Course Syllabus

This is a hybrid (flipped classroom) graduate class. Lectures are delivered per video, and discussions take place in person on WEDNESDAY, 2.10-4pm in our C^2 Research Lab in Kerr Hall 178 (NOT on Fridays 3.10 -5pm as stated elsewhere).


The two main concepts of the course are social change and technological change by digital means. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is not only an essential building block of a society, but currently also the driving force behind social evolution. Our generation has the luck to live through –and the responsibility to shape– an era in which mediated information and communication have become the catalyst of human progress. We will deepen our understanding on how social and technological revolutions go hand in hand.

We will contemplate about what technology actually is and how it evolves. Armed with the powerful conceptual frameworks of innovation theory we ask how societies co-evolve with technology. We then look at the current social transformations and ask about what happens when information and communication is digitalized? Digitalization comes with certain characteristics that can trigger political revolutions; create unprecedented richness as well as new dimensions of poverty; redefine our understanding of friendships, culture and entertainment; transform education, health care and business; and lead to both visions of future scenarios of global democracy and informational dictatorship. While doing this, a global perspective will be essential, as is the fact that not everybody has equal access to the digital age.

Digital technology is the most powerful and also the most tangible tool we currently have available to exploit the ensuing opportunities for social change. This course tackles the big picture of the digital age and we are not afraid of asking the big questions that arise from the incredibly complex dynamic of ongoing digitalization (one that all of us already live in day by day…).


Word Cloud.PNG


Participation & Evaluation

The final grade consists of 3 parts:

Written study: The final product is a written study in form of a class paper (60 % of the final grade).

Video Presentation. At the end of the Quarter, everyone records and presents a short video presentation about the chosen class project (20 % of the final grade).

Interactive online participation: Each of the first 6 weeks includes an interactive online contribution task. Together they add up to 20 % of the final grade.


For open ended written answers to Online Discussion questions, the following table gives you an overview of the applied grading scheme:


Grading Rubrics

Full Points

The author responds to all aspects of the assigned question in a consistently forceful manner that is not only thoughtful, but also thought-provoking. The post is focused and coherently integrates innovative examples with formal concepts. The author does not leave any doubt on how the judiciously-chosen examples relate to the concepts treated by the question. The post demonstrates that the author understands the concepts and is able to negotiate their complexities in a provocative, controlled and insightful manner. The author considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The entry reflects in-depth engagement with the topic. The comment is written eloquently, does not contain grammatical errors or typos, and is written in an engaging way that opens up new substantial discussions and collective conversation.

Points discounted

  • The author does not display maturity in sentence variety, grammar, spelling and surface errors are common, which distracts the reader from following the argument.
  • The post does not respond fully to all aspects of the question.
  • The author mentions examples, but does not explain how they relate to the concepts treated by the question. Connections between ideas are suggested rather than explained in an illustrative manner.
  • The post simply rehashes previous comments or comments made elsewhere, and displays no evidence of active and creative engagement with the topic.



About the instructor:

Before joining UC Davis, Prof. Hilbert created and coordinated the Information Society Program of the United Nations Secretariat for Latin America and the Caribbean ( In his 15 years as United Nations Economic Affairs Officer he has provided hands-on technical assistance in the field of digital development to Presidents, government experts, legislators, diplomats, NGOs, and companies in over 20 countries. Policy makers from the highest political levels have officially recognized the impact of these projects in public declarations. In combination with this practical experience he has written five books about digital technology for international development and has published in academic journals in the fields of communication, economic development, information science, psychology, political science, complexity, women’s studies, and forecasting. His findings have been featured in popular outlets like Scientific American, PBS, Discovery, NatGeo, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Economist, NPR, BBC, Die Welt, Correio Braziliense, La Repubblica, El Pais, among others. International perspectives are no mere theoretical work obligation to Prof. Hilbert, as he speaks five languages and has traveled to over 70 countries. More:



Course Summary:

Date Details Due