I am asking you for a big favor in this blog post! You can help me to achieve one of my childhood dreams:

I am an enthusiastic teacher and love to share information (as you might have seen by reading my blog) Over the last month I have designed a structure for an online course on Web Science together with a short video. In this blog post I will introduce the course to you but I am also asking you to vote for the course since only 10 of the 250 courses that applied for the fellowship will be sponsored and thus be realized.

So please go to https://moocfellowship.org/submissions/web-science an learn more about the course and vote for it. You can find almost all details of the course in this blog post.

Why creating such a cours?

The web has become important to its 2.3 billion users. Yet only a small group of people understand the processes that take place on it and quickly steer its development into new directions.

Novelty of the subject

Web Science is an upcoming academic field. Much information about the web already exists online, but no course that comprises all of it.

High value for every web user

The MOOC would be of high value and of relevance for anybody using the web e.g:

  • A programmer who is building the next web application
  • A company deciding their web strategy
  • A judge who has to decide a case regarding net neutrality or copy right infringements
  • The Government as well as public authorities which have to make decisions on how to regulate the web

The web is the right place to learn about the web

The web itself is the best platform to educate people about the web since you can always point directly to the object of study. By creating a MOOC we will be able to aggregate, organize and filter much of the available information.

Integration within our institution

The MOOC will be a core element for the web science lecture of our web science master program. The goal is that students will work with the material provided by the MOOC and the instructors will replace classical lectures with public Q&A sessions. Additionally the Web Science lecture of 2013/2014 will serve as an internal testing of the MOOC such that the improved MOOC can launch on iversity in 2014.

Course content

This MOOC consists of ten lessons divided into three parts.

  1. Lesson 1 – 3: Foundations of the web
  2. Lesson 4 – 7: Theoretical results of web user behavior
  3. Lesson 8 – 10: Web & society

Lesson 1 & 2: History of the Web & Web Architecture

You will understand the historical development of the web and see how the cold war in combination with advances in technical developments led to the Internet Protocol suite.

On each Layer you will know one protocol and understand how these protocols build an open, inter operable and decentralized system. Furthermore you will learn about the domain name system and find out why the concepts of URI and Hypertext were crucial for the success of the web.

Lesson 3: Structure of the Web


You will learn about the six degrees of seperation and understand concepts like small world networks by studying ‘the other’ Milgram experiment. You will be able to use power law distributions to describe the structure of the web, its content and its users.

Lesson 4 & 5: Micro and Macro behavior of web users & Social Network (Analysis)

structure of the web
You will be introduced to theories from Microsociology and see how applying them to the behavior of people on the web leads to macro structures such as:

Analyzing social network data from the Koblenz Network Collection using Octave you will gain a deeper understanding of social theories and social networks.

Lesson 6 & 7: Information Retrieval & Recommender systems


Completing this section you will understand the basic architecture of a (web) search engine. You can name the fundamental (non technical) difficulties one has in order to create a good information retrieval system. You will learn about the connection to recommender systems that are (not only!) used by large web shops to increase cross selling.
You will be able to discuss the danger of such algorithms like the relevance paradox and the filter bubble.

Lesson 8: Trust and Security


You will learn how third parties act as trust providers on the web and how this issue is related to markets with asymmetric information. You will see that trust issues in the online word differ from the offline problems. You will know of ways like cryptography, secure communication and certificates to resolve trust issues and how those techniques can even lead to a new currency.

Lesson 9: Web Economics


You will know of e-commerce models like online shopping & auctions as well as online advertising and marketing. You will be able to interpret and apply metrics for web analytics such as

Lesson 10: Web Governance and Web Ethics


Finally you will understand the important role of institutions like W3C, IETF and ICANN . You will use your understanding of the web architecture to discuss and explain the connections between

So please go to https://moocfellowship.org/submissions/web-science an learn more about the course and vote for it.

If you like this post, you might like these related posts:

  1. Web Science MOOC – first lessons about Ethernet and Internet Protocol online 2 months ago I started to create the Web Science...
  2. Web science education and web science mooc The slides of my talk in the web science education...
  3. Teaching Web Science (web architecture and Web ethics) to students In July 2012 we taught a course for the German...
  4. Analyzing the final and intermediate results of the iversity MOOC Fellowship online voting As writen before Steffen and I participated in the online...
  5. Comparison of open educational resources services to host your MOOC This article on open and free platforms to host your...

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2 Comments on Please help me to realize my Web science massive open online course

  1. [...] writen before Steffen and I participated in the online voting for the MOOC fellowship. Today the competition finished and I would like to say thank you to everyone who so far [...]

  2. [...] many of you know and voted (thanks for that) Steffen and I tried to get a MOOC fellowship in order to create a web science MOOC. Even though our application was not successful we decided that online teaching in the MOOC format [...]

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