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Unit information: Digital Literacies for Learning and Teaching in 2015/16

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Unit name Digital Literacies for Learning and Teaching
Unit code EDUCM0058
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mrs. Dourneen
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

‘The Information Age’ has heralded a proliferation of new forms of digital communication and new textual genres. As these texts tend to be multimodal, multilinear and interactive they pose significant challenges for analysis and raise many questions about what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. They also raise issues around the use of digital texts in teaching and learning, and how learners and teachers make meaning from the range of texts they work with, including search engines, websites, learning software packages, computer games, social media. This unit encourages and argues for an eclectic approach to the analysis of such texts drawing on earlier theories of semiotics, discourse analysis, literary theory and film studies as well as theories about new media and new literacies.

The aims of this unit are:

  • to introduce students to key theories and literature from a variety of disciplinary fields that enable them to develop a critical understanding of the role of digital texts within communication in educational settings and within literacy practices;
  • to introduce students to a wide range of digital texts and communication environments so that they can develop an understanding of how meaning is made in these texts;
  • to enable students to apply the theories studied to texts which they work with in their own professional setting.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Critically engage with academic literature concerning representation and communication in an age of multi-media and multimodality
  • Critically engage with literature relating to new literacies, cultural studies and identity research relating these to pedagogical practice
  • Critically interrogate and report on a range of media forms and multimodal, interactive texts
  • Adopt a principled approach to the design and use of multimodal texts within pedagogical practice

Teaching Information

The course will be taught face-to-face, but will be supported by the University virtual learning environment. Students will be encouraged to work in groups to support collaborative learning and to provide user feedback on design ideas. The unit includes a variety of teaching and learning methods, including: lectures, tutorials and workshops, small group activities such as supported reading groups, group presentations and the collaborative inquiry –based research project, outlined in the description.

Contact Hours

20 hours

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

4,000 word written assignment analysing a digital text, using theoretical frameworks studied during the unit (100%)

Formative assessment:

A range of activities completed between taught sessions, self, peer and tutor assessed, using Blackboard for sharing and commenting. Choice of texts is usually made by the students, related to their own interests and/or professional setting. Tasks include a semiotic analysis; visual grammar analysis of a website homepage; multimodal analysis of a digital literary text (poem or novel); critical reading and PowerPoint presentation of an academic text related to multimodality; observation notes of a partner reading a digital text; presentation of ideas for assignment

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  • Hall, S. (1997) Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage
  • Kalantzis, M. and Cope, B. (2012) Literacies. New York: Cambs Universtiy Press
  • Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2006) Reading images : the grammar of visual design (2nd edition), London: Routledg
  • Kress, G. (2010) Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Oxon: Routledge
  • Lister, M. et al (2009) New Media: a critical introduction (second edition) London: Routledge
  • Miller, V. (2011) Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage