Jamal Shahin » Teaching » CMM321: ICTs, Media, and Society

CMM321: ICTs, Media, and Society

Syllabus: Autumn/Fall 2010

The online version of this document, available from this link is considered to be the official version of this document.

Course description

Examines the impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs), with a focus on the political impact of the Internet and the changes this has led to in our understanding of media and democracy. Discusses in detail the impact of digitisation, and in particular the effect of the internet on changing patterns and modes of governance in the European Union. Examines and critically analyses the changing role of government, with a focus on the role of public administrations in communicating with citizens and civil society. Given annually in fall semester.

Pre-requisite: CMM 102E recommended

Course objectives

CMM321E helps students to understand the role of ICT in society, particularly in EU policymaking.

The course will start with a brief overview of ICT and Information Society Policies. There will be a focus towards the end of the course on the idea of ‘embedded publishing’, which concentrates on the way public administrations are becoming information and service providers that are enmeshed in local, national, and global networks. The major focus of the course will be the European Union, with reference provided to other regions of the world.

By the end of the semester students should:

Text and readings

The core text to be used will be:

However, much use will be made of internet resources and other reading material.

Time and place of class

Classes will be held at the following day, time, and location:

Classes will have a break halfway through of 15 minutes. Time will be allocated for the lecture and the student presentations.

Preparation for class and attendance

Class attendance and participation are vitally important because of the organisation of the course. I will take attendance and note your degree of preparation and participation. Absence or failing to read the material requested will be noted and may influence your grade negatively.

Students are required to give one group and one individual presentation during the course. The group presentations will take place after the midterm exam week. Individual presentations shall take place from week ten onwards.

In class, I shall make no attempt to cover all the material in the reading lists. We shall use the limited time available in a flexible way to try to ensure that central concepts are understood. Contact time will also be used to encourage discussion and development of your own ideas. Students are strongly encouraged to come to the classroom with their own ideas for discussion.

Written work

During the course, you will be expected to submit two pieces of written work. The short essay will be approximately 2500 words long and will be written by a group, and the long essay will be a strictly individual piece of work, approximately 4500 words (10% margin allowed). Both topics can be selected by the student(s), but the student must have written confirmation well over one week in advance of the deadline from the instructor that the selected topic is acceptable; this is to ensure relevance with the course.

The long essay may be a more in depth investigation into a subject raised in the short essay, but may NOT cover the same material. Short essays should be a more ‘journalistic’ overview of a chosen topic, which looks into possibilities for further investigation. Both essays can relate to your presentation material, but co-operation (cheating or plagiarism) between students on the writing of the essays is not allowed. Use of multimedia tools (design of a website, etc) is encouraged, however the essay will be the principal consideration in grading your work.

Midterm project

The midterm project may also entail submission of a written piece of work, although this may also be a multimedia submission. Students should be able to submit the work on a physical storage media (CD/DVD/USB Stick). Please note that due to College regulations, a copy of the submission must be retained and so this may not be returned. Projects requiring an Internet connection are acceptable. The physical copy of the midterm project should be submitted immediately after the presentation, due to take place in week eight.

NEW!!! Clarity on the midterm project

You are required to choose an organisation - be it public (government), private, or citizen-based - and determine how the most recent developments in Internet (such as Web 2.0 technologies) can be used to improve the organisation’s communications strategy or deliver a service more efficiently, or provide other positive impacts. This should be delivered as a presentation, and with any other documentary evidence that you feel necessary to maximise the impact of your presentation (a short document, for example on current state of play in the organisation, or best practices from outside the organisation, etc.). The presentation should make use of multimedia tools if this is appropriate and useful.


There will be one final exam. The exam will only cover topics that have been raised in the lectures, although you are strongly encouraged to show evidence of further reading. To achieve a good grade in the exam, you should:

Submission of work

Written work should be submitted on or before the date specified in the syllabus, directly to the lecturer. Examinations should be taken at the dates specified. If you will not be able to take an examination or to submit written work on time, I expect to be notified in advance or as soon as possible. Makeup examinations are discouraged and will be allowed only in extreme emergency, which must be documented by a physician or college official.

The penalty for late written work is 1.5 grade-points (out of 20) per day, beginning immediately after the deadline mentioned below. Computer and printer problems are no valid excuse for handing in work late; personal problems only accepted with medical certificate or documentation from a college official. Essays overdue for more than one week will not be accepted.

Documents submitted on paper should conform to the following rules: A4, printed on both sides of the page, with single line spacing. The pages in the document should be attached together in the top left hand corner with a single staple; no binding and no plastic coverings should be used. Only one copy should be provided.

An electronic copy of all submissions should be made by email to the lecturer, in either RTF or PDF format. This electronic document should be identical to the printed copy.


Your final grade for the course will be calculated on the following weighting:

Short essay20% (group grade)
Long essay30% (including 20% of total essay grade on individual presentation)
Mid-term project15% (group grade)
Final Exam25%

Grading scale

The grading scale is:

A 85A-81
B+77B 73
C 62C-58
D+54D 50
F <50

Academic Honesty

Each instructor at Vesalius College is responsible for ensuring proper conduct in his or her classes. The Catalogue has a section on academic honesty that students should read before continuing.

Severe punishment will be inflicted on anyone caught cheating. Students’ responsibility, besides maintaining a high standard of personal honesty, includes taking precautions to prevent others from copying their work. Cheating and plagiarism cases will be communicated in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and submitted to the Student Conduct Committee for disciplinary action.

Suggested Reading

Not all the reading suggested below is compulsory, and many, many things are not included in this list. However, you are advised to use some of this material along with others you find during your investigations. Almost all resources should be available on the Internet. Should you experience any problems, please contact the instructor. Detailed reading lists will be distributed one week in advance of the lecture per email.

  1. Abbate, Janet (1999) Inventing the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  2. Bangemann, Martin, Enrico Fonseca, et al. (1994) Europe And The Global Information Society - Recommendations To The European Council. Luxembourg: Commission of the European Communities.
  3. Barlow, John (1996) ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.
  4. Council (1993) Council Resolution of 22 July 1993 on the review of the situation in the telecommunications sector and the need for further development in that market. (OJ C 213): 0001-3.
  5. Council (1995) Council Decision of 6 November 1995 on a Community contribution for telematic interchange of data between administrations in the Community (IDA). (OJ L 269): 0023-5.
  6. Council (1987) Council Decision of 14 December 1987 on a Community programme in the field of telecommunications technologies - research and development (R&D) in advanced communications technologies in Europe (RACE programme). (OJ L 16): 0035-43.
  7. Council (1987) Council Decision of 22 December 1986 on standardization in the field of information technology and telecommunications. (OJ L 36)
  8. Eising, Rainer, and Beate Kohler-Koch (1999) “Introduction: network governance in the European Union,” In The Transformation of Governance in the European Union. London: Routledge: 3-13.
  9. European Commission (1993) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on preparatory actions in the field of trans-European networks: integrated broadband communications (TEN-IBC). Brussels: COM(1993) 372.
  10. European Commission (1993) White Paper On Growth, Competitiveness And Employment: The Challenges And Ways Forward Into The 21st Century. Brussels: COM(1993) 700.
  11. European Commission. (1999) eEurope: An Information Society For All - Communication on a Commission Initiative for the Special European Council of Lisbon, 23 and 24 March 2000. Brussels.
  12. European Commission: Information and Communication Support (2001) Towards the e-Commission: EUROPA 2nd Generation. Advanced Web Services to Citizens, Business and Other Professional Users. Brussels: COMD(2000).
  13. European Commission (2000) eEurope 2002: An Information Society For All - Draft Action Plan prepared by the European Commission for the European Council in Feira 19-20 June 2000. Brussels: COM(2000) 330.
  14. Dyson, Esther (1997) Release 2.0: A design for living in the Digital Age. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  15. Flichy, Patrice (1995) Dynamics of Modern Communication: The shaping and impact of new communications technologies. London: Sage Publications.
  16. Hart, Jeffrey, Robert Reed, and François Bar (1992) ‘The Building of the Internet: Implications for the future of broadband networks.’ Telecommunications Policy. 16(8): 666-89.
  17. Heap, Nick, Ray Thomas, Geoff Einon, Robin Mason, and Hughie Mackay (1995) Information Technology and Society: A reader. London: Sage Publications.
  18. Kirstein, Peter (1999) ‘Early Experiences with the ARPANET and INTERNET in the UK.’ IEEE Annals of Computing. 21(1)
  19. Kooiman, Jan (1993) Modern Governance: New Government - Society Interactions. London: Sage Publications.
  20. Millard, Jeremy, Jamal Shahin, and Richard Warren (2006) Towards the eGovernment vision: research policy challenges. Seville: European Commission (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies).
  21. Mowery, David, and Timothy Simcoe (2002) ‘Is the Internet a US invention?–an economic and technological history of computer networking.’ Research Policy. 31(8-9): 1369-87.
  22. Natalicchi, Giorgio (2001) Wiring Europe: Reshaping the European telecommunications regime. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  23. Noam, Eli (1992) Telecommunications in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  24. Paré, Daniel (2003) Internet Governance in Transition: Who Is the Master of This Domain? Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  25. Poster, Mark (1995) CyberDemocracy: Internet and the Public Sphere.
  26. Rogers, Juan (1998) ‘Internetworking and the Politics of Science: NSFNET in Internet History.’ The Information Society. 14(3): 213-28.
  27. Sandholtz, Wayne (1993) ‘Institutions and Collective Action: The New Telecommunications in Western Europe.’ World Politics. 45(2): 242-70.
  28. Schoof, Hans, and Adam Brown (1995) ‘Information highways and media policies in the European Union.’ Telecommunications Policy. 19(4): 325-38.
  29. Shahin Jamal, and Bierhoff Jan (2005) ‘An Electronic Union: First steps towards a new relationship between the EU and civil society,’ presented at CONNEX workshop: Civil Society and Multilevel Governance.
  30. Shahin, Jamal (1999) ‘The Internet: A Case Study for Global Governance.’ Swiss Political Science Review. 5(1): 120-7.
  31. Shahin, Jamal (2006) “The EU’s use of the Internet,” In Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko and Mattia Malkia (ed.), Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc.
  32. Shahin, Jamal (2007) “Dragging the net through choppy waters: Commission leadership and the Internet,” In Jack Hayward (ed.), Leadership and the European Commission. Oxford: Oxford University Press: chapter 12.
  33. Webster, Frank (1995) Theories of the Information Society. London: Routledge.
  34. Winston, Brian (1998) Media, Technology and Society A History: From the Telegraph to the Internet. London: Routledge.

Course Schedule: final

Week 1: 25 August

Week 2: 1 September (home work)

Week 3: 8 September

Week 4: 15 September

Week 5: 22 September

Week 6: 29 September (home work)

Week 7: 6 October (Midterm week) - class possible??

Week 8: 13 October

Week 9: 20 October

Week 10: 27 October

Week 11: 3 November

Week 12: 10 November

Week 13: 17 November

Week 14: 24 November

Week 15: 1 December (last week of classes)

Week 16: 8 December