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Web Science: How the Web Is Changing the World

University of Southampton via FutureLearn

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You may already be an avid user of the Web, but this introduction to Web Science will help you better understand it as both a social and technical system - a global information infrastructure, built from the interactions of people and technologies.

This free online course is based on our experience of trying to understand how the Web has grown and changed through technical innovation, economics, politics and everyday use.

Explore the past and future of the Web

In Week 1, we’ll ask what would happen if the Web was switched off right now. We’ll use this question to explore the history of the Internet and find out why we’re so dependent on it today. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the course, by telling us how you use the Web in your part of the world.

In Week 2, we’ll look to the future, finding out how emerging trends – including big data, the semantic web and the Internet of Things – will change both the infrastructure of the Web and the ways in which we use it.

By following this course, you will have a greater understanding of the Web and begin to develop skills for the digital era – skills that are useful for everyday life and widely sought by the technology-driven employers of today.

Learn with well-known experts in Web Science

You’ll learn with well-known experts from the University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute, including lead educators, Professors Leslie Carr and Susan Halford, and contributors, Professors Dame Wendy Hall and Sir Nigel Shadbolt.

They will provide you with an understanding of the way that the technology of the Web interacts with our economy, society and culture. Other University of Southampton Web Science courses are an Introduction to Linked Data and the Semantic Web and The Power of Social Media.

Sarah - a previous learners on the course - enjoyed it so much, that she’s gone on to take a PhD in Web Science with the University of Southampton. “I was just absolutely fascinated by everything in the course,” she says. Read Sarah’s story.

This course is aimed at anyone who wishes to further their understanding of the way that the technology of the Web interacts with our economy, society and culture.

Taught by

Les Carr and Susan Halford


4.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • (1) It's not very comprehensive course. You get a very, very basic introduction to the subject. (2) The discussion about net neutrality wasn't very clear to me (the pro and against arguments weren't very clear outlined). (3) My impression was that this was an advertising course (advertising for the University of Southampton undergraduate and graduate programs), not a serious one (with more information on the subject, bibliography, further resources etc.).

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