module specification

SM4052 - Digital Work (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Digital Work
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
30 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
75 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Employability portfolio
Coursework 50%   Digital Workplace Case Study (1200 words).
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon
Spring semester North Friday Afternoon

Module summary

This Level 4 module introduces students to debates around the use of digital media in work contexts. The module contextualises the understanding of digital media with reference to the history, theory and practice of digital media in the workplace, and the history, theory and practice of digital media careers. The module combines theory- based learning of the contexts and uses of digital media with practice-based learning around the use of social media in specific employability- oriented contexts.

This module aims to:

• Introduce students to a range of debates about the role of digital media in society and the workplace;
• Explore the ways in which digital media has transformed the nature of work and the development of careers;
• Encourage students to employ critical methods in the understanding of and analysis of digital media in workplace context and opportunities for developing digital and media careers;
• Encourage students to develop employability skills in relation to defined career goals particularly through using social media networking.


The syllabus combines lecture and lab based learning. The lecture syllabus will cover a history of digital media, digital media technologies, digital media in the workplace, and major debates around digital media. An indicative syllabus includes:

● The information society; transforming the nature of work.
● Digital cultures: practices of participation and sharing
● Digital Publics and user generated content.
● New working practices in the digital age (remote working; virtual work; portfolio careers etc).
● Technologies supporting digital work (AR; VR; MR; AI; big data; data mining; digital currencies; file sharing services; web development; social networking services; data visualisation).
● Digital entrepreneurship;
● Digital marketing
● Online presence: privacy and surveillance
● Gig Economy Apps

The lab based syllabus will cover online tools for study and learning; social networking services profiles; blogging and microblogging. The lab sessions are intended to equip students with the skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace including in developing portfolio careers.

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be delivered through a combination of modes of delivery, including formal lectures, seminars, computer lab workshops, and individual tutorials. The mixed-mode module delivery will be used to encourage a supportive environment for individual and peer-group learning. 

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussions, evaluation of online resources, and access to electronic reading packs. The VLE will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of digital media and its uses within work context including an understanding of the development of digital media in work and the ways in which digital media has transformed work and society.
2. Demonstrate the ability to apply critical and theoretical perspectives in the use and analysis of social media
3. Demonstrate a good understanding of the wider social, culture, theoretical and historical context of social media.
4. Demonstrate the use of digital media resources in enhancing their employability prospects.

Assessment strategy

This is a level 4 modules and the assessment strategy is aimed at introducing students to formal assessment including the processes around assessment submission, while allowing opportunities for extensive formative feedback both in development of assessed work and after submission. The assessments are closely tied to the curriculum allowing students to develop work in lab time with the support of the module tutor. The assessments are:

1) Employability portfolio: a portfolio or work aimed at enhancing employability. The make-up of the portfolio will vary year-by-year but typically might include: a CV; a social media networking profile and / or networking web presence; 

Digital workplace Case Study: a report analysing the digital work strategy of an organisation and future potential developments, based on a scenario set by the tutor.


Where possible, the most current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module.  Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks.  Reading Lists will be updated annually.

Poutanen, S., Kovalainen, A. & Rouvinen, P. (2019). Digital Work and the Platform Economy: Understanding Tasks, Skills and Capabilities in the New Era. Taylor Francis.
Fuchs, C. (2014) Social Media: A Critical Introduction, SAGE: Los Angeles; London.

Akanbi, O. (2019). Contested Boundaries of Digital Work. Penn University Press
Albarran, A.B. (Ed.) (2013) The Social Media Industries, Media management and economics, Routledge: New York ; London.
Bruns, A. (2008), Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, London: Peter Lang.
Flecker, J. (2016). Space, place and global digital work. London: Springer.
Ford, M. (2016). Rise of the robots: Technology and the threat of a jobless future. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Kelly, N. (2013) How to Measure Social Media: A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI, Que: Indianapolis, Ind.
Kelly, Marielle. (2015) Social Media for Your Student and Graduate Job Search. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. [e-book]
Kroker, A., & Kroker, M. (2013). Critical digital studies: A reader (2nd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Meikle, Graham (2016) Social Media: Communication, Sharing and Visibility. New York and London: Routledge. [e-book]
Noble, S. (2018) Algorithms of Oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. NYU Press, 2018.
Oppl, S., & Stary, C. (2019) Designing Digital Work - Concepts and Methods for Human-Centered Digitization, Palgrave Macmillan.
Ryan, D. (2011) The Best Digital Marketing Campaigns in the World: Mastering the Art of Customer Engagement, Kogan Page: London; Philadelphia.
Smith, N. (2011) The Social Media Management Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Get Social Media Working in Your Business, John Wiley & Sons: Chichester.
Treadaway, C. (2010) Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day, Wiley: Indianapolis.
Tredinnick, L. (2008), Digital Information Culture, Oxford: Chandos Publishing.
Tuten, T.L. (2013b) Social Media Marketing, Pearson Education Limited: Harlow.