Designing Communication Online

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
28 August, 2018
Editorial: 233
Fecha de publicación original: 19 septiembre, 2000

Firefighters don’t stand on each others hoses¹s Masters in Digital Communication was launched at respective ceremonies in Madrid and Barcelona last week. It will be imparted in Spanish via the Internet as from November. After a long period of preparation, we have designed a course which we hope brings together all the accumulated experience we have gleaned from working on the Net over the years. This does not mean that the course will be a static one for we intend to incorporate what we learn along the way as it develops, as well as any new knowledge acquired from events we are involved in. For example,’s I One Day Conference will be held on 27 October and it promises to be an extremely interesting get-together. In addition, over the next few days we will be initiating trial runs of liderarte, a new en.medi@ specifically designed for debate and research into the problems faced by decision-makers in companies and organisations where networked communication is the order of the day. It will, undoubtedly, contribute valuable experience.

When I say that the Masters in Digital Communications is the result of years of work and experimentation on the Net, this can only be understood as the result of the fruitful relationships we have developed with our readers and contributors from whom we have learned how to feed and drink on this thing called digital communication. Some of this knowledge is to be found in the material the magazine itself has published since January 1996 and can be consulted in our archives. Another part of it lies in the development of en.medi@, which we call an “encounter technology” and is based on a combination of three ingredients: the design of communication flows within a contextualised online space, the overwhelming importance of the user as information producer and consumer (interactive content generator) and the moderation of the space by a network of knowledge managers who keep the interaction among participants running smoothly.

This team is in charge of ensuring that what would, in any other circumstances, merely amount to personal interventions in a debate can “grow” and become new information and knowledge products, a “collective intelligence soup”. This allows like-minded communities to arise around specific knowledge areas of common interest. Since we started it in 1999, en.medi@ has worked as a very versatile information system capable of adapting itself to different ends depending on the context it is placed in. During this time we have also learned how to “refine its behaviour”, improve its design and get more out of it by increasing its capabilities, an achievement which basically reflects the maturation process that those managing these spaces have undergone themselves.

From the multiplicity of relationships that we have developed with our readers and contributors the need has arisen to answer a growing call affecting other companies, universities and centres as well: the need for training professionals who would like to participate in the so-called new economy. In various other articles (*) we have already analysed why academic centres are not delivering this kind of training. Briefly, the speed at which change is occurring, the lack of research into the so-called “social applications” of the Internet (the stock market is dealing with the economic side of things) and the fact that digital innovation is concentrated mainly in small companies, all conspire to make it difficult for universities to adapt to the new environment created by the Net.

Consequently, confusion reigns amongst those who would like to work on the Net but can’t find the training to open the doors of the Information Society to them. Business itself cannot escape these turbulent times as they are unable to find suitable professionals to fulfill their objectives. The results are a kind of dead end: either one blindly follows projects employed by large companies with all the hot air that this implies, or one faces the dilemma of constructing and leading digital communication projects and this means acquiring a certain capacity for managing online information systems. This is, of course, the aim of¹s Masters in Digital Communication. Without forgetting our main aim, in other words reflection and analysis of the impact of Internet, we will trace the change from the communication model of the industrial society to that of the Information Society. And we will do so via information systems that the students themselves will learn to design and take full advantage of.

While the Internet has given each and everyone of us the opportunity to participate, interact and consequently grow as a result of these relationships, we already know that this can only occur if we are able to create an adequate context in which to achieve this. This Masters will afford the knowledge and the tools to make this possible, firstly during the course and later in the workplace each individual chooses. And to achieve this we will be using en.campus, the excellent digital campus developed by TUK, the company founded by teachers and researchers from the Grupo de Investigación Multimedia de la Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. All that remains to be said then is that I will be waiting for all those interested in the virtual classrooms from November onwards. For those of you who are about to go on summer holidays, not to worry: we will be back again in March with the Masters of the XXI century. Sounds impressive doesn’t it?

Translation: Bridget King

(*) These are some of the articles we have published on the problems of training in the Information Society. There are more to be found via¹s search engine.

05.10.99 The Big Crush

12.10.99 Daddy, Where Does the News Come From?

19.10.99 The Digital Blender

26.10.99 The Human Communications Map

02.11.99 In search of Jenny’s Daughter

04.04.00 Internet Universities

13.06.00 A Job or a Project