Fall 2020 - CMNS 453 D100

Issues in the Information Society (4)

Digital Streaming CMNS

Class Number: 7425

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units, including CMNS 253W, 353 or 354. CMNS 362 is recommended.



Advanced seminar to discuss issues in the interplay between contemporary society and new computer/communication technologies, at the level of comprehensive theories of society, on one hand, and major public policy, on the other. May repeat for credit if topic studied is different.


In recent years, legacy media including television, radio, and cinema have been dramatically transformed by new technologies, economic changes in media industries, and the fragmentation of mass audiences. These developments in infrastructures, industries, and audiences have given rise to digital streaming. In this course, we will study the digital streaming of audio-visual content related to user-generated platforms like YouTube, global services like Netflix, the emergence of podcasting, and trends in the independent production and distribution of cultural texts. The course will offer a variety of theories and methods for studying the shifting landscape of streaming media, including approaches derived from media industry studies, platform studies, the political economy of communication, and textual analysis rooted in social, historical, and infrastructural contexts. Topics covered in this course may include: industrial transformations and their ramifications, the impact of diverse national and international policies on creative practices, changing global patterns in the circulation of content, the ascent of “connected viewing” and the impact of the streaming ecosystem on legacy media forms, the politics and ideologies of digital platforms and their audiences, and shifting modes of representation emerging in conjunction with the rise of a more niche-oriented media structures.


  • Forum Responses 20%
  • Text in Context Essay 20%
  • Niche Platform Essay 20%
  • Research Paper Proposal 10%
  • Final Research Paper 30%



Readings will be available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).