[2472/2013] - COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND THEORY OF COMMUNICATION
Prof. Edoardo Augusto Fugali
The final examination consists of the public discussion of a written dissertation on a topic related to one or more of the subject areas of the course of study, which the student will agree with the chosen supervisor as a guide for the drafting of the paper. For the presentation of their work to the committee, the student will also make use of multimedia support, if deemed appropriate. The thesis should preferably be of an applicative, design or experimental nature, from which the Commission can assess cultural and scientific maturity and the quality of the work carried out.
The student and the supervisor may avail themselves of the collaboration of a co-rapporteur in the preparation of the thesis. The Co-Rapporteur may be a lecturer from another university, including a foreign one, or a professional figure, including a person of another nationality, from outside the University. In the latter case, when submitting the thesis application, a certificate signed by the Supervisor must be produced attesting to the scientific and/or professional qualifications of the Co-Rapporteur in relation to the dissertation being examined. The specific task of the supervisor and the co-adviser, if any, is to coordinate the student's activities in the preparation of the dissertation in relation to the number of training credits envisaged for this activity.
The thesis, which may also be written partly or entirely in English, accompanied by the signature of the supervisor, must be submitted by the candidate to the competent administrative offices at least 7 days before the final examination. At the same time, the student must deposit a one-page summary of the thesis, in both paper and electronic format (MS Word or PDF), with the Department's Teaching Secretariat, which will forward it to the individual Examination Commissioners as an attachment to the invitation to the final examination session.
The Commission for the evaluation of the final examination is appointed by the Director on the proposal of the School Coordinator. The Committee consists of at least seven members, the majority of whom are full professors of the University, who teach in the Department. The Commission may include tenured, substitute or contracted professors, researchers, established professors and assistants from the exhausted list, even if they belong to another department of the University, provided that they comply with Art. 24 paragraph 2 of the RDA. Professors from other universities and experts from research bodies may also be members of the Commission.
As a rule, the President of the Committee is the Director or Coordinator of the School of Studies or, as a secondary role, the senior professor with the longest tenure. He/she is responsible for ensuring that the test is conducted in the proper manner and that the final assessments comply with the general criteria established by the School.
In order to pass the final examination, a minimum score of 66/110 is required. The maximum score is 110/110, with the possible award of honours.
The score for the degree examination is equal to the sum of the basic score and the assessment mark referred to in paragraphs 12 and 13 below. The basic score is given by the arithmetic mean weighted with respect to credits and converted into hundredths (communicated by the Student secretariat) of all the educational activities with a grade expressed in thirtieths, provided for in the candidate's study plan, with rounding off of tenths to the nearest higher or lower unit; grades of thirty and cum laude are assigned a value of 31.
For the awarding of points for the curricular grade, the Commission has a maximum of 4 points, which may be assigned by adopting the following criteria: - International mobility with acquisition of CFUs. - Completion of studies in progress; this criterion may be used if the last exam is taken within the last session of the calendar year and the degree is awarded within the last useful session of the last year of the course. - Acquisition of at least two honours in the characterising subjects; - Training and orientation periods in companies or research bodies.
In order to award the mark for the thesis, the Commission has a maximum of 7 points, which may be awarded by adopting the following criteria
- the quality of the thesis work
- the extent of the effort put into the thesis;
- the student's ability to know the topics of his thesis and the main bibliography of reference and to be able to link them to the characteristic themes of his course of study;
- the ability to present the topics of the paper fluently and to draw conclusions consistent with the results obtained;
- the ability to summarise, in a precise and exhaustive manner, the work carried out and the results achieved, within the time allocated for the presentation;
- the ability to respond to questions posed by the Commission in a fluent and relevant manner.
Honours may be awarded, on the recommendation of the supervisor and the unanimous decision of the Board, only for theses which the Board considers to be of high quality.
Students interested in enrolling in the multidisciplinary MD in Cognitive Science and Theory of Communication (LM-55/92) must have in-depth knowledge of cognitive processes, the methodology of empirical sciences, and adequate notions of neuroscience and of philosophical, semiotic, communicative, pedagogical knowledge, as well as anthropological, linguistic, IT and socio-political fields.
