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Unit information: New Media Representation and Digital Literacies in 2015/16

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Unit name New Media Representation and Digital Literacies
Unit code EDUCM5810
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mrs. Dourneen
Open unit status Not open




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


'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. This unit encourages and argues for an eclectic approach to the analysis of such texts drawing on semiotics, discourse analysis, literary theory and film studies as well as studies of new media and new literacies. This unit will: introduce students to a range of different approaches to the analysis of digital texts and communication; provide an understanding of multimodality theories, non linear structures and interactive texts; provide students with the knowledge and skills required to reflect upon issues of literacy in the 21st century.


  • 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 ICT within communication and representation in educational settings and within literacy practices;
  • To introduce students to a wide range of digital texts and communication environments
  • To introduce students to the different aesthetic and communicative conventions involved in the production of multi-media texts;

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • conduct a review of relevant research literature in relation to a defined aspect of New Media Representations and Digital Literacies
  • analyse a range of digital, multimedia texts from a variety of theoretical perspectives
  • evaluate and discuss issues of communication and representation within digital texts and digital communication practices
  • understand how new media and communication practices change conceptions of literacy and alter social and educational practices.

Teaching details

The course will be taught face-to-face, but will be supported by a virtual online learning environment. All students will be required to use the VLE as standard, to communicate with fellow students, with the lecturing staff, to obtain administrative details about the course, to access course materials and, in some instances, for submission of coursework. Students will be encouraged to work in groups to support collaborative learning and to provide user feedback on design ideas. The principle teaching and learning methods will include the following:

  • Lectures: to present the main concepts of the syllabus.
  • Tutorials and workshops: to reinforce ideas and encourage understanding through individual and group work
  • Case studies: to ground the work within the professional context and provide real life examples
  • Engagement with online resources: to reiterate face-to-face activities, to supplement and support, to provide revision or associated materials and resources, and to offer extension activities and links to further sector-specific information.

Assessment Details

Students will complete a 4000 word assignment which will require the analysis of digital multimedia text(s) in relation to a research question related to education, technology or society. Students will be expected to discuss their selected text(s) in relation to broader semiotic domain(s). They will draw on theories of communication and representation in the digital age to evaluate the implications of the text for literacy and/or for educational and social practices. The assignment will involve analysis of user interaction as well as analysis of the semiotic and structural features of digital multimedia texts.

Reading and References

  • Bolter, J. (2001). 2nd ed. Writing space :computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print, Mahwah : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Kalantzis, M. And Cope, B. (2012) Literacies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Kress, G. (2010) Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2006) Reading images : the grammar of visual design (2nd edition), London : Routledge.
  • Miller, V. (2011) Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage
  • Rose, G. (2012 3rd edition) Visual Methodologies, Sage: London.