Module code: MAN3153

Module Overview

People are familiar with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat but they rarely consider that social media are more than social networking; they exist in some form across a wide range of digital platforms in almost all industries. In this module we will explore social media platforms as a distinct organisational form, that plays an increasingly prominent role in the digital economy because of its orchestration of user participation to produce valuable big data. We will examine how social media platforms have emerged, how they are architected, how they operate to produce and capture value, and their ethical, privacy, and risk implications. The module draws on current research by combining theory with case examples from a variety of contexts (e.g.  retailing, music, movies, travel). Students will also collaborate with peers on a practical exercise on social media platform design.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

CHO Daniel (SBS)

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: 84

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

What is social media and how did it come about

Platform economy & multisidedness 

User participation and data production 

Digital business models 

Social media within organisations 

Power & Governance of tech platforms and social media 

Ethics, privacy, critical perspectives 

Future scenarios 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Group Poster 40
Coursework Individual Report 60

Alternative Assessment

Individual coursework instead of the group one.  

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate competencies around the learning outcomes as related to social media and the digital economy.

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • A group poster, 40% (addresses learning outcomes: 1,3,4 and 5) 

  • An individual report 60% (addresses learning outcomes: 1,2,3 and 5) 


  • Students will receive feedback on their submission following the release of the marks. 

  • For both assessments general feedback on each section of the assessment is provided to the whole class.

  • Feedback will be provided during seminars where we work through the elements of the assessments. 

Module aims

  • Explore the organisational form of social media, its evolution and architecture, as well as its role in shaping what has become known as the digital economy.
  • Establish an understanding of various digital business models pursued by social media platforms and how these transform existing practices and value
  • Develop an appreciation and sensitivity to the ethical, privacy, risk, and other critical issues associated with social media platforms in the digital economy

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain social media as an organisational form and its role in the data production underpinning the digital economy. KC
002 Recognize and outline the various technological, social, and economic developments that have shaped the emergence of social media platforms as an organisational form. KC
003 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the design and architectural principles underlying social media platforms. KCT
004 Design effective user participation strategies to produce big data and effective business models. KCPT
005 Critically reflect on the ethical, privacy, risk, and other challenges associated with social media platforms and the potential role of various stakeholders. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching and learning strategy is designed to encourage a critical understanding of the role played by social media in the digital economy. The course aims at developing student’s knowledge of the socio-technical aspects of social media. The course is research-led and offers a mix of theoretical insights and case study material that will be delivered both online and offline where appropriate. In addition to this, the course is structured to provide students with a variety of teaching and learning methods including; practical platform design workshops, group exercises and discussions. 

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: MAN3153

Other information

  • Digital Capabilities – the module teaches students about digital platforms as a new organisational form and its implications in the context of social media and the digital economy. This builds capabilities for understanding and operating in the digital economy. 

  • Employability – the module is an excellent preparation for students who aim to start their own digital business or apply social media and digital platform skills in the context of their employment in an organisation. 

  • Resourcefulness and resilience – students work in groups where they are expected to contribute their talents and knowledge while also relying on team members to ensure the project goes well. Through various forms of feedback on the module, students can develop their resourcefulness, which can help with their adaptability and resilience in future roles.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Management with Entrepreneurship and Innovation BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Management with Business Analytics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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 2024/5 academic year.