Social media & life online. Citizens, consumers & the designed online world


About this course

How is our “Life Online” influencing our ‘real-world’ behavior? To what extent are our well-being and our actions shaped by the apps and media that we use? And what does this imply for the design of online platforms and virtual spaces? These are some of the key questions that the course will answer.
Some claim that online platforms strengthen our social connections whereas others argue that they boost ever-more fluid and superficial communication that leads to a shrinking of personal help and support networks. In the course, we learn about theories and empirical findings of social media and online technology research. These provide insights into the implications of social media and online platform design and use for our relationships, our well-being, our consumer behavior, and how we learn. What do users’ online traces reveal about users and how can designers use them to improve the design of online environments? We examine the design of social media platforms, online communities, Learning Management Systems, health apps, and many more. By studying these, you learn how technology designers, policy makers, and users can improve the way we connect, consume, learn, and communicate in our increasingly digital world.

Learning outcomes

The course makes students acquainted with the academic discussion about the social impact of the internet, social media and online consumer research. Sociological and social-psychological theories and empirical findings on social media, communication in networks, groups and communities on the internet and online consumer behavior will be presented.
At the end of the course, students

  • will be able to summarize the state of the art of research on the social impact of the internet
  • can identify and explain different theories of online consumer behavior of individuals and their social environment
  • can distinguish different theories of online communication, online communities, and social media
  • can judge and criticize important theories and consider their boundary conditions
  • will be able to write a preliminary research proposal for a Master Thesis project
  • will be able to apply the theories and findings to give policy recommendations and advice on the design and use of social media and online communities
  • will be able to utilize these theories in formulating user requirements for online systems that support social interaction and consumer behavior

Required prior knowledge

You must meet one of the following collections of requirements

  • Collection 1
  • Completed Final examination Bsc program
  • Collection 2
  • Completed Pre-Master

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TU Eindhoven.


  • Start date

    3 februari 2025

    • Ends
      6 april 2025
    • Term *
      Block GS3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment starts in 211 days
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University