Academic Program

 

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 is problem-oriented and reflective. By paying attention to the values and motivations underlying the development and use of computers; exploring the consequences of computers and computation for society; and engaging in programming, algorithmic development, and design, students can better understand what goes on beyond the user interface.

The program advances learning and scholarship across multiple disciplines, informed by concepts, methods, and tools of computer science and digital studies. In courses, students analyze the relationships among power, structural inequality, and technology. They recognize computers and data as social constructions and consider the context in which we do computing. They explore the theory, the logic, and limits of coding and computation, and the role of algorithms and heuristics in problem solving. They engage in the assessment, analysis, and visualization of data. They also participate in digital and computation communities, contributing culturally responsive, public-facing digital work and open science. Additionally, they call on values to make decisions that are consistent with digital ethics, decolonizing frameworks, and social good.

Digital and computational studies courses span programming, computational theory, and critical theory. All courses are contextualized in real-world settings and/or partner disciplines. Programming and computational methods courses develop the theory and practice of computer programming and computational methods. Critical digital studies courses interrogate the social construction and use of programming and computing and apply critical theory to the digital age. Integrated courses explore the interface of programming and computational methods and critical digital studies. More information on the values, goals, and practices of the Program in Digital and computational studies may be found on the program website (bates.edu/digital-computational-studies/)