Computer Science (3 Years) [BSc]

The Digital Society

Unit code: UCIL25002
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 2
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by The University of Manchester Library
Available as a free choice unit?: Y




This unit will explore the key issues and challenges facing learners in a fully networked world, encouraging students to consider the social, cultural and ethical aspects of life ‘online’. It will develop the skills and tools necessary for students to critically evaluate information and use digital media creatively and collaboratively as part of their learning activities and personal and professional development.

At the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate information, make value judgements about take a critical stance towards online communication in a world where everything is potentially available to everyone
  • Demonstrate awareness of the cultural and ethical implications of a digital society, including freedom of information and censorship, the divide between networked communities and the digitally disenfranchised, and the importance of managing ‘digital footprints’ and personal privacy in an openly shared environment
  • Apply social media and online tools to collaborative working, using digital media creatively to communicate ideas and influence events, and appreciate the role social media and digital literacy will play in lifelong learning and professional development.


“You affect the world by what you browse” (attributed to Tim Berners-Lee).

As citizens of a networked world, our access to information has never been greater – but what are the implications for individuals and societies when we live so much of our life online?  This unit will explore these key themes: the ‘digital footprint’; how digital and mobile technology is changing business and customer relationships; ethical use of online information; creativity in the digital world; social and cultural impact of the Internet; and the ‘digital divide’ and digital disenfranchisement.  The unit will encourage you to take a critical stance towards online information and help you make informed decisions about your use of social media and the Internet both personally, academically and professionally.  You’ll use digital media to communicate information and disseminate findings, and you’ll build networks and develop communities of interest to influence and effect change.  Student groups will be assigned a project task and work with a real-world client such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Mars, or BBC Future Media.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the key concepts of a 'digital society', the ethics of online information use and the skills needed to be an effective and successful digital scholars and citizens
  • Think critically about information, practice self-reflection and collaborate across disciplines
  • Make use of your existing knowledge and that of peers to solve and confront new challenges
  • Find, evaluate and share information online, understand issues of copyright and intellectual property and apply learning to other aspects of academic, personal and professional life
  • Use social media to build networks across disciplines, share information and develop your personal profile online, use mobile applications and new technologies, develop communication skills using digital media, demonstrate interpersonal skills including project working in teams

Assessment methods

  • Other - 50%
  • Oral assessment/presentation - 50%

Assessment Further Information

Individual assessment: Produce a reflective blog post examining your online digital identity; Group assessment: a) Address a specific task assigned by a ‘real world’ client and use freely available multimedia tools to produce a ‘digital presentation’. b) Write a blog post critically assessing your experience and contribution to the client project and reflecting on the links between the project and the broader issues raised by the course content

Study hours

  • Independent study hours - 0 hours

Teaching staff

Samantha Aston - Unit coordinator

Steven Mcindoe - Unit coordinator

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