Digitalization is changing the world around us. Datafication – the growing number of data that can be aggregated and processed in automated ways – increasingly becomes characteristic for our societies. As part of these processes, the role of media and communication devices and what we mean by media and communication studies is changing as well. The M.A. Digital Media and Society is situated at the leading edge of these developments. Its aim is to qualify students for media planning and decision-making positions in a datafied society.
The media still function as businesses and institutions which provide us with information, education and entertainment. But in addition, they have also developed into tools of data collection which interconnect previously independent areas of life. For example, it is now possible to predict the shared characteristics of media users by their online practices. What do we mean by digitalization and datafication? On an individual level, we can see these technological changes in the way we now receive recommendations on books to read and films to watch. Owing to the information that the platforms we use gather about us and the people close to us, we are encouraged to follow or get in touch with certain people on social networks. Similarly, we can track our own activities with the help of gadgets and receive feedback and statistics on our behavioral patterns. But digitalization and datafication go way beyond the personal. On a societal level, these processes have a great impact too. Think about decision-making processes in institutions like schools and universities, the financial industry, governmental organization and agricultural businesses. These are just a few examples of areas in which processes of digital ization and datafication have had a great impact on how information is gathered, stored and analyzed.
Digitalization and datafication require that we critically rethink the role that media and communication devices play in our everyday lives. The in-depth analysis of these developments in different segments of society is a central theme running through the modules of the M.A: Digital Media and Society. In addition to the enhancement of critical and analytical thinking, a second core theme is to provide students with the required skills and knowledge to work in businesses, organizations and institutions dealing with aspects of digitalization and datafication. The master’s program adopts an integrative approach, as we understand digitalization and datafication in their broadest sense and in their interrelations to society as a whole.
With such an overarching perspective the M.A. in Digital Media and Society encompasses a core area of advanced theory and methods training in communication and media research with a focus on digital media. Moreover, the program includes cross-disciplinary electives with study components from the field of computer sciences and other disciplines as well as hands-on experience within the regional (media) industry. This program structure offers students a wide range of electives to choose from as well as scope to develop individual specialties and profile building.
With its focus on an emerging field of study within communication and media studies as well as neighboring fields such as sociology, science and technology studies and human computer interaction, the M.A. in Digital Media and Society is unique in the German-speaking academic context.
The integrative program concept is reflected in the following study objectives:
- In-depth scientific and application-oriented development of theories concerning digital media, digital society and digital literacy;
- Better understanding the interplay between processes of digitalization and datafication and its impact on the everyday lives, chances and options of people in different segments of societ
- Better understanding the interplay between processes of digitalization and datafication and its impact on businesses, institutions (schools, universities), and organizations
- Gathering practical media experience of at least two different media with a focus on processes of media conception (as electives)
- Knowledge and practical experience of empirical methods, focusing on digital media and the analysis of different forms of data, especially with regard to the conception and realization of independent empirical research projects on different phenomena
- Basic communication research and media analysis, in particular with a focus on digital media
- Key qualifications, in particular in the area of concept planning, project management, presentation techniques, media literacy, moderation and chairing debates, as well as teamwork and leadership tasks.