New Media, New Asia
Institution code: COMM2383 (RMIT University - Vietnam campus)
Teaching period: Trimesters 1, 2, 3/2016 & 2, 3/2017
Role: Course Coordinator & Lecturer
I taught and completely rewrote this course from scratch so that it would (1) reflect current trends and issues in studying the impact of technology on society and vice versa, (2) meet the course learning objectives set by the university, (3) be appropriate in the context of Asia.
Innovations within this course include:
1. Elevating the rigour of academic content assigned for this course, as this course is pitched at the second-year level. Course readings feature the latest research in internet studies, influential theoretical frameworks in studying technology and society, and case studies from countries around Asia.
2. Cementing academic literacy through assessment. Course assessments include (1) a weekly inter-teaching and peer-learning exercise, (2) a group presentation on internet policy in Asia, and (3) a written essay piece
3. Implementation of a wide range of in-class and after-class activities that facilitate independent learning. Examples of these include the flexible use of multimedia illustrations during lecture, screening of contemporary science fiction during tutorials as starting points of discussions, student-led visualisations of what the internet means to them, debating digital issues such as online child safety in Asia, and teaching basic visual literacy through the reading of data visualisation.
Week 1: Introduction to digital media in Asia
Week 2: Managing relationships with ICTs
Week 3: Social theories of the internet (1): Manuel Castells
Week 4: Social theories of the internet (2): Jurgen Habermas
Week 5: Digital politics: Asian governments on the Internet
Week 6: ICT4D & the ‘global South’
Week 7: Making sense of data visuals (Independent learning week)
Week 8: Cybercrimes in Hong Kong
Week 9: Online child safety in Asia: Thailand
Week 10: Identities on the Internet: South Korea
Week 11: Technology appropriation: India
Week 12: Digital piracy and Copyright issues: China
An essay question bank I developed:
(Please feel free to use/adapt these for your courses. If you feel like it, you can also share your thoughts/feedback with me using the Chat function on this website, or use the Contact form.)
Digital technologies not only allow, but also encourage, users to be less authentic with their identities. Discuss this statement in the context of one or more Asian countries.
Digital technologies, on the whole, bring about more social cohesion than fragmentation. Discuss this statement in the context of one or more Asian countries.
The gig economy is disrupting the global economy in a negative direction. Discuss this statement in the context of one or more Asian countries.
Industry codes and norms, not governments, are more effective in regulating social media platforms such as Facebook and Google. Discuss this statement by choosing one Asian government to form your argument.
Online child safety is a more pressing issue in Asian contexts than in the Western world. Discuss this statement by comparing an Asian context against a Western context of your choice.
Digital piracy mitigates, rather than exacerbates, inequality in society. Discuss this statement in the context of one or more Asian countries.
Digital culture in Asia is fundamentally different from that of the West. Discuss this statement in the context of one Asian country, analysing relevant digital artefacts pertinent to that context.
Parents, not governments, should play the important role in protecting children on the Internet. Discuss this statement in the context of one Asian country.
Any negative impacts ICTs may have on the development of the ‘global South’ are justified by the benefits they bring. Discuss this statement in the context of one Asian country.
Digital technologies have allowed Millennials to express themselves in ways not previously possible for other generations. Discuss this statement in the context of one Asian country.
Mobile phones not only allow, but also encourage, people to micro-manage time and space. This has a negative impact on how romantic relationships are maintained. Discuss this observation in the context of one Asian country.