Information and Power

In this course we look at the implications of information and communication technologies on the increasing power of new actors (political, economic and social). In particular, we examine the role of search engines in the information society, and their relation to the concept of the digital divide and social inequalities. As a conceptual framework we adopt the network theory in order to understand and represent complex social structures, and subsequently also new emerging problems related to information and search engines such as interest conflicts of intellectual property, freedom of information, national security and privacy. During the course we present several theoretical and critical approaches to the concepts of the information society and the network society, and provide current examples and studies in the field.

Introduction to Network Analysis

In this course we introduce the key concepts associated with network theory and social network analysis, looking at various political, social, economic, technological and cultural perspectives of networks. We emphasize the bi-directional relationship between technology and society, employing a number of case study examples to illustrate key aspects in the literature. We look at social networks, political network, technological and information networks, economic and business network, terror networks, as well as the spread of viruses and epidemics. During the course students practice the use of several software tools for network analysis, and develop a more advanced way of thinking of and understanding the increasingly complex world.

Fundamentals in the Digital Age

The rapid growth and widespread of information and communication technologies have brought about tremendous social, economic, political, and cultural implications. In this introductory course we examine the basic principles and theories related to cyberspace. We get familiar with the discourse on technological and social determinism, and demonstrate how these contradicting approaches become the mainstream of our modern thought. We look at the history of information and power, but also the contemporary processes and influences of information and communication technologies on our daily life.

While the first part of the course is dedicated to the developing information and communication theories, the second part deals with various practices and emerging research in the field. Among the issues that will be dealt in the this part are the digital divide, digital natives and digital immigrants, politics and political economy on the internet, online news and user generated comments, infotainment, search engines and monopolies of knowledge, diffusion of internet memes and popular culture, online gaming, privacy, security and intellectual property in the digital age.

Internet Research – Perspectives and Approaches

In this seminar we look at various research approaches and methodologies taken by current scholars in the field of internet research. During this seminar students gain news skills in conducting their own Internet Research. This includes new research methods based on online technologies such as network analysis, content analysis, web and data mining, finding relevant information on the internet, locating online databases, using web-based research tools, and understanding the ethical issues related to internet research. As part of the seminar students are required for practical tasks such as complex search, developing websites and online questionnaires, analyzing online content and presenting your findings in various visual means.

Issues in Communication Theory: Influence and Effects

In this course we discuss central theories in communication studies regarding personal, societal and global influences, and theories of power, democracy and information, which serve as the basis for many current studies. We look at issues regarding the nature of media influence, as it relates to social, policy globalization, and multicultural processes. In addition, we examine contemporary issues in communication as they relate to social responsibility and civic activism.

Masters Thesis Workshop

The objective of the workshop is to create a forum for discussion, writing and collegial critique of research thesis proposals as well as to assist in the writing and editing of the theses. All participants will present their proposals orally and in writing and will write brief critiques of their colleagues' proposals. The workshop is required of all students in the thesis track following the approval of their proposals by their advisors. Attendance at all meetings is mandatory and a prerequisite for submitting the thesis.

Seminar on Digital Culture

In this seminar we deal with culture, digital media and the interrelation between them. We look at the problems of identity and examines how new technologies (e.g. mobile phones, GPS, search engines and IM) influence the various interpersonal communication forms and our lifestyle in general. During the seminar we present various theoretical and critical approaches to analyse media content and understand the concepts of network society and information society. As part of the seminar students are required to present projects that will involve analysis of texts, films, websites, communication software, etc., and discuss their social and cultural implications.

Media & Communications in Israel

In this introductory course we look at the media and communication environment in Israel. We study the main actors working in the Israeli media and the processes that shape them. The press, radio, television and the Internet are examined from historical and theoretical perspectives, particularly in their local context. Additionally, we discuss public relations and trends of commercialization in media and their implications.