Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Trends in Family and Society in the Digital World

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


DEPARTMENT Health, Physical Education and Consumer Studies

DESCRIPTION The ubiquitous permeation of digital technologies has now become a fact that has not left anyone untouched. But, as we celebrate the ease of use of technology through digitally mediated behaviors, from effortlessly looking up the right food recipe, experiencing the cloud, following news as they arise or instantly sharing a fleeting moment with a friend, we must not neglect the impact this is having on people and relations. Through five interrelated themes this unit therefore follows a critical path of discovery in the evaluation of societal dynamics, the family and human relations and wellbeing in a digitally mediated world. These themes will cover topics such as: a brief history of the Internet; digital natives; digital citizenship; digitally mediated attitudes on ethics and privacy; the darker side of the web. The study-unit will comprise a taught component; self taught component (online participation); and an applied task. In the process students will also learn to work in groups and to be actively and intellectually engaged in discovering, absorbing and mastering theoretical knowledge through research and practice.

Study-Unit Aims:

This unit aims to:
a. Increase students' awareness and understanding of the various facets of the emerging digital universe;
b. Develop insights around potential issues that arise from use and availability of digital technology in modern family dynamics;
c. Encourage students to compare, assess and reflect upon different digitally mediated scenarios;
d. Develop in students a sound knowledge base on different facets of the Internet;
e. Increase students' awareness of a range of digitally motivated attitudes and behaviours, that allows them to be applied for the interpretation of interpersonal relations and societal trends;
f. Provoke critical reflection on the major role that digitally motivated attitudes can play on observable societal trends.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Describe and contextualise various aspects of the internet such as the Information - Superhighway and Web1.0, - Web 2.0 and the Semantic web as observable in societal trends;
- Distinguish between different forms of resistance to change;
- Distinguish between different digitally inclined subcultures such as the digital natives, digital settlers and digital immigrants;
- Outline the social construction of technology and describe the recursive actions that exist between human attitudinal shifts and structural properties of a technology that may ultimately shape issues in Technology and or Society;
- Explore and discuss the true meaning of the dark web - dangers and resources associated with it.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Work with various technologies to assess website qualities;
- Critically assess the various digitally mediated scenarios such as online bullying, racism but also freedom of speech;
- Practise being safe online, also through taking precautionary measures;
- Achieve a better balance on both sides of the screen that is on- and offline usage;
- Apply analytical skills to assess and interpret societal trends.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Baker, S (2009). They've Got Your Number : Data, Digits and Destiny - How the Numerati are Changing Our Lives. Vintage Publishing.
- Bartlett, J. (2015). The Dark Net. Windmill Books.
- Lanier, J. (2011). You are Not a Gadget : A Manifesto. Penguin Books LTD.
- Naughton, J. (2000). A Brief History of the Future : Origins of the Internet. Phoenix UK.
- Negroponte, N. ( 2000). Being Digital. Random House USA.
- Pariser, E. (2012). The Filter Bubble : What the Internet is Hiding from You. Penguin Books LTD.
- Turkle, S. (2013). Alone Together : Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. The Perseus Books Group.
- Twenge, J.M. (2014). Generation Me : Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--And More Miserable Than Ever Before. Atria Books.

Supplementary Readings:

- Brockman, J. ( 2011). Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? : the Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future. Harper Perrenial.
- Schmidt, E. Cohen, J. (2014). The New Digital Age : Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business. John Murray General Publishing Division.
- Turkle, S. ( 2015). Reclaiming Conversation : The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. Penguin Putnam.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Grp Learning, Independent Onl Learning & Lectures

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Portfolio SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Patrick Camilleri

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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.