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Strategic Communication to Counter Security Threats in the Disinformation Era (2nd edition)
URJCx

Strategic Communication to Counter Security Threats in the Disinformation Era

About This Course

The culture of communications is changing at a rapid pace, driven by the power of internet and social networks. The digital communication environment, with its remarkable advantages and opportunities, also provides opportunities to different actors for conducting malicious influencing activities, divide societies, erode the democratic values and sow distrust in our institutions. Users are encouraged to create personal echo-chambers at the expense of information pluralism and to move away from reliable and credible news reporting and sound journalist analyses.

This interdisciplinary course, framed under the CRESCEnt project (Mind the Gap in media coverage and strategic communication in case of security threats), co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, addresses the challenge of building awareness and developing resilience to disinformation, fake news, and hostile information influencing campaigns.

The MOOC aims to increase the key knowledge and competences of institutional spokespersons and journalists (including young professionals in journalism and related disciplines/areas) in the field of security and defense, and in relation to strategic communication and news reporting on security threats.

The course is developed in collaboration between: “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy (MVNIA) – Romania, Ciberimaginario Research Group of the University Rey Juan Carlos– Spain, Kentro Meleton Asfaleias (KEMEA), Center For Security Studies – Greece and Ministry of Internal Affairs, Directorate for Information and Public Relations (MAI-DIRP) – Romania.

The course is a result of the project CRESCEnt Project. Mind the gap in media CoveRagE and Strategic communication in CasE of security Threats – the development of critical thinking and responsible reaction, adn Strategic partnership project within ERASMUS+ Program AGREEMENT NO. - 2018-1-RO01-KA202-049449.Z

Crescent y UE

   

What you are going to learn

  • Understand the 21st security threat landscape and the role of the cyber/information as security dimension.
  • Analyze the key concepts related with communication processes: disinformation, misinformation, propaganda, covert influencing, digital active measures, strategic communication, hybrid threats.
  • Acquire competencies and analytic tools in order to evaluate information sources and contents, and critically address the consumption of information in traditional media and social media channels.
  • Plan strategic communication campaigns with a particular focus in tackling security threats.
  • Understand the importance of sound and responsible journalist practices, and of bridging the gap between media professionals and institutional strategic communicators in case of security threats, for addressing the challenge of fakes news and deliberate disinformation activities.

Requirements

A previous knowledge of communication studies (disinformation, propaganda, media literacy, and fake news) just as in the field of security/ law enforcement is recommended to take advantage of the course.

However, it can be followed by anyone with an interest in the subject of strategic communication.

The course is specifically designed for institutional spokespersons, students in communication and journalism and young journalists and opinion leaders that take part in accredited media communication flows during major security events.

Course Staff

Faculty

Rubén Arcos, Ph. D.

Rubén Arcos, Ph. D. |     

Dr. Rubén Arcos is a professor of communication sciences at URJC and a member Ciberimaginario. He is co-founder and co-director of IntelHub, an international network for the study of intelligence. He is a freelance contributor to Jane’s Intelligence Review and Deputy Editor of The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs. He is a member of the Hybrid CoE's information expert pool.

Irena Chiru, Ph. D.

Irena Chiru, Ph. D. | 

Irena Chiru is a professor of intelligence studies at “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy Romania and the chair of the International Association for Intelligence Education – European Chapter. In the last 20 years, she has taught more than 200 scientific seminars and colloquia and given more than 30 educational talks on strategic communication and its impact on intelligence organizations. She has also coordinated research teams involved in research projects dedicated to security and intelligence (CITY COP – H2020, CARISMAND – H2020, ESSENTIAL – EJD, CRESCEnt – ERASMUS+, ARMOUR – DIGI Home.).

Mihaela Teodor, Ph. D.

Mihaela Teodor, Ph. D.

