Columbia Journalism School

Cross Registration Summer 2014

Registration Information for Non-Journalism Students


Cross Registration for Summer 2014 will run from April 7, 2014 - June 2, 2014.

All courses open this summer for cross registration are part of the Lede Program. Cross registrants are required to apply for and take a minimum of two. 

To request cross registration in the Lede program, please complete the form at

If your form is submitted correctly you will receive a request confirmation e-mail within 24 hours. Please remember to include the after your UNI.


Course Offerings for Summer 2014

* Please note that these courses are all part of the Lede Program. Cross registrants are required to apply for and take a minimum of two. 


Basic Computing

Monday & Wednesday

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

May 28 – July 14

An introduction to the ways in which the computer and data technologies can be partners in creative practices. We will emphasize writing code over point-and-click interfaces, presenting the computer as a programmable object. Through a series of projects, students will move from exploratory sessions, to writing small programs, to sharing code with others in their class. They will learn by making and, in the process, master a "scripting language" like Python or Ruby. Projects will examine and extend existing technologies in the digital humanities, computational journalism, architecture and design and will likely deal in text and images, in human relationships as exhibited through social networks, in map making and reporting.


Data and Databases

Tuesday & Thursdays

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

May 27 – July 10

Students will consider both the scientific and social implications of counting, turning the world into bits. Students will learn both human protocols (census and survey, interview and crowdsourcing, experiments) and computer- or computer-assisted strategies and tools for collecting data. These distinctions will prove useful whether students collect data on their own or simply access data collected and published by some other organization. Students will then spend some time thinking through representations of core "data types" like time, location, text, image, sound and relationships (or networks), and the computational "affordances" associated with each. Students will study several common metaphors for organizing and storing data — from structureless key-value stores, to relational database. We will also discuss ideas behind publishing or sharing data, moving from HTML documents and Web 1.0 to data services and APIs in Web 2.0, to semantics in Web 3.0. These efforts will be project-driven, with students using and building modern data services with a scripting language. Their projects will underscore the reality that data are plentiful and circulate and interact in a kind of informational ecosystem. As researchers, our students will be called on both to access and to publish data products.



Monday & Wednesday

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 16 – September 3

Algorithms are at the heart of computer processing - they are descriptions of computation. We will present a basic taxonomy of algorithms based on their purpose and discuss complexity (will an algorithm take a lot of time or require significant system resources?). The courses will be anchored around several algorithms developed for or by the digital humanities, computational social science, computational journalism, architecture and other fields. Examples might include some aspect of natural language processing, computer vision or statistical/machine learning. Students will learn a process of questioning computation and its artifacts, of examining an algorithm and assessing its capabilities and its biases -- How does it function? What are its implicit assumptions? How should we test its operation? What does it leave out? In the process, students will also learn best practices for writing, documenting and publishing algorithms and code.


The Platform

Tuesday & Thursdays

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 15 – August 28

This begins with the idea that computing tools are the products of human ingenuity and effort. They are never neutral and they carry with them the biases of their designers and their design process. "Platform studies" is a new term used to describe investigations into the relationships between computing technologies and the creative or research products they help generate. How do you understand how data, code and algorithm affect creative practices can be an effective first step toward critical thinking about technology? This will not be purely theoretical, however, and specific case studies (technologies) and project work will make the ideas concrete.


Direct any questions to Melanie Huff at



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