Social Media and Participatory Culture - MSTU5001

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Scott Wark checkmark-circle


The digital sphere has given voice and meeting spaces to communities and activist groups, enabling social action, art and change. It has also been used by reactionaries, nationalists and the far-right groups to amplify hate filled messages. Analysing platforms that may include Facebook, Twitter, Uber and Wikipedia, the module engages with concepts such as participatory and collaborative culture, sharing economies, democracy and surveillance.
Students will engage in sourcing, analysing and critiquing social media content by way of a Digital Portfolio. This work will be contextualised by an essay that situates students' multimedia exercises within key debates in online culture. To facilitate this, lectures and seminars will explore various case studies - from mainstream politicians' use of social media in campaigning, to the intensification of hate speech in the cyber sphere, to the ethics of using unpaid journalists and the economy of sharing - in order to encourage students to engage critically with the relationship between politics, economics, personal expression and art making practices in the digital age.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 33
Private Study Hours: 267
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Digital Portfolio (60%)
Essay (2,500 word) (40%)

Reassessment methods:

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key theoretical approaches to the analysis of social media and user generated content.
2 Demonstrate basic knowledge about key events, movements and figures in the digital age.
3 Analyse a range of digital texts, taking consideration of issues of content, format and audience.
4 Produce critically informed interpretations of social media texts.
5 Critically analyse the ways in which different social groups may interact with digital communication practices.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate effectively, using appropriate vocabulary, ideas and arguments in both a written and oral form.
2 Read critically, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts.
3 Employ information technologies to research and present their work.
4 Demonstrate the ability to deliver polished and well-structured writing in the English language, including: expression of complex ideas, arguments and subtleties of meaning and proper bibliographic referencing


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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