Module code: SOC2051

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the origins of the internet and its development over time. Students will explore internet-mediated communication and social media platforms, and gain the critical and analytical skills needed to understand their social, political and economic implications. Students will be introduced to a variety of academic approaches to the internet, as well as encouraged to bring key academic scholars to bear on internet issues. The module provides a theoretical and scholarly basis to think about a range of internet-specific phenomenon, such as online communities, social media identity, hashtag activism and more.

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

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module will focus on the internet as a social, political and economic phenomenon. Students will be encouraged to think about the internet outside of their day-to-day experiences, and instead to interrogate the unseen, or what goes without saying. To facilitate this, students will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives on the role of the internet in everyday life, as well as encouraged to bring classical scholarly texts to bear on this medium. Students will keep a learning journal throughout the course, encouraging reflection on their own experiences. The internet changes all the time, so the course content will also change each year. Indicative content may include: identity on social media platforms, online communities, hashtag activism, e-health, and mediated intimacies.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Learning Journal 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy has been designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes associated with this module.


There is one summative assessment for this module and a formative assessment.


The summative assessment is a learning journal. Students will be supported in keeping a learning journal throughout the module. This will be set up on SurreyLearn in such a way that it is private to the student, but visible for the module leader. The learning journal will be a dated structured entry related to each week’s content, encouraging students to summarise the main points from the in-person class, reflect on their own experience, and note down any thoughts and questions that they might build on following the class. This will allow students to come to class prepared for activities such as group work and discussions. At the end of the module, students will choose a selection of these entries, and submit these alongside a reflexive critical commentary on their learning across the module.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Learning Journal, 100% (addresses learning outcomes 1 to 5)


Formative assessment

Students are strongly encouraged to submit a selection of journal entries and a plan on a date specified during the module. Following this, students will receive one-on-one and group feedback on their plans for the summative assessment.



Students will take part in group tasks in class throughout the module, during which they will receive feedback. Detailed guidance on how to complete the summative assessment is given in class and on SurreyLearn. The weekly seminars will include peer-to-peer learning, but also engagement with the module leader for multiple opportunities for feedback. Students will be encouraged to share their learning journal periodically for informal feedback.

Module aims

  • Provide students with an understanding of the internet as a social phenomenon
  • Equip students with conceptual frameworks through which to understand the contemporary and historical internet
  • Support students to select and analyse their own examples of the contemporary internet
  • Enable students to analyse these and other examples
  • Facilitate students' reflexive and developmental writing, in the pursuit of active learning

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the history and development of the internet K
002 Outline relevant theories, concepts and research on the internet KC
003 Select and analyse relevant examples from the internet in relation to key theories and concepts CT
004 Demonstrate an understanding of how issues such as the political economy of the internet structure historical, contemporary and future online experiences KC
005 Gain experience of reflexive writing as well as academic writing KPT

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 provide students with an introduction to key theories and concepts from the study of the internet. The course has also been designed to provide students with an opportunity to draw from previous and concurrent modules and apply scholarly thinking to their understanding and experience of the internet.


The weekly lectures will introduce students to key theorists, concepts and debates in the study of the internet. There will be required reading each week. Students’ comprehension of the reading will be supported through lecture materials.


The weekly seminars/workshops will provide the opportunity to discuss topics and ideas in depth, as well as develop understandings of key concepts and apply to relevant examples. Students will encounter a range of teaching practices, including group work, independent work, close reading, creative tasks and more.


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

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:


Students will develop transferable skills such as analysis, critical thinking, and research and writing skills. The summative assessment will develop students’ note-taking, summarizing and communication skills, as well as encourage them to think of their learning as a process of continuous development. These are skills pertinent to a huge range of jobs in many industries.


Digital Capabilities

Students will engage with a range of digital tools over the course of the module. Finding and employing academic articles will be supported through platforms such as SurreyLearn, Surrey Search and Google Scholar. The assessment will require students to use the Learning Journal space on the discussion board on SurreyLearn. More broadly, the module equips students to think critically about the digital itself, particularly the political economy of the internet.


Global and Cultural Capabilities

The critical skills that students develop on this module will enable them to think deeply about global digital divides and the ways that the internet, despite some initial optimism, often replicates global systems of inequality.



Similarly, the sustainability of politics and activism through the internet is a big topic for this module. The internet itself can sustain forms of relation and sociability that are not possible without it. Students will be, however, encouraged to think critically about sustaining politics and the social via online platforms owned by big corporations.


Resourcefulness and Resilience

Developing a learning journal over the course of a whole module offers a unique opportunity to build confidence, and the capacity for resourcefulness and resilience. The module and the assessment is structured to give lots of support for this approach, but also to give space (via the assessment and workshop activities) for students to grow in confidence over the first semester of their second year at university.

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
Media and Communication BSc (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 2024/5 academic year.