Mihaela Teodor is senior researcher in security studies (MVNIA 2014), where she develops and implements research activities and has management responsibilities as Editor in Chief of the Romanian Intelligence Studies Review. Mrs. Teodor’s area of expertise is in European and Romanian contemporary history (UAIC RO 2003) and European integration and security studies (UAIC RO 2005), and she holds a PhD in History (UAIC RO 2011). She has been part of several research projects with European and national funding, where she has worked as an expert or researcher (CRESCEnt – ERASMUS+, CITY COP – H2020, GRAVITAS, ESSENTIAL – H2020).

Cristina Ivan, Ph. D.

Cristina Ivan, Ph. D. | 

Cristina Ivan is a researcher in security and intelligence studies. She holds a PhD in cultural studies from the University of Bucharest, where she has researched violent religious extremism in cultural productions within the British discursive space (2000-2010). Over the past 15 years she has specialized in the cultural study of violence, radicalization and terrorism, propaganda and disinformation, critical intelligence studies etc. She has taken an active part in European funded projects targeting an enhanced understanding and early detection of radicalization, propaganda, disinformation, as well as designing both preventive and countering interventions. Research projects include: A radical model of resilience for young minds - ARMOUR (2019-2021); Semantic Analysis against Foreign Fighters Recruitment Online networks – SAFFRON (2016-2018); Culture and Risk Management in Man-made and Natural Disasters, CARISMAND (2016-2018); and CRESCEnt.

Ileana-Cinziana Surdu, Ph. D.

Ileana-Cinziana Surdu, Ph. D. | 

Ileana Surdu is a researcher within the “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy-MVNIA, Romania (2017) and holds a PhD in Sociology (2019, University of Bucharest-UB). She graduated various courses in the field of sociological research methods, critical thinking, and teaching techniques (Globalytica, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies-BUES, MVNIA). In the last 10 years she worked in numerous projects with European and national funding, carrying out sociological research activities. Also, she has a 7 years’ experience in teaching courses and seminars at BA level (UB, BUES).

Georgios Chasapis

Georgios Chasapis

Georgios Chasapis is a Police Captain, who was born in Patras in 1986. He has been working for the Hellenic Police Forces, since 2004. Except from the diploma of the Lieutenant School of the Hellenic Police Academy, he also holds a Bachelor diploma in Business Administration of the University of Piraeus and a Master diploma in Criminology of the Panteion University of Athens. From 2016 onwards, he is working as seconded research associate in the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) of the Hellenic Ministry of Citizen Protection in the field of cross- border serious and organized crime. In parallel, he is the Head of Certification department of KEMEA and the contact person of KEMEA in CEPOL (European Union Agency of Law Enforcement Training). As a CEPOL trainer for Law Enforcement Officers, he has organized a several number of CEPOL courses, seminars, conferences, as well web trainings about irregular migration, THB, and training of trainers.

Vagia Poutouroudi

Vagia Poutouroudi

Vagia Poutouroudi works as a research associate at the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) of the Hellenic Ministry of Citizen Protection. Her field of expertise is EU policies and EU Law, as she holds a Bachelor in International & European Studies and an MSc in Public Policy & Management. She is heavily involved in EU R&D innovation programs specialized in Radicalization, Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

Andriani Retzepi

Andriani Retzepi

Andriani RETZEPI is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Political Science & Public Administration, University of Athens since 2016. Her doctoral thesis is “Conflict and coexistence in Greek Political Changeover. Social perception of political violence through the example of the terrorist group Revolutionary Organization 17 November”. She holds a MSc degree in International Security and Global Governance, Birkbeck College, University of London (2013) and a BSc degree in Political Science and Public Administration, University of Athens (2010). She has attended and participated in courses, seminars and conferences, while her research interests focus on political violence and terrorism during the Greek Political Changeover. Since 2017 she is Research Associate at the Hellenic Center of Security Studies in the field of Radicalization, Violent Extremism and Terrorism.

