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Theories of Media and Technology

Online Course Highlights
  • New York University via Edx
  • Learn for FREE, Up-gradable
  • Length: 14 Weeks
  • Effort: 8–10 hours per week
  • Skill Level: Mixed 
  • Language: English

About this course

Students in this course will build critical, applicable knowledge and understanding of the pervasive impact of media and technology on culture. You will learn influential concepts of media and technology, and be able to apply these ideas to contemporary trends, issues, and your own practice of art and design. Whether you are a graphic designer, UX/UI designer, web designer, or accessibility designer, this course will help you connect your work immediately to a deep, evolving framework of ideas and questions that enrich our understanding of how people consume, create, and use media, how human and non-human objects are related, how games make us think about platforms and software, and how we currently view traditional media such as sound, pictures and video.

What you’ll learn

Contemporary issues and trends in how media is viewed and analyzed

  • Ways in which theoreticians and practitioners approach media and technology
  • A vocabulary that facilitates discussion of media concepts, theories, and projects from a critical perspective
  • Critical applications of media theory and context to past, present, and future work
  • Media-theoretical frameworks to objects, texts, and technologies


Week 1: Seminal Theory

  • The origins of media theory, and how these thinkers have influenced contemporary thought
  • A brief look at ‘new’ modes of thought that expand on these earlier ones

Week 2: Cybernetics

  • The thinking behind cybernetics, and the technological and social implications of this method of thinking

Week 3: Computation

  • The origins of computational thinking, how it relates to cybernetic systems, and what implications it has for media production and consumption

Week 4: Interaction/Interface

  • How interaction and interfaces has led to new understanding of how people consume, create, and use media

Week 5: Networks

  • How interaction and interfaces has led to new understanding of how people consume, create, and use media

Week 6: Control

  • The ways in which computational systems can be used as agents of control, implied and explicit

Week 7: Affect Theory

  • How theorists understand the self embodied in the machine

Week 8: Actor – Network Theory

  • How ANT is not so much a theory as it is a method for understanding the world around us and the relationship between human and non-human objects

Week 9: Cyborg Life

  • The boundaries of our bodies in relation to the world of technology we have designed around us, what is permeable, what is fixed?

Week 10: Media Archaeology

  • How it’s possible to think about aspects of media through physical artifacts like infrastructure, software, and machines themselves

Week 11: Queer & Feminist Theory

  • How thinking about media has been transformed by, and in turn changed, queer and feminist theory

Week 12: Games

  • How games provide a rich area for different kinds of media study such as platforms studies, software studies, and media archeology

Week 13: Sound & Image

  • How theory has transformed our understanding of ‘traditional’ forms of media like video, sound, and still images

Week 14: Media Now

  • Emerging theories surrounding media studies like Object Oriented Ontology and Post-digitalism

Take This Online Course

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