Module code: SOC2051

Module Overview

The module will introduce the origins of the Internet and its development over time, explore the forms of computer mediated communication currently available and discuss different frameworks for understanding their social implications. Seminars will include both conventional face-to-face workshops and group activities using a variety of online applications, which will encourage students to reflect on the impact that different forms of communication have on their experiences.

Module provider


Module Leader

GRIFFITHS David (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The origins and development of the Internet

  • Forms of computer-mediated communication

  • Online identity

  • Social segmentation and the Internet

  • Globalization and the Internet

  • Online communities

  • Online democracy and social activism

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PORTFOLIO (2000 WORDS) 50
Examination 1 HOUR EXAMINATION 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have engaged with workshop exercises, and that they have developed an understanding of the various approaches discussed and can use them to explore the sociological implications of the Internet.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • a 2,000 word portfolio consisting of reports on the individual workshops. Students are expected to display their engagement with key readings and explore their applicability in contemporary settings

  • a one hour exam, in which students will be asked to answer one essay-style question focusing on sociological frameworks for understanding the Internet

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive oral feedback on their performance within workshop sessions from the lecturer and each other. Group feedback on each week’s workshop activities will be posted to SurreyLearn. An opportunity will be given to students to submit one component of the portfolio via SurreyLearn for written formative feedback, prior to submission of the main portfolio. The feedback on the main portfolio will be available to the students before the exam, and thus constitute formative feedback which students can use to inform their exam preparation.

Module aims

  • Provide a basis for students to understand the Internet as a social phenomenon.
  • Equip students with conceptual frameworks which they can apply to their own current and future online experiences

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Understand key events in the history of the internet and the study of computer-mediated communicatioN K
2 Have experienced a variety of the forms of communication that the internet offers K
3 Be able to discuss different frameworks for understanding the sociology of computer mediated communication and the role of the internet in society K
4 Be able to discuss the implications of the internet for key sociological concepts such as identity, community, social segmentation and democracy K

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 a critical overview of the various sociological approaches to study of the Internet via lectures. 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 reflect on connections between theoretical frameworks and their own experiences, through workshop exercises which focus on key readings and which explore their application to a variety of online settings experienced by students and demonstrated in class. These workshop activities also provide the grounding for students to develop their own critical understanding of the various approaches.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 11 1 hour lectures introducing key topics in researching media

  • 11 1 hour workshops carrying out exercises in discussing key readings and connecting practical experiences with theoretical approaches

  • a final two-hour session drawing together the strengths and limitations of the various approaches and supporting students in preparing for examination.`


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: SOC2051

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Sociology 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 2020/1 academic year.