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Best of All-Time Online Course

Computational Social Science Methods

University of California, Davis via Coursera

Overview

This course gives you an overview of the current opportunities and the omnipresent reach of computational social science. The results are all around us, every day, reaching from the services provided by the world’s most valuable companies, over the hidden influence of governmental agencies, to the power of social and political movements. All of them study human behavior in order to shape it. In short, all of them do social science by computational means.

In this course we answer three questions:
I. Why Computational Social Science (CSS) now?
II. What does CSS cover?
III. What are examples of CSS?

In this last part, we take a bird’s-eye view on four main applications of CSS. First, Prof. Blumenstock from UC Berkeley discusses how we can gain insights by studying the massive digital footprint left behind today’s social interactions, especially to foster international development. Second, Prof. Shelton from UC Riverside introduces us to the world of machine learning, including the basic concepts behind this current driver of much of today's computational landscape. Prof. Fowler, from UC San Diego introduces us to the power of social networks, and finally, Prof. Smaldino, from UC Merced, explains how computer simulation help us to untangle some of the mysteries of social emergence.

Syllabus

Computational Social Science (CSS)
-In this module, you will be able to examine the history and current challenges faced by social science through the digital revolution. You will be able to discuss the mystery at the core of society: social emergence. You will be able to recall the fundamental building blocks of the scientific method and how they apply to the new computational tools we now have available. You will be able to defend what people mean when they say that ‘social studies’ are currently maturing to become a ‘real science’.

Example of Computational Social Science: Data Science
-In this module, you will be presented with an example of how computational social science is applied in the real world through a case study. You will be able to discuss examples of digital footprint and describe how computational social science is applied. You will practice an activity and be able to configure a machine to create a database that can later be used for analysis.

Examples of CSS: Machine Learning & AI
-In this module, you will be able to discover how artificial intelligence can convert news stories into a real-time observatory of global unrest and potential terror attacks, and how brain scans can be used to reveal aspects of your moral values. You will be able to practice interacting with artificial intelligence that can interpret your art skills.

Examples of CSS: Social Networks and Computer Simulations
-In this module, you will be able to discover how social networks and human dynamics create systems that are larger than you and me: social systems. You will be able to discuss how social networks and human dynamics follow recognizable patterns. You will be able to identify how social network analysis and computer simulations are currently quite successful in untangling some of the mysteries of social emergence.

Taught by

Martin Hilbert

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Reviews

4.8 rating, based on 46 reviews

Start your review of Computational Social Science Methods

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I particularly enjoyed the web-scraping for some reason. It feels very advanced although it's very easy. ...It seems to be a very fast and efficient way of grabbing data. Throughout the course, the content was challenging, but when it was finally applied to the labs at the end, it was really rewarding to see everything play out. It was even more rewarding when it made sense too! ... I'm really glad I took this course! It was definitely a challenge, but I'm glad I got to experience and learn about so many topics I never knew even existed. These computational tools have enormous implications.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Highly recommend to all who are interested in the topic. I enjoyed the course a lot. It had a lot of examples and was quite easy to digest. The reading materials provide an in-depth view if you need additional insights. As an introductory course it is really good and is manageable regardless of your background. It breaks down some of the most dense topics into very easy to grasp examples. Overall, it left a good impression. I’m greatful to the instructors for their time and effort, and making their work available.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This section of the course gave a really solid foundation into the introduction of what computational social science is and why it is so effective. You also get introduced and learn from 4 different UC professors about different aspects of computational social science. This portion really gave me the base to enjoy the whole course and understand the importance of CSS.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A great overview of computational social sciences from some of its best practitioners. The professors are all super stars and the material includes their classic works.
  • Anonymous
    Very good and above my expextation.
    Handy package of theoritical and practical approach.
    I think you, as a social reasercher should take this too.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I thank Coursera and the community of teachers, especially Professor Hilbert for the knowledge and training provided. It is an excellent introductory course in Computational Social Sciences. It illustrates very well the new possibilities that we have...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    The lectures are very well structured and the flow of each lectures flows great; reference support and reading material is very satisfying; Presentation support such as drawings, slides, cartoons is very interesting; the way the lecturer teaches is very passionate and very interesting; the speed of the lecturer is suitable to my ability to listen and comprehend; the voice and pronunciation are clear and easy to understand; the material taught is very useful, interesting and up to date; this lecture will be very useful for my career in the future; this lecture will be very useful for real life in the future
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    At first, I thought this course is going to bring me to the technical side of computer social science simulation. But apparently, this is just the beginning. There are two courses between this one and the simulation one.

