module specification

SS4031 - Culture, Curriculum and Technics (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Culture, Curriculum and Technics
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
192 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   A 1500 word essay on the meaning and purpose of education.
Coursework 20%   One short reflection (750 words in total)
Coursework 40%   A 1250 word essay exploring technological change and the future of humankind
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module explores a number of important questions about the relationship between technology, knowledge and society and begins to think about how our ideas about each of these contribute to an understanding of what education means and what should be found in the curriculum.

Module aims

  • To present a range of theoretical perspectives that can be used to describe and analyse a curriculum as socio-cultural construction;
  • To identify ways in which knowledge is produced, reproduced and transmitted, and to identify the changing role of schooling within this;
  • To offer an introduction to the historical and contemporary role of ‘knowledge technologies’ in transforming the meaning of core notions including – what is meant by knowledge, learning, cultural memory and communication as well as the challenges of environmental sustainability.


The module content is divided into six blocks, which all address a specific question. The blocks are as follows:

  • Block 1: What do we mean by culture?
  • Block 2: What counts as knowledge and why do we educate?
  • Block 3: How does representation construct knowledge?
  • Block 4: Will new media technologies transform knowledge and education?
  • Block 5: Wiki workshop
  • Block 6: Does the Anthropocene have a future?

Learning and teaching

The module begins by examining what is meant by the idea of culture and goes on to examine the relationship between this and the knowledge found in the curriculum.  Next the module explores the role of technology and representation in the construction of knowledge, using historical and contemporary examples.  It appraises the impact of new technologies and technological change on the curriculum and offers opportunities for you to extend your experience and understanding of particular Web 2.0 applications.  Finally, the module explores pressing questions about the future for humankind and the contribution that education, knowledge and technology might make to the sustainability of the human era known as the Anthropocene.

Delivery is through a combination of lectures, seminar discussions and workshops as well as independent (but guided) study and reading.

Selected key readings will be available to students via Weblearn and students are expected to read in advance of classroom sessions, and to regularly reflect on their reading and seminar discussions via online discussions.

Learning outcomes

Students completing this module will be able to:

  • Use specific examples to demonstrate that knowledge is socially constructed and is therefore culturally and historically specific, and that what is presented in a curriculum represents selections from the knowledge available in any particular culture;
  • Identify and demonstrate an understanding of technologies with which knowledge is created, represented, stored and transmitted – including mathematics, the printed word, cartography, and visual and digital media;
  • Demonstrate a capacity for critical reflection on how specific aspects of a curriculum are framed within the politics of education and broader power relationships, and on the implications of technological change as well as the challenges of sustainability for these relationships.

Assessment strategy

Three pieces of coursework:

  1. A 1500 word essay on the meaning and purpose of education. Students are expected to draw on theories of culture and ideological frameworks of education (Block 1 & 2) – 40%.
  2. One short reflection (750 words in total) on a selected knowledge technology, discussed in Block 3, exploring its impact on society/culture, including three visual representations related to the chosen knowledge technology – 20%.
  3. A 1250 word essay exploring technological change and the future of humankind – drawing on theories and concepts discussed in Block 4 & 6 (and also Block 3) – 40%.


Althusser, L. (1968, English translation 1971). Lenin and philosophy and other essays. Paris: Francois Maspero.
Burr, V. (1995). An introduction to social constructionism. London: Routledge.
Burr, V. (2003). Social constructionism. 2nd Edition. East Sussex, New York: Routledge.
Castells, M. (2000). The rise of the network society: The information age: Economy, Society and culture. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Foucault, M., (2005). The order of things. London: Taylor & Francis.
Foucault, M., (1986). Of other spaces. Diacritics, 16, pp.22-27.
Hall, S. (2003). Introduction. IN: Hall, S. (eds) Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage, pp. 1-12.
McLuhan, M. (2005) The medium is the message. Corte Madera CA: Ginko Press.
Mumford, L., (1967). The myth of the machine: Technics and human development. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich.
Pearce, F. (2006). The last generation: How nature will take her revenge for climate change. London: Transworld Publishers.
Williams, R. (2011). Culture is ordinary. IN: Szeman, I. & Kaposy, T. (eds) Cultural theory: An anthology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 53-59.
Sagan, C., (1994). Pale blue dot: A vision of the human future in space. London: Ballantine Books.
Scharff, R. C. & Dusek, V., (2006) Philosophy of technology: The technological condition, an anthology. 2nd Edition. London: Blackwell Publishing.
Schellnhuber, H. J., Crutzen, P. J., Clark, W. L., Claussen, M. & Held, H. (2004). Earth system analysis for sustainability. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.
Seery, A., (2010). Education the formation of self and the world of web 2.0, London Review of Education, 8(1), pp. 63-67.
Young, M. F. D. (2008). Bringing knowledge back in: From social constructivism to social realism in the sociology of education. London: Routledge.