Konstantinos Tigkas

Konstantinos Tigkas

Konstantinos TIGKAS (B.A., M.A.) He was born in 1989. Since 2017, he is a research associate at the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) in the sector of Anti-Crime Policy, responsible for training programs and European and research projects. He graduated with a Bachelor in International, European and Regional Studies at Panteion University of Social and Political Science. He holds a M.A. in European Law and Public Policy since 2015. Mr. Tigkas prepares critical and comparative reviews and reports about European Policies in the fields of Security, Radicalisation and Violent Extremism. He is actively participates in several European Projects in the field of prevention of Radicalisation.

Giorgos Triantafyllou, Ph. D.

Giorgos Triantafyllou, Ph. D.

Dr. Giorgos TRIANTAFYLLOU is a political scientist with expertise on international security and conflict analysis. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kent (UK) and he is currently a member of KEMEA’s team on Radicalization, Violent Extremism and Terrorism.

MOOC Coordinator

Manuel Gértrudix Barrio

Manuel Gértrudix Barrio |     

Associate Professor of Digital Communication at the Rey Juan Carlos University, coordinator of the Cyberimaginary research group, and co-editor of the scientific journal Icono14. Specialist in digital communication and elearning he has participated in seventeen competitive national and international research projects. He has an extensive scientific production with more than 50 publications among research articles, book chapters and monographs.

Rubén Arcos, Ph. D.

Rubén Arcos, Ph. D. |     

Dr. Rubén Arcos is a professor of communication sciences at URJC and a member Ciberimaginario. He is co-founder and co-director of IntelHub, an international network for the study of intelligence. He is a freelance contributor to Jane’s Intelligence Review and Deputy Editor of The International Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs. He is a member of the Hybrid CoE's information expert pool.

Workgroup

Juan Romero Luis

Juan Romero Luis |       

Pre-doctoral researcher hired by the Spanish National University Teacher Training Programme (FPU) at King Juan Carlos University. Doctoral School of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. Master in UX: Usability, Interaction Design and User Experience at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) (Barcelona School of Management). Member of Ciberimaginario Research Group, in the Science of Communication department.

Alejandro Carbonell Alcocer

Alejandro Carbonell Alcocer |     

Pre-doctoral researcher at Ciberimaginario Research Group within Rey Juan Carlos University. Master's Degree in Secondary School Training in Audiovisual Communication and Multimedia specialty at Rey Juan Carlos University.

Claudia Martín-Carnerero Lara

Claudia Martín-Carnerero Lara |   

Freelance dedicated to the creation of audiovisual content. Specialized in audiovisual formats for the educational field. She has experience in work teams such as Ciberimaginario and the Innovation Center for Digital Education URJC Online where she was part of the design and elaboration of several MOOC. Graduated in Audiovisual Communication.

Lara Ruiz Cerezo

Lara Ruiz Cerezo |   

Researcher at King Juan Carlos University. Master in Edition and VFX at Trazos School. Bachelor’s Degree in Media at King Juan Carlos University. Founder of TTF Films (independent producer) as producer, camera and editor of commercials and wedding report.

Preguntas frecuentes

Who is this course for?

Institutional spokespersons, students in communication and journalism and young journalists and opinion leaders that take part in accredited media communication flows during major security events. A previous knowledge of communication studies (disinformation, propaganda, media literacy, and fake news) just as in the field of security/ law enforcement is recommended but it's not essential.

What good can it do me?

To retrain and/or specialize in an area where there is an increasing demand for professionals with specific training. This MOOC will help you to understand the 21st security threat landscape and the role of the cyber/information as security dimension, the key concepts related with communication processes: disinformation, misinformation, propaganda, covert influencing, digital active measures, strategic communication, hybrid threats, and acquire competencies and analytic tools in order to evaluate information sources and contents, and critically address the consumption of information in traditional media and social media channels.

How can I register?

You will have to complete the registration form to register in URJCx.

When does the MOOC start and end?

Information on the start and end dates of each edition of the MOOC is available on the MOOC description page. Also, if you've already signed up for a MOOC, you'll be able to see the start date in your control panel.

Due to time differences, the start time of a course may vary within the specified date depending on the country or time zone from which it is accessed. Keep this in mind for both the start and end of the course.

