Communication and Media in the Digital Age (in English)
Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Area of Study
Communication, Media and Journalism, Media Studies
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.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
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.
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
? 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.
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
Debates (week 2 & week 10)
Quiz (week 4)
Mid-term exam (week 7)
Essay proposal (week 11)
Critical research essay (week 13)
*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 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).
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: eldiario.es (?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, eldiario.es)
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.
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)
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