MAS 961 · Designing Sociable Media
Instructor: Judith Donath

Spring, 2001
Wednesday 2-4 in E15-335
Graduate level · 12 Units
Permission of instructor required
TA: Kelly Dobson
Course assistant Lisa Lieberson


This course is about social life in the on-line world. Its focus is on how the design of the interface influences people's interactions with each other and shapes the cultural mores and structures they develop. We will examine the ways social cues are communicated in the real and the virtual world, discuss the limits imposed upon on-line communities by their mediated nature, and explore directions that virtual societies can take that are impossible for physical ones.

Readings range from classic papers in cognitive science, anthropology and urban studies to recent studies in the sociology of online communities. The work for this class includes reading articles, analyzing existing systems and designing innovative interfaces.



2.07 · Designing sociable media


2.14 · The culture of text-based conversations

2.21 · Visualizing conversations

2.28 · Graphical conversations

3.07 · New interfaces for conversation


3.14 · Representing identity

3.21 · Mediated faces

3.28 · No class - MIT spring break

4.04 · The culture of the web (CHI)

4.11 · Identity project

4.18 · Final project proposal


4.25 · Time and history

5.01 · Domestic space

5.09 · Public space


5.16 · Final presentations