Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module EDUC3391: Digital Society, Theory & Practice

Department: Education

EDUC3391: Digital Society, Theory & Practice

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module aims to engage students in:
  • The study of different digital and societal issues and their connection with education;
  • Discussions of different theories relevant to understanding the phenomenon of the digital and its connection to education;
  • Discussing ideas and theories relating the digital phenomenon to education in a clear fashion to peers and tutors;
  • Designing curricular activities inclusive of critical understandings of digital technologies.


  • This module explores the intersection of education and digital technologies in and for a contemporary society. On this module students will explore the role of education in a so-called digital society and how educational institutions shape social practices. The module will be guided by the following questions:
  • * What does the digital society need from education?
  • * What can education give the digital society?
  • * How can education engender a more inclusive society by fostering critical digital practices and literacies?
  • The module will be developed around four core themes. The module themes (and indicative foci of discussion) are:
  • Inside the digital society: the role of education
  • * A historical overview: conceptions and misconceptions of the digital world
  • * Pedagogical traditions and transitions (conservative, progressive and critical/emancipatory)
  • * Key digital cultural principles
  • Digital education and issues of inclusion
  • * Digital divides: technical, skill-based and cultural
  • * Other structures of digital in/exclusion (ethnic, gendered and classed identities/roles)
  • * The support of disability and special needs education online
  • * Digital ethics and digital data
  • * Digital wellbeing: cyberbullying and the search for recognition
  • Curriculum design
  • * Digital literacies
  • * Digital curriculum principles
  • * From content to context: Designing for participation and engagement
  • Educational futures

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Identify and explain the significance of different theoretical concepts relevant to education and digital practices.
  • Develop Knowledge and understanding of critical theories pertinent to the digital phenomenon.
  • Explore key interpretations of digital education as a site of social, cultural, symbolic and political reproduction and transformation
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically assess and critique current digital education phenomena with the support of key academic work.
  • Critically engage with concepts and theories encountered in the module.
  • Apply concepts and theories to the analysis of digital educational issues, current issues and debates.
  • Read, analyse and critique seminal theoretical texts.
  • Critically develop interpretations and commentaries on current issues with the support of critical theory.
Key Skills:
  • Read and think critically and independently.
  • Develop critical inquiry.
  • Analyse, synthesise, evaluate, identify and deconstruct issues, norms and practices.
  • Construct and sustain a reasoned argument.
  • Develop study and research skills, information retrieval, and the capacity to plan and manage learning, and to reflect on own learning.
  • Use written and spoken communication skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be offered face to face.
  • In addition to the taught sessions, students are expected to work independently on each module. This ‘out of class’ work can include readings relevant to the next session and preparation for seminar sessions.
  • The summative assessment is a 3000 word essay on a topic relevant to the module chosen by the students. The summative assessment will be supported by a formative assessment in the form of an outline of the ideas and discussions students aim to explore via the summative assessment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Reading & Preparation 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A one-page outline of the ideas and discussions students want to explore in their summative will be submitted to Learn Ultra for written feedback.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University