Digital Society
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Transcript: digisoc2 support

An informal introduction to the first assessment

Version: Text and audio | Video | Audio (SoundCloud) | Audio (mp3)

This podcast is part of the UCIL Digital Society course from the University of Manchester. Each section contains an audio clip and text equivalent, including any links mentioned. If you prefer, you can listen to all the audio as a playlist. The content is the same in each case.

The purpose of this podcast is to introduce the second assessment and give some examples which may help illustrate it. We recommend you read the official course information: Overview: Assessment, Overview: Marking criteria, and How to complete the second assessment, but you may find this page useful too.


Hello my name is Dave and welcome to a Digital Society podcast where I will talk you through completing your second assessment — Digisoc2! You can also find detailed information on all the assessments on the Digital Society blog under the Course Information tab.

The assessment brief

Like the digisoc 1 assessment video we are going to look at each part of the digisoc 2 assessment to explain what you are being asked to do.

For Digisoc 2 the topic question is:

“Using the blog format address the opportunities and challenges facing an organisation or sector, using digital media and technology.”

In this video I am going to talk about the topic question, the marking criteria and the style in which the assessment should be written.

Opportunities and challenges

In this section we are going to look at Opportunities or challenges.

This means that for Digisoc 2 you have to consider the opportunities or the challenges that are facing an organisation or a sector and how these might be addressed using digital media and technology.

As an example you could you focus on one of the streaming companies like Netflix, Disney, Apple or Amazon and think about the opportunities or challenges they are facing. These companies are now operating in a very competitive market so they are facing both opportunities and challenges in how they are going to develop, build on and maintain their customer base.

Organisation or sector

In this section we are going to look at organisation or sector.

This means that you have a wide choice of subjects from the retail industry, advertising, recruitment, travel, music streaming or education — a number of submissions last year focused on how Covid 19 had impacted on a specific sector.

As with the first assessment, digisoc 1, choose a topic that you want to explore in depth and write about.

Digital media and Technology

In this section we are going to look at the digital media and technology part of the question.

If you think about the opportunities or challenges that an organisation or sector are facing then how can digital media and technology be used to overcome the challenges or take advantage of the opportunities?

I used the streaming example in a previous part of the podcast and how crowded the streaming market is at the moment — what you need to do is reflect on is how digital media and technology could be used to give a company a competitive advantage in such a crowded market — how could they ensure that the content they are producing will be watched?

Could they develop new targeting algorithms or reach new audiences etc. Depending upon the sector or organisation you choose you could focus on a piece of physical technology or digital media such as software etc.


In digisoc 2 you are being asked to write in a Pecha Kucha style so you might be thinking — what is Pecha Kucha?

PechaKucha means “chit chat” in Japanese and is a presentation format that includes 20 images with 20 seconds for each image — imagine it as bit like an elevator pitch selling an idea or a product.

In Digital Society we have adapted the PechaKucha format to include 10 sections with each section containing an attributed image and 100 words of text per image. An attributed image is one that you have permission to use in your work, and where you have demonstrated this as well as referencing the author and source in a caption. On the Digital Society blog you can find detailed support on using images on our Support for your coursework page.


Digisoc 2 asks you to write your submission in a Blog post Pecha Kucha style. This means a more informal tone than the academic essay that you are probably used to writing. Although it is a more informal style we are still expecting you to reference everything as you would in a standard academic essay — this includes links from the sources you have used to support your analysis in the submission and ideas from other students’ previous writing on this unit. If you have used a source then make sure you reference it!

As you are writing a blog post you can link to what you are referencing within the text of your blog post rather than producing a reference list at the end of your blog post.

When you are editing a Medium post simply double click on a word(s) and this will bring up a range of options and one of those is a link image — click on the link image, paste in the hyperlink, tap Enter and that is your hyperlink added.

For help with how to do this check out our Support for your coursework page on the Digital Society blog — there is an Advice page in there on how to reference facts and online ideas in your coursework.

Coursework examples

All of the coursework submitted in the Digital Society course is accessible online. For Digisoc 2 there is a wide range of topics from music streaming, Wolves football team, advertising, travel to covid19 and its impact on education.

So if you are not sure who or what to write about then you check the previous coursework out for inspiration on the Digital Society blog in the Course information: Overview Assessment page.

Marking criteria

To help you with the assessment we are going to look at a piece of Digisoc 2 coursework and see how it answered the question and how it could have been improved on. It received a 4 for Marking Criteria 1 and a 4 for Marking Criteria 2 and received a good overall mark.

So just to return to the brief for Digisoc 2 for a moment the topic is “Using the blog format address the opportunities or challenges facing an organisation or sector, using digital media and technology.”

In this piece of coursework, the student focused on the Fast Fashion sector and how brands are keeping consumers up to date with the latest trends. We have provided a link to the blog post below.

There are two sets of marking criteria for each piece of assessment and each one is on a scale of 1–5 with 5 being the highest level — you need to cover both sets of marking criteria to achieve the higher marks.

