CMNS 253

Introduction to Information Technology

The Internet promised to make the world more democratic, to make people more informed, and to offer them more freedom and flexibility in their work and life. But the same online platforms also gave rise to online harassment, misinformation, and automated forms of profiling based on race, gender, and sexuality. These online technologies that connect us also constantly track us in order to nudge us to work harder, scroll further, and buy more—leading to intensifying feelings of distraction, anxiety, and inadequacy. How can we evaluate the impacts of information technology for different groups of people, and what can we do to make these technologies work better not just for businesses but also for citizens and society as a whole?

Digital media isn’t just Twitter and Facebook. It’s also the software at your job monitoring your toilet breaks. It’s your self-tracking headphones helping you to focus more and sleep better. We’ll learn how to understand and analyse media that is no longer just on screens but forms the entire background for our lives.

This is a writing-intensive (W) course focusing on step-by-step practice and feedback for you to design, execute, and write up a research project.

This course provides an overview of approaches and issues in our understanding of technology and digital media. We will learn how to apply concepts and research to contemporary questions and controversies about social media platforms, gig-economy apps, self-tracking wearables, media manipulation and disinformation, and more.

Tutorial presentations and exercises

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