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Governance and Digitalisation (minor PA)


Admission requirements

Target group: participants in the Minor Public Administration - Multi-level Governance


What new challenges face the state in an era of turbulent technological change? Governments must adapt to new ways of functioning with digital technologies, and they also have to respond to new societal impacts created by those technologies. This course will take a critical look at what has happened in the 21st century in the meeting of digitalisation and governance, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different public administration solutions to the challenges.

The course is lecture based in structure. The lectures will cover the main theories and debates on the topic of governance and digitialisation. Lectures will also be interactional to the extent possible using a mixture of online and in-person formats. The lectures are designed to open the floor to students to present and discuss their take on the theories.

In terms of content, the course has two parts. In the first part, the lectures cover the matter of what exactly digital technologies are and how they create governance challenges. The challenges addressed include the areas of ethics, management, and politics. These challenges can be seen in real world events such as fake news, contracting with 5G providers, and artificial intelligence (AI) in public services.

In the second part, the lectures cover the possible solutions to these challenges. Solutions include approaches such as citizen coproduction, regulation, and transparency. These solutions can be seen in the real world through approaches such as privacy laws, policy crowdsourcing, and online one-stop-shops.

Solutions are unlikely to be without flaw. Students will be given analytical tools for evaluating the solutions, invited to think about alternative solutions, and given opportunities to produce practical proposals that are realistic about what can be achieved.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to…

  • Describe several real-world cases of governance challenges (e.g., fake news, political influence of tech companies, discrimination in AI systems).

  • Explain how digital technologies (e.g., apps, smart devices, social media) have a different governance impact compared to analogue technologies (e.g., print media, analogue TV).

  • Selectively appropriate policy solutions to the challenges.

  • Critically assess the limitations of the policy solutions.


On the right side of the programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

The course instruction will take the form of lectures.

In the lectures the instructor covers the main points in the required readings and sets them in the context of broader scholarly debates. Discussion and participation from students is also encouraged in lectures, and online platforms will also be used for students to present their ideas in other formats. Attendance to all lectures is highly advisable so that students receive the necessary information and guidance for completing their assignments.

Lectures = 7 x 2=14 hours
Assessment (Exams) = 5 hours
Self-study (reading, preparation for classes, and exam) = 121 hours

Assessment method

Mid-term exam = 40%
Final exam = 60%

Students who score below 5.5 will have the opportunity to resit the exams. Dates and locations for retakes will be made available in the course hand out. Compensation is possible between both grades.

Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

A bibliography of required reading will made available on Brightspace. Students are not required to purchase any literature for the course.


Registration in uSis is possible from 15 July 13.00h , after registration for the entire minor. Students can enrol either as part of the Bestuurskunde bachelor track or as a minor from another programme. You will receive the same course but make sure you enrol for the correct track so that your grades are registered properly. Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here. After enrolment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Alex Ingrams: