Module code: SOC3078

Module Overview

This module offers a critical engagement with the structures and significance of digital platforms, data and emerging forms of communication in digital societies. Drawing together key theoretical scholarship in communication studies, and critical data and platform studies, this module offers students the foundations for thinking critically about and engaging with new communication interfaces and their societal, political and cultural ramifications.

Module provider


Module Leader

DAS Ranjana (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• critical perspectives on Big Data
• algorithms
• platform societies
• self-tracking
• quantification
• the Internet of Things
• data literacies
• internet regulation in datafied societies.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Group Presentation 30
Coursework 2000 word case study 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to conduct independent library research, focusing on research published in academic journals, on a current topic relevant to data and platform societies. It is also built to enhance collaborative thinking and writing on key debates in platform societies.

  • The first assignment is a group assignment. Students will be divided into groups which will then have the opportunity to select any of 5 topical issues/debates from the module. They will then present a summary of the key issues arising out of the subject area, provide an indication of what the literature says on these issues, and begin to draw some conclusions on future steps for either practice, or policy or users themselves.

  • The second assignment is a 2000 word case study which allows students to either build on the topic selected in the first assignment, or select a different topic from the module. The assignment is expected to include a brief description of the case study selected, a critical analysis of the key debates and issues arising around this case, a theoretical framework to help understand the case, and practical/policy implications arising out of the case, including their recommendations if any.

Formative assessment and feedback: Students receive feedback within the seminars on their progress as seminar questions are responded to and discussed. The summative assessment in the first assignment also provides formative feedback which is directly relevant to the second summative assessment.

Module aims

  • • To introduce students to critical debates around platform societies and emerging technologies.
  • • To encourage students to critically engage with theories in the context of key case studies to do with these issues.
  • • To begin to explore how emerging technologies and their use shape and alter what it means to live in mediated/mediatised societies today.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate critically several approaches to critically analysing datafied and platform societies CK
002 Apply theoretical ideas to case studies CK
003 Identify journal articles relevant to the module CPT
004 Organise ideas and thoughts and speak about these in the public setting of the seminar PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Offer students lectures that provide a critical overview of various topics relevant to data and the digital in platform societies. Students expand on this knowledge base through a weekly programme of essential readings supplemented by their choice of background reading.
Give students the chance to experience each of the topics in action, through seminar exercises which focus on case studies or exercises covering the range of topics examined in the module.
Support confidence in independent literature research through a focus on journal article(s) in the lecture and exercises on finding and critically appreciating journal articles.

The learning and teaching methods include:

11 one-hour lectures which cover key topics.
11 one-hour seminars carrying out work on exercises and case studies relevant to the key topics.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC3078

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.