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WikiLogic: How the Internet affects the way we think


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


There is a growing debate on how the use of digital media (in particular the Internet) is affect-ing the way in which we learn, think, communicate and collaborate. Some express grave concern about the negative effects of computer use, including Hubert Dreyfus (On the Internet, 2001), Nicholas Carr (The Shallows, 2008), and Manfred Spitzer (Digital Dementia, 2012). Others are jubilant about the opportunities offered by the Internet; examples include Wikinomics (Tapscott & Williams, 2006), Grown Up Digital (Tapscott, 2009), Everything Bad is Good for You (Johnson, 2005).

This course explores the way in which changing media landscapes affect our epistemic practices, that is, our ways of organizing, evaluating, and communicating our beliefs and desires. The working hypothesis is that our psychological profiles will tend to change as we accommodate to different systems for creating, manipu¬lating and storing information (e.g., writing, printing press, computers, and the internet). Gradually educational systems will respond by pro¬moting new ways for self-organizing our mental households, and instilling new ‘epistemic virtues’.

The course has six key themes: Logos (writing), Gutenborgs (printing press), Google (Internet), Bits (digital information), Wikis (sharing), and World 2.0 (virtual ontology).

Course objectives

The primary objective is to explore the way in which changing media landscapes affect our epistemic practices, taking the rise of the Internet as its main example. The secondary objective is to assess the impact of the Internet on the organization of knowledge in society, including educational systems, and on key notions such as information, reliability, authorship, and copyright.
Students will acquire and practice skills in critical analysis, argumentation, and presentation (orally, written, and using digital media).


Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00.
For the exact timetable, please visit the following website.

Mode of instruction

Seminar combining short lectures with student-led presentations

Course Load

  • Seminar sessions: 6 × 4 = 24 hours

  • Required reading: ca. 400 pages = 80 hours

  • Preparation of presentation: 8 hours

  • Final assignment: 16 hours

  • Peer review: 4 hours

  • Closing event: 4 hours

  • Reserved: 4 hours

Total: 5 EC = 140 hours

Assessment method

Oral presentation: 20%
Participation in class discussions: 10%
Final project assignment: 50%
Peer review: 20 %

The final grade is the weighted average of the above components. A resit option is offered only for the final project assignment.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the Humanities Lab office in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


All required readings will be made available through Blackboard. The course will also use Pitch2Peer on Blackboard for sharing and reviewing student presentations.

Reading list

All required readings will be made available through Blackboard. Please notice that a reading assignment for the first meeting will be posted on Blackboard. Recommended readings (books you may want to purchase yourself) are mentioned in the course description.


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered via uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab. More information about registration for courses will be provided on Blackboard.


Lecturer: Dr. Jan Sleutels
Humanities Lab office: e-mail


If all participants of this course are Dutch native speakers, this course will be taught in Dutch.

This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.