The University of Southampton
Courses

ARTD6091 Digital Cultures

Module Overview

Digital Cultures is an elective module covering a broad range of topics relating to the convergence of everyday life practices within our lived and networked digital environments. This module introduces you to key concepts, themes and debates within digital cultures. The aim is to develop your critical and independent understandings of digital media environments, their political-economic and cultural contexts and their relationship to issues of design and management. Digital cultures are approached through historical, and design perspectives that relate both to our lived mediated practices and approaches to the culture and politics of new information and communications technologies.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module introduces you to key concepts, themes and debates within digital cultures. The aim is to develop your critical and independent understandings of digital media environments, their political-economic and cultural contexts and their relationship to issues of design and management. Digital cultures are approached through historical, and design perspectives that relate both to everyday life and experimental or avant-garde aesthetic approaches to the culture and politics of new information and communications technologies

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A selected range of critical concepts with applications to the analysis of digital cultures.
  • Contexts, issues and debates relating to the cultures of digital technologies, their use, practices, historical, and contemporary discourses
  • Varied practices, materials, and technologies for idea generation and concept development applicable to digital culture in an historical and contemporary perspective
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a depth of critical and analytical thinking in relation to digital cultures, their theories and philosophies
  • Analyse, evaluate and make informed judgements regarding theoretical perspectives on topics such as networks and the internet, mobile media, screen culture and the relation between the analog and the digital.
  • Critically evaluate complex problems and apply reasoned thinking and ideas to proposed outcomes or design solutions
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Articulate complex ideas at an advanced level through a variety of oral, written and digital formats
  • Effectively manage your own workload, meet deadlines and work independently
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills and interact effectively with peers and tutors through discussion and negotiation

Syllabus

This module offers grounding for a critical analysis of digital cultures through concepts and historical examples. As such, it offers a cultural approach to digitality, arguing that digital cultures cannot be reduced to the technologies, such as computers or networks that underpin them. The module also takes technological objects (software and hardware) seriously through an exploration of the materialities of communication. Possible concepts and themes of the module include objects, networks, digital activism, cyberfeminism(s) and cyber-sexualities, mobility, gaming, ubiquitous media environments, and media ecology and media archaeology. The module challenges existing assumptions and offers new insights into a variety of cultural processes where new and emerging technologies are found and having effects. You are expected to connect the themes to your own discipline and academic interests in order to develop design, management and arts specific contributions. You will be encouraged to independently access and select material from online sources to assist you in determining an appropriate perspective from within an art and design context.

Special Features

For features such as field trips, information should be included as to how students with special needs will be enabled to benefit from this or an equivalent experience.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will learn through a range of learning activities such as: Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars • Tutorials • Practice-research workshops Learning Activities • Lectures • Tutorials • Contributions to group discussions • Online research and reading • Peer group learning Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes This module’s learning and teaching methods are designed to challenge you and help you broaden your critical understanding of a range of key issues associated with digital cultures in order to enable you to explore them further as part of your subject-specific practice. In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to investigate, question and analyse the nature new technologies, cultural practices and techniques of knowledge and aesthetics specific to digital cultures, as well as the relation of emerging technologies to their historical predecessors. You are expected to consider how these perspectives can influence your own work and the discipline in which you primarily operate. Feedback on your progress and development will be given by group discussions, seminars and workshops. Informal feedback will provide opportunities for peer group learning and self-evaluation. The formal assessment will be by a written analysis, a report and a group project. In addition, students are encouraged to keep a digital learning log (a wiki, website, or similar) in which they reflect on their learning, practice and industry in relation to the themes discussed. The written analysis and report will be individually assessed whilst the group project will be assessed as a whole. The project needs to be integrative and link theory to practice. It should be substantive and demonstrate participation from all group members. The expectations, principles and responsibilities associated with how you work in a group will be set out in a module handbook and Blackboard VLE and discussed during seminar sessions, in order to clarify how this learning and teaching approach facilitates the assessment of subject specific and employability skills delivered in the module. In the 25% assessed group work assignment for the module all students in the group will receive the same mark. The group project has an equivalency of 2000 words that can be demonstrated either by 7-10 blog posts of 200-300 words each or an edited video of 4-5 minutes. School-level guidance and key principles on learning in a group will be developed, disseminated and made available to all students on the module through handbooks and Blackboard. (a) a student group should comprise of 5-6 people: numbers above this discourage effective collaboration (b) groups will be briefed on clear guidance as to how they will be assessed against the criteria set (c) detailed guidance on the principles of learning and working as a group will be provided Student-led sessions are intended to extend debate around material from lectures and seminars. These sessions, in combination with tutorials, allow you to develop your understanding of the knowledge and methods you have explored in this module. They also help you to evaluate your thinking, practical and transferable skills.

TypeHours
Independent Study176
Teaching24
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Rhizome.

Scan, journal of Media, Arts, Culture.

Castells, M. (2010). The Power of Identity. The information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume II. 

Lievrouw, L. and Livingston S. (Eds.) (2012). The Handbook of New Media. 

Lister, M. et al. (2009). New media. A critical introduction. 

Digital Games Research Association resources.

Fibreculture.

Dean, J. (2010). Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive. 

Culture Digitally-blog.

The Next Web, technology news.

First Monday-journal.

Mitchell, W.T.J and Hansen. M.B (eds) (2010). Critical Terms for Media Studies. 

C-Theory.

Wired-magazine (UK), tech news.

Castells, M. (2010). The Rise of the Network Society. The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume I. 

Chadwich A. & Howard P. (2009). Routledge Handbook of Internet politics. 

Institute of Network Cultures.

Gere, C. (2009). Digital Culture. 

Manovich, L. (2001). The Language of New Media. 

Parikka, J. (2012). What is Media Archaeology?. 

ArsTechnica.

Assessment

Formative

Coursework

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Individual report  ( words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Reasonable costs related to buying texts and standard for travel

Travel Costs for placements

Reasonable costs related to buying texts and standard for travel

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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