SKILLS & COMPETENCES
The Information Studies degree (Msc in Information Studies) will provide skills and competences in the following domains:
- User Research and Stakeholder Analysis
- System Design and -Development
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Information Architecture
- User-oriented Testing and Development
- Information Behaviour
- User Interface Design
- User Experience Management
- ICT, Learning and Cooperation
Like all other programs at Aalborg University, the Information Studies programme follows the Problem-Based Learning approach, which means that all teaching is organised around real-world cases and problems. Every semester students focus on a semester-spanning project where they research, design, develop, and evaluate solutions to real-world problems related to the use of IT systems in companies and organizations together with an external or internal client. This way, students develop a strong portfolio of project work that documents their ability to engage with and solve problems related to the many ways people interact with IT systems in different contexts. Through their semester projects and the different elective courses, students have the opportunity to specialise in specific organisations, domains, and contexts.
The Master’s program in Information Studies is fully international: all teaching materials, lectures, group work, course communication, and exams are in English. The program is open to both Danish and international students. For more information about admission requirements and procedures, please consult this page.
The Master’s programme in Information Studies is a two-year program divided into four semesters, which start in September and February. Students will be able to specialise their education through workshop, semester projects, and elective courses. The figure below shows a visual overview of the structure of the four semesters; below you will find more detailed information about each of the semesters.
SEMESTER 1: USER Practice, User analysis and pilot studieS
The main theme of the first semester is on the role of the user in ICT systems: analysing existing user practices and involving them in the design and development of new systems and the improvement of existing ones. In addition, students will be introduced to methods for online data collection and analysis as well as the problem-based learning approach used at Aalborg University.
Professional inquiry (5 ECTS)
The module comprises the development and phrasing of empirical inquiry for the purpose of enabling students to formulate research questions and scientific problems within the field of informatics. This will form the basis of the problem-based project work and inquiries to be carried out during the course of the informatics study programme.
Semester project: User Practice, User Analysis and Pilot Studies (15 ECTS)
This module introduces theories and methods relevant for analysis of user practice, user-system interaction, and for pilot studies related to ICT innovation, design and development.
ICT-based Data Collection & Analysis (5 ECTS)
This course is centered around methods and tools for ICT-based data collection and analysis, aimed at supporting students in their future ICT-oriented user analyses and projects. In addition, students will learn what the paradigm of Big Data entails and how it can relate to their own projects and practices. Finally, the ethical and legal aspects of online data collection will be discussed.
Elective (5 ECTS)
In addition to the other three courses, students can choose an elective course. In previous years the 1st semester has offered elective courses on topics like gamification, ICT ethics, event design, web programming and visual culture.
SEMESTER 2: DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN OF ICT
Where students will focus on theoretical and methodical aspects of knowledge and formalization in relation to ICT and human-computer-interaction (HCI). As on the previous semester, students will employ a problem-based approach to courses:
Development and Design of ICT (20 ECTS)
The module introduces students to systems design with specific emphasis on designing with the use practice through user-driven theories and methods, organisational change in relation to systems design, Interaction design and information architecture, formal models for preparing and communicating design solutions, and epistemological understandings of information with a view to reflecting on the scientific theoretical basis of design.
ICT for Learning, Knowledge and Content Management (5 ECTS)
The module introduces students to the management and adaptation of systems for learning, knowledge and content management in order to enable them to act independently when needing to adapt systems, implement prototypes and implement more complete solutions within various domains (business, cultural heritage and education)
Elective course (5 ECTS)
In addition to the other two courses, students can choose an elective course. In previous years the 2nd semester has offered elective courses on topics like collective intelligence, etc.
SEMESTER 3: INFORMATIon StudieS IN PRACTICE
The focus of the third semester is on how human-centered informatics research should be applied in the real-world situations.
Information Studies in Practice (25 ECTS)
The core component of the third semester is an internship at a Danish or international company. The theme of the module is the practical reality of Informaiton Studies. The main component of the module is a three-to-four-month practice oriented work placement, where students collaborate on solving an issue on the basis of Information Studies in a relevant company, organisation or institution. The idea is for students to develop a knowledge and understanding of the concrete work reality that this programme is directed towards. The work practice will be elucidated in a written report on the basis of the theory and methods of the entire study programme.
SOCIAL ANALYTICS (25 ECTS)
The aim of Social Analytics module is to provide a relevant and cutting-edge course enabling students to work within a context of great interest in – and current lack of knowledge of – “digital potentialities”. Students will learn to work with big and open data, digital methods and analysis and to critically reflect upon digital potentialities and challenges within the private and public sectors. During the semester we will work in collaboration with an external partner to develop digital solutions within their field of operations. The module offers three 5 ECTS courses and a 10 ECTS project. The courses are described in short below:
- Digital Collaboration (5 ECTS) is thematic and offers an overview of digital sociality and governance, presenting issue such as Smart Cities and Big Data in a larger societal context. During the course, students are provided with an understanding of how digital collaboration may be instigated and to what purpose. Drawing on collaboration with external partners, students will learn about the opportunities and challenges with data-driven, collaborative projects in various social and organizational contexts.
- Data Preparation and Understanding (5 ECTS) provides students with an understanding of relevant data formats and methods for harvesting large-scale data about user behaviour, interaction, and/or opinions. More specifically, the course is focused on digital, online traces of user behaviour and how to identify, collect, prepare, and make sense of such data. Students are prompted to reflect on the scope and feasibility of different research designs, including their data requirements and the implications for data processing and ethics.
- Data Analytics & Visualization (5 ECTS) provides an understanding of different analytical strategies and their implications for data modelling, including descriptive and predictive approaches. It also provides hands-on experience with different data visualization techniques and their analytical contributions.
- Social Analytics in Context (10 ECTS) comprises preparation of a project concerning digital collaboration and contains data preparation and data analytics. It must apply knowledge, skills and competences from all the three 5 ECTS courses listed above. The social analytics project must be carried out in collaboration with an organization or a community.
Students on Information Studies MA degree can choose the module in Social Analytics instead of the Information Studies in Practice internship module. Information Studies students must complete three 5 ECTS courses and a 10 ECTS project. Information Studies students must also complete the 5 ECTS Research Methodology course on the Information Studies degree.
Students on the Tourism MA degree can choose the module in Social Analytics instead of the Project-oriented Course in a Tourism Organisation (A) or the University Transfer (B). Tourism students must complete three 5 ECTS courses and a 10 ECTS project. Tourism students may also complete the 5 ECTS Research Methodology course from the Information Studies degree.
The module is also open for other Master level students but must apply for pre-approval at their respective Study boards.
Research Methodology (5 ECTS)
The goal of this course is to support the internship by teaching students to plan large and complex research studies independently. Emphasis will be on the student’s independent identification and description of one or more research problem(s), and on the quantitative and qualitative research methods available for solving these problems.
SEMESTER 4: MASTER’S THESIS
During the fourth semester students will work on their Master’s thesis. The content of the module will be partly direct supervision from a thesis supervisor, but also counselling regarding the academic, methodological and theoretical approach to the thesis and partly teaching on a selected group of research- and methodology related topics.
Please consult the study regulation for more details about the courses taught during the two-year Master’s programme.