Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris
Ph.D. Business Administration (Information Systems – Usability)
M.B.A. e-Business, B. Eng. Aerospace
Assistant Professor: Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media
Adjunct Assistant Professor: Usability and Accessibility Center
424 College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan, USA, 48824
E-Mail: "coursari [at] msu [dot] edu"

Technology and Culture: Communication and Games
Study abroad opportunity in Japan!
May 10 to 27, 2010

View the course flyer in Acrobat Reader (note: the file is ~5MB)

Additional information for this course in PowerPoint (note: the file is ~6MB)

Detailed information regarding our activities and experience in Japan

View a course website made by students in the program

Slideshow from previous sessions in Japan

Course Description/Objectives:

Hosted in Japan, this course offers students a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between culture and technology use in the context of Japanese communication and gaming. Industry site visits will provide previews of emerging services and games and the requisite market research. Companies recruited for the site visits include mobile phone service providers, game developers, and broadcasting facilities. Arguably, the most exciting part of the course will be an extensive series of field trips to historic Japanese sites. Lastly, to optimize our students’ experience, Japanese language lessons and social events will be organized.
The four thematic areas of this course are:

  1. Technology:
    Wireless; Mobile Devices; Next-Gen Game Consoles; Emerging technology.

  2. Culture:
    Perspectives and dimensions of culture; Individual traits; Societal norms; Language.

  3. Communication:
    Computer-Mediated Communication; Online Identities; Relating Online.

  4. Games:
    Game Development; Game Markets; Mobile Games; Games and Society.

Course Costs:

  1. Program fees (includes two weeks of accommodations): Estimated at $2,000
  2. Not included: Tuition fees (6 credits)
  3. Not included: Air fare - Detroit to Tokyo: ~$900 (fares have ranged from $650-1,200)
  4. Not included: Most Meals (~$300), high-speed rail pass (~$300), spending money (~$500)

Course Format:

  • Prior to departure:
    5 class sessions from 6-9 p.m. or equivalent
    E.g. Thursdays in April; subject to enrolled students' schedules
  • Depart from Detroit on Monday, May 10
  • Arrive in Tokyo (Base 1 - Hotel Asia Center of Japan), Japan, on Tuesday, May 11
  • Company site visits: Wednesday-Friday, May 12-14
  • Cultural trips: Saturday & Sunday, May 15-16
  • Transfer to Osaka (Base 2 Hotel Hearton Shinsaibashi), Japan, on Sunday, May 16
  • Cultural trips: Monday-Thursday, May 17-20
    (Hikone, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Yokohama, Asakusa - optional: Nagoya, Fuji)
  • Transfer back to Tokyo (Base 1 hotel), Japan, on Thursday night, May 20,
  • Company site visits: Friday, May 21
  • Free time: Saturday & Sunday, May 22-23
  • University visits and research: Monday-Wednesday, May 24-26
  • Free evenings
  • Depart May 27 - assistance with alternative accommodations may be arranged for an earlier/later arrival/departure.

Course Outline:






Classroom sessions @ MSU (~17 hours)

May 12


Company Site Visits 1 & 2 & 3(TBD)

May 13


Company Site Visits 4 & 5 & 6(TBD)

May 14


Company Site Visits 7 & 8 & 9 (TBD)

May 15-16


Cultural activities in Tokyo, Asakusa

May 17


Cultural Trip: Hikone, Nara, Kyoto

May 18


Cultural Trip: Osaka, Kyoto

May 19


Cultural Trip: Hiroshima, Miyajima

May 20


Cultural Trip: Osaka

May 21


Company site visits: 10 & 11 & 12

May 22-23


Free time

May 24-26


University visits and research

May 27


Depart Tokyo

Course Materials

Optional textbook: Wood, A.F., and Smith, M.J. (2005) Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, and Culture, 2nd Edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Grading for Course 1 (4 credits) - TC491/891

  • Participation: 30 %
  • Blogging Assignment: 50 %
  • Technology Review: 20 %

Grading for Course 2 (2 credits) - TC490/890

  • Research: 50 %
  • Project option (Web, Video, Paper): 50 % (due on June 16, 2010)

About the Instructor:

Constantinos K. Coursaris holds a dual appointment at Michigan State University. Dr. Coursaris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Usability and Accessibility Center. His formal training consists of a B.Eng. in Aerospace, an MBA in e-Business, and a Ph.D. in Information Systems with a concentration on electronic business (e-Business) and mobile commerce (m-Commerce). His doctoral dissertation focused on “Contextual Usability: The Impact of Distraction on User Performance, Satisfaction, and Adoption of Mobile Devices for Wireless Data Services”.

During his academic career he has received many accolades in business analysis and e-Business research and development. Constantinos has been involved in the instruction of over 30 university courses over the last 6 years. He has also gained consulting experience having worked repeatedly as a contractor for McMaster University, focusing on Web content management, Website development and event organizing. Constantinos has also held management positions in retail, hospitality, and information technology (IT). His current research interests lie in the intersection of usability and mobile devices for the purpose of health and/or commercial applications. The results of his research efforts can be found in his numerous publications and conference presentations.

Copyright Constantinos Kyros Coursaris