University of Iowa

Fred Boehmke and Paul Dilley
What is information? How can we quantify society and culture? Our course introduces undergraduate students to the use of information and data in the social sciences and humanities, from contemporary American politics to the study of the Bible as literature, and from ancient papyri to the era of “big data.” Students learn how data is useful and what it can tell us about societies and cultures, while also being introduced to basic statistical concepts and visualizations. In this session, we will discuss topics and pedagogical tools used to engage students interested in data and information but with little or no background in related topics.


Speakers: Frederick J. Boehmke, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Iowa Social Science Research Center and Paul Dilley, Associate Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Associate Faculty with the Digital Studio

Fred Boehmke and Paul Dilley bring together their years of teaching data analysis techniques to graduate and undergraduate students in the social sciences and humanities, respectively. Together and with the assistance of an Office of Teaching and Learning Technology grant, they developed this course, Introduction to Information, Society, and Culture (RELS/POLI:1050), which seeks to engage first and second-year undergraduates with data and information by illustrating the many ways it surrounds them and helps understand societies, both past and present. As part of the University of Iowa’s Big Ideas courses, it stresses active, team-based learning in a multidisciplinary environment.