Readings are subject to change. Please always check the online syllabus.

CS 6470: Design of Online Communities

Instructor: Amy Bruckman
Email: asb at
Office: TSRB 338
Office Hours: Find me after class, or email for an appointment.
TA: Abraham Doris-Down
Email: abraham at
Office Hours: Find me after class, or email for an appointment.
Location: Klaus 2456
Time: Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-11
Class Schedule: Calendar

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:

CS 6470 counts as a social computing class for the purpose of PhD breadth requirements.



Additional readings are on electronic reserve. The electronic reserve password is a resource on T-Square.


Assignments and Grading

Your grade is based on:

Homeworks will be graded on a list of criteria (specified on the assignment) such as quality of writing, completeness, insight into design issues, insight into social issues, etc. For each criterion, you will receive either a check plus, check, or check minus. Most criterion will receive a check. A plus means "you impressed me." A minus means the assignment is incomplete, incorrect, or sloppy in some fashion with respect to that criterion. Pluses and minues are combined to give your grade for the assignment. For most assignments, you start out half way between a B+ and A-. One plus makes it an A-; one minus makes it a B+. These are general guidelines to let you know what to expect. Grading on specific assignments may differ.

Late Policy

Assignments are due at the start of class on the day they are due. Reading reflections may not be late, except with a documented excuse (such as illness, job interview, conference attendance). For all other work (other than reading reflections), over the course of the term, you have three "late days" where work may be late with no explanation needed. Reading reflections may not use late days.

Once you have used up your late days, late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 3 pts (one grade step: A becomes A-) per day. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted. Presentations may not be late.

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.

Related Classes

Course Eval

Course evaluations are an important part of how we improve the educational experience at Georgia Tech. We take your feedback very seriously, and use it to improve classes for future years. The Dean expects 100% participation on the course evaluation. If you take this class, you agree to complete your course evaluation at the end of the term. Thanks in advance--your input is really helpful!