Specializations

Technology & Communication

This specialization belongs to the master's programme Communication Studies.

TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATION

Technology is everywhere. Our lives are strongly affected by ongoing technological developments. Think of the impact of smartphones, the internet and social media on our daily life, work, and society. Developments such as robotization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and nanotechnology are increasingly changing the world we live and work in. This specialization focuses on the interaction between technology and communication within society. This interaction is twofold: Technology influences the way we communicate, and at the same time communication is crucial for the development, acceptance and use of new technologies.

EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON COMMUNICATION

We are rapidly moving toward a digital society. Computers, the internet and smartphones play a central role in our lives. Instant messaging and social media have redefined our ways of communicating and our relationships with others. The media landscape is constantly changing. At the societal level, there are growing concerns about new forms of inequality, disintegration, polarization, and privacy threats. Developments such as artificial intelligence, robotization, smart products, and the internet of things replace some of the communication traditionally done by humans. And technology itself becomes a communication means. Think of persuasive technology, such as apps and serious games. Augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D printing gradually blur the boundaries between the offline and the online world. In this specialization, we analyse how technology affects the very nature of communication.

Examples of questions we address are:

  • What are the effects of the digital society on inequality between people?
  • How do smartphones and instant messaging affect our interpersonal communication?
  • How do people handle privacy threats imposed by their mobile phones?
  • What are the effects of social media on polarization and trust in news media.
  • What are the 21st century skills people need to function well in society?

COMMUNICATION SUPPORTING TECHNOLOGY

Not all technologies that are developed will be successful. Much depends on communication. It is crucial that designers of technology understand users and their use situations. Users seldom adopt a technology as is; they normally appropriate it to make it compatible with their wishes and experiences. Usability and user experience (UX) play an important role in the success of technologies. Communication professionals may serve as user advocates in technological design processes or take the responsibility for various types of user support. They may also focus on other stakeholders in technological design processes, for instance by popularizing advanced technologies, persuading investors or other critical stakeholders, or facilitating public debate about the desirability of new technologies. In this specialization, we analyse the role of communication as a success factor for technologies.

Examples of questions we address are:

  • How can we design products for optimal UX?
  • Why do people adopt some technologies almost immediately and some others not?
  • How do people appropriate technologies so that the products fit into their lives or jobs?
  • What are critical success factors in the implementation of software in organizations?
  • How can we support users to make optimal use of technologies?

Programme structure

SPECIALIZATION COURSES

First semester

  • Human-Centred Design
  • User Support
  • Innovative Digital Services

Second semester

  • Social Implications of the Internet
  • User Support
  • Trust and Risk

Note: The range of specialization courses and the block in which the courses are offered may vary from one academic year to the next. No rights may be derived from the information.

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