Enrolment in the course requires a three-year degree in the following classes: L-05 (Philosophy), L-19 (Education and training sciences), L-20 (Communication sciences), L-24 (Psychological sciences and techniques), L-15 (Cultural tourism), L-03 D.A.M.S., L-39 (Social service sciences), L-31 (Computer sciences and technologies) and equivalent, or another three-year degree obtained in Italy that ensures the acquisition of at least 30 CFU in the following SSDs: L-LIN/01, M-PED, M-FIL, M-PSI, SPS, INF, ING-INF, or another degree obtained abroad, recognised as suitable. As this is an international course given in English, certification of a level of competence equal to at least B2 is required as an entry qualification.
The verification of the student's preparation (ex art. 6, par. 2 of D.M. 270/04) is carried out prior to enrolment in accordance with the procedures indicated in the course regulations.
The educational objectives of the Multidisciplinary Master Degree in Cognitive Sciences and Communication Theories (Class LM-55/92) aim to provide an advanced preparation in the disciplines that contribute to define the field of cognitive sciences such as cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy and social sciences, to be combined with high-level theoretical and methodological skills aimed at the analysis, design and implementation of models and communication interfaces that fall within the latest generation of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), with particular regard to the analysis of the cognitive functions involved in communication processes and the possibility of emulating them through artificial devices. More specifically, graduates are required to:
- acquire in-depth knowledge of a theoretical and operational nature for the interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind, behaviour and communicative capabilities of organisms
- be able to carry out basic and applied research activities independently and within groups in the interdisciplinary fields of cognition and communication, making use of a thorough knowledge of data collection and analysis methodologies;
- be able to understand the structure and functioning of the various media and the cognitive processes underlying them
- become proficient in the technical knowledge needed to program software to emulate natural cognitive and communicative processes;
- have in-depth theoretical and operational knowledge of communication and decision-making processes, to be used in the analysis of these processes at individual and collective level, in organisational, economic and social contexts;
- be familiar with the simulative, observational and experimental methodologies used in the study of the mind-brain system and in the design of human-computer interfaces and between man and other complex systems
- be able to use fluently, in written and oral form, at least one language of the European Union in addition to English, with reference also to the disciplinary lexicons.
Graduates of the course will be able to carry out functions of high responsibility in organisations and services aimed at individuals, groups and communities (schools, public administration, public and private companies), in the design of interfaces and information systems, in the analysis, conception and implementation of integrated communication systems, with particular reference to the new media. They can also work as freelancers and consultants for public and private organisations. They will also be able to work in all working contexts in which communication and the dissemination of knowledge is necessary, on the basis of innovative skills that enable them to promote and use the new technologies at various levels, both in public bodies and in private companies, as well as in economic organisations of various types.
For the purposes indicated, the LM-55/92 degree course provides for
- activities aimed at acquiring theoretical and methodological knowledge relating to the various disciplinary fields of cognitive and communication sciences;
- activities aimed at developing the skills needed to create computational models of the functioning of systems at different levels of complexity;
- seminars, laboratory activities, application experiences in real or simulated situations, relating to training activities in the disciplinary fields of the LM-55 and LM-92 classes;
- activities that count as an internship;
- external activities and study stays at other Italian and European universities, within the framework of international agreements;
- additional activities dedicated to deepening in a multidisciplinary sense the knowledge related to the foundations of cognition, communication and information, with a view to acquiring high-level skills;
- workshop and/or internship activities also in the form of external activities (training periods at institutions, institutes and companies, as well as study stays at other Italian and foreign universities);
- design, research and analysis activities that attest to the acquisition of mastery of the topics covered, as well as the ability to operate autonomously and within cooperative contexts in the field of research in cognitive science and communication theories.
