Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Digital Literacy and Social Networking for Creatives

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit will consist of seven sessions incorporating lectures, interactive workshops and online practice. Its primary scope is to provide: an introduction to digital media and social networking theories; a pragmatic grounding in the fundamentals of online engagement, focusing on the needs of people in the creative industries; and a hands-on understanding of the dynamics of disruptive technologies when used as professional and social communication tools. The module will include: a grounding in new media and social networking theories; engagement with online social networks, videos, blogs and micro-blogs as tools for personal branding, citizen journalism and creativity; an introduction to digital curation and infotention skills for improved digital literacy; and digital marketing strategies for the creative sector. Students will be encouraged to work with a variety of web 2.0 tools together with social media management dashboards (such as Hootsuite).

Study-unit Aims:

- Lay the foundations of digital literacy and effective online social networking;
- Explain how to use social media tools for collaborative work;
- Provide students with essential online skills resulting in effective online discourse; personal branding and appropriate online behaviour;
- Foster a culture of critical, self-reflection and peer evaluation and a critical consumption of online information.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will:
- Be familiar with the opportunities and threats in engaging with peers and unknown audiences on the social web;
- Enhance the participants’ ability to source, select, and process information; transform information into usable knowledge; and disseminate that knowledge as enriched enterprise intellectual capital;
- Comprehend the importance of digital literacy, based on providing clarity, comprehension, and the capacity to develop personal and shared meanings, and to share those meanings and narratives;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the differences and conflations between private and public sphere online engagement.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Secure a solid grounding in new media theory;
- Secure key skills in online discourse using a set of online social tools;
- Initiate critical, self-evaluation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Boyd, d. & Ellison, N.B. 2007, "Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship" [Online]. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, [Online], vol. 13, no. 1.11. Available from:
- Benkler, Y. 2006, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press.
- Bruns, A. 2006, "The Practice of News Blogging" in Uses of Blogs, eds. A. Bruns & J. Jacobs, Peter Lang, New York, pp.11-22.
- Curran, J., Fenton, N. & Freedman, D. 2012, Misunderstanding the Internet, eds. J. Curran, N. Fenton & D. Freedman, Routledge, Oxford.
- Dean, J. 2010, Blog Theory. Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive, Polity Press.
- Fairclough, N. 2003, Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research, Routledge, London.
- Fuchs, C. 2011, Foundations of critical media and information studies, Routledge, New York.
- Gerbaudo, P. 2012, Tweets and the Streets. Social Media and Contemporary Activism, Pluto Press.
- Gillmor, D. 2006, We the media. Grassroots journalism by the people, for the people, O'Reilly, Farnham.
- Gladwell, M. 2010, Small change. Why the revolution will not be retweeted. [Online]. Available at:
- Granovetter, M.S. 1973, "The Strength of Weak Ties", The American Journal of Sociology, vol. 78, no. 6, pp. 1360-1380.
- Grixti, J. 2006, "Symbiotic transformations: youth, global media and indigenous culture in Malta", Media Culture Society, vol. 28, no. 105, pp. 105-122.
- Jenkins, H. 2006, Convergence culture: where old and new media collide, New York University Press, New York.
- Leadbeater, C. 2008, We-think: Mass innovation, not mass production, Profile Books, London.
- Martin, R. 2009, "After New Media: everywhere always on" in Digital cultures. Understanding New Media, eds. G. Creeber & R. Martin, McGraw-Hill Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 157-162.
- Marwick, A. 2012, "The Public Domain: Social Surveillance in Everyday Life", Surveillance & Society, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 378-393.
- Meadows, M. 2012, "Putting the citizen back into journalism", Journalism, vol. 1, no. 11, pp. 1–18.
- Morozov, E. 2011, The Net Delusion. The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, Public Affairs, Perseus Books, Philadelphia.
- Östman, J. 2012, "Information, expression, participation: How involvement in user- generated content relates to democratic engagement among young people", New Media & Society, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 1004-1021.
- Prensky, M. 2001, "Digital Natives, Digital Migrants", On the Horizon, vol. 9, no. 5, pp.1-6.
- Rheingold, H. 2012, Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? [Kindle] TED Conferences.
- Rheingold, H. 2012, Net Smart: How to thrive online, The MIT Press.
- Rosenberg, S. 2009, Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters, Crown Publishing Group, New York.
- Ryan, J. 2010, A history of the Internet and the digital future, Reaktion Books, London.
- Senft, T. 2012, "Microcelebrity and the Branded Self" in Blackwell Companion to New Media Dynamics., eds. J. Burgess & A. Bruns, Blackwell, Oxford.
- Shirky, C. 2010, Cognitive Surplus. Creativity and generosity in a connected age, Penguin Group, London.
- Shirky, C. 2008, Here comes everybody: the power of organization without anybody, Allen Lane, London and New York.
- Siemens, G. 2005 "Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the digital age". [Online]. Available from:
- Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S. & Pullinger, K. 2007, "Transliteracy: Crossing divides", First Monday, [Online], vol. 12, no. 12. Available from:
- Turkle, S. 2011, Alone Together. Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Basic Books, New York.
- Wellman, B. 2002, "Little Boxes, Glocalization, and Networked Individualism" in Digital Cities II: Computational and Sociological Approaches Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 11-25.

Other journal articles related to the topic will be made available on the study-unit e-Learning website.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Project SEM2 Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.