SAS Honors Program


Course WILL count for the minor in Digital Communication, Information and Media.

This course explores whether and how emerging digital technologies (social/mobile/wearable media, virtual worlds and games, sensor-laden devices and environments, robotics, drones, implantable chips, artificial intelligence, etc.) contribute to disruptive changes in relationships, organizations, societies and selves. Multiple perspectives on communication, information, and media will be applied in analyzing the extent to which the structure, norms, and dynamics of modern social life have changed and have experienced continuity, and the conditions under which such changes can be considered disruptive. Micro- and macro-level processes and outcomes (interpersonal, cultural, political, global) of emerging digital technologies will be examined. This course is an interdisciplinary offering (Communication, Journalism and Media Studies, and Library and Information Science) in the Digital Communication, Information, and Media minor at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University.

In societies across the globe, new forms and uses of communication, information, and media technology are influencing the structure, norms, and dynamics of modern social life. Emerging digital technologies (social/mobile/wearable media, virtual environments and games, sensor-laden devices and environments, robotics, drones, implantable nanochips, artificial intelligence, etc.) are helping to shape and reshape social relationships, organizations, societies, and even our individual selves.

It is sometimes claimed that these changes are disruptive to our societies and selves – that they result in sweeping, substantial transformation. But is this the case – and, if so, to what extent? As we look at both the micro- and macro-level integration of emerging digital technologies into our lives and societies, is disruptive change common or relatively rare? Under what conditions are the changes that are catalyzed by emerging digital technologies truly disruptive – and why? And when is continuity, or more incremental change, the result?

In this course, we will approach these timely and fascinating issues by engaging multiple perspectives on the history, innovation, adoption and use of digital technology, drawing on the disciplines and specialties that comprise the School of Communication and Information (Communication, Journalism and Media Studies, and Library and Information Science) at Rutgers University. We will incorporate insights, concepts, theories, and research findings from each of these (and related) fields to explore the dynamics, processes, patterns, and consequences of technological change and potential disruption.

This class is offered in a hybrid seminar format, which means that it will meet approximately both online and face-to-face in a classroom. This gives you an opportunity to learn and participate in the class in both contexts, and affords ideal insight into, and practice with, the kinds of digital technologies and environments we will be examining. We will use tech to study tech. You should bring your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone to each class, charged up and ready to be used (or get here early and sit near an outlet!).  A hybrid class is somewhat different from either a traditional   

MARY CHAYKO is a sociologist, Teaching Professor of Communication and Information, and Director of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies, for the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. She directs the Digital Communication, Information and Media minor (DCIM) and the Gender and Media minor at SC&I. She received a B.A. in Communication and Psychology from Seton Hall University and an Ed.M in Counseling Psychology, and an M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology, from Rutgers University. Dr. Chayko’s research is on the impact of the Internet and digital technology on society, community, and self. She is the author of Portable Communities: The Social Dynamics of Online and Mobile Connectedness and Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age, both with SUNY Press; and Pioneers in Public Sociology: Thirty Years of Humanity and Society with Sloan Publishing, plus many published articles. A mentor in the Rutgers honors program and the athletics department, and an affiliated faculty member in the Rutgers Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies Departments, Dr. Chayko has been honored as a Rutgers University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Contributor to Undergraduate Education. 


Nelson Biological Labs
Room A-110
P 848-445-3912


Milledoler Hall
Room 12
P 848-932-1406


Ruth Adams Building
Suite 108 
P 848-932-2011


Lucy Stone Hall
Room A-201
P 848-445-3206


100 Rockafeller Rd
Rm. 1031
P 848-445-3206

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