Seminar of digital democracy

Exploring the challenges for democracy in the digital age.

Course Description


This seminar tackles the issues raised by digital technologies for political institutions, politics and policies, and more broadly for the evolution of what we call “democracy“. It also addresses the interaction between all things political and the digitalization of society.

Themes of discussion include, but are not limited to: social media politics, algorithms and filter bubbles, digital divide, civic tech and online participation tools, blockchain and other governance technologies, Internet privacy and data collection, online tools for political education

Learning outcomes

At the end of this seminar, the students will be able to identify the issues raised by digital technologies on democracy, to develop a critical analysis on a case study related to a challenge for democracy at the digital era, and to communicate this analysis in writing, orally, and via digital tools.

Teaching methods

This seminar is conceived to be interactive and participative, and relies on the idea of learning by doing. Students will then be encouraged to speak instead of only listen, to write instead of only read, to create instead of only attend. They will have to work on their own projects and share their findings and reflections during collective sessions—which will establish important concepts for studying and shaping democracy in the digital age.

Evaluation methods

The evaluation is continuous and ends before the exams’ session. The final grade (from 0 to 20 points) is composed of two parts:

  1. the contribution to the course dynamics (including active and regular participation in class and the preparation of the seminar’s sessions)—30 % of the final grade;
  2. the production of a personal critical analysis on a case study related to a challenge for democracy at the digital age—70 % of the final grade.

> See evaluation criteria grid

Contribution to the course dynamics

For each session, students are expected to share on Teams at least 3 resources (article, scientific paper, podcast, interview, documentary, YouTube video, company’s website…) related to the session’s topic, to contribute to a collaborative research on the subject at hand (deadline: the day before at 23:59).

In class, they will contribute to the writing of a collective ‘one-pager‘, a note summarizing the ‘state of the question‘ at stake. This ‘executive summary‘ is intended to be short and then not exhaustive, but it should be the group’s take on explaining the main ideas, concepts, issues, challenges… that gravitates around the session’s theme.

A student or group of students will be designated to take the lead and coordinate the creation of each executive summary: collecting contributions, deciding on the orientation of the paper, sorting the references…

This content will then be uploaded on the seminar’s website:

Individual case study

Every student is expected to produce a personal critical analysis on a topic of their choice, a ‘case study‘ related to an issue of ‘digital democracy’.

On the ‘backend’, it should be a ‘classical research’ or investigation, with a research question, potential hypotheses, good references and hopefully some results in the end.

But on the ‘frontend’, students have to produce something ‘digital’ (not a simple paper in .pdf). The format is up to you—feel free to be creative (website, podcast, video, interactive presentation, newsletter, Twitter thread, application…). No size requirements, because it varies a lot depending on the chosen format, but it should reflect the theoretical 150 hours of work required to validate a 5-credits seminar.

This production must be sent on Teams before the first day of the exams session (in 2022-2023: 8 January, 23:59) 15 January 2023, 23:59.

Useful links


> Download .pdf

> Course description on official UCLouvain website