    But still, I am very grateful to enroll this course. It enlighten me with the concept of phenomena, how they can be translated into data, how the data can be gathered and stored in a huge size, and how analyzing them would be something that not only take unorthodox way, but can embrace so much unknown prior knowledge about social system.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Globally, I found all the lecturers very interesting as well as the subjects they presented.
    Sometimes, though, I found quiz answers written in a way that strongly suggested what was the correct answer and what was not, which annoyed me, because I believe one must be confronted to real challenges and return proper efforts if one aims someday to start mastering a subject that one finds exiting.
    This is just a point of view and it doesn't affect at all the global satisfaction I have of following this specialisation.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course gives a lot of information and examples on what kinds of opportunities that Computational Social Science brings to the real world. One of my favorite examples was how the digital footprint can be used to make artificial intelligence more accurate in being able to reveal aspects that is difficult for regular humans. Overall, this course is very informative and I would highly recommend to those that want to understand the applications of Computational Social Science.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It's awesome! I really enjoyed all of the course because the way that the teachers teach and explain the concepts. The course in the other hand has been very well thought out, giving us a really cool and exceptional way to introduce ourself into the CSS. You can see the logical road that they want to guide us in the learning, creating better conditions to understand better the course.
    I am satisfied and grateful with the course. Thanks to all of the teachers for this.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a rapid run through some computational social science techniques, which I found fun, engaging and verey useful. I have used some of the techniques before but this was a great way to get an overview of the discipline, which I think is an exciting and growing field. The lectures were all very engaging. I liked the format of short videos of the lecturer 'standing' in front of the slide and talking. It helped that all the lecturers were engaging and good speakers.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The examples used to demonstrate different aspects of computational social sciences were very engaging - current, relevant, interesting. Additionally the quizzes and exercises kept me on my toes, and forced me to go back and review course content. I learnt a lot of new concepts, very eye-opening, and explained in a clear and simple manner.

    My only regret with this course is that there was not much opportunity for community interaction (group work or discussions).
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This section is an insightful view of various computational social science topics, such as machine learning, social networks, and computer simulations. The course explains in depth how all of these topics factor into the social behavior of humans. The professors all explain the topics in a concise, easy to understand manner. Highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about how digital technology has created a social emergence!
  • Anonymous
    Thank you for this wonderful course. I learned a lot, including what CSS is all about and what are the parts that fill different parts of it. I understood what is Big Data and ML and these terms to me seem not scary but actually approachable now. Would have been great to have more exercises and reading material (yes, the instructors got me hooked on the topic).

    There were some recommended books listed but pointing out some central parts would be great.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I had gone through much new behavioral change on understanding induction and deduction empirical tendencies. I also got web scraping idea for collecting data from online sources however, the analysis not yet. But I have learnt so much from this big data system to better enhance my communication and policy studies. On the background of social network studies, and computer simulations.. Thanks for the massive support.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Before taking this course, I have no clear idea what concepts such as digital footprint, social network analysis and machine learning are. But now, with the knowledge garnered so far, I think I have a clear picture of what they are, and how they can be applied in research and real world situation. It's also an opportunity for me to dig deeper into big data world. I am enjoying computational social sciences.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Being a statistician working as an empirical analyst in social sciences, I never explored the aspects in this way before. I thoroughly enjoyed this course as it actually explains how your knowledge can contribute to make this world a better place. I'm looking forward for other courses of Computational Social Science specialization but indeed it's an excellent beginning.
  • Profile image for Ahmed Elshobakey
    Ahmed Elshobakey

    Ahmed Elshobakey completed this course.

    so good! I've learned more things here which meet my fancy on psychology and learn more about people. And in general, I think computational social science is an interesting thing to invest your time in.
    finally, I would like to thank Dr. Matrin and the other professors that we learn a lot from all of them and Definitely the whole cast.
  • Anonymous
    This is a fantastic course. The professors are inventive and clear and able to give both concrete and abstract views on this fascinating topic. The philosophical is put to use in very specific ways. The actual structure of the course, with questions during the lectures, hands-on experiments and quizzes, is all so well-done.

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