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Communication, Technology & Society


Globalization has brought us closer to people and cultures that we otherwise might never  confront. However, to understand the world in its multicultural beauty and complexity, we must be able to communicate fluently. Today, this is not easy because of the sheer number of ways to  communicate, which often leads to message overload.


This course deals with the intersection between communication, technology and society, and  how a critical understanding of the interplay between the three is important for effective  communication. We will start by exploring the definitions of the word “technology”, and viewing  the concept from different angles – determinism, substantivism, instrumentalism, and critical  theory. Next, we will discuss the major communication theories and how it helps us understand  the world we live in today. The development of various communications technologies is  interspersed throughout the course. This course is suitable for students in technical fields who  need an understanding of communication, how technology has influenced how we  communication, and what all these developments mean in our daily lives.

Course Objective

To provide participants with an understanding of: 

  • The concept of technology 

  • The critical role that communication plays in the world we live in 

  • A history of the development of communications technologies 

  • How technologies used in communication affect how we live our lives

  • The continuous evolution of the field of communications

Teaching Methodology

Face-to-face lectures and presentations

About the Trainer

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Dr Lee Chu Keong is currently the Associate Chair (Students) and programme director of the MSc  (Knowledge Management) programme at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and  Information at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

He is a chemical engineer by  training, but furthered his studies in the areas of information science and knowledge  management. In addition to NTU, he has also held teaching positions at the Singapore and  Temasek Polytechnics.


His current teaching assignments include graduate courses in the areas of knowledge  management, business information sources and services, and data science. He strongly believes  that everyone should be able to think computationally.

Course Outline

Session 1: An Introduction to Communication 

  • Why is communication so important? 

  • Communication as the basis of all human interaction 

  • Momentous events in the development of communication 

  • Communicating with aliens 

  • The birth of collective knowledge 


Session 2: Communication Technologies 

  • Understanding technology 

  • The sinking of the Titanic 

  • The Zimmerman Telegram 

  • Political “Hot Mic” Moments 

  • Establishment of “Hotline” between Washington and Moscow 

  • The invention of Braille 

  • The invention of the Internet 


Session 3: Important Theories of Communication 

  • Theories of conversation 

  • Fisher’s Model of Small Group Communication 

  • Media Dependency Theory 

  • Theories of non-verbal communication 

  • Theories of diffusion


Session 4: The Future of Technology and Communication 

  • Basalla’s evolutionary theory of technological change 

  • Examining the rise of generative AI through the lens of Basalla’s theory

  • The prerequisites: diversity, necessity, and technological evolution 

  • How generative AI is changing creative work 

  • Jobs involving the use of generative AI, e.g., prompt engineers 

  • How AI has changed the way humans communicate 


Session 5: Group Presentations (by students) 

  • New Media & Society 

  • Journal of Communication 

  • Communication Research 

  • Communication Studies 

  • International Journal of Communication 

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