If you log in during the start date and the course is not yet available, try logging in again throughout the day.

What certification do I get if I complete it?

You have all the information about the certifications available at URJCx in the Frequently Asked Questions page, so that you can choose the one that best suits your curriculum once you have passed the course.

How do I communicate and interact with course facilitators, curators or participants?

All the communications of the course are done through the channels (spaces and networks) of the MOOC itself, where all the activity is concentrated among the course participants. This type of course does NOT include e-mail communication with the teaching staff.

Do I need to install anything specific on my computer?

No, to take this MOOC you only need a device with an Internet connection so that you can access the contents on our platform. Although the orientation of the course is practical, no exercises with any specific tool will be performed and no programming will be necessary.

Do I have to connect to the platform at specific times to follow the course?

No, you'll do the MOOC at your own pace, at times that suit you, connecting when, how and where you want. The contents of the course are always available on the URJCx platform for you. We recommend that you spend about four hours a week on them, but it is up to you to decide whether to spend more or less time studying the materials available.

In what format are the course materials provided?

No, you'll do the MOOC at your own pace, at times that suit you, connecting when, how and where you want. The contents of the course are always available on the URJCx platform for you. We recommend that you spend about four hours a week on them, but it is up to you to decide whether to spend more or less time studying the materials available.

How do I pass the course?

At the end of each week of study you will be evaluated with a test about the basic concepts learned.

How can I resolve a technical issue with the platform?

If you have any technical problem with URJCx you can contact the URJC support team online through the contact form.

RAC credit validation

If you are an undergraduate student at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in order to obtain RAC credits, once you have passed the course, you must register with your University user at the MOOC (@alumnos.urjc.es). Those students who have passed the course with a user other than that of the URJC (@alumnos.urjc.es) will not be recognized for these credits.

The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

  1. Course Number

    URJCx113
  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

  4. Estimated Effort

    5 hours / week
  5. Duration

    5 weeks
  6. Price

    Free
    Optional certificate by 25€

Itinerario del curso

0. Welcome

Welcome: objectives and couse staff

Schedule/Program

Methodology

Rules Forums

Certifications

Course Guide (PDF)

1. Security, asymmetric threats and communication

Learning guide

Characterization of the 21st Century security threat landscape. Definitions: national security threats, state conventional and non-state unconventional methods, Hybrid threats, disinformation

What are the main security threats affecting European liberal democracies in the digital era?

Cyber/Information as a security domain. Individuals and institutions as the targets of hostile state and non-state actor activities: addressing the security challenge   

Evaluation

2. Strategic communication and public opinion

Learning guide

Strategic Communication phenomena: Strategic communication as a process; Models of communication; Propaganda, misinformation, desinformation...

What is Public Opinion? Approach of concepts of public and opinion. Communication and Public Opinion. Information and opinion. Opinion and news media. Theories   

Strategic planning of communication, Publics/stakeholders analysis, RACE/ROPE Process, Communication tactics

Evaluation

3. Addressing the challenge of fake news, disinformation and covert influence in the digital era

Learning guide

Propaganda and disinformation in historical perspective

Ethics and journalism for countering disinformation/misinformation

Covert influence and the challenge of attribution. Communication-led covert actions. Plausible deniability. To what extent is attribution possible?

Evaluation

4. CRESCEnt Advanced Analytic and Critical Thinking Toolkit

Learning guide

Evidence, judgement, and logical reasoning

Information evaluation and verification 101: Source reliability, content credibility, audiovisual material checking

Disinformation/propaganda analysis: Identifying and exposing hostile information influencing   

Evaluation

5. Role-playing Simulations/Gaming

Learning guide

Countering disinformation with professional and ethical journalism: hands-on hard news reporting and analysis journalism. Role-play as journalist and produce a news story and interpretative piece using open sources

Everything fake: Detecting AI-generated forgeries (GAN)

Strategic Communicator game challenge   

Evaluation

6. Closing

Farewell   

Certification Info

Additional information

Satisfaction survey

Badge

Enroll