Oxford Training Session on the Modern Information Society
Training Session No. 5: Cyberspace, Politics and Society
8th – 10th September, 2017
through the Eventbrite site of the Oxford Training Session
free of charge
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Content of the Training Session
The training session No 5 will discuss in detail the challenges and opportunities of the modern information society, which are not solely or even primarily technical in nature – they also involve elemental questions of political culture and institutions, public policy, ethics, law, and diplomacy.
The innovative uses of information technology in Estonia and elsewhere is analyzed, to identify, clarify, and model how changing configurations in cyberspace influence the structures and processes of political systems within and across national borders.
Classroom lectures and discussion are designed to allow students from social and humanitarian sciences background to relate information society issues with their primary studies.
Instructors will draw from and apply social science research to clarify how innovations in information technology affect the security and welfare of states and citizens. The course will merge technical insights with theoretical and empirical knowledge in the political and social sciences to clarify the nontechnical aspects of cyber security and e-government issues. The lectures seek to demystify the technical rudiments of cyberspace while developing students’ theoretical and applied understanding of the workings of the information society.
Practical simulation exercises enable students to translate this new knowledge into concrete insights and recommendations for professional action.
To whom is the course for
The course is specifically designed for university students of non-IT fields at all levels of instruction (BA, Diploma, Masters, PhD), who, as future specialists in their respective fields, should be aware of the various opportunities but also risks, emerging from the increased use of information technologies. The course is designed with the objective to allow students to relate the content of the course with their own primary field of studies. No previous IT or computer science training is required to enroll.
Students specializing in IT fields are also welcome to attend the course.
Non-students may be allowed to enroll subject to space limitations.
Conduct of the course
Before attending the lectures of the training session, the participants are expected to become familiar with the articles provided by the lecturers in the reading list.
On September 8 and 9, the course will feature lectures on the various topics of the modern information society, under the title "Cyberspace, Politics, and Society".
On September 10 a cyber crisis simulation exercise will be carried out. During the simulation exercise, participants will apply classroom understandings to the management of a major practical event, such as an international cyber crisis or a breakdown in state information systems, requiring a coordinated response across government agencies as well as between the public and private sectors and international actors.
The teaching staff comprises of faculty and researchers based at the University of Oxford, Department of Politics and International Relations (Lucas Kello, Matt Willis, Jamie Collier) and Department of Computer Science (Ivan Martinovic) as well as the Tallinn University of Technology, (Prof Dr Robert Krimmer).
- A basic technical understanding of the origins, structure, and workings of cyberspace generally and of state information systems specifically
- A historical grasp of the emergence of the information society – especially the political and institutional factors that produced its rapid growth in Estonia or that impede its expansion elsewhere
- A broad understanding of the benefits and opportunities of the information society for public health, welfare, national security, and international influence
- A strong grasp of the nature, sources, and categories of cyber threats to national and international security as well as political stability
- A comprehensive knowledge of the variety of policy and organizational responses to those threats within public and private industry as well as in national and international society
The simulation exercise will provide the following learning outcomes:
- A basic familiarity of the operations and management of critical computer systems
- An understanding of how theoretical knowledge in the political and social sciences may apply to the resolution of practical challenges facing the information society
- An awareness of shortcomings in current capacities as a basis for developing new and improved information service
The course is provided on a Pass/Fail basis. Students will be expected to complete short written assignments, demonstrating a general grasp of the issues and problems discussed in the readings and lectures.
Certificates and ECTS:
Students who successfully complete the training session will be offered:
- a formal accreditation of participation by the University of Oxford
- a certificate of completion of the course with (2 ECTS) credits via the Open University of Tallinn University of Technology
Upon completion of the course, a small number of students will be invited to participate in the research and publication activities of the Cyber Studies Programme, University of Oxford.
The Oxford Training Sessions have received extremely high ratings from students. Below is a selection of comments from previous participants.
On the course generally
- “Very inspirational instructors!“
- “The presentations were remarkably high-class when it comes to quality”
- "Haven't had any experience about cyber security or such an interest in politics...So, this course really was very interesting and gave me a lot of new information, thank you!"
- "I am very pleased and thankful for all the lectures. Well-structured, understandable and broadened my views a lot"
- “As a lawyer, I found the interdisciplinary approach very useful and would definitely recommend to continue with the approach as well as with training sessions in general, since there have not been any similar cyber-related events organised in the past”
- “Excellent charisma!“
- “All in all, the course is perfect“
- "Interesting course, bravo!"
- “The experience was so enriching! Keep up the good work!“
- “What an awesome presentation! Relevant and very straightforward“
- “Even though I did [the course] the second time, it was very different and interesting“
On the simulation exercise:
- “Totally loved the simulation exercise“
- "Something very new and exciting to me"
- "I have never experienced something so practical before, very well organized"
- “Very interesting experience! Great opportunity to be in the role of a ministry advisor“
- “That was like a real-life situation“
- "I have never had this kind of exercise, but I sure hope I will [again] in future"
- "Questions that were asked [were] amazing, they were related to events that were happening. I loved it"
- “The simulation was also a fun experience, which illustrated perfectly the complexity of the problems at hand”
- “Fantastic game“
- “No matter how many times this simulation gets repeated, I will always attend it“
The training session is funded by the European Social Fund and offered under the collaboration of the Tallinn University of Technology, the Cyber Studies Programme (University of Oxford), and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Ms. Anastasiia Dudko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Katri Tammsaar (Katri.Tammsaar@politics.ox.ac.uk)