Curriculum – Bachelor of Arts in Technology and Information Design at College Park (InfoDesign)

The Bachelor of Arts in Technolgy and Information Design at College Park (InfoDesign) degree requires a total of 120 credits, including 40 credits in General Education and 45 credits in the Technology and Information Design major. In addition to the ten core courses, 15 credits (five courses) of upper-level major electives are required to complete the Technology and Information Design degree. Enrolled students, please consult the program Handbook, Policies, and Forms.

Program Structure

InfoDesign @ College Park - Benchmark Courses
Benchmark courses are “indicator courses” that help advisors chart your progress in the major. Completing the benchmark courses on time, and with good grades, means you are making satisfactory progress through the major.

Failure to complete the benchmark courses with a C- or better within two attempts, will require you to change out of the major. If you are having challenges in the benchmark courses it may be a sign that the major is not a good fit, and you should speak to an advisor. Advanced Placement (AP) credits that have been accepted and transferred to UMD successfully may be used to satisfy corresponding InfoDesign benchmark requirements.

Benchmark I (Must be completed within the first 30 credits after declaring the major).

  • INST 104 – Design Across Campus (3 credits)
  • INST 126 – Intro to Programming for Information Science (3 credits)
  • IDEA201 – Innovation Tools and Mindsets (1 credit)

Benchmark II (Must be completed within the first 60 credits after declaring the major).

  • INST 201 – Introduction to Information Science (3 credits)
  • SOCY 105 – Introduction to Contemporary Social Problems (3 credits)
  • STAT 100 – Elementary Statistics and Probability (3 credits)
  • MATH 110, MATH112, MATH113, or MATH115 – or permission of CMNS-Mathematics department; or must have math eligibility of STAT 100 or higher
InfoDesign @ College Park - Core Courses & Major Electives

Major Core Courses (21 credits):

    • INST 204 Designing Fair Systems
      Explores how policy shapes design and how design can act as de facto policy. Introduces students to interdisciplinary research on fairness, accountability, transparency, and justice in technical systems, bringing together fields such as law, computer science, and political theory. Students will learn how to assess the impact of automated decision-making in domains such as criminal justice and transportation, conduct audits of these systems, and re-design them for increased community input.
    • PLCY 388D Innovation and Social Change: Do Good Now
      Introduces students to the concept of social innovation while exploring the many mechanisms for achieving social impact. It is team-based, highly interactive and dynamic, and provides an opportunity for students to generate solutions to a wide range of problems facing many communities today. Deepens students’ understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation practices by guiding them through the creation and implementation process as applied to a project idea of their choice.
    • INST 367 Prototyping and Development Technologies Studio
      Builds upon students’ experiences with interaction design to develop a deeper understanding of the process of defining, iterating, developing, and researching products. When interacting with systems, people build expectations and mental models of how things work, based upon their previous experience with similar products or processes, and the successful or unsuccessful nature of their interactions determines the success of the design. This studio course is about how to build a product that people find usable, useful, and desirable, and conduct research throughout that building process from contextual inquiry to evaluating the final product.
    • INST 406 Cross-disciplinary Design Communication Lab
      Best practices of writing and sketching for designers. Students learn how to solicit needs from clients and other stakeholders; how to craft proposals, be they technical or process-oriented; how to create visually compelling documents; and how to present written analyses for audiences of varying levels of expertise.
    • INST454 Modeling and Simulating Systemic Problems
      Growing complexities in organizations and societies have brought about systemic problems that cannot be fully understood and addressed using solely traditional linear approaches, and purely local solutions limited to a single organization. This course explores paradigms, methods, and tools for articulating complex, non-linear, feedback-driven relationships in a range of socio-technical systems, which may span distributed organizations and other social structures, through formal models. Those models can then be simulated to identify the root causes of the systemic.
    • INST 466 Technology, Culture, and Society
      Individual, cultural, and societal outcomes associated with the development of information &communication technologies (ICTs), including pro- and anti-social factors. Unpacking how gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities, and political affiliations affect consumption and production of online experiences. Unpacking how structures of dominance, power, and privilege manifest at an individual, institutional and cultural levels. Understanding the relationship between local and global problems in technology development. Comparing global and historical variation in the design, deployment, use and regulation of technology.
    • INST 491 Integrated Capstone for Technology and Information Design
      Capstone course for the major. Students collaborate in teams on a second semester-long project for a real-world client, bringing together lessons from across the Technology and Information Design curriculum in order to frame the client’s problems, design a solution to them, and realize the solution in context. Students apply the knowledge they have gained in the program to work with clients to craft design proposals, conduct user and system analyses, and review project successes and failures.


