Media and Culture ARCH11002

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Semester 1, 20 credits. Course organiser: Richard Coyne. Taken in year two part-time (MSc Design and Digital Media and Sound Design) or year one part-time (MSc Res Digital Media and Culture).

Thursday 11:10 – 13:00, M2A-M2C Appleton Tower


This is an introduction to the intellectual context in which digital design and innovation takes place. The course provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the dynamic and ever-changing, highly reflective world of digital media, and contribute with your own discoveries and insights. We encourage you to use blogs, videos and online social media to develop your thinking during the course.


Lecture sessions and discussion forums cover topics that will enable you to discuss the impact of digital technology ranging from its immediate practical application to the long term redefinition of the creative professions. The development of a broad cultural, social, psychological and philosophical understanding of the nature and role of information, metaphor and interaction will also form an important component of the course.

Key texts by thinkers who have contributed new ideas and generated fresh debate about living and working with digital media will be studied, which will provide the basis for focused discussions about how creative digital practice is developing or could develop. Sessions will therefore canvas issues such as creativity, the role of play, technoromanticism, concepts of language, typology, space, emotion, the body, the interactions between the senses, and emerging ideas about crowd sourcing, citizen journalism and digital activism. The course will also incorporate material on the practical, social, and cultural ramifications of digital media, and integrate the concerns of visual and aural cultures.

There’s a media component to this course. In the ever changing world of online media we are expected to present ourselves via text and image. The course will also help you develop skills in self presentation via online video.

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Teaching Staff

  • Richard Coyne
  • Jules Rawlinson
  • Andrew Connor and Denitsa Petrova will also lead discussion.
  • Learning technologist: Alex Burford

Weekly class topics

See weekly class descriptions on LEARN (via MyEd) for details about lecture content, with readings

  1. Introduction (22 Sep) Richard Coyne
  2. Play and Creativity (29 Sep) Richard Coyne
  3. Body and Emotion (6 Oct) Richard Coyne
  4. Voice and Text (13 Oct) Richard Coyne
  5. Digital Metaphors (20 Oct) Richard Coyne
  6. Music and sound (27 Oct) Jules Rawlinson
  7. Digital Society (3 Nov) Richard Coyne
  8. Artificial Intelligence (10 Nov) Richard Coyne
  9. VR and Techno-utopias (17 Nov) Richard Coyne
  10. IT Ethics (24 Nov) Richard Coyne
  11. Audiences, Entertainment and Engagement (1 Dec) Richard Coyne


The course delivers a programme of one-hour weekly content mostly provided online via video with a supporting programme of weekly two hour sessions involving content summary, group discussions and activities for which some preparation is required in the form of advanced reading and reflection using online media.

This course is available via attendance at the university and by distance. Weekly tasks will mainly involve watching video material, reading, commenting on blog posts supplied by the course organiser and engaging in online discussions.

Learning Outcomes (LOs)

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • LO1 Contextualise developments in digital media, technologies and devices in terms of critical theoretical and philosophical debate
  • LO2 Formulate and communicate coherent opinion and insight on key aspects of digital media and culture
  • LO3 Apply digital social media in its various forms to present and respond to discussion and debate about digital media
  • LO4 Write and deploy online media to a suitable standard, deploying the conventions of academic scholarship, including the appropriate use of evidence, sources and references.


1. Preparation for a video interview. This will include a short description of a current theme in the area of digital media and culture, including reference to at least two texts from the academic literature. (You can also use readings outside of the recommended reading lists.) The submission will include a series of 6-10 well formulated interview questions. The work will amount to 300-500 words (it’s up to you if you want to include the questions in the word count) to be submitted in week 4 for feedback (20%). Here’s some guidance on referencing different kinds of material.

2. A video interview. This will be a 6-10 minute recorded interview with one other person (a class mate or someone external to the course). You will base your recorded interview around the questions you prepared in submission 1. The edited interview can be recorded in a room or in several locations, including relevant internal and outdoor spaces. Your submission of the interview will include a 1500 word summary of your reflection on the interview outcome (50%). Instructions on how to edit your video are available here:

3. Critical case study. This is a 1200 word critical case study of some aspect of digital media and culture. (20%)

4. Weekly challenges. You will be asked to provide comments on a theme presented each week in relation to the course content delivered online. Your weekly task will help you comprehend the course content, share amongst the class, develop your writing and help you formulate ideas for your interview and case study. There will be 10 challenges, starting after week 1. If you complete a challenge to a satisfactory level before the lecture you will receive a 1% contribution to your overall assessment for the course. (10%)

Submission Details (updated 2 Dec 2016)

(name the file with your name and student number, e.g. SURNAMEfirstname_s123456.pdf)

  • Weekly challenges will be submitted through LEARN.

Criteria for Assessment

Written work

  • Clarity of argument and structure
  • Extent to which an argument is being presented, rather than just a review of the literature
  • Evidence of an original synthesis from sources, rather than a series of disjointed summaries
  • Appropriate use of sources. Where personal opinion and observation is being expressed, is it presented in the context of the literature on the subject?
  • Extent to which your writing deploys primary sources rather than secondary references. Have you actually read the works cited?
  • Where web sources are used, are these adequately cited, used critically, and backed up with peer-review?
  • Evidence that you are able to discriminate between populist literature on the subject and serious scholarship, where the former is used
  • Appropriate use of scholarly referencing conventions, including accurate reference to any online material consulted
  • Evidence of having read widely on the subject

The same evaluation criteria apply to the all submissions. Assessment will take into account facility in English, where English is not your first language.

Video Interview

We are not looking for commercial professional presentation, though if you look online you will see many excellent examples of amateur video work using technologies that are ready to hand (e.g. smartphones), and that adopt new techniques appropriate to these media. Let your personality come through. It’s a case of engaging with your invisible audience. Eye contact through the camera lens sometimes helps. Only use content that you have created yourself, i.e. we won’t allow excerpts from movies and other copyrighted material, unless this material happens to be present as background in the environment in which you are filming. If you are recording outside or in public areas then pay attention to the rule that you may not record children and vulnerable adults without parental/carer consent. Note that with your approval we may make some of your video material public.

You will need to organise your video recording sessions carefully, and will perhaps want to work in teams, with one person handling the camera, for example. Acknowledge any assistance you received in end titles. You will make an individual submission. Professional cameras and sound recording equipment are available should you require these. We also have GoPro wearable cameras, tripods and other equipment. iMovie is perhaps the simplest software (on a Mac or iPhone) for editing, but we also have Adobe Premiere. Note that it’s quite usual to have several attempts at recording and editing your video. Submit your best attempt.


Please note that you may be asked to upload written work through LEARN, and it may be run through a program that detects plagiarism. Copying more than a few words from any source, a book, article or from the web, unless it is in quotation marks (or blocked or otherwise clearly demarcated as quoted material) and referenced, constitutes plagiarism. The University subscribes to Turnitin In the event that assessors detect plagiarism you will be given an opportunity to discuss this with them, and clear up any misunderstandings that can lead to “accidental plagiarism.”

For University policies on plagiarism see

and the Assessment section in this Handbook.