MP6038 - Digital Media and Society

What will I learn on this module?

This module is designed to give you a critical understanding of current debates over the development of new media and their relationship with society. You will be introduced to the key theories, issues and debates about the use, production, and distribution of digital media. You will become familiar with key issues and ideas in new media theory and in the interrelationships between digital media, technologies and societies. You will develop critical skills in analysing digital media and understanding their roles in the information society. The module will look at how these developments are related to social inequalities by asking crucial questions about the rise and persistence of the digital divide, raising the issues of inequalities in accessing, using and getting advantages from new media. The module will also analyse how social media are changing and reshaping our social world. Finally, the module will look at recent case studies and examples to understand how new media are permeating our society and everyday life, transforming the way in which we think and act in a digital society, affecting our perception of crucial social issues such as surveillance/privacy, online identities and activism.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. The taught component of the module will consist of two-hour lectures accompanied by one-hour seminar slots across the year. Every lecture will have a corresponding seminar in which the issues will be explored in greater depth. The lectures will mainly be concerned with introducing the key theoretical contentions, historical/political/social contexts, and issues. The lecture slot is long so as to allow space for the tutor to: a) introduce theoretical, industrial and practical ideas; b) demonstrate the ways in which these examples can be understood in relation to theories of new media; and c) delineate areas of contention raised by the examples. The connections between the theoretical ideas and the issue at hand will be explored further in the seminars. The module includes a significant time allowance for self-directed study. During this time, you will be expected to engage in seminar preparation (for example, by engaging with relevant scholarship). You will be expected to come to the seminars prepared (i.e. having attended the lecture and having conducted independent preparatory reading). The major theoretical texts are available from the campus library and electronic library, thereby ensuring that you can access the literature required for seminar work and assessment preparation. You are encouraged to read extensively beyond the taught components of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor has weekly office hours during which you can drop in for academic support. All students are also provided with an academic tutor who also has hours to support student learning. The seminars will allow you to engage in group discussion and problem-solving with the module tutor and your peers, thus developing a constructive support network. The delivery of the module will be supported with learning and lecture materials that are accessible via the e-learning portal.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• KU1: Demonstrate your ability to apply, question, and relate appropriately sophisticated intellectual arguments concerning technologies to a range of media activities

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• IPSA1: Display your confidence in applying the transferable skills and theoretical knowledge you have developed to-date to specialist debates regarding digital media and related concepts
• IPSA2: Demonstrate your ability to confidently write and speak about complex issues such as the ongoing transformation of new media

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• PVA1: Display an enhanced understanding of the complex nature of contemporary cultural communities and the processes of knowledge creation.

How will I be assessed?

The module has one assessment:

Assessment is a 3.000 word essay chosen from questions on digital media. This will constitute 100% of your final mark.

You will also receive formative feedback on your ability to conduct analysis of events and cultural objects during the seminars. Class discussion will test your ability to critically engage with advanced mass communication theory in an academic fashion and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the theoretical concepts raised in the lectures. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with your peers, working together to find solutions to theoretical dilemmas and so forth.

Under normal circumstances, you will receive written feedback on your summative submissions within 20 working days. The feedback will normally be supplied electronically as part of the ESAF process. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your research/methodological skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.





Module abstract

The module will analyse the social, cultural, political and economic roles that new media play in society. This module will develop your understanding of the key characteristics of new media, and help you to reflect upon the relationships between new media, technology and society. We will see how new media are associated with the formation of new forms of democratic and civic participation and how they are reshaping the way in which we interact with the world around us, and with each other. The module will pay particularly attention to the rise of new forms of inequalities associated with the advent of new media, by exploring in details the so-called ‘digital divide’.

Course info

UCAS Code PN91

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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