University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Digital Society

Unit Code


Unit Details

  • Level 2
  • 10 Credits
  • The University of Manchester Library


As citizens of a networked world, our access to information has never been greater but what are the implications for individuals and societies when we live so much of our life online?

In this unit, you will explore your place in the digital world, the connectedness of digital life, the relationship between the individual and the state, the smart cities of the future (and now), ethics of the online world and the impact of digital and mobile technology on business and marketing.

Using digital media to share your findings, you will take a critical look at your own digital identity to influence how the world perceives you online.

The unit uses a mix of online learning and hands-on workshops. All the unit information, content and discussions are held in Medium, a public writing/blogging platform. You will contribute to the development of the unit materials with your comments, thoughts and coursework in this way becoming writers for an online publication on 'Digital Society' comprising over 100 stories.

The unit has a strong employability focus. Through assessed and non-assessed activities, you will develop transferable skills relevant to life beyond your studies, including real experience of blogging, critical thinking and reflection, peer learning, researching and curating content, maintaining an online profile and presentation skills.


This unit aims to explore the relationship between digital technology, society, and you - from the connectedness of our lives and the machines around us, to how we communicate with each other.

Summary of Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • Understand the key concepts of a 'digital society', the ethics of online information use and the skills needed to be effective and successful digital scholars and citizens
  • Think critically about information, practice self-reflection and collaborate across disciplines
  • Use the internet and social media to develop your communication skills, share information and develop your online profile
  • Make use of existing knowledge and that of peers to solve and confront new challenges
  • Find, evaluate and share information online, understand issues of intellectual property and apply learning to other aspects of academic, personal and professional life


The Digital Society topic pages show the most recent year's topics.

Topics covered in previous years:

  • The Internet - How have key developments in the history of the internet made us more connected to information, and each other?
  • Engagement - Marketing, social networks and consumer behaviour
  • Experience new technology - Play with technology at DigiLab. Consider its role in society.
  • The Individual - As individuals, how are we governed in a digital society? Implications of ethics, regulation and law.
  • The Internet of Things - What is it and what does it mean for you?
  • Smart Cities - The impact of technology on where we live, work and play
  • Critical Analysis in the digital world
  • Reflecting on the Digital Society and skills for your future


  1. Analysis of an individual's or organisation's online communications (10%)
  2. Pecha Kucha presentation (30%)
  3. 1500 words reflective blog post (60%)


UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.

You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.

Teaching Staff

Dave Hirst, John Hynes and Nicola Grayson

Teaching and Learning Methods

  • 12 x Lectures
  • Mix of online learning and hands-on workshops


1-12Monday14:00 - 16:00Lecture
The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever hadEric Schmidt

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