Catalog


Digital and Computational Studies

Professors Corrie (Art and Visual Culture); Associate Professors Ashwell (Philosophy), Diaz Eaton (Digital and Computational Studies), Imber (Classical and Medieval Studies), Jadud (Digital and Computational Studies, chair), Lundblad (Physics and Astronomy), and Tefft (Economics); Assistant Professors Boateng (Mathematics) and Shrout (Digital and Computational Studies)

Data and computers are transforming virtually every facet of our professional and personal lives. Increasingly, they are the dominant media for how we generate, apply, and share knowledge. The digital and computational studies program endeavors to prepare students for lives of work and study that require proficiency in using constructed electronic platforms, software, and large, complex datasets. The program is also deliberately problem-oriented and reflective. Instructors in the program assume that by paying attention to the values and motivations underlying the development and use of computers and the consequences of computers and computation for society students are more likely to understand what goes on beyond the user interface.

The faculty established a new interdisciplinary program in digital and computational studies in 2015-16. The program's goals are to advance learning and scholarship across multiple disciplines informed by concepts, methods, and tools of computer science and digital studies. Specifically, the program aims to interrogate the values and assumptions of a digitized world; increase understanding of the power and limitations of computers in solving problems; advance understanding of the theory and logic of computation; promote proficiency in the assessment, analysis, and visualization of data; build competency in the analysis of complex relationships among data sources; promote creative and competent use of algorithms in problem solving; and foster connections across disciplines.

Currently, the Committee on Digital and Computational Studies is developing the curriculum with new courses added during this and future academic years. As extant courses are cross-listed in digital and computational studies (DS) and new courses are developed in the program (DCS), they will be listed below.

Courses

DCS 102. The Design of Digital and Computational Systems.

A first exploration of the design of computational systems. Like art, music, and literature as well as physical and social systems, computational systems have an underlying structure and beauty. This course introduces those structures and encourages the exploration of how we can manipulate them to create dynamic and engaging systems that represent both the world around us as well as universes imagined. The course lays foundations for computer programming, explores questions regarding gender and race in digital communities, and creatively investigates digital and computational ideas throughout the liberal arts. Enrollment limited to 18. Normally offered every year. M. Jadud.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 103. People, Places, Prose, and Programming.

This course introduces digital and computational methods for the study of traditionally humanistic objects, including letters, fiction, prose, maps, or other kinds of documents. The course involves reading, critical reflection, and computer programming. Student projects combine computer-assisted methods and traditional humanities questions about authors, style, and how we understand literary works in a rich context, including historical, geographical, and cultural concerns. Topics may include text analysis, topic modeling, mapping and geocoding, and network analysis. The course is appropriate for students new to programming. Enrollment limited to 18. M. Jadud.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 104. Data Cultures.

The computational humanities comprise a fast-growing and exciting field that is changing the way scholars work and think. This course provides an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in semester-long projects in digital environments, moving from "analog" archives, through data structuring, and quantitative analysis, and culminating with a project that makes both the humanities and quantitative analyses legible for people from diverse backgrounds. Enrollment limited to 18. A. Shrout.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 105. Calling Bull in a Digital World.

Our world is rife with misinformation. This course is designed to hone digital citizenship skills. It is about "calling b***s*** ": spotting, dissecting, and publicly refuting false claims and inferences based on quantitative, statistical, and computational analysis of data (with R). Students explore case studies in policy and science; possible examples include food stamps, caffeine, improving traffic, and gendered mortality rates. Students practice visualizing data; interpreting scientific claims; and spotting misinformation, fake news, causal fallacies, and statistical traps. In so doing, the course offers an introduction to programming. New course beginning Winter 2019. Enrollment limited to 29. C. Diaz Eaton.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 106. TechnoGenderCulture .

Two premises inform this course: technologies have histories and cultures; technologies are gendered. The course brings together the disciplinary approaches of science and technology studies and gender and sexuality studies to explore contemporary problems at the intersection of gender and technology. Students explore classic texts in these fields and undertake design processes that help them apply those texts to real-world problems. New course beginning Winter 2019. Enrollment limited to 29. A. Shrout.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 202. Nature of Data, Data of Nature.

This first course in data structures and data analytics is built around the collection of data from the world around us, and the analysis and visualization of those data through computational methods. Students explore the structure of data, which enables them to write increasingly complex programs. They study the analysis and presentation of data because the collection and presentation of information is a critical part of all courses of study in the liberal arts. Finally, they practice and discuss how to actively engage in both of these activites in community and collaboration with others. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level DCS course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 24. [Q] Normally offered every year. M. Jadud.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 303. Discrete Structures for Modeling.

