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In data we trust: Fairness, accountability and transparency

SoSe 2017

Modulbereich: Spezielle Themen der Angewandten Informatik

VAK: 03-ME-899.99a

Termin: Donnerstags, 12:00 - 16:00 (beginnt 06.04.2017)

Raum: MZH 1090

CP: 6


The aim of the seminar is to encourage students to appreciate the complex nature of the relationship between “data and society” (in particular environmental activism and open data) and develop a critical understanding of the notions of (open) data, trust, and civic participation. Students will be introduced to advanced data science and digital methods as well as qualitative methods (such as interviews) in order to conduct their own research in small, interdisciplinary teams. 

After following this seminar, students should be able to:

• appreciate the history and development of open data and civic tech, and develop an understanding of some of the key themes that have arisen;

• plan and conduct a first independent research projects;

• apply triangulation by combining data science and digital methods (e.g. issue crawler) as well as qualitative methods (e.g. interviews);

• develop group competencies and an interest in team working;

• synthesise the different elements of understanding in a verbal presentation and in an essay.


This research seminar attends to the increasing interest in (big) data for and in society. In the past decade, almost all aspects of social life have become measured and quantified. This datafication of social life raises expectations concerning increased transparency, accountability, and civic participation but also associated fears with respect to surveillance, privacy issues, a data literacy divide, and control. In our seminar, we are interested in exploring the role of data between different societal actors. In particular, we are interested why people trust (or mistrust) data and how this is performed. The focus of the seminar will be on the use of open environmental data by governments, environmental NGOs and civic tech activists. We will attend to questions such as: 

1. What role do open data play for environmental activist organisation?

2. How do environmental NGOs relate to data and what kind of data are important to their activities?

3. What data practices have emerged?

The research seminar is open to students in informatics, digital media, and media culture. You will conduct research in interdisciplinary teams. All results will be presented at a student summer conference on 1st & 2nd of August 2017. The seminar is led by Dr. Juliane Jarke (University of Bremen), Hendrik Heuer, MSc. (University of Bremen) and Prof. Dr. Raoni Rajão (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil).