Digital Society
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Digital Society

Welcome (week 1)

An introduction for Digital Society participants in 2021/22

[Digital display reading “Hello! Welcome! Price: $1.50”] Welcome to Digital Society. We will not ask you for any money. Photo by Algernai Hayes on Unsplash

🗺️ Week 1: quick navigation

📍Welcome → The course publicationCourse timelineAssessment


To everyone joining in 2021/22, welcome to Digital Society. You are likely here as a Manchester student taking UCIL26002, but as a course about the networked world, we chose to publish the materials openly, which means anyone is free to take part.

💬 Contribute

During the course, we will ask you to share ideas and experiences and hear from your peers through 💬 Contribute activities like this one. Read the following prompt then add your contribution in the box below. All comments are anonymous. Please be civil and don’t share personal identifying information.

What are you studying, and what attracted you to Digital Society?

If you can’t access the comment box, please write a response to this post instead.

📧 Your time capsule

Now that you have anonymously introduced yourself to the group, it is time to share something privately with your future self! FutureMe is a free website which lets you send an email to yourself in the future. Write a message, choose a date to receive it, and later you will receive the email from ‘past you’. It’s an interesting experience, like the old practice of burying time capsules.

We would like you to create a Digital Society time capsule for the end of this course, to help you reflect on what you have learned. Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to FutureMe (or take an alternative approach — see below)
  2. Important: Set the delivery date for 1st April.
  3. Write a letter which answers the following questions:
    * What do you hope to gain from this unit?
    * How do you define ‘digital society’ (there’s no wrong answer)?
    * How do you feel about ‘digital society’ (the topic, not the course)?
  4. Feel free to include anything else in your letter, how you’re feeling or what the weather is like, (it’s oddly interesting to read this in the future) then send it!

Alternatives to FutureMe

You can read FutureMe’s FAQ and Terms, and if you choose not to use it, here are some alternative ways to complete this activity:

  • Add a calendar item or reminder on your phone for the date, add your message to the description
  • Send the email to yourself now, then move it out of your inbox (e.g. into an archive folder). On the date, find the email again and read it
  • Go analogue! Seal the message in an envelope, write the date to open it on the front, and put it somewhere safe (you don’t have to bury it!)

The Digital Society podcast

This year the course is running online, with no face-to-face teaching sessions. As course leads, we (Dave and Chris) have recorded a podcast version of the rest of this page, so you know what voice to read our emails in.

We have used podcasts to give you an introduction to each topic, and a way to review them. We expect you to work through the materials for each weekly topic, including reading and activities. The podcasts are an optional extra.

Dave and Chris introduce Digital Society with the help of Shalina from the Library Student Team. A full transcript can be found below. MP3 version.

💡 If you’ve listened to the podcast, skip to the end for what to do next. Or keep reading if you prefer a text version (it’s the same as the podcast).

The Digital Society publication

So why did you choose Medium for the Digital Society course?

In developing this module, we wanted to make sure that the Digital Society materials would be available to anyone. As students on the course you can use Medium to share and discuss ideas while exploring the themes of the module.

Medium is not a blog as you would normally recognise one but it does allow you to write and contribute to this “publication”, it is in its essence a place for content created by students on the course.

How do students take part? How do I access the materials?

The course is online-only and all materials and support are accessible here on Medium. All content will be available from the start of the course on 7th Feb. Each week has a specific digital society theme where you will have online activities and key readings/videos/podcasts to work through.

How do I navigate the materials?

  • You can reach all course materials through the publication home page, just click ‘Digital Society’ at the top of any page to take you there.
  • From the Course information page you can access an overview of the course, learning outcomes, online materials, marking criteria and the assessments.
  • In the Topics page you can find information on the topic themes for the unit including content, activities and the reading/videos/podcasts.
  • In the Support for your coursework page you can find information on using and editing screenshots and images, how to reference sources in this unit and how you can further develop your critical skills.

What happens each week

For each week of the course we will be looking at a different digital society theme. The themes cover the Internet, digital engagement, the individual identity and ethics, smart cities, the Internet of Things, developing critical skills in a digital world and a reflection on your digital future employment. Each week you will be asked to read the topic page and engage with the activities where you will be asked to contribute your ideas and critical thoughts on the page.

Can you talk about the types of assessment in the module?

There are three assessments on the module and you can find detailed breakdowns of the assessment and marking criteria on the Course Information page.

  • The first assessment is a blog post where you must “Identify an individual or organisation with a public online presence and critically analyse their communications through one or more platforms e.g. website, twitter feed”. This is 10% of the overall mark.
  • The second assessment is a blog post where you must “Address the opportunities and challenges facing an organisation or sector, using digital media and technology”. This is 30% of the overall mark.
  • The final blog post assessment is the longest piece of work — “Using one or more themes explored in the course unit as a guide, write a post of 1500 words in which you critically examine the implications of living in a digital world. This should include a 500 word reflection on how you have developed through exploring these themes (for example, how this course has challenged you, what you have gained from it, how it may help you in future)”. This is 60% of the overall mark.

You can access and be inspired by the coursework of previous students on the course, the first, second and third pieces of assessment are available on the blog.

As a student on the course you will be submitting your coursework to the blog and to Blackboard for marking.

Where can you go if you need help? Where can you go if you need support?

The first place to go is the Medium blog (here) for information about the course. You can also email us at

What next?

Now that you’ve read/listened to our welcome post you should have a basic idea of how the course works. Next we suggest you read about the course publication, how to use the materials and how you will contribute.

🗺️ Week 1: quick navigation

📍Welcome → The course publicationCourse timelineAssessment



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