The multidisciplinary course has been designed and consolidated in its current form since it was set up in the 2014/15 academic year, with the aim of reconciling the need to guarantee the educational objectives envisaged for the respective degree classes, and according to the relative areas of learning, with that of creating a single integrated project that highlights the close complementary relationship between the cognitive sciences and the theories of communication, especially in light of their markedly interdisciplinary nature. Numerous multidisciplinary courses and research centres have been set up both abroad and in Italy, combining the expertise of both in such a way as to achieve a virtuous synergy that is not merely a juxtaposition relationship, such as the Research Centre in Cognitive and Communication Sciences at the Catholic University of Milan or the MA in Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen.
The multidisciplinary course has been designed in such a way that all SSDs included in it (M-FIL/01, M-FIL/02, M-FIL/03, M-FIL/05, M-PSI/01, M-PSI/02, L-LIN/01, INF-01, ING-INF/05, SPS/07, L-ART/06) are needed in both classes, LM-55 and LM-92, of which it is intended to represent the organic synthesis, even if grouped in one and in the other according to different characterising and related fields and according to different weights in terms of CFUs. The subjects belonging to these SSD are defined each year in their content physiognomy and harmonised with each other with the explicit objective of providing students with high-level skills in the study of mental processes in terms of their genesis and structure - representations, stereotypes, concepts, beliefs and individual or intersubjectively shared opinions - which find expression in our communicative processes and are largely retroactively modelled by them.
This is achieved by means of disciplines such as theoretical philosophy, philosophy of mind and language, moral philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, the analysis of human-computer interaction, sociology and the study of media devices. As this brief presentation should already highlight, the dimensions of cognition and communication are not only investigated as the exclusive prerogative of natural organisms, but also from the point of view of their implementation in artificial devices that broaden their scope and modify, at least in part, their functioning: hence the need to include in the training offer specific courses that investigate the impact of communication and information technologies on the human mind.
In the construction of the course, the requirement of 60 CFU in common between the two courses that make up the multidisciplinary one has been met. The programmed offer is also defined from year to year so as to include as many disciplines as possible that are common to the two degree classes in the first year of the course, in order to allow students who intend to change course a smooth transition to the following year that does not involve an excessive learning burden.
In order to provide a more detailed and comprehensible presentation of the course of study, it was deemed necessary to divide it into two classes. For the LM-55 class, the following areas are identified:
- Characteristic field of philosophy and linguistics, in the SSD L-LIN/01, M-FIL/01, M-FIL/02 and M-FIL/05. The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the theoretical tools necessary to independently and critically conduct philosophical and linguistic investigation and research on the human and animal mind, on cognitive processes, on the functional role they play in behaviour and language and on the possibility of simulating them through artificial devices;
- characteristic field of psychological disciplines (SSD M-PSI/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities provided in this area relate to the psychological investigation of the nature of the thought processes of human and animal organisms and the dysfunctionalities that impair their success.
- The area of psychobiology and cognitive neuroscience (SSD M-PSI/02). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the experimental investigation of the neurophysiological processes underlying cognitive processes and the functional architecture of the brain, and in the acquisition of mastery of the techniques and methodologies adopted in this field of study.
- Characteristic field of mathematics, informatics and engineering disciplines (SSD INF/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of the acquisition of the fundamentals of computer science and information theory, as well as the main programming methodologies.
- characteristic field of economics, statistics and social sciences (SSD SPS/07). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the basic theoretical notions of sociology as regards its relevance to the cognitive sciences.
- related disciplines (SSD INF/01, ING-INF/05, L-ART/06, M-FIL/03 and M-FIL/05). In accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the course, the knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of in-depth thematic studies with a specialised vocation relating to the disciplines already present in the characterising areas, as well as the problems inherent in the design of human-machine interaction and the engineering of usability and the study of theoretical approaches to the theme of mediality developed since the twentieth century.
- free disciplines: these are chosen by the student, provided that they are congruent with the main disciplinary characteristics of the course of study;
- other knowledge useful for entry into the world of work;
- additional language skills in Italian;
- final examination.
For the LM-92 class, the course is divided into the following learning areas:
- Characterising area of theories and techniques of information and communication (SSD INF/01, ING-INF/05, L-ART/06, L-LIN/01, M-FIL/02, M-FIL/05, SPS/07). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the mastery of the fundamental notions of information theory and programming, of the problems inherent to the design of human-computer interaction and usability engineering, of the main media theories developed since the twentieth century, of the main theories of linguistic and cultural communication, in the philosophical investigation of the cognitive processes involved in communication, and in the acquisition of the basic theoretical notions of sociology applied to the investigation of communication processes.