This course introduces students to the discrete structures and the methodologies used in discrete approaches to modeling socio-ecological phenomena. In developing a toolkit for systems modeling, students explore questions about the nature of events, change, uncertainty, and interconnectedness in natural, physical, and social systems. In and out of the classroom, students engage actively with terminology, theoretical foundations, strategies for developing and testing mathematical and computational models. This learning is communicated through symbolic, numeric, visual, and verbal means against the backdrop of the complex, interconnected world we experience. Prerequisite(s): DCS 202. Enrollment limited to 19. C. Eaton.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 304. Community Organizing for a Digital World.

In this course, students examine digital citizenship from the perspective of online communities. Students explore the theories of collective action, community building, and network assembly, for example the use of community organizing to propagate information in systems. This course will be a community-engaged learning course in which students will produce a plan for social media and online organization for a partner community in computing and quantitative education. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level DCS course. New course beginning Winter 2019. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 24. C. Diaz Eaton.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDC 352. Preserving the Vibration: Digitizing the Legacy of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.

This course introduces public and digital humanities through the life and work of noted journalist, food anthropologist, and public broadcaster Vertamae Grosvenor. Public humanities is concerned with expanding academic discourse beyond academia and facilitating conversations on topics of humanistic inquiry with the community at large. Digital studies provide a plethora of unconventional ways to engage community in public dialogues for the greater good. Drawing from books, operas, NPR audio segments, interviews, cookbooks, and other artifacts of Grosvenor, students create and curate a digital archive. Themes include Gullah culture, African American migration, foodways, memoir, public memory, and monuments. Leading theories and methods of black feminism, material culture, race, food studies, new media and digital humanities are foregrounded. Cross-listed in African American studies, American studies, digital and computational studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: AA/AM 119; AA/HI 243; AAS 100; AMST 200; AM/AV 340; AM/EN 395B; AV/GS 287; GSS 100; INDS 250 or 267; REL 255 or 270. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley.
Interdisciplinary Programs

DCS 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Open to first-year students. Normally offered every semester. Staff.

DC/EC 368. Big Data and Economics.

Economics is at the forefront of developing statistical methods for analyzing data collected from uncontrolled sources. Since econometrics addresses challenges in estimation such as sample selection bias and treatment effects identification, the discipline is well-suited for the analysis of large and unsystematically collected datasets. This course introduces statistical (machine) learning methods, which have been developed for analyzing such datasets but which have only recently been implemented in economic research. The course also explores how econometrics and statistical learning methods cross-fertilize and can be used to advance knowledge in the numerous domains where large volumes of data are rapidly accumulating. Prerequisite(s): ECON 255. Enrollment limited to 19. N. Tefft.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

DCS s12. Community-Engaged Computing.

A first course in design thinking and programming in the context of community engagement. Students—with no prior experience assumed—engage collaboratively in the iterative design and development of software applications that benefit the community in a multitude of ways. In addition to significant engagement with community partners in this development process, students communicate through multiple modes and media (writing, audio, video) about their work and their reflections on themselves and the community in which they are taking part. Enrollment limited to 30. (Community-Engaged Learning.) M. Jadud.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DC/MU s13. Music in Video Games.

A study of how music and sound are used in interactive media, specifically video games. Students learn how to compose music for video games using simple online tools and they reflect on how music and sound affect our own experiences when we play games. The course surveys the brief history of video game music and the technological innovations that drove its development and explores how music and sound fit into the science of game design. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 30. Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

DCS s20. Introduction to Computer Programming.

This course introduces students to some of the foundational concepts of computer science. Students analyze problems and implement solutions using languages such as C, Java, Python, PHP or Javascript. Irrespective of the particular programming language used, the goal is to ensure that each student acquires the basic concepts to be prepared to learn any programming language on their own in the future. No prior programming experience is required. Not open to students who have received credit for EXDS s20. Enrollment limited to 19. P. Jayawant.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DC/MA s45T. Mathematical Image Processing.

Digital image processing is a field essential to many disciplines, including medicine, astronomy, astrophysics, photography, and graphics. It is also an active area of mathematical research with ideas stemming from numerical linear algebra, Fourier analysis, partial differential equations and statistics. This course introduces mathematical methods in digital image processing, including basic image processing tools and techniques with an emphasis on their mathematical foundations. Students implement the theory using MATLAB. Topics may include image compression, image enhancement, edge detection, and image filtering. Students conceive and complete projects—either theoretical or practical—on an aspect of digital image processing. Prerequisite(s): MATH 205. Enrollment limited to 29. K. Ott.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations