Media, Data and Society MA

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2022
  • Entry requirements: A good 2.1 or a first-class degree in Communication Studies, Social Sciences or other Humanities, or a technical background in Computer Science, IT or equivalent. Other subjects and/or appropriate postgraduate experience/employment also considered.
four students sitting at a table

Module details

Please note: programme and module details are illustrative and subject to change.

You will study four compulsory modules, including a dissertation; and 3 optional modules (one in Semester 1, and two in Semester 2).

Compulsory modules

Big Data and Society: Foundations, Politics, and Policy A (COMM751)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the study of online media and platforms, with a particular focus on ‘big’ social trace data. As well as developing their understanding of how Internet-based media systems work, students will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of using big data for social science research, and engage with key online political communication policy questions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will analyse interactions between the media, platforms, and citizens.

(LO2) Students will develop their understanding of how digital data is generated, collected and used in the modern world.

(LO3) Students will engage with key current debates around media, data and society.

(LO4) Students will develop a proposal for their thesis.

(S1) Students will develop their skills in building and presenting an argument, while selecting appropriate sources.

(S2) Students will be able to link key public policy questions to social science research approaches that could help practically address them.

(S3) Students will develop skills in critically engaging with evidence.

(S4) Students will further develop their academic writing skills.

Social Media Research Methods (COMM755)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting40:60
Aims

This module aims to provide students with an overview of research methods as applied to social media research. It aims to teach necessary foundational knowledge for research design, as well as specific approaches. By developing students’ abilities to understand and interpret published research as well as to conduct their own projects, it aims to support both the taught modules and the dissertation module for the MA in Media, Data and Society. The data analysis techniques and R skills taught in the module also aim to support students in future data-driven work outside the academy.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire broad foundational knowledge of research methods design, research philosophy and research ethics policy and practice.

(LO2) Students will learn basic social statistics and their application to survey research

(LO3) Students will learn the foundations of computational social media research methods including different approaches to using text as data.

(LO4) Students will learn about using social media as a source of data for applied research projects

(S1) Students will gain skills in understanding and interpreting published survey research into social media use.

(S2) Students will develop a foundational level of programming skills using R

(S3) Students will gain skills in obtaining social media research data from open platforms, and in analysing and interpreting it.

(S4) Students will gain skills in conducting and interpreting data visualisation of social media data.

(S5) Students will develop skills in using data to solve problems.

Big Data and Society: Algorithms and Platforms A (COMM753)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to develop students’ critical understanding of the role of algorithms in online communication and in the political economy of platforms. It aims for students to learn about the algorithms that influence the development of online social systems, and also to critically examine the real-world consequences of algorithmic choices and the ways in which the design of platforms affect the world. The course emphasises a hands-on approach to studying algorithms in practice, so it aims to develop students’ programming skills to implement and explore their effects. A final aim is to develop a critical and theoretical approach to understanding the political and economic consequences of platforms.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will learn about important algorithms with implications for how we understand online communication.

(LO2) Students will explore the challenges of algorithmic decision-making, and some of its real-world implications.

(LO3) Students will interpret the political and economic role of online platform companies.

(LO4) Students will learn about the legal frameworks underpinning the Internet, and issues in the regulation of online speech.

(S1) Students will develop their ability to implement algorithms in software.

(S2) Students will be able to draw links between algorithms and wider effects, and interpret their effects.

(S3) Students will develop their skills in building and presenting an argument, while selecting appropriate sources.

(S4) Students will further develop their academic writing skills.

(S5) Students will develop a critical and theoretical approach to understanding the political and economic consequences of platforms.

Dissertation (COMM716)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To construct an extended and original research project on an appropriate topic which is clear and realistic in scope and seeks to make a distinct contribution both to the student’s own learning and to debates within their chosen field.

2. To enable students to further develop their independent research skills.

3. To enable students to develop professional standards for the presentation of research material.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be encouraged to demonstrate a deep knowledge and understanding of the chosen topic and a critical awareness of the relationship of their own research to other work in the field.

(LO2) Students will be encouraged to identify and use appropriate research methods of research and data collection, with awareness of ethical implications.

(LO3) Students will be encouraged to identify core theoretical and conceptual approaches in the study of media and communications.

(LO4) Students will be encouraged to construct a coherent and sustained argument as appropriate to the research project and method of enquiry and to present it in appropriate academic format to a professional standard.

(S1) Proficiency in digital resources and tools for research as required by the chosen research project.

(S2) Time and project management, and autonomous organisation of work.

(S3) Understanding and application of appropriate terminology and analytical criteria.

(S4) Identifying and accessing relevant sources of information and materials.

Optional modules

Introduction to Data Science B (COMM767)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

At the end of the module, students will have a good understanding of the theory and application of major techniques used in data science. They will develop core skills in computer coding which they will make further use of in the rest of their programme. The module will also prepare them for future positions in research and industry, where data science and coding skills are in growing demand. The module will be taught and assessed to reflect the emphasis on gaining practical coding skills, underpinned by theoretical understanding.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate knowledge of the data lifecycle in the context of data science and communication.

(LO2) Use programming concepts such as variables, conditional statements, loops and functions.

(LO3) Know how to collect and process data from a range of sources.

(LO4) Select and apply suitable methods to analyse and visualise data to investigate and solve problems.

(S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Confidence/competence in measuring and using numbers

(S2) Skills in using technology - Information accessing

(S3) Problem solving – analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

Media and Politics: Theories and Cases B (COMM765)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims to give students an appreciation of how questions of the media are placed within political studies and how questions of politics are placed within media and communication studies. It also aims to develop skills both of political and media analysis and to encourage students to understand the media-political relationship within a context of change in political culture and in media and information technology. The module will also equip students with the skill to assess and examine the power dynamics, contested representations, and consequences of media reporting of selected contemporary political conflicts. A further aim is for students to become able to scrutinise the underlying rationale for media representation and reporting of politics.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of key theories and debates relating to the relationship between media and politics.

(LO2) Students will be able to critically analyse the theoretical approaches to media/politics relationship.

(LO3) Students will be able to evaluate media power through a focus on selected contemporary cases and controversies.

(LO4) Students will acquire an advanced understanding of different models of the relationship between media, society and the state.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills).

(S3) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation.

Fundamentals of Strategic Communication B (COMM517)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims at providing students with:
• Advanced knowledge of the multidisciplinary study of strategic communication and gain familiarity with crucial concepts in fields such as public relations and corporate communication, (strategic) management, discourse studies, marketing and advertising.
• Critical understanding of the functions and impact of strategic communication in contemporary organisations, institutions and society at large.
• Familiarity with the different contexts of strategic communication, in particular crisis communication, issue and reputation management
• Ability to analyse strategic communication contexts by identifying goals, audiences-stakeholders and institutional constraints within different communicative situations.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire advanced knowledge of the multidisciplinary study of strategic communication and gain familiarity with crucial concepts in fields such as public relations and corporate communication, (strategic) management, discourse studies, marketing and advertising.

(LO2) Students will demonstrate critical understanding of the functions and impact of strategic communication in contemporary organisations, institutions and society at large.

(LO3) Students will demonstrate familiarity with the domain of crisis communication, issue and reputation management and other contexts of strategic communication.

(LO4) Students will be able to critically examine and explain strategic communication issues and cases through a rigorous application of academic concepts and methods.

(S1) Use of relevant theories for the critical understanding of strategic communication processes.

(S2) Ability to analyse and critically assess strategic communication phenomena.

(S3) Communication and presentation skills including clarifying and explaining concepts, defending and justifying opinions, anticipating and addressing critical questions, visualising knowledge effectively.

Understanding Media Change B (COMM757)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To familiarise students with philosophical and theoretical approaches that will have relevance beyond the module.
2. To enable students to critically interrogate claims made about ‘new’ and outmoded media forms and platforms, and to distinguish moments of key cultural, social and technical change.
3. To equip students with critical understanding of media, particularly in relation to technology and technological progress.
4. To expand students’ historical awareness and introduce them to a range of sources and archives through which they can learn about past media forms.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain a familiarity with philosophical and theoretical approaches that will have relevance beyond the module

(LO2) Students will gain an ability to critically interrogate claims made about ‘new’ and outmoded media forms and platforms, and to distinguish moments of key cultural, social and technical change.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical understanding of ideas about media, particularly in relation to technology and technological progress.

(LO4) Students will gain an historical awareness and familiarity with a range of sources and archives through which they can learn about past media forms.

(S1) Further develop critical thinking

(S2) Develop critical writing ability

(S3) Archival research and historiographic skills

(S4) Close reading and analysis

Screen Cultures B (COMM744)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To introduce students to screen cultures as they are formed through the historical, industrial, and political contexts of production and reception.
2. To encourage students to develop advanced moving image analysis skills and use them to differentiate between the forms and practices within a diverse range of screen cultures.
3. To introduce key concepts and key theories in the study of screen cultures as they are historically, culturally, and politically situated.
4. To encourage students to widen their knowledge and understanding of diversity in cinema through the study of marginal and alternative screen cultures.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of dominant and marginal screen cultures.

(LO2) Students will demonstrate familiarity with advanced concepts and debates in film studies.

(LO3) Students will demonstrate skills in advanced moving image analysis.

(S1) Researching and locating materials through the effective use of library and information services, bibliographies and electronic sources of knowledge and information

(S2) Academic writing

(S3) Creative thinking and writing techniques

(S4) Time management and project planning

Digital Media Audiences (COMM739)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module will examine digital media from the audience’s perspective. It will consider contemporary debates on the changing audience’s practices and the attention economy. Students will be introduced to the notions of the audience as a user and as a producer of media in the digital age. The module will focus on digital news audiences as well as the audience of entertainment platforms (like Netflix and Spotify). Different audience research methods like tracking data, surveys and focus groups will also be discussed.

This module is based on 2h weekly workshops, which will provide a mix of lectures and in-class activities, such as group activities, case studies, group discussions and hands-on social media analytics. The rationale behind the workshop model is to give more flexibility for lecturers to adapt each day of class to the content to be covered. It is anticipated that some weeks will require more time for theory-based lecturing and discussion, while others will be more focused on developing practical and analytical skills, therefore requiring more time to be dedicated to in-class activities.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain a deep understanding of the ways in which digital media shape and influence audiences

(LO2) Students will be able to critically evaluate theories and empirical research about audiences in the digital age

(LO3) Students will gain understanding on the main trends in digital audience economics

(LO4) Students will gain understanding on the main trends in digital audience economics
Students will demonstrate knowledge about the most prominent methods to examine digital media audiences in the industry and in academia

(S1) Students will gain skills in critically analysing theories and empirical studies of digital media audiences

(S2) Students will gain skills in understanding analytics and methods used to examine digital media audiences

(S3) Students will gain presentation skills

(S4) Students will gain skills in producing advanced written material in the form of essays

Artificial Intelligence and Communication B (COMM718)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To provide insight into the way Artificial Intelligence is influencing our communication practices
To introduce students with analytic means to navigate the complexity of communication in the AI era
To explore the changes brought about by AI through the introduction of digital media as well as human-computer interactions
To encourage students to reflect on the impact that AI is having on their communication processes
To provide students with the means to assess risks and opportunities introduced by the use of AI in the communication environment

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will demonstrate knowledge about core notions to investigate the relations between AI and communication.

(LO2) Students will analyse data privacy issues in view of algorithm transparency norms.

(LO3) Students will critically analyse cases of (mis)information diffusion.

(LO4) Students will evaluate risks and opportunities that the use of AI tools create in daily communication practices.

(S1) Problem solving and critical thinking

(S2) Ethical awareness

(S3) Digital Communication skills

(S4) Application of discourse analysis tools

Data VIsualisation (COMM740)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

At the end of the module, students will have a good understanding of different types of data and how to visualise them effectively. As part of this, they will build on their coding skills and knowledge of plotting libraries, which will help them in other areas of their studies. The module will also prepare them for future positions in research and industry, where data science and coding skills are in growing demand, especially data visualisation. The module will be taught and assessed to reflect an emphasis on gaining practical coding skills, underpinned by theoretical understanding.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Identify different types of data and relationships between data.