In this podcast we will focus on the highest levels for marking criteria 1 and marking criteria 2.

Marking criterion 1, part 1

In this section we are going to break down the marking criteria into 2 parts

The highest level for marking criteria 1 asks for “Excellent application of knowledge/experience to the topic, including reference to personal knowledge and insight gained from peers, and a clearly-articulated, viable proposal as to how digital media/technology could meet genuine challenges or opportunities for this organisation/sector.”

The first part we will look at is “Excellent application of knowledge/experience to the topic, including reference to personal knowledge and insight gained from peers”. In order to achieve the highest levels the writer would have to refer to both their personal knowledge AND insight gained from peers.

In her blog post the writer demonstrated an excellent application of knowledge of the fashion industry including, reference to micro trends, the ‘trending now’ section of a companies website targeting the audience for micro trends, targeted advertising etc. The writer then links to the statistics and data to back up her statements — a useful quote in the post was “60% of Instagram users” discover new products on the platform. This was linked to a survey from Statista — a database that the University subscribes to which provides insights and facts about global industry. Statista is a high quality source of data for your studies.

So how this could submission be improved? Well although the writer demonstrated their personal knowledge but didn’t clearly refer to any insight gained from peers which limited the mark she could receive to a 4 for Marking criteria 1. What do her peers think?

Insight gained from peers can be from the Digital Society blog posts or previously submitted coursework for Digital Society or conversations with your peers as long as you reference where you got the information from e.g. you could quote Chris from the Engagement e.g “Sometimes we only describe something as ‘analogue’ after a digital version arrives, leading to retronyms”.

Marking criterion 1, part 2

In the second part of Marking criteria 1 we are asking for “a clearly-articulated, viable proposal as to how digital media/technology could meet genuine challenges or opportunities for this organisation/sector” — so what does that mean?

Your proposal should be easily understood and by “viable proposal” we mean that it should be something that is feasibly possible e.g. a proposal based in reality that could actually work. As an example, Netflix is the market leader in the US (statista survey) so how would you propose that they maintain their lead? — Options could be tailored device plans that are cheaper if you watch on mobiles, targeted original content, watching libraries from other countries etc

In the students example post we have used the writer did not include a clearly articulated and viable proposal in her submission — if this had been included it could have raised her mark higher.

Marking criterion 2, part 1

For the highest level of the second set of marking criteria we are asking for “an excellent understanding of the topic, showing clear insight and awareness of the issues and a balanced, critical account supported by appropriate and correctly-attributed information”

Like Marking Criteria 1 we can break Marking Criteria into 2 parts — first of all let’s look at “an excellent understanding of the topic, showing clear insight and awareness of the issues”

The first section introduces the reader to the context around fast fashion sector such as multiple micro seasons having their “15 minutes of fame” and linking this to the current wear once throw away culture which ends up landfill. To back up her point of view the writer links to an article by Barnados which highlights the environmental problems associated with this throw away culture. Sentences are short and impactful introducing the reader to the content and using evidence to reinforce the writers position. This style continues throughout the post

Marking criterion 2, part 2

For the second part we are asking for a “balanced, critical account supported by appropriate and correctly-attributed information”

By balanced, critical account we are asking you to engage with ideas and content around your chosen organisation or sector rather than just accepting them or describing them — by engaging with ideas you can choose to agree or disagree with the sources you are using in your submission. Showing evidence of critical thinking and writing is required to gain the higher marks for Digisoc 2.

It is essential that you back up your critical account by appropriate and correctly attributed information. This means linking to high quality sources of information to back up your point of view and ensuring that the images you use are copyright free and attributed correctly.

In the coursework example the writer received a 4 for Marking Critiera 2 and we can see that the writer linked to some high quality sources like the Statista one but not all the sources were of such high quality. Ensure that if you are using a source it supports what you are saying and that is high quality. This can include market research, journal articles and statistics.

The writer could have been more consistent with the use of images as 2 of them were clearly not copyright free which would have affected the overall mark. it is important to be consistent throughout your work to ensure you can aim for the higher marks.

In terms of criticality the writer explored a number of themes around the topic of fast fashion but did not go into enough depth to achieve the highest marks. As an example in one sentence the writer mentioned “The market for fast fashion is huge and growing bigger every year, with seasonal looks becoming a thing of the past, replaced by multiple ‘micro seasons’ each having their own 15 minutes of fame before being thrown into landfills” — the issue of sustainability and lack of it in fast fashion is not addressed in any depth in this post which I would suggest is an essential element in a discussion around the issues facing fast fashion at the moment.

You can find detailed support on our Critical Analysis topic page around developing your critical skills and how to use images in Digital Society on our Support for your coursework page.

Further support

Thank you for listening — you can find further support on the Digital Society blog, the how to complete the second assessment: Digisoc 2 page and the support for your coursework page — if you have any questions you can post them in the BB discussion board or contact us via email at

How to complete the second assessment: Digisoc 2

Support for your coursework




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