The program in Communication prepares students for various roles:
- Teaching and research positions in higher education;
- Working in schools using information and communication technologies to improve educational practice;
- Conducting formative and evaluative research in the areas of educational media and information technologies, in and out of school settings and across subject areas;
- Designing innovations in the use of new media for educational purposes; and
- Working in business and government settings to design and implement corporate communication programs.
The program uses methods of the social sciences, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of communication and education. It asks in particular how education and other social systems change under the impact of new media. Faculty members and students pursue three broad areas of inquiry, enabling them to:
- Reflect on the historical effects of media and on the cultural uses of developments such as face-to-face speech, writing, printing, photography, film, radio, television, computers, and networked multimedia;
- Use anthropological and linguistic methods to study how the diverse forms of communication, literacy, information processing, and cognition condition educational practice;
- Explore the effects of media, including games, on social relations, and develop strategies for using information and communications technologies to improve conditions of education and life.
In the course of completing a degree, students should expect to attend closely to both technical artifacts and human activity: that is, both to material systems of communication in which technologies are the primary interest and to interpersonal, direct communication dynamics in which unmediated face-to-face exchanges are the subject of inquiry. A major theme for continuous reflection should be the diverse ways in which the modes of communication condition meanings that are actually and potentially communicated—whether in face-to-face conversation, through distance learning technologies, or through societies that are created in virtual worlds.