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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5780M Digital Practices

60 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Helen Thornham

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
This module enables students to explore many of the various digital media production techniques, products, pathways and practices. The module offers students a chance to develop practical skills as well as an insight into digital industry processes, but - importantly - also asks critical questions about these digital practices, so that students can investigate their relationship with, and impact on, wider social structures. Through teamwork, students pool their existing and developing skills and knowledge to engage with critical questions through practice, developing innovative digital artefacts in response to in-depth research.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module you should be able to:

1. Utilise key debates and theories to critically analyse and interpret new media cultures, forms and practices from social, technological, cultural, political and economic perspectives;
2. Explore digital media production techniques to develop critical understandings of the professional and technical choices that underpin existing practices and traditions, as well as the possibilities and constraints that exist within these;
3. Experiment with emerging digital practices and techniques to investigate contemporary norms, structures and impacts related to digital media products, production and cultures;
4. Engage with issues in digital media production and develop digital artefacts in response to these, communicating these ideas in technical, written and aural forms;
5. Reflect on experience within digital production team projects to critically evaluate individual roles and tasks involved in digital production;
6. Conduct in-depth research, formulating ideas to inform the specification, development, testing and evaluation of a piece of advanced new media practice.

Skills outcomes
Digital production skills, project management, methods and hacking.


- Infrastructure, data, networks and coding (5 weeks)
- Storytelling, narrative, gaming and gamification (4 weeks)
- Content, analysis and design (2 weeks)
- Idea generation, user testing, hacking (5 weeks)
- Reflective writing, presentation and design (2 weeks)

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours546.00
Total Contact hours54.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)600.00

Private study

Students will practice and familiarise themselves with the tools and resources they are introduced to during the workshops. Students will complete various exercises during the workshops, but are required to expand these and build on the work independently, forming their own questions – both individually and as part of a team – which can be researched, interrogated and explored during students’ private study time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring of student progress is important in such a big module, so various checkpoints have been built into the structure. Student progress will be monitored via participation in workshops and seminars, but also through formative and summative assessments. With most of the summative assessment in the second semester, two formative assessments are provided in semester 1 (along with one summative). One of these is an individual written piece and the other is a group assessment involving a plan for the group work in semester 2. These formatives will provide a method to address student progress issues. Another formative assessment is scheduled in semester 2, prior to the Easter break, after which students submit the largest components of summative assessment, so that progress can be checked again.
In addition to these formative assessments, two “support identification” sessions are scheduled in semester one which serve as potential troubleshooting and planning exercises for teams to assess their own progress, and that of their peers, with input from staff, in order to plan for and mitigate against any potential weaknesses.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayCritical evaluation of method, 2,500-3,000 words30.00
Group ProjectPresentation and documentation of group research, ideas and plans15.00
Group ProjectPresentation and documentation of practice-based methods, tools, research and artefacts40.00
Reflective logReflective critique15.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit tasks for summative assessments are identical to the original assignment except where the assessment is group work, as follows: - Resit for the group project report is an individual written research/analysis report with idea specification - Resit for the group project is an individual written critical analysis of new media practices

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:34:34


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