Communication and Media in the Digital Age (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Communication and Media in the Digital Age (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Communication Studies, Media Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • 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

  • Contact Hours

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

    Course Description

    This course introduces students to the major political and cultural debates affecting
    communication and the new media landscapes in Spain and the US. Topics include an
    overview of the historical development and main theories of mass communication, and
    examine critical issues of the digital age such as the rise of citizen journalism, the
    emergence of social media, the growing role of grassroots movements, copyright and free
    expression issues, media representation issues, and their overall impact on democracy,
    ethics and culture. Conducted in English.

    Course Goals and Methodology

    The main goal of this course is to investigate the complex relationship between media and
    culture in the network society. From a cultural approach to communication and through the
    critical study of a number of recent issues and cases (e.g. the net neutrality issue, the
    indignados movement in Spain, the Edward Snowden case, the remix culture, etc.),
    students will gain a clearer understanding of the debates and trends in communication and
    media in the digital age. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to help students become
    acquainted with the new media literacies as well as become more insightful prosumers,
    and more informed digital citizens.
    Learning Objectives
    Through this course, students will:
    ? Look at the central role of culture in media and communication studies.
    ? Trace and examine the evolution of mass communication and media.
    ? Recognize key ideas in communication history, including the theories of media
    ? Examine trends on digital journalism and the crucial role of news and media in
    democratic societies.
    ? Consider the growth of digital media activism and the power of social media,
    focusing on occupy movements in Egypt, Spain and the US.
    ? Demonstrate an understanding of the complex process of transformation of media
    in the digital context, and its impact on politics, democracy and culture.
    ? Review free expression debates in the digital age, focusing on copyright issues,
    privacy issues, security issues, and the newest controversies in free speech.
    ? Address ethical and social issues in media representation in a more and more
    visually oriented culture, focusing on gender and race.

    Required Texts

    A course pack will be available from the copistería containing book excerpts, study guides,
    and articles from the press.

    Course Requirements and Grading

    Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

    Attendance and participation: in-class discussions, work in groups, and student's notes
    -15 points

    Debates (week 2 & week 10)
    -20 points

    Quiz (week 4)
    -10 points

    Mid-term exam (week 7)
    -20 points

    Essay proposal (week 11)
    -5 points

    Critical research essay (week 13)
    -10 points

    Final exam
    -20 points

    *Spanish grades run: 100-90 (A), 89-70 (B), 69-50 (C), 49-0 (F)
    Extra credit: A list of films and books with relationship to the goals of this course are
    available in the ?Course references? section of this syllabus. Students who aspire to get
    extra credit will have the chance to earn 5 extra points by analyzing a film or a book listed
    in the above-mentioned section. Students must inform the professor in advance so that the
    latter can approve it. Analysis should be handed in the same day of the final exam. Not
    earning the points cannot hurt your overall grade; it can only help it.

    General Course Policies
    Students are expected to turn off and put away mobile phones. Computers are ok but
    strictly limited to learning purposes. Students who require special accommodations
    because of diagnosed disability should bring relevant documentation to the International
    Center. Students are not allowed to eat in the classroom. Please eat before or after class.
    Attendance and Punctuality
    Attendance is mandatory. More than 3 unexcused absences will result in the lowering of
    the final grade. Students with more than 2 such absences may not challenge the final
    grade received. Punctuality is required ? lateness will be penalised by 0.5 (over 15 mins)
    or 1 absence (over 30 mins).

    Wednesday, October 12: Día de la Hispanidad
    Tuesday, November 1: All Saint´s Day
    Tuesday, December 6: Día de la Constitución Española
    Thursday, December 8: Día de la Inmaculada

    Academic Dishonesty
    Academic integrity is a guiding principle for all academic activity at Pablo de Olavide
    University. Cheating on exams and plagiarism (which includes copying from the internet)
    are clear violations of academic honesty. A student is guilty of plagiarism when he or she
    presents another person?s intellectual property as his or her own. The penalty for
    plagiarism and cheating is a failing grade for the assignment/exam and a failing grade for
    the course. Avoid plagiarism by citing sources properly (using footnotes or endnotes and a

    Students with Disabilities
    If you have a disability that requires special academic accommodation, please speak to
    your professor within the first three (3) weeks of the semester in order to discuss any
    adjustments. It is the student's responsibility to provide the International Center with
    documentation confirming the disability and the accommodations required (if you have
    provided this to your study abroad organization, they have most likely informed the
    International Center already but please confirm).

    Behavior Policy
    Students are expected to show integrity and act in a professional and respectful manner at
    all times. A student?s attitude in class may influence his/her participation grade. The
    professor has a right to ask a student to leave the classroom if the student is unruly or
    appears intoxicated. If a student is asked to leave the classroom, that day will count as an
    absence regardless of how long the student has been in class.

    Class Schedule**This is a tentative schedule.

    Week 1: A Cultural Approach To Communication And Media
    Course introduction, syllabus overview, and course expectations: main goals, course
    policies, requirements, evaluation guidelines, and grading (and extra credits).
    What are we studying? A cultural approach to communication. First-day quiz (no grade).
    Is Popular Culture Making Us Smarter? ?The sleeper curve? theory (Steven Johnson)
    versus ?Is Google Making Us Stupid?? (Nicholas Carr)

    Week 2: Evolution Of Communication And Media
    A brief history of communication and mass media: the oral, written, print, electronic, and
    digital eras. The evolution of the Internet and the concept of convergence media.
    In-class video: ?How social media can make history? (Clay Shirky)
    Required reading: ?It takes a village to find a phone? (Clay Shirky)
    In-class video: Connected but alone? (Sherry Turkle)
    Required reading: Alone together, Why we expect more from technology and less from
    each other (Sherry Turkle)
    In-class debate: Shirky versus Turkle (pro/con)

    Week 3: Mass Culture And The Public Sphere
    Theories of media effects. Propaganda and public opinion. The Hypodermic-Needle
    Model. The Uses and Gratifications Model. Gatekeeping and Agenda-Setting.
    Case study: Partisan Bias in the news in Spanish Media.
    Required reading: The Spanish Media Are the Worst in Europe. These Upstarts Are Trying
    to Change That.

    Week 4: Net Neutrality
    The Network Society.
    Required reading: Why networks matter (Manuel Castells)
    Case study: Net neutrality
    In-class video: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality (HBO)

    Week 5: The Political Power Of Social Media (I)
    Case study: The Square (Jehane Noujaim, 2013)

    Week 6: The Political Power Of Social Media (II)
    Case study: The indignados (15m) movement in Spain and Occupy Wall Street in the US.

    Week 7: Mid-Term
    Mid-term review. Mid-term exam.

    Week 8: Democracy And The Media Industry?s Transformation
    Case study: Page One: Inside the New York Times (Andrew Rossi, 2011)
    Case study: (?We do journalism in spite of everything?)

    Week 9: Freedom Of Speech (I)
    Case study: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
    In-class video: Interview with Edward Snowden (by Marta Peirano,
    In-class video: Here's how we take back the Internet (Edward Snowden)

    Week 10: Freedom Of Speech (II)
    In-class activity: A study guide on Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
    In-class debate: pro/con

    Week 11: Copyright Issues
    Required reading: Remix. How Creativity Is Being Strangled by the Law (L. Lessig)
    Case study: RIP! A Remix Manifesto
    Case study: Everything is a remix (Kirby Ferguson)

    Week 12: Memes And Remix Culture
    The Language of Internet Memes. Political Remix Video.

    Week 13: Media Representation Issues
    Case study: Reel Bad Arabs
    Case study: Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women (Jean Kilbourne, 2010)
    Case study: La mujer, cosa de hombres (Isabel Coixet, 2012)

    Week 14: Final Exam Review

    Final exam review. Farewell.

    Course References *
    *This is a tentative list.
    Castells, M (2001) The Internet Galaxy
    Gillmor, D (2010) Mediactive
    Greenwald, G (2014) No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The Nsa, And The U.S.
    Surveillance State
    Jenkins, H (2006) Convergence Culture
    Jenkins, H (2013) Spreadable Media
    Johnson, J (2005) Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is
    Actually Making Us Smarter
    Morozov, Evgeny (2011) The Net Delusion: How Not To Liberate The World
    Postman, N (1985) Amusing Ourselves To Death
    Reinghold, H (2002) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
    Shirky, C (2008) Here Comes Everybody: The Power Of Organizing Without Organizations
    Turkle, Sherry (2011) Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less
    from Each Other
    Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014)
    Good Copy Bad Copy (Johnsen, Christensen, And Moltke, 2007)
    I Am The Media (Benjamin Rassat, 2010)
    Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women (Jean Kilbourne, 2010)
    La mujer, cosa de hombres (Isabel Coixet, 2012)
    Miss Representation (Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 2011)
    Page One: Inside The New York Times (Andrew Rossi, 2011)
    Programming The Nation? (Jeff Warrick, 2011)
    Rip!: A Remix Manifesto (Brett Gaylor, 2008)
    Sleeper (Woody Allen, 1973)
    The Century Of The Self (Adam Curtis, 2002)
    The Internet's Own Boy (Brian Knappenberger, 2104)
    The Square (Jehane Noujaim, 2013)
    The Truth According To Wikipedia (Van Veelen, 2008)
    Videocracy (Erik Gandini, 2009)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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