Centre for Continuing Education

Digital Media and Everyday Politics Course

Politics. Protecting and advancing ideas or goals in our communities.

Learn Politics the smart way with Politics courses at the University of Sydney.

Three and a half billion people are online today – nearly half of the world’s population. In the past year alone, some eight new internet users were added every second. It is no doubt that the internet has changed our way of life – it has also dramatically altered the nature of politics.

This course will explore how political communication, political and civic participation and journalism have changed in the digital world. Specifically, it will focus on issues of online deliberation, online campaign management and fundraising, online political and civic engagement, and activism. This course is also designed to provide critical digital media analysis skills that directly respond to industry needs through an introduction of methods to analyse online discussion, news comment sections, Facebook and Twitter engagement, data journalism and data visualisation.

Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Identify and differentiate between offline and online modes of civic and political engagement.
  2. Evaluate the logic, application and impact of each digital media engagement method.
  3. Extract and analyse digital media data that can be later be customised to specific sectoral needs.
  4. Improve writing skills on a broad range of online platforms, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and digital campaign sites.
  5. Monitor engagement patterns in online discussions and online communities.
  6. Assess the effectiveness of different digital media tools for the purpose of public engagement.
  7. Visualise online data and analysis in formats that are visually attractive and easily adaptable to different industry needs.
  8. Design civic and political engagement activities/campaigns with the aim of improving public engagement and input.

Content

This course covers the following topics:

Introduction

  • Class survey
  • Understanding politics through the digital: What has changed and what remains the same?
  • Traditional versus digital media

Key concepts in political communication in the digital age

How does digital media change politics? How does politics shape our use of digital media? Throughout the course we will examine critical concepts and theories on understanding the politics of everyday digital media.

Part I: The fundamentals of digital media analysis

Platform-based analysis:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Part II: The fundamentals of digital media analysis

Task-based skill sessions:

  • Digital campaigning
  • Crowd-funding and course sourcing
  • Measuring influence and success
  • Feedback/survey
  • Visualising our world in cyberspace

E-government, cyber security and the challenge of digitising our world

Are e-governments better? Has digital media made governments more responsive and accountable? Do ordinary citizens have more power? Are we safer or are we more vulnerable as all our personal data is an online commodity? We will assess and analyse the impact of digital trends on governments, businesses and societies by looking at specific case studies.

Conclusion and feedback

Intended Audience

This course broadly targets participants from governmental, non-governmental and private sectors, who have a strong interest in developing new knowledge and skills in leveraging digital media data for the purpose of public engagement. Participants who are looking to pursue postgraduate education in the fields of media communication, social sciences, marketing, business and economics would also benefit from the practical skills and applied knowledge from this course.

Delivery Style

This training course is delivered as an interactive practical workshop, where students are encouraged to use their own device to follow along with the lesson.

Important information

Please bring along your own laptop (fully charged) as there will be minimal power outlets available during class. We will be using Facebook group functions and WordPress during class. You do not need to have an existing WordPress account, as the tutor will create one that participants can join.

Recommended Reading

Highfield, Tim. (2016) Social media and everyday politics. London: Wiley. (e-book available for free through Usyd library).

Vromen, Ariadne. (2017). Digital citizenship and political engagement: the challenge of online campaigning and advocacy organisations. Palgrave Macmillan UK. (e-book available for free through Usyd library).

Features

  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion