Data Ethics Outreach Lab

Study project and interdisciplinary course for CogSci Master Students

University of Osnabrück, Winter Term 2023/24

Wednesdays 14–17, room: 50/E07 (Institute of Cognitive Sciene, Wachsbleiche). Starting 18 October, 2023

Team: Prof. Dr. Rainer Mühlhoff, Nora Lindemann, Paul Schütze, Jan Siebold, Annemarie Witschas and Marte Henningsen

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Oct 2023): Please note that for WiSe 2023/24 we are currently no longer accepting new study project participants.

Course description

Why does the data collected by Instagram or YouTube lead to social inequality? How do Snapchat, TikTok and Co. (re)structure social relationships and restrict the identity performances available to young people online? What does PayPal do with all the data they collect from payment transactions? How much does Spotify know about its users? Why do chat bots perpetuate stereotypical gender norms? And how does riding a bus without a ticket relate to being denied a loan?

These questions represent only a handful of possible vantage points from which to explore and critically reflect on key issues in the field of digital consumer culture. Many of these issues relate to big data and AI services we use every day. In most cases, users are not aware that these services have harmful effects on our societies, democracies and well-being.

Within this study project we will discuss the risks and societal implications of networked digital services to develop strategies and formats for public awareness raising. Participants will form small teams to choose their own topics – along the technologies and issues they perceive most pressing. These topics should then be implemented into Open Educational Resources – school materials for high school students, workshop events for school teachers, explainer videos to circulate on the web, or similar public interventions.


The course is aimed at Cognitive Science Master students who can participate in the following mode(s):

  • Interdisciplinary Course (1 semester, WiSe 2023/24, 4 hrs/week, 6 ECTS points).
  • Study Project (2 semesters, 6 hrs/week, 12 ECTS points, existing students from Summer Term 2023 only). Please note that for WiSe 2023/24 we are currently no longer accepting new study project participants. Depending on further developments it may be possible to join the study project in SoSe 2024. For this option, please wait for updates in the beginning of 2024.

We further invite Master students of Lehramt to participate in this course. Accreditation at the UOS is possible as part of the KCL module “Medienbildung und Mediensozialisation” (1 semester, WiSe 2023/24, 4 hrs/week, 4–6 ECTS points). We have 10 places for Lehramt students.

We also have limited places for students from other disciplines and other institutions. Please contact us in this case.


The language of instruction is English. However, the course will largely work in small project groups which can also work in German (especially if you want to develop teaching material for German schools). Students who do not reside in Osnabrück can also participate online (hybrid course), although it is practical for project teams to work either entirely in person or online.

Getting in touch

There will be an orientation session in the first session of the semester (Wednesday, 18 October 2023, 14:15), in which we will introduce the project in more detail and where you can ask questions. If you have questions now, please send an email to outreachlab .::at: