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KIE announces new course on social media and democracy

KIE Director and Senior Research Scholar Maggie Little, together with KIE Postdoctoral Fellow Elizabeth Edenberg, will offer a new Ethics Lab opportunity this fall that builds on the design-based pedagogy employed in previous flagship courses, including this spring’s course in data ethics.

The new course, entitled “Social Media and Democracy,” will combine traditional lecture, discussion, and assignments with project-based learning. Like this spring’s data ethics course, it is a donor-supported learning experience.

From the course description:

The internet has radically changed the way people form beliefs, develop world views, and assess claims. Knowledge is in one sense more democratized, as traditional gatekeepers to news, science, and opinion have less power. Knowledge in another sense has become more elusive, as standards of evidence and vetting become vastly different; and theory building itself has changed. The 2016 election was influenced by the epistemology of the internet and the vulnerability of data: fake news, competing paradigms of evidence and expertise, Russian hacking of politically sensitive emails, and the effects of targeted newsfeeds. Given that most people access their information through digital means, the targeted flow of information threatens to divide our democracy. Is divided democracy inevitable or are there means for maintaining a robust democracy in the digital age? This course will examine questions of truth, democracy, and politics in the age of social media by drawing on contemporary case studies and philosophical tools from ethics, political philosophy, and epistemology.