(LO2) Select methods to visualise data which reflect the characteristics of the data and the intended audience.

(LO3) Use plotting libraries to create informative visualisations of data.

(LO4) Use interactivity, animations and custom methods to create innovative and insightful visualisations.

(S1) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

(S2) Numeracy/computational skills - Confidence/competence in measuring and using numbers

(S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

(S4) Skills in using technology - Information accessing

Media and Politics: Economy and Society B (COMM763)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of the economic underpinnings of media and, in particular, news production, and how these relate to and impact upon media texts, discourses, and public politics more generally. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical attitude towards media ownership, and processes/conventions of media production in capitalist societies. Further, they will be given opportunities to analyse the ways in which these influences manifest themselves in media texts and, by extension, in political culture and public opinion. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical and analytical understanding of various media discourses affected by neoliberal thought, populist rhetoric, and political partisanship. Students will develop a basic understanding of media effects research, in particular as regards the use of experimental designs and regression analyses.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will have understanding of economic theories of news production and the relationship of media and communication with a neoliberal, capitalist system.

(LO2) Students will have understanding of economic media production contexts and their bearing on offline and online media discourses and, by extension, political culture and public opinion.

(LO3) Students will have understanding of current trends and developments in media technology, business logics, and media use, and their implications for democratic politics.

(LO4) Students will have understanding of approaches to studying citizens’ media use and its effects on political knowledge, attitudes, and participation.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Influencing skills – argumentation.

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (including referencing skills).

(S5) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

(S6) Global citizenship - Relevant economic/political understanding.

Global Journalism and Politics (COMM748)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To introduce students to ways that different social, political, and economic contexts impact on how journalism is produced and consumed.

To enable students to compare the professional practices and ideologies of journalists across different countries.

To analyse the efficacy and quality of journalism in comparative perspective.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to define and critically evaluate key theories and concepts that explain the interplay between journalism and politics.

(LO2) Students will be able to understand and critically analyse the role journalists play both in the global South and in the global North.

(LO3) Students will be able to discuss the current state of media freedom and journalistic practices around the world as well as the main contextual factors that influence those practices.

(LO4) Students will be able to critically analyse different perspectives on how global audiences' expectations and consumption habits shape, and are shaped by, the political information environment.

(S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S2) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, presentations.

(S3) Research management developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources.

(S4) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information.

Argumentation in Media and Strategic Communication (COMM520)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims at providing students with:
• advanced knowledge of argumentation and rhetorical theories for the study of strategic communication.
• theory-driven analytical methods for the critical examination of arguments manifested in different genres of strategic communication.
• critical understanding of issues of persuasion and public trust in strategic communication.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire advanced knowledge of argumentation and rhetorical theories for the study of strategic communication

(LO2) Students will acquire advanced theory-driven analytical methods for the critical examination of arguments manifested in different genres of strategic communication

(LO3) Students will develop critical understanding of issues of persuasion and public trust in strategic communication

(S1) Use of relevant theories and concepts for the critical analysis of argumentation and persuasion processes in organisational and media discourse, including ability to distinguish facts, opinions and arguments

(S2) Critical thinking for managing controversial decision-making problems

(S3) Ability to offer strategic advice to organisations on communication issues and initiatives

Branding Strategy and Communication (COMM521)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

• Provide students with fundamental knowledge of theories and key concepts in strategic communication underlying branding strategy formulation and implementation.
• Introduce students to the different contexts and areas of the application of branding.
• Teach students how to define a brand and its strategy, translating it into a communication strategy.
• Offer students the opportunity to develop analytical skills for brand strategy analysis.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will have an advanced understanding of the main theories and concepts underlying branding management and communication

(LO2) Students will acquire familiarity with a wide range of contexts and applications of branding communication

(LO3) Students will have an advanced critical knowledge of key issues and debates relating to the societal and ethical implications of branding practices

(LO4) Students will be able to analyse branding communication strategies

(S1) Business and customer awareness, including basic understanding of the key drivers for branding success

(S2) Communication skills, like listening and questioning whilst respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing and presentation of viewpoints during seminars

(S3) Problem solving, critical thinking and creativity analysing brands

(S4) Commercial and customer awareness

Media Practices and Everyday Life B (COMM759)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To examine key theories and debates relating to the impact of media cultures and practices on everyday life in the contemporary world

To develop a critical understanding of theoretical approaches to media as forms of everyday practice

To develop a reflexive understanding of the role of digital media practices in contemporary social and cultural life

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of key theories and debates relating to the impact of media cultures and practices on everyday life in the contemporary world.

