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Unit information: Digital Cultures and Participatory Learning in 2021/22

Unit name Digital Cultures and Participatory Learning
Unit code EDUC30024
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Rowsell
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities for teaching and learning that arise as a result of technological and social change. Students will reflect on a range of conceptual and empirical work that considers how digital cultures influence our learning experiences across the life course, and how digital technologies foster different communities of knowers and forms of knowledge. Opportunities will be provided to explore the digital spaces in which learning now happens, the new ethical issues that arise for

learners and educators as they engage with digital cultures, and the possibilities for creativity and participation that arise as well as the ‘participation gaps’ that may prevent some groups from benefiting.

The aims for this unit are to enable students to:

  • Understand emerging digital cultures and how they relate to learning in different contexts
  • Engage with key theories and concepts to explain digital cultures and participatory learning
  • Critically examine examples of contemporary digital cultures and empirical studies that apply these concepts in practice
  • Analyse their own experience of and participation in digital cultures through in-depth reflective work, in conversation with the relevant theories introduced on the course unit.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the concepts associated with digital cultures and how they relate to learning and participation in different contexts
  2. Apply relevant theories and concepts related to learning and digital cultures in their own lives and to a range of empirical examples
  3. Utilise conceptual tools to understand and analyse digital and cultural practices related to learning and participation
  4. Write coherent and critically reflective accounts of their own experiences related to digital technologies and cultures, learning and participation.

Teaching Information

Teaching will adopt a blended approach involving a mix of online asynchronous and synchronous lectures, reading, collaborative and independent activities provided online. Reflective practice is key to the teaching and learning experience on this unit – students will develop and maintain a portfolio to record, examine and reflect on their own experiences of digital cultures and learning and the ideas introduced throughout the unit.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: As part of this unit, students will be asked to develop and maintain a portfolio through which they record, examine and reflect on their own experiences of digital cultures and learning and the literature and theory introduced throughout the unit. This can be in a range of digital formats (e.g. blogs, multimedia, podcasts, videos, social media posts, etc.) This will be part of the preparation for and discussion in weekly sessions and be used as a basis for the two summative assessments detailed below.

Formative assessment will take place through a) peer and tutor review of student portfolios and b) peer and tutor review of posters summarising an approach for Assessment Part 2.

Summative assessment: Part 1: (ILO 1, 2 & 4) A critical reflection on your own experience(s) of digital cultures and learning, drawing on and extending one of the entries in your portfolio. 1,000 words maximum (40%).

Part 2: (ILO 1-3) An academic essay applying theoretical concepts to digital cultures, participation and learning. This can - but does not have to be - developed from one (or more) of your digital portfolio entries. Thus, students will choose from a list of topics or can also suggest their own (to be approved by unit tutors). 2500 words maximum (60%).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUC30024).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.