Readings are subject to change. Please always check the online reading schedule.

CS 6470: Design of Online Communities

Instructor: Eric Gilbert
Email: gilbert at cc
Office: TSRB 339
Office Hours: Find me after class, or email for an appointment.
TA: Michaelanne Dye
Email: mdye at school domain
Office Hours: Email for an appointment.
Location: CCB 101
Time: Tuesday, Thursday 12:05 – 1:25
Schedule: Class and reading schedule

Learning Objectives

Online communities are becoming an increasing part of how we work, play, and learn. But how are they designed? What are they really good for? Why are some communities more successful than others? What are the key issues in this field of research?

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:



The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman
Interviewing as Qualitative Research by I.E. Seidman
The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg
Life on the Screen by Sherry Turkle

Highly recommended:

Writing for Social Scientists by Howard Becker
The Elements of Style by Strunk & White


Community Building on the Web by Amy Jo Kim.
Paper edition is out of print, but is available for purchase as pdf. Two chapters on electronic reserve with permission, but the whole book is valuable to have.

Assignments and Grading

Your work will be graded on a list of criteria (specified on the assignment) such as quality of writing, completeness, insight into design or social issues, etc.

Late Policy

Assignments are due at the start of class on the day they are due. Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of one grade step (e.g., A becomes A-) per day. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted. Presentations may not be late. Responses to readings may not be late either; they serve to energize class discussion.

English as a Second Language

If Engish is not your first language, you may request to not be graded on your writing for a particular individual assignment. This means you won't be penalized for bad writing, but you also won't get credit for good writing. To take advantage of this option, you must mark "ESL" (English as a Second Language) on the first page of your assignment/paper. This option is not available for group assignments. We still of course expect you to try to write in correct English, and will do our best to offer useful feedback on your writing.

Honor Code

This class abides by the Georgia Tech Honor Code. All assigned work is expected to be individual, except where explicitly written otherwise. You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with your classmates; however, what you hand in should be your own work.

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