Dr. Vito Evola; Prof. Dr. Matthias Jarke
Sommersemester 2013
Vorlesung & Übung

Semiotics and Embodied Cognition in the Digital Age

The Digital Age has brought forth new ways of interacting with the world around us and communicating our thoughts with others. From computer interfaces to online social networks, people share and interact with their worlds both physically and by means of mediated technology. This course will look at traditional theories of signs (semiotics) and how meaning is construed both at a productive level and an interpretative one, as well as related frameworks in Cognitive Science (embodied cognition, conceptual metaphors and conceptual integration) for alternative perspectives on human communication in the Digital Age.

Some questions the course will deal with include:

What does "meaning" mean?
How are creativity and meaning accounted for in multimodality and multimediality?
How do people experience the world around them, and how does this influence the way they interact with technology?
How do media mediate human relationships?
What are the effects of these technologies on individuals, societies and the "global village"?
What is the role of social media in the changing world (see the Arab Spring), and how can we help?


Format and grading: The class is lecture-led and discussion-based. Each week, the class will be a lecture on a specific topic and the last hour will be dedicated to discussion. Occasionally there will be a recommended reading based on the topic presented. There will also be two short essays that will count towards the final grade. Grades will be determined as follows:

In-class discussion (10%)
Two 3-5 page written essays (40%)
Final exam (50%)

In-class discussion: All students are expected to engage in discussion in each class, bringing in personal knowledge relevant to the topics presented. Because of the format of the course, only a maximum of 2 (two) absences are allowed, unless justifiable. If there are any particular questions, please contact Dr. Vito Evola at evola@humtec.rwth-aachen.de or after class.

Written essays: Two brief written essays will count towards the final grade (20% each), giving students the opportunity to follow

further information see Campus