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Social Network Analysis: The Networks Connecting People

University of Warsaw , University of Groningen and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society via FutureLearn


Learn how norms, viruses and info spread through social networks

Have you ever wondered how a tiny virus can spread across the planet, how people share false information through social media, or why people abide by group norms, even when they are harmful? With easy-to-use computational models you will explore the social dynamics explaining these processes.

This brand-new course from computational social science experts at University College Groningen and the University of Warsaw explores how networks form, and how they impact the spreading of different types of information in society.

Discover social network analysis tools, structures, and modelling

On this course, you’ll get to grips with the basics of social network theory, before considering how different social exchanges impact network structures and dynamics of opinion and product choice.

You’ll learn how the way we communicate, and even share viruses, is shaped by social network structures that existed in our tribal history, and have expanded in modern society.

Identify patterns of social interaction and explore social influence theory

You’ll learn how social influences play out in larger networks, as you explore what impact small scale tribal mechanisms, like local norms, have on global network dynamics.

Study social network theory with computational social science (CSS) experts

This course has been designed as a collaboration between University College Groningen, the University of Warsaw, and Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

Warsaw and Groningen are experts in CSS, and this course offers students the chance to learn from four leading social science scholars.

This course is designed for anyone interested in developing their understanding of the basic concepts of social network theory and how information, viruses, and norms spread through society.

It will be particularly useful for professionals dealing with situations where social influences and processes of diffusion play a role, such as in the context of public policy, business, marketing, and healthcare.

If you already study social science and would like to develop your skills in maths, computers, and formal modelling, this course will help.

For the models used in the course we highly recommend that these are done on a large screen, either a PC, laptop or a tablet at least, as the models will not be easy to operate on a phone.


  • Living in communities
    • Welcome to Social Networks!
    • Welcome to the tribe!
    • Key Concepts: Nodes and Links
    • An Early Social Computational Model
    • Small worlds
    • Wrapping up Week 1
  • The larger agricultural society and hubs
    • How many people do we know in a network?
    • How popularity grows
    • How do hubs function as superspreaders in society?
    • More than viruses: sharing information
    • Obeying the norm
    • Wrapping up Week 2
  • Global society and social influences
    • Expanding networks in our recent history
    • Influencers and their impact on society
    • Wrap up - Understanding network dynamics

Taught by

Wander Jager


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 7 ratings

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