14011 Issues in the Psychology of Internet Users 1

Credits: 4 graduate credits in Education / Learning Technologies or in Educational Administration, Policy and Leadership

Prerequisites for Education: Technologies and Learning Systems: Research Methods in Education, Curriculum Development and Implementation, Theories of Learning and Instruction, Technology and Learning

Prerequisites for Educational Administration: Research Methods in Education, Theories of Learning and Instruction, Technology and Learning, Economic Aspects of the Education System

The course is based on a reader edited by Avner Caspi and Yoram Eshet.

Technological developments enable use of the Internet for commercial, academic and personal purposes. Utilization of the net for these purposes is gaining increased significance in the life of individuals and society. It is not surprising that the Internet is called the “virtual world” or cyberspace. This new world includes highly interesting psychological processes on the individual, interpersonal and group level. Existing norms and rules of behavior as well as those taking shape in this virtual world have a direct impact on individuals operating within it and subsequently on the real world. The course examines issues such as: How is personal identity shaped on the net and how does this process affect the identity creator?; How are behavior norms set and shaped in a virtual group?; Why do individuals share information at their disposal with others?; Is observed and experienced behavior in an Internet environment different from that with which we are familiar in the non-virtual world?

Topics: Introduction to psychology of the Internet and to psychology of computer-mediated communication; The individual on the Net – identity, demography and personality; Interpersonal relations on the Net – romance and sexuality; Dynamics of the virtual group; Trust, sharing and support; Mutual effects and relations between the online world and the real world.

1Students must write a seminar paper in this course.