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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

EDUC5266M Researching Digital Education

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Katharine Stapleford

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module you will explore the growing importance of data and digital information in education. You will have an opportunity to appreciate the theoretical, ethical and practical implications of data collection and analysis. You will engage with current, important debates about the relationship between data, knowledge and truth - in broader society and in education. The module will provide you with an awareness of basic quantitative methods, and you will examine concrete examples of how data can be collected and analysed in digital and traditional educational settings.


This module takes inspiration from the latest methodological debates and trends in the social sciences. Students will examine the theoretical and methodological implications (and tensions) of the increasing pervasiveness of everything "digital". They will explore practical examples of collecting, analysing and making sense of digital information and data. These examples will focus on online provision (blended or fully online), and teachers in traditional classrooms gathering and decoding various forms of digital data.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should gain:
- A critical understanding of a range of methodological skills in digital education research
- A critical awareness of the impact of educational data and learner analytics on digital education research and practice
- An appreciation of the ethical implications of collecting, analysing and reporting on educational data and learner analytics

Skills outcomes
- Recognising and solving data-related problems in educational practice;
- practical skills for the synthesis and analysis of digital information;
- developing basic data visualisations.


Indicative content:

1. Introduction to the module: making sense of digital information and data. Why is it important in general? What does it mean for educational research and practice?

2. The socio-political context of data production, collection & analysis.

3. Methodological skills: Qualitative approaches.

4. Researcher positionality, reflexivity & voice.

5. Methodological skills: Quantitative approaches.

6. Collecting & analysing learner data in a digital learning course.

7. Collecting and analysing data in online forums.

8. Visualising data.

9. Learner data in physical settings.

10. The ethics of data in education.

11. Research project presentations.

12. Assignment workshop.

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
Group learning123.0036.00
Independent online learning hours113.00
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours67.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be provided each week with online 'lectures' in written and audio formats together with supplementary readings, mmaterial, tasks and activities. Students will also be expected to undertake directed reading of academic papers; to post reviews of these papers on an online discussion forum and to respond to reviews that other students have written.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Each participant will be expected to make a contribution of between 500-1000 words per unit, about a specific topic, in the asynchronous discussion or equivalent. Each person will be expected to contribute to (and occasionally facilitate) the weekly synchronous online seminar. Each student will have two individual tutorials to discuss progress.

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
ProjectDigital project equivalent to 6000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students will produce an essay or multimodal digital presentation focusing on one of the following alternatives: 1. A case study of how they would collect and analyse digital data in an educational setting of their choice, discussing broad methodological approaches (no need to be too detailed) and ethical implications. 2. An in-depth critical review of the current state of research and practice, choosing one of several topics that run through all units: a) data governance in education b) knowledge truth and data c) the importance of data literacy among researchers, practitioners and learners d) data and surveillance.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/09/2021


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