zum Inhalt springen


Online Cologne Summer School on Perspectives and Visions of Digital Societies from July 27 - August 7, 2020

Be curious and join us on a digital journey. 

Focussing on the chances offered by the current limitations on our mobility, we decided to embrace the challenge to go entirely digital. What used to be a vivid physical exchange of people and their perspectives in the past, this year becomes an entirely digital journey. We will do our best to keep it as lively and interactive as usual, and to offer you an intercultural experience you will love. The updated format still approaches digitalization from an interdisciplinary perspective and discusses its implications in the areas of science, ethics, economy, culture and communication.

“Change is the only constant in life”

the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, probably unaware of the impact his words still seem to have in the year 2020, perhaps more than ever. But what are these changes that are challenging human societies and every single citizen all over the world?

Therefore, this year‘s two-week interdisciplinary Cologne Summer School on “Perspectives and Visions of Digital Societies strives to explore the manifold facets of this phenomenon. During online classes with lecturers of the University of Cologne, and with lecturers from partner universities in Finland, Canada and the USA, twenty-five Cologne and international students from all university disciplines will have the chance to discuss different aspects of digitalization.

Digitization is a term that has been haunting our media for years. Although everyone uses this term, it is very difficult to fill with content, because the digital developments of our time permeate all imaginable areas. Many individual areas like economy, science or even everyday life are heavily influenced by digitization. However, in university lectures and research projects this is mainly done within single disciplines, but urgent questions for society as a whole, which arise from the advancing digitization, remain unanswered. In order to get to the bottom of this, it is necessary for the individual sectors to work together in order to learn how to handle digitization sensibly. This is precisely the point at which this year’s summer school will start: By bringing together students from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds we begin to unwrap this topic from different perspectives. Since a rapidly progressing digitization process is not only positive for a society, the invited lecturers will try to draw a differentiated picture, so that international participants can evaluate the risks and opportunities of digitisation after the three-week program.

In many areas, our society must ask itself what changes digitization will bring along and how it will deal with them. Questions such as how to deal with the effects of Big Data should be discussed in the context of society as a whole, as these affect many areas of life as well as political decisions. In order to be able to do this within an appropriate framework, we are inviting experts from a wide range of fields to this year's summer school.

Areas such as education, for example, will see decisive developments in the coming years. These developments can change our basic image of teaching, as new technical possibilities allow completely new forms of teaching. Many areas of our society today have already begun to change as a result of digitization. Social media is a good example where new technologies led to significant changes in communication. In order to adapt our Cologne Summer School for the age of digitization, several seminars will be held via the Internet by international partner universities.

Participants will be exposed to interdisciplinary approaches and related questions such as:

“What is needed to become a digitally competent citizen?”

“What changes do sciences undergo as a consequence of digitalization?”

 “What are the new challenges for education caused by data-driven societal technologies in democracies?

“What are the risks of algorithm-based decision making e.g. in medical care and how can human rights be protected?”

“How to create a resource-oriented, creator- and customer-friendly digital business?”

“To what extent does social media – in particular YouTube, Twitter etc. – shape generation Y’s political perspectives?”



Victoria Busch, M.A.
Project Coordinator Cologne Summer Schools

Marina Dikova, B.Sc.

Universitätsstraße 22a
50923 Cologne
Phone: +49-221-470 1394
E-Mail: CologneSummerSchools[at]verw.uni-koeln.de