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%

LECTURER/S Courtnie Bonett
Alex Grech

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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.