Mediated Lives: Avatars, Cyborgs, and Virtual Realities (Honors Course)

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Mediated Lives: Avatars, Cyborgs, and Virtual Realities (Honors Course)

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Behavioral Science, Computer Science, Ethics, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    WP 1010 LE Introduction to Academic Writing

    WP 1111 LE Integrated Academic Writing and Ethics

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Also listed as HSS 2206


    The course considers the ethical, social, and aesthetic implications of virtual reality and artificial life in 21st-century technology-dominated culture. It aims to promote students’ awareness of the potential outcomes--epistemological, psychological, ethical, and social--of technological advances that are based on virtual simulations, augmented realities, and intelligent machines.


    In computer-simulated environments human life is experienced as suspended, mediated between the physical and the digital worlds. Computer developers attempt both to simulate physical bodies in virtual spaces and imitate human behaviors in expert systems and robots. Artificial intelligence systems are used in the processes of learning, deciding, correcting and justifying. The course will examine whether computers can simulate human processes such as intelligence and creativity, and whether the brain can recognize the dividing line between the physical and the virtual. Also, it will investigate to what extent the new mediated realities affect subjectivity, identity, aesthetic judgment, and social relations.


    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

    1. Understand the ethical and epistemic implications of mediated realities and artificial intelligence in human life;

    2. Develop awareness of the aesthetic aspects of the new digital representations and artifacts;

    3. Explore the psychological impact of mediated realities;

    4. Examine the social impact of virtuality on individual and communal life.


    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:

    • Cases of virtual simulations and artificial life applications;
    • Textual analysis, class discussion, workshop-style pair work and group work during class meetings;
    • Active student-centered teaching approach in the presentation of course material to engage learners;
    • Critical-thinking exercises and learning activities designed to help students acquire confidence and benefit from independent study;
    • Student presentations of learning material to encourage involvement in the learning process;
    • Co-curricular activities, ranging from collaboration with student clubs and societies to debates and event organizing, to encourage students’ creative engagement with the material;
    • Extensive instructor feedback on assignments and activities;
    • Individualized assistance during office hours for further discussion of lecture material, additional reading, and assignments; 
    • Additional print and audiovisual educational material posted on the Blackboard course template;
    • Other relevant educational material placed on reserve in the library

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