Gordon Gow, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept
(780) 710-4673
4-26 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4


Area of Study / Keywords

Communication studies internet studies social media political economy of communication community and international development


Gordon Gow is Professor of Communication and Academic Director of the Master of Arts in Communications and Technology (MACT program) in the Media Technology Studies unit at the University of Alberta. From 2003-2006 he was lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, where he was Director of the Graduate Programme in Media and Communications Regulation and Policy.

Awards, Grants, and Commissions

Kule Institute for Advanced Study (2019-2020). Research Team Grant. Community-based Leadership in Digital Media and Technology

Government of Canada, Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program. Faculty Mobility Grant (2019). Canadian-Caribbean Partnership in Support of a Joint Education and Training Initiative in Agricultural Extension

McCalla Professor (2016-2017). Joint Education and Training Initiative in Technology Stewardship and Digital Leadership

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2012-2015). Partnership development to explore innovative uses of low cost communication technology for knowledge mobilization in agricultural communities of practice. (Principal Investigator)

Kule Institute for Advanced Study (2011-2012). Environmentally sustainable farming practices through a technology-enhanced community of practice approach (Principal Investigator)

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2008-2011). Emergency Alerting at Canadian Post-Secondary Educational Institutions (Principal Investigator)

International Development Research Centre (2008-2010). Real-time Biosurveillance Project: Sri Lanka and India. (Co-investigator)

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2004 Contributions Programme, Prepaid Mobile Phones and Privacy Rights (2004-2006)

International Telecommunications Union, Strategy and Policy Unit, Privacy and Ubiquitous Network Societies Workshop (2005)

European Commission, Digital Business Ecosystem Project, Regulatory Issues Working Group (2004-2006)


Dr. Gow's research and teaching interests revolve around the social impact of digital media and technology. He has been leading collaborative research projects in digital leadership and literacy through his technology stewardship initiative with Canadian and international partners. His expertise extends to a range of areas including communication for development; community informatics; political economy of communication; communication policy and regulation; science and technology studies.

In addition, he has longstanding interest in the field of media ecology, with a focus on the work of Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, and the Toronto School of Communication. Dr. Gow maintains a collection of books, recordings, and other hard to find published material by and about Canadian (Edmonton-born) communication theorist Marshall McLuhan.


I teach graduate courses on the social impact of digital communications, looking at a variety of topics including social construction of technology, contemporary issues in social media, online communities, digital leadership and transformation, community informatics and ICT for Development.

I am also an Adjunct Professor with the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta, where I teach INT D "Science, Innovation, and Leadership."

Dr. Gow would like to hear from graduate students interested in the social impact of communications, technology and society, digital leadership, digital outreach and engagement, political economy of communication, or media ecology.


I am pleased to be working with the Arts Resource Centre at the University of Alberta on a new initiative using Mastodon to establish a decentralized social media infrastructure for supporting research on community-based alternatives to big tech. Please get in touch if you are interested in knowing more about it.


COMM 503 - Social Impact of Digital Communications

This course explores the social impact of digital communications, with a specific focus on new and emerging social media and networks. Course themes cover a broad range of topics on the history and development of digital communications including social networks, virtual communities, and participatory culture. This course also touches on legal, ethical, and practical dimensions of digital communications as they relate to a range of personal and professional contexts. Restricted to MACT students, normally in the first year. Offered during the Spring Institute. Students may not receive credit for both EXT 503 and COMM 503.

Spring Term 2021
COMM 505 - Contemporary Issues in Communications and Technology

Current and emerging issues in communications and technology will be explored with an emphasis on providing professionals with an advanced understanding of current developments in the field informed by historical and critical theoretical perspectives. Restricted to MACT students. Students may not receive credit for both EXT 505 and COMM 505. Prerequisites: COMM 502 and COMM 503 or consent of the Department.

Winter Term 2021
INT D 406 - Innovation, Science and Leadership

Investigation of the nature and use of evidence and models of scientific inquiry as they apply to theory and research in leadership. Students will work in teams to conduct an interdisciplinary leadership project that involves designing an innovative solution to a collectively identified problem. Prerequisite: INT D 301. Counts toward the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies offered by the School of Business in collaboration with the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. [Faculty of Science]

Winter Term 2021 Winter Term 2022
SOC 302 - Topics in Sociology

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of the instructor. Note: Consult the Department for any additional prerequisites. Course may be taken more than once if topic(s) vary.

Winter Term 2022
SOC 401 - Honors Individual Study

Individual study opportunity on topics for which no specific course is currently offered by the Department. Course may be taken once only. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and Honors Advisor. Note: Restricted to Sociology Honors students. Closed to web registration.

Winter Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Gordon Gow


Alternative Social Media for Outreach and Engagement
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow
Publication Date: 2020
External Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b97Lb1fDYnOwDZBZ7hI1yROjWb3WcYKp/view?usp=sharing
Fostering effective use of ICT in agricultural extension: participant responses to an inaugural technology stewardship training program in Trinidad
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow, A. Chowdhury, J. Ramjattan, W. Ganpat
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension
External Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c1U2BnTKNIU77aiNTeuGa6szPIjvL8_D/view?usp=sharing
Introducing a Technology Stewardship Model to Encourage ICT Adoption in Agricultural Communities of Practice
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow
Publication Date: 2018
External Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/17QScmLsAXp1MkvNivkxOskMxvoGg8Nld/view?usp=sharing
Technology Stewardship Training at the University of the West Indies
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow
Publication Date: 2018
External Link: https://vimeo.com/272220978
Technology stewardship training with the University of Peradeniya [video]
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow
Publication Date: 2016
External Link: https://vimeo.com/203134225
Project Backpage Using text messaging to initiate outreach support for victims of human trafficking
Author(s): Gordon A. Gow, T. Barlott, K. Quinn, J. Linder, A. Soler, G. Edwards, S. Hossain
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Journal of Human Trafficking
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 259-274
External Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwjZ8EhyDFTNSWRDLUpzSllQbWs
Stewarding technology for inclusive innovation (video)
Author(s): Gordon Gow
External Link: https://youtu.be/N2Yefqf9wDw