ASC320 - Conspiracies, Misinformation, and Hatred in the Age of AI

Unit details


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:Trimester 3: Online
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 3: Matteo Vergani
Cohort rule:Nil

At least eight credit points towards your degree

Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

This will include educator guided online learning activities within the unit site.

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - online unit enrolment:

1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


While this unit will discuss the social changes around sexual identity and the internet, as well as sex crimes on the net, students will not be required to, nor be able to, access internet pornography sites. University policy clearly states that users of university servers are prohibited from accessing pornographic or other such sites and the unit team thoroughly endorses this policy


This online unit will explore the main social harms associated with the use of digital technologies, with a particular focus on the recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI). The unit examines issues such as the propagation of misinformation in online networks, the nexus between online activity and real-world crimes and the social and political responses to these emerging threats. Using social science research methods and theories, the unit seeks to comprehend and assess these phenomena. It also utilises industry-oriented approaches drawn from members of government and non-government organisations working in the field of online hate prevention. A range of disciplines, including sociology, criminology, social psychology, and political science, are used to understand these changes. The unit provides a platform to enhance understand of how living in a society permeated by AI brings new and exciting opportunities but also new threats and risks. Students will be required to use generative AI tools to complete all assignments and will be encouraged to reflect critically on their use, with the aim of developing a critical capacity to utilise generative AI effectively.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes
ULO1 Critically analyse key concepts and perspectives used in the sociological analysis of digital technologies to evaluate their role in understanding a range of digitally enabled social harms.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital Literacy

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8 Global citizenship

Evaluate and explain the intersection of digital technologies with social harms (such as conspiracy theories, hate-speech, and violence) and apply social research methodologies to critically analyse their role in the context of AI-enabled technologies.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO3: Digital Literacy

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8 Global citizenship

ULO3 Develop skills in the use and analysis of digital communication tools

GLO3: Digital literacy

ULO4 Critically evaluate the pros and cons of regulatory practices and policies intended to counter a range of digitally enabled social harms.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 -  Research and Writing Exercise 1200 words
or equivalent
30% Week 5
Assessment 2 - Report 1600 words
or equivalent
40% Week 10
Assessment 3 -  Short Essay Questions 1200 words
or equivalent
30% End-of-unit assessment period

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ASC320
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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