First year 

Year 1

1 We connect society

2 Understanding media

3 The innovation journey

4 Design for user experience

MODULE 1: WE CONNECT SOCIETY

The first module of the Communication Science bachelor program provides an introduction to the field of communication science in contemporary society. It covers the basic theories that explain how and why people connect, both offline and online. Hence, in addition to traditional communication channels and media, we also consider the increasing range of new (social) media platforms through which people ‘share’ and ‘connect’ such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube. Next to the most important theories, in this module, you will be introduced to social science research. In the module’s project component, you are invited to spread your knowledge by means of creating a popular scientific online magazine that aims to inform the general public on effective communication in the 21st century. For this, you will set up your own editorial office and educate the general public about the do’s and don’ts of connecting people and organisations.

MODULE 2: Understanding media

Most of the ways in which we communicate with each other are mediated by (social) media. We describe our professional lives on LinkedIn, binge-watch series on Netflix, and talk about basically anything over WhatsApp. Such digitized interactions have a large impact on society, ranging from individual effects on the (inter)personal level  (e.g. experiencing fear of missing out) to global effects affecting society at large (e.g. changing economic systems). Communication professionals need to be aware of these behaviors and trends to be able to react to them. In this module, you dive into the small-scale effects of digitized media on individuals. You also explore motivations and uses of communicative, social, and entertainment media. While learning about the most important theories in media psychology, you will form groups based around research topics such as social media and happiness, persuasiveness of influencer marketing, and motivations to play games. You are trained to be an academic media researcher by performing a literature review, gathering and analyzing quantitative data, and sharing your findings on the chosen topic.

MODULE 3: The innovation journey

Technological innovations are developed faster than ever, but they are often met with resistance and doubts regarding their effectiveness and societal relevance, and fail shortly after (or in many cases even before) they enter the market. This is especially because innovators do not take into account the many possible forces that influence the success of their innovation. Hence, whether innovations succeed or fail depends to a large extent on effective communication with relevant stakeholders involved. In this module, you will learn about the success and failures of the development and implementation of innovations focusing on the role of stakeholder-, reputation-, and crisis communication. You learn about the key processes of innovation diffusion, the different stakeholders involved in those processes, public relations, and crisis communication. You will take an entrepreneurial perspective and together with other students set up your own company through which you will be exposed to the many forces and challenges that are characteristic of organizational life in contemporary society. As part of this, you will monitor how news media report on your organization and will be challenged to guide your organization when it gets involved in a crisis.

MODULE 4: Design for user experience 

The possibilities offered by technology in today's society are endless. In the past, social psychologists had to rely on traditional communication strategies to achieve behavioral change. Mass-media campaigns and verbal communication were the tools that they had to rely on in order to influence both the general public and specific consumers. Nowadays, however, ‘new’ theories and insights from social psychology can be used to further the development and use of technological interventions. In the final module of the first year you will be challenged to design a prototype of an app that will contribute to solving a societal problem. Theories on the relations between humans and technology, and more specifically on how technology can be used to influence human behavior, will inspire you to come up with the best design. Further, you will be trained to communicate with companies that may be interested in collaborating with your team to further develop the prototype of your persuasive app. How to inform and convince potentially interested companies to invest in your idea? At the end of the module, you will present your app design in a competitive pitch in a Shark Tank presentation format.

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