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Unit outline_

ARIN6902: Internet Cultures and Governance

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

As the internet plays an increasingly important role in all aspects of social, cultural and economic life, many of the central issues with the internet and digital cultures revolve around 'governance'. Governance is about the rules of the internet and associated digital platforms and technologies. It is related to policy and regulation, but also includes corporate and civil society actors as well as governments. This unit explores cultures and governance of the online world and investigates how politics manifest in both public debates and policy and in the struggle to develop new information architectures and digital ecosystems, at local, national and international levels.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Media and Communications
Credit points 6
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Prohibitions
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

None

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Gerard Goggin, gerard.goggin@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Essay
Write a critical research piece on an assigned theme related to the course
45% -
Due date: 03 Jun 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 16 Jun 2023
3,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Blog post (journalism piece)
Critical in-depth analysis based on an issue of current concern
35% Mid-semester break
Due date: 11 Apr 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 09 Jun 2023
2,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Class Presentation
Upload a presentation and pose questions to facilitate class discussion
20% Ongoing
Closing date: 09 Jun 2023
1,000 words (slides)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Tutorial exercise: Develop and provide a presentation in the seminar, based on the lecture topic for the week you have selected, and required and additional reading.
  • Blog post: Your public-facing analytical blog post will be based on the topic you have selected for your class presentation and will provide critical analysis and insight into the topic.
  • Essay: Write a critical essay on a theme related to the course.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

 

Distinction

75 - 84

 

Credit

65 - 74

 

Pass

50 - 64

 

Fail

0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

 

.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Work not submitted on or before the due date is subject to a penalty of 5% per calendar day late. If work is submitted more than 10 days after the due date, or is submitted after the return date, the mark will be 0.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: The Rise and Fall of the Libertarian Internet Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Global Internet Governance Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Week 03 Platforms and Platformization Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Issues of Concern: Privacy, Security & Digital Rights Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Issues of Concern: Datafication, Automation, AI and Algorithmic Governance Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Issues of Concern: Hate Speech and Online Harms Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Internet Governance and Nation-State Regulation Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Current Debates: Misinformation and Fake News Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 09 Current Debates: Information Monopolies and Competition Policy Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Current Debates: Impact on Media and Creative Industries Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Data Colonialism and Data Sovereignty Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Platform Power, Nation States and the Global System Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Review and Future Directions Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Seminar recording: The seminars are held face-to-face on campus for students enrolled in CC Mode. For students enrolled in remote (RE) model seminars will be synchronously via Zoom. A weekly primer (in the form of a lecture to assist with student preparation for seminars will be recorded and made available to students on the LMS. Please note you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your seminar learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Unit Textbook

Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity,

Required Readings

Week 1  - The Rise and Fall of the Libertarian Internet

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, Ch. 1.
  2. Karpf, Dave (2018) ’25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives’, WIRED, 9 October. https://www.wired.com/story/wired25-david-karpf-issues-tech-predictions/.
  3. Solum, Lawrence (2009) ‘Models of Internet Governance’, in L. Bygrave & M. Bing (eds.), Internet Governance: Infrastructure and Institutions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 48-91.

Week 2 - Global Internet Governance       

  1. Weber, Rolf (2010) Introduction. In Shaping Internet Governance: Regulatory Challenges. Cham: Springer, pp. 1-23.
  2. Mueller, Milton (2017) Will the Internet Fragment? Sovereignty, Globalization and Cyberspace. Oxford: Polity Press, Ch. 5.

Week 3 - Platforms and Platformisation

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, Ch. 2.
  2. Gillespie, Tarleton (2017) ‘Governance by and through Platforms’, in J. Burgess, A. Marwick & T. Poell (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Media, London: SAGE, pp. 254-278.

Week 4 - Issues of Concern: Privacy, Security and Digital Rights

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 72-79.
  2. Suzor, Nicolas P. 2019. ‘Who Makes the Rules?’. In Lawless: the secret rules that govern our lives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 10-24.

Week 5 - Issues of Concern: Datafication, Automation, AI and Algorithmic  Governance

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 79-86.
  2. Crawford, Kate (2021) The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 1-21.

Week 6 - Issues of Concern: Hate Speech and Online Harms   

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 91-96.
  2. Sinpeng, A., Martin, F., Gelber, K., & Shields, K. (2021, July 5). Facebook: Regulating hate speech in the Asia Pacific. Final Report to Facebook under the auspices of its Content Policy Research on Social Media Platforms Award. Dept of Media and Communication, University of Sydney and School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland. https://r2pasiapacific.org/files/7099/2021_Facebook_hate_speech_Asia_report.pdf

Week 7- Internet Governance and Nation-State Regulation

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, Ch. 5 (Chapter 4 also relevant).
  2. Gorwa, Robert (2019) ‘The platform governance triangle: Conceptualising the informal regulation of online content’, Internet Policy Review 8(2).

Week 8 - Current Debates: Misinformation and Fake News       

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 86-91.
  2. Livingston, S. & Bennett, W. L. (2020) A Brief History of the Disinformation Age: Information Wars and the Decline of Institutional Authority. In S. Livingston & W. L Bennett (eds.) The Disinformation Age: Politics, Technology, and Disruptive Communication in the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 3-40.

Week 9 - Current Debates: Information Monopolies and Competition Policy

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 99-103, 200-223. 
  2. Barwise, P. & Watkins, L. (2018) ‘The Evolution of Digital Dominance: How we got to GAFA’, in M. Moore & D. Tambini (eds.), Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 21-49.

Week 10 - Current Debates: Impact on Media and Creative Industries

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, pp. 95-99, 227-232. 
  2. Lotz, Amanda (2021) ‘The end of television as we know it’. In Media Disrupted: Surviving Pirates, Cannibals, and Streaming Wars. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 123-152.
  1. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (2019). Digital Platforms Inquiry: Final Report- Executive Summary. Canberra: ACCC, pp. 4-38.

Week 11 - Data Colonialism and Data Sovereignty

  1. Stephanie Carroll Rainie, Tahu Kukutai, Maggie Walter, Oscar Luis Figueroa-Rodríguez, Jennifer Walker, Per Axelsson (2019), ‘Indigenous Data Sovereignty’, in T. Davies & B. Walker (eds.), The State of Open Data: Histories and Horizons. African Minds, pp. 300-319.
  2. Couldry, Nick, Mejias, Ulises, Trere, Emiliano & Milan, Stefania (2019) ‘Data Colonialism: Rethinking Big Data’s Relation to the Contemporary Subject’. Television and New Media 20(4), pp. 336-349.

Week 12 - Platform Power, Nation States and the Global System

  1. Flew, Terry (2021) Regulating Platforms. Cambridge: Polity, Conclusion (pp. 234-248). 
  2. Tambini, Damian, and Moore, Martin (2021) ‘Introduction: Regulating Big Tech – The Policy Toolkit’, in M. Moore & D. Tambini (eds.) Regulating Big Tech: Policy Responses to Digital Dominance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-14.

 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. analyse key definitions, stakeholders and models related to internet governance
  • LO2. identify and understand the key issues that relate to governance of the internet
  • LO3. understand the link between culture, public policy and governance
  • LO4. understand the links between internet governance and broader governance frameworks such as global governance
  • LO5. monitor and comment on current issues in internet cultures and governance
  • LO6. demonstrate ability to present critical evaluation of internet technologies.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The number of required readings has been reduced, to focus on 2 required readings for most works. Explanation on Internet governance expanded and moved to week 2.

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