6 ECTS credits
165 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4016229FNR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Social Sciences & SolvayBusinessSchool
Communication Sciences
Educational team
Rob Heyman (course titular)
Activities and contact hours

11 contact hours Lecture
18 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
136 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

People as users of digital media and communication technologies have since long been acknowledged as central stakeholders in the European information society. We therefore focus on the interplay between changes and design of digital media and technologies on the one hand and transitions in the way consumers and citizens in Europe adopt and use digital media in their everyday life on the other hand. This generates a deeper understanding in the why, what and how of interdisciplinary user research in the digital media field.

First the course discusses the relevance of user research in the field of digital media. This is framed within a broader understanding of theoretical traditions of user studies from an interdisciplinary perspective. We then sketch how users configure digital media as well as how digital media also configure user practices. Next we map out the ways that user types are differentiated in the scientific literature and business practice. Finally we link this up with the different ways that user innovativeness is captured. All this is illustrated by a number of concrete case studies in digital media industry and practice.

Course material
Digital course material (Required) : Users and Innovation in Digital Media, Reference list, Learning platform
Additional info

The learning platform will be used for communication and information exchange (e.g. slides, deadlines) with the students. The different texts of the course material will be indicated via a reference list on the learning platform.

Teaching Methods

- Lecture: collective contact-dependent moments during which the lecturer engages with learning materials
- Seminar, Exercises or Practicals (Practical): collective or individual contact-dependent moments during which the students are guided to actively engage with learning materials
- Independent or External Form of Study (Self): independent study

This description of the teaching methods is indicative, in order to assess the expected study load.

Lecture: 11 hours

  • introductory lesson: 2 hours
  • lecturing, discussing text and common analysis in class: 9 hours (6 x 1,5 hours)

Practical: 18 hours

  • interactive classes and guest lectures: 12 hours
  • face-to-face group discussion on text and slide content: 3 hours (6 x 0,5 hour)
  • online participation regarding assignment and class discussion: 2 hours
  • consulting, interaction with and feedback by lecturer: 1 hour

Self: 136 hours

  • assignment (essay)
    • selection of proposition for essay: 1 hour
    • reading related text(s) from reader: 3 hours
    • search for (at least 3) scientific articles related to proposition: 8 hours
    • reading, processing and analysing scientific articles: 16 hours
    • writing and uploading essay: 12 hours
  • preparation lesson and course material
    • keeping up with slides and course material during the semester, amounting to 1 hour per week: 13 hours
    • thorough reading and summarising of 6 compulsory texts and going through 6 optional texts (average 20 pages / text), including studying slides: 36 hours
    • active processing and clarifying of text, possibly based on related texts/information: 4 hours
    • preparing (at least one) question per compulsory text and further points of discussion for class meeting and guest lecture: 3 hours
  • preparation exam
    • preparing for exam with compulsory (and optional) texts, slides from lectures and guest lectures, and own notes: 32 hours
    • preparing for question based on own essay, linked to exam material: 8 hours
Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

This course contributes to the following general learning outcomes of the international master program communication studies:

  • Students show in-depth knowledge, understanding and insight within the field of communication sciences and in relation to the latest evolutions and discussions at both the national and international level regarding media, internet and globalization.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to critically contextualise and evaluate current national and international developments and discussions, and are able to independently deepen insights related to complex problems on the basis of an original framework of analysis, thereby expanding the theoretical basis related to media, internet and globalisation.
  • Students show an open and constructive attitude whilst having respect for other views and beliefs.
  • Students are open to scientific doubt and societal pluralism. They demonstrate courage, ambition and perseverance in questioning both established insights and alternative points of view.
  • Students act upon an open attitude in a culturally diverse international context. They critically reflect on their own (geographical, social, cultural, local, personal, …) position.
  • Students demonstrate the skill to discuss and debate current societal and scientific topics and theoretical developments related to media, internet and globalisation. The students discuss issues on the basis of critical and substantiated reflections and research findings, open-mindedly and willing to acknowledge other arguments.
  • Students can apply the acquired knowledge and skills related to media, internet and globalisation in a professional context.
  • Students are able to communicate their point of view in a clear and scientific-grounded argumentation to various target groups.

Specific learning outcomes:

After taking this course students are able to better understand and critically assess the role of digital media users in innovation processes. At the same time they are able to situate this within a broader knowledge on the interplay between social-economic changes and transformations in media and ICT.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Other Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Other Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Combination Exams with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

The general assessment is based on the knowledge of the course material, in combination with the understanding of and the ability to apply the acquired knowledge.

For this the evaluation is subdivided in two exam components: (1) essay assignment and (2) written exam. The particular weight given to each evaluation format will be outlined in the study guide that will be provided at the start of the semester. 

The exam component (1) essay assignment cannot be taken up again in the second examination period. The result of this exam component will be transferred to the second examination period.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Communication Studies: Media, Internet and Globalisation (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Communication Studies: New Media and Society in Europe
Master of Teaching in Social Sciences: communicatiewetenschappen (90 ECTS, Etterbeek) (only offered in Dutch)