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University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Digital Society: Your Place in a Networked World

Course Unit Code


Course Unit Details

This unit has been designed specifically for online learning and offers a unique interactive experience.


  • 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 lives online?

In this online unit, you will explore your place in today's networked world through digital learning and collaboration. You'll discover 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.

Run entirely online, the unit uses a mix of approaches to enable digital learning, discussion and collaboration. All the unit information, content and discussions are held in Medium, a public writing/blogging platform. You will contribute to the development of unit materials with your comments, thoughts and coursework, joining over 100 others as a writer for Digital Society, an online publication.

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, collaborative tools, researching and curating content, maintaining an online profile and presentation skills.

Digital Society is a unit which supports your study in a flexible way that suits you. You will be given a suggested study schedule and access to a tool to track your progress. Online tutors will guide you to stay on track with the course materials. The unit is taught through asynchronous online content; there are no 'live' sessions, but we can arrange live one-to-one support on request.


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.

Learning Outcomes

On successful 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, practise self-reflection and collaborate across disciplines

*Make use of your 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

*Use the internet and social media to develop your communication skills, share information and develop your online profile


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: How does 'digital' impact on our engagement with each other, organisations, and our environment?

*The individual, identity and ethics: As individuals, how are we governed in a digital society?

*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.

*Critically analysing information: Online criticality, critical analysis and how to develop your own critical voice.

*Rise of Simulated Spaces: How we are becoming more than human.

*Chatbots and questions of digital conversation: How online communication asks us to question ideas of gender and the human.

*Reflecting on Digital Society and skills for your future: How do changing skills and digital society affect your future employability?


  1. Short blog post on online communication (10%)
  2. Blog post on using technology to address opportunities/challenges (30%)
  3. 1500 words blog post: critical analysis of living in a digital world and reflection on the unit (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, Chris Millson and guest contributors

Teaching and Learning Methods

A mix of self-led learning and online collaboration and discussion. The unit is based around a publication: Digital Society. As a participant you will become a writer for this publication, commenting and responding to others, writing posts to share your experience and what you are learning, and reading posts from previous and current participants to learn from your peers.

It incorporates blog writing which is something I've never really been able to do in an academic setting before, so that was really interesting and fun!Bridget Nzenwa, Fashion Buying and Merchandising

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