- Characterising field of socio-economic, historical-political and cognitive disciplines (SSD M-FIL/01, M-FIL/03, M-FIL/05, M-PSI/01, M-PSI/02). In accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the course, the knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the theoretical foundations of the philosophy and ethics of communication as well as the tools for psychological and neuroscientific investigation of the thought processes involved in communication and their neurophysiological correlates.
- related disciplines (SSD INF/01 and M-FIL/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of in-depth thematic studies on the theoretical foundations of artificial intelligence and reflection on the cognitive processes involved in communication.
- free disciplines: these are chosen by the student, provided that they are congruent with the main disciplinary characteristics of the course of study;
- other knowledge useful for entry into the world of work;
- additional language skills in Italian;
- final examination.
The number of students enrolled in the first year of the Master Degree in Cognitive Sciences and Theory of Communication in A.Y. 2020/21 is 13, compared to 15 in A.Y. 2019/20, confirming the downward trend already underway. As regards the age bracket, 5 students are aged between 19 and 25, 4 between 26 and 30, 1 between 31 and 35 and 3 over 35. As regards the area of residence, 3 students come from the province of Messina, 3 from the rest of Sicily, 3 from the province of Reggio Calabria, 2 from the rest of Calabria, 2 from other provinces of Italy ¿ a fact that confirms the prevalent local vocation of the Degree Course. As far as the school of origin is concerned, 5 students come from Licei, 1 from Istituti magistrali, 0 from technical institutes, 1 from professional institutes and 6 from other institutes. There is a similar decrease in the total number of students enrolled which, for A.Y. 2021/21 amounts to 52 units compared to 73 in A.Y. 2019/20. Broken down by geographical area, 19 students come from the province of Messina, 14 from the rest of Sicily, 9 from the province of Reggio Calabria, 6 from the rest of Calabria, 4 from the rest of Italy and 0 from abroad. As for the schools of origin, 25 enrolled students come from high schools, 6 from technical institutes, 13 from teacher training institutes, 1 from professional institutes and 7 from other institutes. 21 enrolled are in course, and 31 are out of course. There are 62 enrolled students who have obtained ECTS in the calendar year 2020 (63 in 2019) for a total of 2121.25 ECTS compared to 1857 obtained in 2019. 221 exams were taken in 2020 compared to 173 in 2019. The average grade of the profit exams in 2020 is 27.1/30 (26.7/30 in 2019), the number of graduates is 18 (9 in 2019), of which 5 in course and 13 out of course, and that of the graduation grades is 105.8/110, against 106.2/100 in 2019. 11 students graduated with honours, compared to 5 in 2019.
The latest data (survey year 2020, in which 6 out of 9 graduates responded at one year, 17 out of 23 at three years and 6 out of 7 at five years), relating to the employment situation of graduates from the MD in Cognitive Science and Theory of Communication , show a slight downward trend compared to the previous survey.
Of the LM-55/92 graduates, 50% are currently employed one year after graduation, 59.2% three years after graduation and 16.7% five years after graduation. They participated in at least one postgraduate training activity 33.3% one year after graduation (16.7% voluntary collaboration, 16.7% vocational training course), 47.1% three years after graduation (23.5% PhD, 17.6% first level master's degree, 5.9% voluntary collaboration, other type of master's degree and vocational training course) and 66.7% five years after graduation (33.3% internship in a company, 16.7% voluntary collaboration, postgraduate school and vocational training course).
The net monthly salary is euro 1001 at one year after graduation, euro 1376 at three years and euro 2,376 at five years.
The professional figures for which the course specifically prepares are suitable to be employed in private and public organisations where skills are required in the fields of cognitive rehabilitation, software programming and neural networks, software design, human-machine interfaces and tools, devices and virtual communication environments. The working environments are to be identified in
- public administrations in which the competences for which the course qualifies are required;
- public and private training organisations;
- Universities and other organisations conducting research in the field of cognitive and communication sciences;
- scientific research and care institutions and health facilities active in the field of cognitive rehabilitation;
- companies operating in the IT sector, in particular in software programming, website and social platform design and in the development of human-machine interfaces;
- WEB analysis and design
- corporate communication
- multimedia communication
- public, political and institutional communication
- editing and copywriting
- design and management of social platforms
- cultural services
- public administrations (press offices and other positions of responsibility)
- public and private radio and television companies;
- companies managing electronic and social media;
- companies operating in the field of advertising and marketing
- human resources and public relations departments in public and private companies.
Parere delle parti sociali
In view of the ordinamental modification that provides for the transformation of the Course of Study into an International Course, delivered entirely in English and predominantly in distance mode, on November 9, 2020 the consultation meeting was held between the head of the MD in Cognitive Science and Theories of Communication, supported by the QA Group of the Course Council and the referents of the representative organizations of the production and reference professions, including the representative of the Italian Association of Cognitive Science and delegates of the CISL trade union, of companies operating in the IT, web, business communication and conventional and electronic publishing sectors.
The Coordinator submitted to the attention of the participants the proposed amendment to the RAD for the transformation of the Multidisciplinary Course LM-55/92 (Cognitive Sciences and Communication Theories) in English and the conduct of teaching activities in telematic mode. It was pointed out that this is aimed at increasing the profile of the course at an international level and at consolidating the qualitative level of the offer proposed. This is necessary, especially in view of the need, shared by both students and teachers of the course, to use in the formulation of disciplinary programs the most updated and qualitatively salient scientific contributions that, as it is known, are published in English.
Prof. Amoretti, on behalf of the Italian Association of Cognitive Science, expresses her appreciation and full support for the initiative, which will certainly contribute to widening the course's catchment area and to corroborating its disciplinary profile, in view of an increase in graduates' chances of entering the job market. This point is noteworthy, all the more so if we consider that the Master's Degree Course in Cognitive Sciences and Theories of Communication is the only one existing in the Centre-South of Italy and that the University of Trento has already provided for an analogous initiative for its Course pertaining to the LM-55 degree class.
The representatives of companies operating in the above-mentioned sectors agree that the proposed amendment is part of a consolidated trend in the labour market, which requires the training of highly qualified professionals with the necessary language skills to access a globalised labour market. The prospect of expanding the pool of potential students and the job prospects related to the course of study is also appreciated. The on-line mode of delivery also makes it possible to explore possibilities for managing and delivering teaching content that were previously precluded, also in view of the positioning of the training offer in an international scenario. On-line training, intended as an integration and not as a total replacement of face-to-face teaching, in fact allows a more effective comparison with the current needs of the labour market which, in the working sectors to which the course is addressed, requires the mastery of the latest technological devices as regards, for example, the creation and management of video and multimedia content. The development of the necessary skills in the field of online communication also necessarily requires access to English-language texts, which the amendment to the regulations at issue in the meeting is capable of guaranteeing. The need to calibrate the training offer on the actual needs of the labour market is therefore reflected in the development of transversal skills in the students of the course (the so-called 'soft skills'). These skills will put them in the best possible position to understand in advance and intercept the ever-changing and complex scenarios and dynamics that are constantly emerging in the world of programming and communication. Lastly, it is important to emphasise the important effects that the digitalisation of the contents of the course may have in terms of increasing the number of students and maximising the possibilities of employment. Achieving these objectives requires, as a preliminary step, the raising of the entry level and a prospecting of the effects of the proposed change in the territory, especially as regards the third mission policies.
The Coordinator, after having spoken with the participants during the meeting, accepts their proposals, reiterating that the change in the system not only has the advantage of increasing the number of students and the possibility of transmitting more up-to-date teaching content in line with the current research panorama in the field of cognitive sciences. The opportunity to ensure the transmission of skills that can be spent more profitably in the local area remains unaffected, in view of the qualitative increase in the level of entry prerequisites and the training course as a whole, as it will be reconfigured following the proposed change in the system.