Jeffrey Heer
Office Hours: Tue 4:15 - 5:15pm, Econ 140 or by appt.

Sep Kamvar
Office Hours: Tue: after class, Thu 9:30am - 10:30am, Bytes Cafe or by appt.

teaching assistant

Tim Cardenas

e-mail policy

We want to make sure we get to your questions, and to help with that, we'd appreciate it if you directed your question at the right place.

Rather than emailing us individually, send an email to cs294h AT Please allow us up to 24 hours to reply.

winter 2010

CS294H: Social Software

Tuesdays 3:15pm - 4:15pm and Thursdays 3:15pm - 5:05pm, Econ 140

Many of the most successful web applications are social, including personalized services and social networks. You will learn the fundamental interface, systems, and algorithms concepts in designing social software. You will contribute to this burgeoning field through a quarter-long, team-based project. You are highly encouraged to enter the class with an initial project idea.

Each week will feature a balance of instruction and hands-on design. A one-hour lecture and discussion section will focus on both design principles and real-world experiences building social systems. Studio sessions will focus on the collaborative design and development of new social software systems.

Students in this course are encouraged to attend CS547, the HCI seminar, on Fridays from 12:50 - 2:00pm.

Final Project Presentations will be held Thursday, March 18, 12:15-3:15pm in Econ 140.

Studio: Submit homework, view others' work, and see your grades at this link. Use your SUNet Username / Password to log in.

syllabus overview

  Tuesday (Lecture) Thursday (Studio)
Week 1 Jan 5
Jan 7
Project Idea
DUE: Assignment 1
Week 2 Jan 12
Design Critiques
DUE: Assignment 2
Jan 14
Storyboards & Prototypes
DUE: Assignment 3
Week 3 Jan 19
Conversation & Media Effects
DUE: Assignment 4, Part I
Jan 21
Design Documents & Testing Results
DUE: Assignment 4, Part II
Week 4 Jan 26
Identity & Reputation
Jan 28
One-on-One Meetings
DUE: Assignment 5
Week 5 Feb 2
Community Growth & Virality
Feb 4
Engineering Meeting
DUE: Assignment 6
Week 6 Feb 9
Networks & Community Dynamics
Feb 11
Engineering Meeting
DUE: Assignment 7
Week 7 Feb 16
Feb 18
Alpha Release
DUE: Assignment 8
Week 8 Feb 23
Feb 25
Beta Release
DUE: Assignment 9
Week 9 Mar 2
Mar 4
DUE: Assignment 10
Week 10 Mar 9
Recommendation & Personalization
Mar 11
Testing Results
DUE: Assignment 11
Finals Week Mar 18, 12:15-3:15pm
Final Presentations


Each week you will be responsible for reading one or more papers. We will have multiple readings in the first two weeks as we ramp up the course and you begin the first stages of your project. Starting with week 3, we will average around 1 paper per week. Read the required paper(s) before class on Tuesday — it will be vital to your participation in lecture. Be prepared to share your thoughts and critiques of the readings in class.

reading response

For weeks 3-9, you will be responsible for submitting a short response to the required reading. Your response should describe one concrete project design idea derived from the readings. Your idea might be a software feature (such as a new mechanism for facilitating social interaction in your project) or design recommendation (e.g., how you might avoid a pitfall identified or implied by the readings). The write-up should be no more than 4 sentences. The first sentence should summarize the idea as clearly and concisely as possible.

Responses must be submitted by noon on Tuesday to the course submission site. Again, responses are required each week for weeks 3-9. To accommodate external deadlines, you may elect to take a "pass" once during those weeks. Each response contributes 15 points towards your final score in the course.

books referenced in the course

requirements & grading


Attendance and participation in class is mandatory.

Grading: Each assignment is graded out of a set amount of points (these can be seen on each assignment's page). These points, combined with class/studio participation (75 points), add up to a total of 1000 points.

late work & absence policy

No late assignments will be accepted, but you may submit them early.