The science of how communication technology shapes our social lives

Course Descriptions

Week One- Learning to Cope With Our Robot Overlords

Human progress is marked by the development and integration of tools to enhance our humanity. Unlike many dystopian science fiction novels that attribute the downfall of man to the rise of machines, communication science tells a markedly different story. Technology has brought us closer to our past and to each other, highlighting the strengths of our humanity as well as the limitations that can be overcome by using new technology. For this module, students will be introduced to the basic principles of the human-computer-human communication process so that they can better understand the role of technology in the human communication process. 

 Week Two- Love at First Like

Would you ever consider breaking up with someone through a text message? It’s just wrong to do right? Then why did about one third of respondents to a recent survey suggest they have broken up with someone through electronic channels? Technology has permeated modern society and perhaps one of its biggest impacts is how we have incorporated it into our interpersonal communication. These new mediums provide many challenges, but also many affordances. The reality is social media and other communication technologies are likely here for the long haul impacting and influencing our relationships.

Week Three- Cyberbullying: The Dark Side of Online Communication

Bullying involves attempting to hurt another person over time. These antisocial behaviors could be physical, verbal, or nonverbal. With the increase of the use of social media, we also see an increase in cyberbullying; using electronic means to bully another. In this module, we will explore this relatively new, and unfortunately all too common, phenomenon. While attention will be paid to cyberbullying by students, we will also look at cyberbullying and other negative behaviors in the workplace.

Week Four- This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Media: Understanding and Conquering Technology Overload

This module introduces students to the science of media multitasking (using technologies while trying to do something else at the same time). Cognitive psychology will provide the foundation for this module and we will begin by examining the boundaries and limitations of human attention and memory. The second part of the module will draw from research in a variety of disciplines to explore the reasons people engage in technology multitasking, and the consequences of these behaviors for creativity, productivity, relationships, health, and personal well-being. Finally, we will review a number of cognitive and behavioral techniques that can be used to manage the influence of technology in everyday life and help people engage in more mindful, conscious technology practices.