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UNIL/EPFL continuing education course on “Internet: Social and political issues”

This two-day course, « Internet – Enjeux sociaux et politiques, de l’utopie à la gouvernance problématique d’Internet » (“Internet – Social and political issues, from utopia to problematic Internet governance”) will be offered in French through UNIL/EPFL Continuing Education

The course is aimed at anyone who is interested, but especially journalists, teachers, and other education and training professionals. A certificate of participation is issued at the end of the training.

Participants will have the chance to explore how the internet, like any other technology, is a social production whose development, uses, and governance depend on a multitude of actors, representations, and means of implementation.

Course objectives:

  • Better understand the technical foundations of the internet (packet switching, client-server, cookies, etc.)
  • Stimulate reflection on internet-related ideas (collective intelligence, economy of scale, filter bubbles, digital traces, fake news, darknet, etc.)
  • Grasp the societal issues associated with internet (governance, digital divide, digital labor, privacy, etc.)
  • Situate and conceive of the internet in a historical and political perspective
  • Identify the actors involved in the design, evolution, uses and governance of the internet

The theme of the course’s first day will be “internet utopias”, with topics including freedom of expression, free speech, privacy, collective intelligence, decentralization, self-regulation and resilience. Day two will focus on “problematic governance of the internet”, with topics including territorial sovereignty, manipulation, ownership, crowdsourcing, hypercentrality, algorithmic governance, and vulnerability.

Both days will be organized around presentations, case studies, and discussions, and will be illustrated by current events relating to the issues addressed.

Practical information and registration

The class is organized by the UNIL Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (SSP) professor and dhCenter member Boris Beaude. It will be held in person on the UNIL/EPFL campus, unless sanitary restrictions prevent this, in which case the course will move online.

Spaces are limited. Please register by March 31st, 2021.

For further details, please visit the course webpage on the UNIL/EPFL Continuing Education website.

View the course brochure, in French (PDF).