New Media Challenges


Course Objective

Upon successful completion of the course, the student is able to:
• Define, describe, and discuss important new media challenges from a
micro, a meso and a macro perspective.
• Critically analyze and assess relevant communication-scientific
theories in light of new media challenges.
• Compare, differentiate, and use relevant theoretical perspectives and
argumentation in evaluating results of empirical studies related to
important new media challenges.
• Apply communication-scientific theories to understand and advise about
new media challenges.

Course Content

Media are omnipresent in our society. While many digital media offer
exciting new possibilities for interpersonal contact, customer service
and democratization, they also have a dark side and can bring about
negative effects (such as privacy violations, or fake news influencing
elections). A crucial question for any communication scientist is thus
how to deal with these new challenges posed by media. Did recent
developments in the media landscape fundamentally change society and do
we need new theories to explain how media are used? Or can still we
explain their use and effects through classic theories?
In this course, we will take a theory- and evidence-based approach to
address these issues. That is, we will focus on a number of core topics
rated to media challenges such as trust vs. truth, power over
information, wellbeing of media users, and information overload and
bubbles. We will zoom in on each of these challenges by looking at
communication-scientific theory and recently published empirical
studies. This approach will teach you how to approach and address such
challenges from an academic perspective.
We will specifically focus on the challenges through the lens of the
three spheres of communication: (1) the micro sphere which focuses on
the individual, (2) the meso sphere which deals with organizations and
their stakeholders, and (3) the macro sphere which concerns society at
large. These three lenses help students to understand how different
subfields of communication science (micro: media psychology; meso:
organizational and marketing communication; macro: public communication)
deal with new media challenges.
Finally, this course prepares students for writing a bachelor thesis and
for a comprehensive start in one of the specialization tracks in the
master’s program in communication science.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and assignments.

Method of Assessment

Written exam and assignments.


The mandatory literature will include published journal articles and
relevant book chapters. Students will have to retrieve these themselves
from the online databases of the VU library. The reading list will be
announced in Canvas.

Target Audience

Third-year bachelor students in communication science and premaster
students in communication science. International exchange students are
also very welcome to attend, and should note that this course is at the
level of Bachelor 3. If they do not have a background in communication
science, they are strongly recommend to take the course “Communication
Classics” in P3 as a preparation, as we will build on this knowledge in
this course.

Additional Information

This course serves as a stepping stone for the bachelor thesis course in
periods 5-6.
The course will be entirely in English, including all lectures,
correspondence, assessments, and assignments.

General Information

Course Code S_NMC
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator dr. M.A. Tanis
Examiner dr. M.A. Tanis
Teaching Staff dr. M.A. Tanis
dr. I.E. Vermeulen
prof. dr. C.F. Burgers
dr. A.P.M. Krouwel

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study Group, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: