module specification

SM5F03 - Specialist Research and Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Specialist Research and Practice
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Literature review and project proposal
Coursework 50%   Digital Media Artefact
Coursework 20%   Evaluation
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This unit offers the creative space where learners, having reached a level of sustained independent self-development, can make a definitive personal statement about their specialist practice. The module marks a point of arrival in the continuing journey towards a recognisable identity as a digital media practitioner. Students will research in detail an aspect of digital media, and produce a substantial piece of work, drawing on the skills developed over the earlier modules. Individual ainnovationis encouraged as the briefwill be negotiated between the student and tutor, and the chosen development approach will originate from the student.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module aims to

• Support and develop skills in research and critical evaluation of an area of digital media practice
• Facilitate the development and production of a digital media artefact
• Develop skills in critical analysis and self-reflection


An indicative programme of study covers the following:

• specialist research methods
• literature review
• researching the chosen topic
• design research
• negotiating and developing an idea
• sourcing and evaluating relevant information
• identifying resources and skills needed for the chosen project
• concept development
• planning and management issues
• costing and time scheduling
• evaluation techniques

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning will take the form of weekly open workshop sessions where the students will have access to technical support and assistance during the research and production process.  In addition a series of individual tutorials will provide support and guidance in project management and other surrounding issues. Students are expected to manage their own learning in terms of defining their own topic, and managing time and resources. Moodle will be used as a platform to facilitate communication, monitor and track progress. Presentations of work in progress will be scheduled to facilitate peer feedback.

Learning outcomes

knowledge and understanding:
1. Research an area of specialism within the field of digital media

cognitive intellectual skills:
2. Critically analyse and evaluate current developments and practices in an aspect of digital media
3. Develop and present a proposal for a substantial specialist practice project

transferable skills including those of employability and professional practice:
4. Confidently present work

subject-specific practical skills:
5. Apply design and production skills to a develop an area of specialist practice

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to let students demonstrate the level at which they have engaged in debate through contribution to online discussion. Students will then interpret one of the issues raised into the production of a digital media product that will connect theory to practice.

1. Summary of research into an aspect of digital media practice as literature review,
and project proposal. 30%
2. Digital media artefact resulting from self-initiated project 50%
3. Critical reflective evaluation 20%


Deuze, M. (2007) Media Work; Polity
Foerster, A. and Kreuz, P. (2007) Different Thinking;Kegan Page
Gigi Durham, M. and Kellner, D. (Eds) (2006) Media and Cultural Studies; Blackwell Publishing
Horine, M. (2005) Absolute Beginners Guide to Project Management, Hospitality; Haworth
Seguin, J.  and Hope Culver, S. (2011) Media Career Guide: Preparing for Jobs in the 21st Century; Bedford St. Martin's
Shayne,G. (2000) 90 Days to Launch. Internet projects on time and on budget; John Wiley and Sons
Winner, J. and Dominick, R. (2010) Mass Media Research: An introduction;  Brooks-Cole, Wokingham