module specification

SM5018 - Digital Media Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Digital Media Practice
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
192 hours Guided independent study
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Case study (individual work)
Coursework 30%   A developmental folder (individual work)
Coursework 50%   A digital media project (individual work)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module introduces students to the various areas of professional digital media practice. It critically analyses key theoretical concepts and the different research methods to establish requirements of end users of interactive digital products. This module further continues to engage students in user-centred design approaches through different projects. The module deepens students understanding of the relationship between theories of human-computer interaction, user-centred design and their practical application. Practical exercises, lectures, demonstrations and field trips will aid students in developing practical and analytical skills to produce interactive products.

Module aims

• Enhance students understanding of digital media practice
• Enable students to critically analyse and evaluate key theoretical concepts in interaction and user-centred design
• Enable students to critically examine the effects of interactive products on end users
• Enable students to establish links between social context and practice and digital artefacts
• Enable students to carry out effective user research and artefact evaluation


The syllabus explores:

  • theories of human-computer interaction
  • Project cycles and planning
  • Design methods
  • User research methods
  • Scoping
  • User-centred design methods
  • Design stakeholder and audience requirements
  • Personas and scenarios in design
  • Proto-typing techniques
  • Iterative design
  • Interface design
  • Design evaluation methods
  • Usability and accessibility
  • Media platforms and distribution
  • Multimedia content creation and asset management
  • Narrative and online story-telling
  • Participatory practice
  • Content management systems

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include lectures and on-line interactive learning material, tutorials, seminar discussions, role-play activities and computer lab sessions. Students will be expected to attend lectures and take part into on-line activities as well as comment on their readings. The teaching and learning strategy will adopt a problem-solving and situated approach to expose students to real-life scenarios and digital media briefs.
A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience. The VLE will be used as a platform to support online discussions, and situated learning experiences and to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. To critically analyse and evaluate key theoretical concepts in interaction and user-centred design
2. to critically examine the effects of interactive products on end users
3. to apply user-centred design methods
4. to carry out effective digital artefact evaluation

Assessment strategy

Case study (weighting 20%) - will assess the students’ ability to examine the effect of digital artefacts on end users. (LO2)

A developmental folder (weighting 30%) to test students’ ability to apply key theoretical concepts in interaction and utilise user-centred design methods. (LO1 and LO3)

A digital media project (weighting 50%) is designed to test students' ability to effectively apply user-centred design and design evaluation methods. (LO3 and 4)

Students may pass on aggregate.


Required reading:

• Buxton, B. (2007) Sketching user experience: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, N-Y: Morgan Kaufmann.
• Cooper, A. et al. (2007) About face 3: The essentials of interaction design, N-Y: John Wiley and Sons.
• Dourish, P. (2004) Where the action is: Foundations of embodied interaction, Cambridge: MIT Press.
• Kaptelinin, V. and Nardi, B. (2006) Acting with technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design, Cambridge: MIT Press.
• Laurel, B. ed. (2003) Design Research: Methods and Perspectives. Cambridge: MIT Press.
• Moggridge, B. (2006) Designing interactions, Cambridge: MIT Press.
• Norman, D. (2002) The design of everyday things, NY: Basic Books.
• Preece, J. et. al. (2002) Interaction Design, N-Y: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
• Saffer, D. (2009) Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices 2nd edition, N-Y: New Riders.
• Shneiderman, B. and Palisant, C. (2010) Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction 5th ed., N-Y; Harlow : Pearson Education.
• Snyder, C. (2003) Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces, N-Y: Morgan Kaufman.
• Suchman, L. (2007) Human-machine reconfigurations: plans and situated actions, 2nd. Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Priority will be given to emerging media/technologies that are salient at the time of delivery.