An interactive open online course on computational social scienceFind out more about the project and explore the course and its modules
About the project
With an increasingly turbulent society, the demand for social scientists who are capable of analysing behavioural dynamics using computational methods is rising. ACTiSS – Action for Computational Thinking in Social Sciences is an educational project aimed at fostering the development of computational thinking among social science students and young professionals. The University of Warsaw together with the University of Groningen and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society has developed a program of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that combines academics expertise and real-world examples in which computational models are used to analyse societal processes.
The project aims to promote students’ computational skills and reduce barriers to computational thinking. All digital training and teaching materials are freely available to learners and teachers.
If you want to learn, visit the digital education platform FutureLearn and start improving your computational social science skills right away. You will find a couple of short comprehensive course modules combining short videos, interactive exercises, article steps and quizzes. You can find short descriptions and trailers of the courses below.
If you are a teacher and would like to use the materials in your classes, you can find (and download) all educational materials below: videos on YouTube, course curricula, short texts, quizzes.
People, networks and neighbours: understanding social dynamics
This 3-week course will help you understand why social processes seem so unpredictable and understand better the basics of social dynamics. It’s designed to show you a new interesting way of approaching questions about social behaviour. Throughout, you’ll focus on social mechanisms and will explore how models and simulations can help to understand those mechanisms. Visit the course on FutureLearn.
Social Network Analysis: The Networks Connecting People
Have you ever wondered how a tiny virus can spread across the planet, how people share false information through social media, or why people abide by group norms, even when they are harmful? This 3 week course from computational social science experts at University College Groningen and the University of Warsaw explores how networks form, and how they impact the spreading of different types of information in society.
In the course plan, you can find the sequence of steps for each week and more information on the learning objectives, main topics, models and exercises, as well as the storylines that we use to explain the main concepts.
Understanding Human Behaviour: Introduction to Game Theory and Shared Resources
Explore the issues humans face when sharing and cooperating, and use game theory, models, and simulations to identify solutions.
Why do Ghettos Form in a Tolerant Society? Schelling’s Model and the Introduction of Cellular Automata
Explore the issues humans face when sharing and cooperating, and learn about Schelling’s model and cellular automata.
Decision Making in a Complex World: Using Computer Simulations to Understand Human Behaviour
Our choices can influence not only our own behaviour, but also the future of the whole society. How can we support better decision making? Explore how the way how the decision making process works with the help of agent-based models.
We are creating this MOOC for learners of social sciences who often experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to mathematics, computers, formal modelling and have no knowledge of advanced algebra, mathematical analysis or programming. Throughout our years of experience in teaching computational methods to social science students in the University of Warsaw and Groningen, we developed a number of didactical approaches that help us to familiarize students with computational methods. And from our own experience, we can say: these methods are accessible, especially if approached from the story side rather than from the mathematical formula side. Now, in cooperation with Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and its expertise on current trends in online education and promoting new ideas, we are preparing materials that will be available for all those interested in learning or teaching computational models at introductory level.
To see all ACTISS NetLogo models click here
NetLogo is a multi-agent programmable modeling environment. It is used by many hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and researchers worldwide.
Education specialist, trainer
University of Groningen
NetLogo model engineer
University of Groningen
University of Groningen