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MEDIA 02 W — The Communication Revolution: Demystifying Digital Disruption in Media, Technology, and Society

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 16—Jun 8
Drop Deadline: Apr 19
Unit: 1
Tuition: $410
Instructor(s): Karina Alexanyan
Limit: 35
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 4/19 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 4/24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Apr 16—Jun 8
8 weeks
Drop By
Apr 19
1 Unit
Karina Alexanyan
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 4/19 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 4/24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
When the Internet first became part of our lives in the 1990s, everyone knew that change was afoot. But only today are we realizing how much. Especially with the rise of social media, we are witnessing a revolution in the way people communicate, information gets disseminated, and facts get produced. Everyone is now a publisher. The gatekeepers of information are largely gone. All of this has important implications for communication, journalism, knowledge creation, even democracy itself. This course will help students make sense of this seismic shift in media.

The course will begin with an overview of the media landscape that prevailed during the 20th century and key concepts used in communication theory. This introduction will give students the historical context and critical framework necessary for understanding the digital disruptions we are experiencing today. As the course proceeds, we will explore leading research on current topics such as the political polarization fostered by social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), the phenomenon of “fake news,” the power of algorithms to affect what news we read, how confirmation bias works, how youth navigate media, the crisis of trust in journalism, and others. The course will review the requirements of media literacy and conclude with an overview of emerging questions and solutions.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 35 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

Karina Alexanyan, Communications Scholar

Karina Alexanyan’s research interests focus on global media studies, information technology, and education. At Stanford, she is the mediaX member benefits manager, working at the intersection of human sciences and information technology. She received a PhD in communications from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and has consulted for Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and other leading universities and research organizations.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.