DATA AND THE DIGITAL IN PLATFORM SOCIETIES - 2025/6

Module code: SOC3078

Module Overview

In this compulsory module in the BSc in Media and Communications degree, students will research, investigate and communicate knowledge about the societal implications of new and emerging digital technologies. Students will delve into theories and practical case studies around Big Data, platforms, wearable technologies, artificial intelligence, automated decision-making, data justice, platform responsibility and people’s skills, critical capabilities and literacies with data and platform technologies. Students will develop significant digital capabilities and be equipped to engage with practical and theoretical lenses from communications studies as they analyse the societal impact of datafication in global contexts, as one of the grand challenges of contemporary times. Students will use their digital, global and cultural capabilities to synthesize and communicate knowledge to a variety of sectors and stakeholders both within and outside academia, as they are equipped to engage with these sectors through written, oral and audiovisual means.

Module provider

Sociology

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

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 102

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

n/a

Module content


  • Theories and concepts in datafication

  • Life in platform societies

  • Algorithms and their societal impact

  • Body technologies and wearables

  • Ethics and artificial intelligence

  • The Internet of Things and Toys

  • Automated and data-driven decision-making

  • Data justice

  • Platform responsibility and content moderation

  • Platform and data literacies

  • Other content as newer and emerging technologies arrive in society


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Knowledge Exchange Project 100

Alternative Assessment

n/a

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate that they have met the 4 learning outcomes associated with this module.

 

The assessments offer students the opportunity to demonstrate that they can 1) articulate key societal implications of datafication through oral, audio-visual and written means; 2) that they can apply relevant theories and concepts to analyze and evaluate contemporary case studies in datafied societies; 3) that they can develop and design good-practice recommendations for a variety of sectors and 4) that they can communicate and present evidence, information and recommendations

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Knowledge Exchange Project (addresses learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4)



 

Knowledge Exchange Project: The “Knowledge Exchange Project” (KEP) Summative Assessment will be due in Week 13. Students will be provided a set of case studies to choose from. Once they have chosen a case study, students will prepare a Knowledge Exchange Project as their final summative assignment comprising 100% of their final grade for this module. This Knowledge Exchange Project will be a single submission. This single submission will consist a short Evidence Review of key evidence in the area supported by literature from the previous few years and also include a public-facing infographic visually communicating key findings and issues for the public to be aware of around the chosen case study and a set of policy and practice recommendations. This KEP summative assignment will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of all 4 Learning Outcomes in this module.

 

 

Formative assessment and feedback

This assignment is linked to an ungraded but vital formative submission of a plan in the weeks before summative submissions. This is optional but highly encouraged as this formative submission will allow students the opportunity to get informal feedback on their work in preparation for summative assignments. Formative opportunities are also associated with seminar activities and sessions preparing students for the summative assignments. In addition, weekly teaching and learning embeds activities which build in numerous moments of formative feedback which are explicitly linked to summative assignment preparation.

Module aims

  • Prepare students to research and evaluate the societal implications of new and emerging digital technologies
  • Equip students to investigate and analyze contemporary case studies and emerging issues in relation to datafication and emerging technologies
  • Enable students to develop and design sector-specific recommendations for healthy digital ecosystems in contemporary platform societies
  • Develop students' competencies and capacities to communicate and present evidence, information and advice to a range of academic and non-academic audiences

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Students will develop key digital capabilities and be able to articulate societal implications of datafication and emerging digital technologies through oral, audio-visual and written means KCPT
002 Students will be able to apply relevant theories and concepts to analyze and evaluate global case studies in datafied societies, developing global and cultural capabilities KC
003 Students will be able to develop and design good-practice recommendations for a variety of sectors engaging with emerging digital technologies, enhancing their employability CPT
004 Students will be able to enhance their employability and resourcefulness by communicating and presenting evidence, information and recommendations to both academic and non-academic audiences CPT

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 equip students with analytical and practical skills with which to research the impacts of datafication and digitization in contemporary societies, and to evaluate and present evidence and recommendations to a diversity of sectors. In this module students will engage with methods involving practical scenarios, such as role plays and recommendations for practice and policy. These methods are designed to support their journey into understanding the societal impacts of constantly evolving and emerging technologies. The module content deals with everyday instances of datafication and often deals with cutting edge technologies whose societal implications are unfolding as the module progresses. The methods of teaching and learning listed below are designed to enhance students’ engagement with the ethics and implications of an ever evolving set of technologies.

 

Lectures, workshops and seminars will include a range of methods including but not restricted to

 

Role plays

Flashcards

TED Talks

Video analyses

Policy analyses

Quizzes

Animations and concept-explainers

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC3078

Other information

The Department 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:

 

  • Digital capabilities: In this module, students will focus on the societal implications of cutting edge digital and data technologies, working with global case studies that alter year on year to reflect the latest in terms of the digital. Every lecture out of the 11 lectures addresses this pillar. Across the assessments (the TED Talk and the Knowledge Exchange Project) students will develop specific digital capabilities as they will explore a diverse range of digital tools, enabling them to create visually engaging and professional content to effectively convey key concepts and information in a clear, concise, accessible and visually appealing manner.

 

  • Employability: Students will be supported to enhance their employability in a digital and big data age as they will be designing policy recommendations, conducting teamwork and producing high-quality technology case studies through the Knowledge Exchange Project, directly addressing the employability pillar.  

 

  • Global and cultural capabilities: Students will develop their global and cultural capabilities by engaging with big data and datafication in the global South and data justice across diverse communities. Their role as citizens in a diverse world will be supported through the frontline importance this module places on technology for social good across the globe. 

 

  • Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will work together as a team as well as individuals, in ways which demand resourcefulness and resilience. This joins hands with their individual expertise required to deal with often challenging societal implications of data technologies.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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

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 2025/6 academic year.