(LO2) Students will be able to critically analyse theoretical approaches to media as forms of everyday practice.

(S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions

(S2) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language (if applicable), influencing

(S3) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S4) Application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

Visual Cultures: Institutions, Exhibitions, Interventions (COMM761)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to:
Develop and enhance students’ ability to read, discuss and write critically about cultural institutions and their historical and contemporary practices.
Provide students with an introduction to the main theories, concepts and debates on cultural institutions and artistic practices from different theoretical perspectives and disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies, museums studies, and visual culture.
Offer students insights into the work of a key area of the creative industries associated with issues of heritage, memory, visual art and culture.
Equip students with tools of critical cultural analysis to evaluate media practices, technologies and institutions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the capacity to identify what makes objects meaningful in private and public collections.

(LO2) Students will gain the ability to discuss relevant theories, debates and key concepts in the analysis of cultural institutions and artistic practices.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical awareness of the role and value of cultural institutions.

(LO4) Students will gain the ability to discuss the impact of digital technologies and new media in cultural institutions and artistic practices.

(S1) The ability to analyse theories and concepts and apply knowledge

(S2) Oral literacy and presentation skills

(S3) Applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions for the creation, preservation and valorisation of cultural institutions and artistic practices

(S4) Consider ethical and social responsibility in the creation, preservation and valorisation of culture

Screen Industries B (COMM746)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To provide students with an understanding of the organizational and operational logic of screen industries in the 21st century

To examine debates and ideas about the role and nature of screen industries as they operate in a converged and global media environment

To investigate working and other professional practices in screen industries and the cultures that produce and cultivate them

To understand the political, economic, social, cultural and other contexts that shape the environment within which screen industries operate

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate an understanding of the distinct organizational and operational logic that characterizes film, television and video game industries in the 21st century

(LO2) Demonstrate an ability to engage critically with debates about the nature of screen industries in the increasingly converged and global media environment within which they operate and evolve

(LO3) Demonstrate a critical awareness of working and other professional practices in screen industries and the cultures that produce and cultivate them

(LO4) Demonstrate an ability to interrogate how political, economic, social, cultural and other contexts shape the environment within which screen industries operate

(S1) Researching and locating materials through the effective use of library and information services, bibliographies and electronic sources of knowledge and information

(S2) Academic writing

(S3) Creative thinking and writing techniques

(S4) Time management and project planning

Redefining Television (COMM750)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To provide students with an understanding of the nature, role and function of television as a medium in the 21st century.
2. To give students the opportunity to engage in debates about what constitutes television in a rapidly changing technological climate.
3. To provide students with knowledge about television, VOD streaming and online platforms in a global context.
4. To develop students’ critical and theoretical capabilities by analysing television texts through intersecting issues including genre, identity politics, promotional culture and the role of the industry.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain an understanding of the role, function and form of television in the 21st century, changes in the industry and relationships to the politics of representation facilitated by VOD.

(LO2) Students will gain an ability to critique television texts and their forms in terms of genre, history, identity politics and industrial perspectives.

(LO3) Students will gain an ability to critically engage with theoretically-informed research and scholarship about TV, and to produce theoretically reflective writing about their own viewing practices.

(LO4) Students will gain an understanding of algorithmic viewing and marketing.

(S1) Researching and locating materials through the effective use of library and information services, bibliographies and electronic sources of knowledge and information.

(S2) Critical evaluation of academic and TV texts.

(S3) Academic writing.

(S4) Creative thinking and writing techniques.

(S5) Time management and project planning.