Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Social Life of Algorithms


Algorithmic systems are at the center of today's digital world, and mediate communication processes in areas as diverse as social media, journalism, healthcare, and governments. How do algorithmic systems capture, represent, and transmit information about everyday interactions? How do they shape, and are shaped by, social, cultural, and political life? What kind of new issues and concerns arise from their ubiquitous use? This course provides a critical introduction to algorithmic systems, and how they relate to issues of communication, power and inequalities in society. In addition to reading responses and a midterm essay, students will complete a research project on an algorithmic system of their choice to unpack how they are constructed and used in everyday life. This course serves as an Integrative Experience (IE) requirements for BA-COMM majors.
Course Details

Summer 2023


Jul 17, 2023 - Aug 25, 2023
Burcu Baykurt
Base Cost: $1,575 ($525/credit)
Term Fee: $60
Start date: Jul 17, 2023
End date: Aug 25, 2023
Last day to add: Jul 21, 2023
Last day to drop: Jul 21, 2023
Last day to withdraw: Aug 09, 2023