The Department of Computer Science offers Bachelor's/Master's Courses of Studies "Socioinformatics" since 2013. Meanwhile, both programmes have been approved and adapted to the requirements in 2019.
From winter semester 2019/20, updated study plans and examination regulations will therefore apply to newly enrolled students. Based on student feedback, several adjustments have been made to further sharpen the profile of the programme. One objective was to harmonise the compulsory modules in the two degree programmes (Computer Science and Socioinformatics) more closely and thus to significantly expand the formal foundations.
In recent years it has become increasingly obvious that software systems have the potential to make profound social changes. Examples of this are new means of communication on social network platforms such as Facebook, the software LiquidFeedback used by the Pirate Party of Germany (a political party in Germany) for its democratical decision-making process and also software which is predominantly used behind the scenes such as the smart programmes for buying and selling shares on the stock exchange at top speed, enabling share values to be destroyed within minutes.
It is already evident from these examples that not everyone will immediately like every computer-assisted information processing. Some software projects are doomed to failure from the outset, for example the idea of evaluating a person's creditworthiness by checking who their contacts are on social network platforms. After this research idea became public in 2012 there was so much resistance to it that the project was quickly abandoned by the people and institutes involved.
It is clear that software today is no longer a simple product but that it is embedded in a very specific social context. Human - organisation - society and software form a complex socio-technical system, bringing new research questions and areas of application with it.
In order to meet the growing demand for sociiormatics scientists, the Department of Computer Science in collaboration with the Departments of Business Studies and Economics and Social Sciences at the RPTU in Kaiserslautern is offering the first bachelor and master degree course in Socioinformatics in Germany from the winter semester 2013/14.
Socioinformatics mainly deals with the analysis and modelling of the interaction between society and computer science, the co-evolution of social norms and processes and the supporting software. In order to understand this interaction the below subjects are covered in the bachelor and master degree courses Socioinformatics:
- the essential basics of computer science,
- methods from empirical social research and psychology,
- economists' micro-economic and game theory models,
- a profound ethical view in dialogue with philosophy,
- last but not least a good understanding of legal situations.
In computer science the focus is on new models which should help to meet the specific challenges of social embedded software. Correspondingly the computer science part of the degree course includes in particular software engineering methods, lectures about information and communication systems, project management and web-based software systems (Web 2.0, internet security...). In order to integrate this extensive knowledge into one degree course, some other lectures such as advanced maths, theory of computer science and the technical basics of computers have been left out of this course.