COMM 3610 Communication, Technology, and Society
Carolin Aronis, PhD
About the Course:
This course examines the relationships between communication, technology, and society. We will investigate the role of technology in the ways we communicate, interact, and think about our world. Overall, this course is designed to explore how communication technologies shape the ways we interact, as well as investigate how technologies are shaped by the ways we use them, appropriate them, and talk about them in everyday life.
Meets Arts Sci Gen Eds: Diversity-U.S. Perspective & Distribution-Social Sciences
Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors)
Through this course, students will be able to:
- Illustrate and explain the complex relationship between the influence of communication technologies on society and cultural forms and use that help shape technologies.
- Apply learned material to evaluate current debates about communication technologies and develop sustainable arguments upon course topics
- Improve your research, writing, and critical thinking skills, as well as develop friendship with your classmates
We live in an intense technological world, where we are surrounded by “old” and “new” devices, rely on countless of technologies in order to live a “good” life, develop relationships with others (also with ourselves), and gain knowledge about the world. From smartphones to surveillance cameras, from pen and paper to messenger apps, from the radio to YouTube, and from “old style” words to emojis and “digital” dialects—we are facing in this era technological changes that reconstruct and reflect our society and culture and that (re)shape our communication. This also creates an intense debate about technology’s place and value in our culture, as it opens up both pessimistic and optimistic interpretations and visions about our technological situation. Likewise, it reveals social power dynamics, practices of control and of surveillance, along with phantasies and wishes about our world and life.
In this course we will be committed to untangled our digital culture through few lenses: through learning about the relationship between communication technologies and society (how one affects the other, and how to complicate this view); through exploring the essence of communication and media technologies (learning their history, theories, methods, and different approaches); and through adopting a critical and intersectional point of view that will regard to gender, race, and minorities among others. In the last section of the course we will give special attention to issues of intimacy and authenticity. Overall, this course is designed to explore how communication technologies shape the ways we interact while shaped by the ways we use them, appropriate them, and talk about them in everyday life. The course is designed to welcome students’ interests through open-ended assignments, and it involves multiple pedagogical methods.
While there is no official textbook in this course, required readings/viewings will be posted on Canvas.
Grading Criteria and Points Breakdown:
The course includes 8 different types of graded activities and assignments (a total of 1000 pts)
- Participation Assignments (200 pts)
- Five Text Reflections (10 pts each) (50 pts each)
- Essay 1: Communication Technologies and the Question of Determinism (200 pts)
- Essay 2: Understanding “Old” Technologies through Intersectionality (50 pts)
- Essay 3: The Quest for Authenticity/Intimacy (100 pts)
- Presentation (150 pts)
- Three In-Class group assignments (50 pts each) (150 total)
- Final Project (1oo pts)