DCS in Action - Course Projects

The Digital and Computational Studies Department offers courses that teach students in any discipline to use data analysis tools to uncover new findings and meaning — within texts, news media, or social media — that would otherwise have remained hidden.


I.   Introduction to Digital and Computational Studies, DCS1100
II.  Data Driven Societies, DCS 1200
III. The Nature of Data: Introduction to Environmental Analysis, ENVS/DCS 2331

Introduction to Digital and Computational Studies DCS1100

The atomic age reveals that every time we inhale, at least one molecule of air that we breathe was a molecule exhaled by Julius Caesar in his dying breath on the steps of the Roman Forum. The digital age can create a virtual 3-D immersive environment of the forum as it once looked; provide a network analysis of conspirators in the Roman Senate; and apply machine learning to trace homicidal, Stoic, and patriotic sentiment in text. DCS 1100 starts from the realization that much is gained and lost by this shift in methodologies for understanding ourselves and each other.  What are the implications of computation in the context of identity as a digital object?

Student Work

student ego email networksNetwork Analysis of Metadata
"Student Email Ego Network" intentionally anonymous

Ego Network Analysis allows us to combine network analysis with social science information. This student attempts to understand the network of student emails, focusing on the ego and how their personal network is affected.

studentegoemailnetworksGIS for Historical Recreation
"Joshua Chamberlain's Legacy - Challenged by Technology" Ana Timoney-Gomez

Could Joshua Chamberlain have known what he was sending his troops into? Timoney-Gomez suggests due to the geography of the land, we cannot be certain he did. Using GIS, she is able to recreate the scene we know today as the Battle for Little Round Top.

Reflections on Technology by McKenna Thomas-FranzReflections on Technology
"Final EssayMcKenna Thomas-Franz

"While it is important to understand the basics behind Python coding or XML or fractal analysis, these tools are still being placed in the hands of us, the humans, so we need to understand what we bring to the table in a growing technological world."  

Determining sentiment in text.Determining Sentiment in Text Using Python
Python Assignment 5, Prof. Mohammad Irfan

Searching for sentiment (e.g. happy or sad) in text. Sentiment analysis uses natural language processing and text analysis to extract the "sentiment" implicitly embedded in textual data. 

clear

Data Driven Societies DCS 1200

From infographics to feeds, we are bombarded with data everyday. What histories of data sets make some rich with potential and others rife with pitfalls? How is data used to make an argument? How can we argue back? The course covers elementary programming in the R statistical language as well as critical readings and a data-driven project on a topic of choice.

Student Work

Spatial and Statistical Analysis of Degree Holders in STEM FieldsSpatial and Statistical Analysis of Degree Holders in STEM Fields
Project Notebook Jason Greenberg

Research Question: Starting as early as their undergraduate career, do women face barriers to entry into or have strong preferences against entering STEM related fields, specifically the sciences and engineering, due to their gender? Also, does region within the United States impact this gender disparity?

International Diplomacy, Jack WeissNetwork Analysis of International Diplomacy
Project Notebook Jack Weiss

For centuries treaties have shaped and manipulated borders, security, and trade. Do certain countries influence treaty making and international relations more than others? Do these specific power brokers enhance national security and make the world a safer place?

Statistical Analysis of Attributes of First Generation Students in the United StatesStatistical Analysis of Attributes of First Generation Students in the United States
Project Notebook Karla Olivares

"While it is important to understand the basics behind Python coding or XML or fractal analysis, these    tools are still  being placed in the hands of us, the humans, so we need to understand what we bring to the table in a growing technological world."  

A Look At Saturday Night Live and Its Rising Political InfluenceNetwork and Statistical Analysis of SNL’s History
A Look At Saturday Night Live and Its Rising Political Influence” with Supporting Gephi Figure, Simon Cann

SNL has always relied on parody and satire of current events as sources for comedy. At what point does the comedic representation become a instrument for the expression and criticism of political thought? Can a comedy show be a serious player in shaping national perceptions of individuals and ideas? 

clear

The Nature of Data: Introduction to Environmental Analysis ENVS/DCS 2331

Emerging data types and analytical techniques offer valuable tools for understanding the attributes of successful environmental resource management and the characteristics of collaboration (or conflict). This course offers exposure to these digital and computational tools and the implications of their use in an environmental studies context.

Student Work

Regional Differences in Media Responses to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National MonumentRegional Differences in Media Responses to the Katahdin Woods and Waters
National Monument
, Allie Briggs with Sabina Hartnett and Roya Moussapour

Using digital tools to examine regional differences in perceptions towards the proposed Katahdin national monument. Is attitude different? Does the media portray the controversy differently? How do responses differ?

Text analysis of the portrayal of the Dakota Access Pipeline in national and indigenous newspapersProtectors” or “Protesters”: Text analysis of the portrayal of the Dakota Access Pipeline in national and indigenous newspapers", Eliza Huber-Weiss with Katie Foley, Cammie Ogden Fung, and James Pan

A comparison of the top-read newspapers and indigenous newspaper views and and social media campaigns and their potential impact on the trajectory of the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

clear