Fall 2023 - CMNS 253W D100

Introduction to Information Technology: The New Media (3)

Class Number: 1004

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Nine CMNS units with a minimum grade of C-.



An introduction to new communication/information technologies, seen as new media of communication: the technologies, their uses, and the social issues arising from them. Students with credit for CMNS 253 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This course introduces the key research areas on “new” media – encompassing the internet and social media, biometrics and facial recognition, generative AI and video game industries, and more. We connect cutting-edge research and current debates with landmark theories and findings to better understand questions like – how do platform and app economies actually affect labour conditions and the future of work? In what ways does the internet and social media actually contribute to democracy and free speech, or unleash surveillance and hate speech? How does facial recognition or generative AI transform the way society thinks about images, bodies, and identities?  

The course provides a diverse toolkit of ideas and approaches to these questions, drawing from not just communication and media studies, but growing areas like critical data studies, AI ethics, and science and technology studies (STS). These are tools for thinking and doing research that you can take into upper-level CMNS courses, but also into domains like computer science, psychology, and interactive arts. If you have any questions about the course content / setup during enrolment, I’d be happy to chat: sun_ha@sfu.ca


This is a writing-intensive (W) course, focused on step-by-step practice on designing and delivering a research project. We will cover some of the big questions and approaches on how to study technology and new media. We will learn how to apply theory and research to big contemporary questions about fake news, algorithmic bias, surveillance, social media, AI, and more.


  • Weekly Reading Responses 30%
  • 3x Research Assignments 70%



No textbooks required. All readings will be listed on syllabus & available online via instructor.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.