Major Electives (students will choose 18 credits):

    • INST 311 Information Organization
      Examines the theories, concepts, and principles of information, information representation and organization, record structures, description, and classification. Topics to be covered in this course include the methods and strategies to develop systems for storage, organization, and retrieval of information in a variety of organizational and institutional settings, as well as policy, ethical, and social implications of these systems.
    • INST 352 Information User Needs and Assessment
      Focuses on the use of information by individuals, including the theories, concepts, and principles of information, information behavior and mental models. Methods for determining information behavior and user needs, including accessibility issues, will be examined and strategies for using information technology to support individual users and their specific needs will be explored.
    • INST 366 Privacy, Security and Ethics for Big Data
      Evaluates major privacy and security questions raised by big data, Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, ubiquitous sensing, social sharing platforms, and other AI-driven systems. Covers the history of research ethics and considers how ethical frameworks can and should be applied to digital data.
    • INST 401 Design and Human Disability and Aging
      Focuses on the design of consumer products and information systems to enable their use by persons with a wider range of physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities. Overviews aging and major types of impairment as they relate to resulting problems using consumer products and information systems. Focuses on principles of design of mass-market products.
    • INST 402 Designing Patient-Centered Technology
      What does it mean to design a human-centered digital health technology specifically for patients? What are the methods we can use to gather design considerations, and how to use the findings to inform the design? Through a combination of the project- and lecture-based class, students will learn topics such as Patient-Centered Technology; Co-Design; Health Monitoring; Persuasive System Design; Goal Setting & Gamification; Health Literacy, and Patient-Clinician Communication. We will apply these concepts to support the unique needs of older adults and patients with a variety of conditions (e.g., diabetes, stroke, dietary issues, enigmatic disease), and to support an individual’s health and well-being.
    • INST 404 Youth Experience Design Studio
      Explores historical, organizational and contemporary contexts for formal and informal learning spaces, principles of teaching and learning, and information literacy. Students will use methods of design thinking specifically in and for youth contexts, including user-centered design, understanding user needs, ideation, contextual design, participatory design, iterative prototyping, and visual design.
    • INST 405 Game Design Studio
      Games are a structured form of play that is typically undertaken for recreational–but sometimes also educational and even professional–purposes. But what constitutes a successful game? In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of game design: applying elements and principles of game design, such as goals, rules, and challenges to create games, such as board games, card games, and digital games. You will be introduced to the basic tools and methods of game design: paper and digital prototyping, design iteration, design critique, and user testing. As part of the course, you will be designing and remixing several games of different types, each of which you will be able to add to your growing portfolio of game design concepts.
    • INST 441 Information Ethics and Policy
      Explores via case studies the legal, ethical, and technological challenges in developing and implementing policies for managing digital assets and information. Emphasizes access questions pertinent to managing sensitive information and the roles and responsibilities of information professionals.
    • INST 460 Video Games as Emergent Experiences
      Video games are designed objects that players bring their own history to, resulting each time in a unique emergent experience. If you’ve ever wondered why you love a certain game but others hate it, why you prefer one genre of the game over another, or why the frustration you feel in complicated games is often actually enjoyable, this is the class for you! We will examine design principles instantiated in various games, analyze how failure and feedback support productive game play, discuss how mechanics and aesthetics contribute to emergent experiences, and develop an understanding of the field of games scholarship.
    • INST 463 AI and Society
      Reviews the technical, legal, and business history of artificial intelligence, and contemporary deployments in domains such as hiring, health, policing, and advertising. Students will discuss both high-level ethical issues and concrete policy dilemmas related to, e.g.,self-driving cars, and compare their impact in different social and geographic settings. Students will conduct independent research on the design,testing, deployment, and assessment of AI technologies.

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