Course Description for SI658, Fall 2013

Update: here’s what’s actually being taught


I rewrite this every time I teach it..

SI658 – Information Architecture, University of Michigan School of Information

Everything is complex. Distinctions between physical and digital space are dissolving. Profound events in human culture unfold in places made of and from information. The architecture of information for a Bay Area startup’s new iOS app, or for a municipal government’s sharepoint portal, or up in the cloud of an “omnichannel” enterprise is rarely somebody’s specific job. In this class you’ll engage in a peculiar and spirited examination of arguments for why it ought to be. You’ll learn how to apply architectural thinking and practices in complex information spaces, and how to design structures that make the complex clear.

Course Objectives:

  • Appreciate the progression of IA theory and practice over five decades and across diverse contexts.
  • Leverage the unique (and as yet un- or under-published) perspectives on and teachings of information architecture derived from instructor’s 5+ years of research into the life and work of IA pioneer Richard Saul Wurman.
  • Expand students’ familiarity with architecture, architects, and architectural and critical theory.
  • Use the time we’re together in class effectively and minimize or eliminate the need for groups to convene outside of regular class meetings.
  • Inspire the next generation of information architects and information architecture advocates.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

  • Broad familiarity with key movements within IA theory and practice since 1960.
  • Fluency in differentiating between architecture and design.
  • Ability to analyze complex information architectures using Klyn’s model of ontology, taxonomy and choreography.
  • Hands-on experience developing systematic analysis and representation of what “good” means.
  • Hands-on experience shaping semantic and architectonic structures toward specific goals.


No prerequisites. No prior SI coursework assumed or required.

Methods of Instruction

Lecture, discussion, small team project work.

11. March 2013 by dan
Categories: Teaching Information Architecture, Uncategorized | 2 comments

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