University of Wisconsin–Madison

Undergraduate/Digital Studies

Undergraduates at UW-Madison interested in pursuing information careers can take iSchool courses through the Digital Studies certificate program. To pursue an iSchool path through Digital Studies, look for the following courses:

LIS 201 – The Information Society

Fulfills a Digital Studies “core course” requirement, and the Comm B requirement. Explores the ways in which information is tied to notions of democracy, capitalism, rights, social justice, and “progress” in American history. Typically offered in the fall.

LIS 202 – Informational Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society

Fulfills the Ethnic Studies requirement and the Digital Studies I requirement. Explores the impact of and barriers to access to information on the lives of low-income ethnic/racial minority communities in the United States. Provides introduction to contemporary information society from a sociological perspective. Typically offered in the spring and online in the summer.

LIS 301 – Information Literacies in Online Spaces

Fulfills the Digital Studies I and P requirements. It is typically taught as a FIG. Explores information and digital literacies needed by today’s online consumers and producers. Covers skills and topics related to access (digital divides, power relations in online communities, regulation), analysis (assessing credibility, evaluating risks, analyzing representation) and production (blogging, videosharing, gaming).

LIS 340 – Topics in Information Studies – Social Aspects

Fulfills the Digital Studies I requirement. Topics may vary.

LIS 341- Topics in Information Studies Technological Aspects

This course fulfills the I and P requirements for Digital Studies.  Common topics include Web Design and Social Media


LIS 350 – History and Future of Books

Fulfills the I and M requirement for Digital Studies and the Comm B requirement.  This course is framed by a question about what books are, what books have been, and what books might be: past, present, and future. The course also assumes that “book” is a capacious term, or a placeholding one, for an object that becomes the site of questions and debates about a variety of media, expressions, and recording practices. We live in a moment of rapid media evolution, and yet we have seen the book endure and change as a form. Academic fields including book history, digital humanities, media studies, and human computer interaction (to name only a few) all have something at stake in the form of the book – not to mention industry-oriented interests in e-readers, book retail, publishing – and likewise this course will approach the book from a number of perspectives. Our primary goal is to understand the book (and, in a wider sense, information) as an active technology that shapes peoples, perceptions, and cultures rather than serving as a passive receptacle of them. This course also meets the requirements for Comm B, which means we will be thinking about our own written and spoken productions by way of this material. Includes hands on research exercises in UW special collections library and Wisconsin Historical Society archive collections.


LIS 351 – Introduction to Digital Information

Fulfills the Digital Studies I and P requirements. This entry level course prepares students to use information technologies to solve problems and help people through implementing information infrastructures such as websites, databases and metadata. Students will explore information access, information representation, usability and information policy issues, and increase their understanding of the social impacts and social shaping of information infrastructures. Taught fall and spring.

LIS 500 – Computer Code and Power

Fulfills the Digital Studies I and P requirements. Fulfills the Ethnic Studies requirement. In this course, students analyze and critique economic, social and cultural structural mechanisms related to racial and gender disparities in the computing industries, gaining practical and theoretical understanding of the means by which women and people of color negotiate conditions of exclusion or marginalization within computing. The course guides students in understanding their own attitudes and beliefs about themselves, others and computing, and empowers them to recognize and counter common and damaging attitudes and beliefs. As part of learning about the computing industries and exploring their self-identity in relation to computing, students design, develop, and discuss interactive websites that employ web scripting. Taught in the fall. Juniors/Seniors only.