to studying information and communication technologies (ICTs);
  4. Apply concepts from social informatics, information architecture and information visualization to "social web" applications and technology trends;
  5. Become knowledgeable about the legal landscape that has implications for how information is used.


  Social Software and the Web

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  1. Write and make oral presentations
  2. Work in collaborative group settings to accomplish tasks
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of facts, concepts, and methods of the subject matter



Course readings

It is important that all students actively participate in class discussions. The readings have been selected to facilitate participation in class discussions and in the activities in which students will frequently engage. The following books are required for the class:

Vise, D. A. & Malseed, M. (2005). The Google story. New York: Random House.
Norman, D. A. (1988). The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

Readings will also be provided through Oncourse. Due to the very timely nature of the course, additional readings may be assigned when applicable. In addition, students are encouraged to search for relevant materials in print and online and share them with the class. On the column to the right, you will find RSS feeds of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal technology sections among others.



©2006 Wayne Buente
 Last updated: February 8, 2007