Module Catalogue 2023/24

MCH3081 : Digital Interface Cultures (Inactive)

MCH3081 : Digital Interface Cultures (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Ash
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
MCH1023Media Studies
Pre Requisite Comment

This is a high-level theory module that requires extensive knowledge of existing positions and conceptual debates in media and cultural studies. With this in mind MCH1023 is a pre-requisite for taking this module. Without this pre-requisite students will not have the necessary background knowledge to tackle the ideas and assessments in this module.


Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



1.To extend students’ depth of knowledge and skills in interpretation of media and cultural theory in relation to interfaces and the cultural practices associated with interfaces.

2.To impart students with the critical analysis skills necessary to link media and cultural theory to specific contemporary examples of interfaces, thus enabling students to reflect on the current media environment in relation to politics and culture.

3.To introduce students to cutting-edge areas of interdisciplinary research across cultural geography and cultural theory in order to broaden their analytical capacity to create connections and associations between a range of research areas and topics in relation to interfaces.

From smart phones and watches to videogames, tablets and laptops, everyday life is increasingly mediated by digital interfaces. The aim of this module is to investigate and understand how digital interfaces are changing our experience of the world on a variety of cultural, economic and political registers. Drawing upon a range of interdisciplinary perspectives across mobility studies, software studies and cultural geography, students will be encouraged to see the broader importance of theorising digital interfaces for understanding and studying the contemporary world.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is aimed at students who have knowledge of introductory debates within media studies and wish to understand and become familiar with cutting-edge research in relation to interfaces. The module will encourage students to critically analyse the role that interfaces play in the organisation of everyday life, through a range of political, economic, governmental and cultural processes and actors.

The two key questions the module seeks to answer are:
1.What are digital interfaces?
2.How do particular interfaces shape the experience of everyday life for those that engage with them?

To do this, the module will discuss different theoretical approaches to digital interfaces and how they link to broader technologies such as WiFi and Cloud Technology, Social Networking and Mobile Gaming amongst others. Indicative topics may include:

Interface theory
Control and Power in Interfaces
Interface Design
Interfaces and Labour
Interface Envelopes
Gamification in Interfaces
Discrimination and Interfaces
Interfaces and Affect
Interfaces and Attention

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to be able to:
1. Critically discuss how interfaces operate to mediate all manner of cultural, economic and political processes in everyday life.
2. Discuss, using appropriate conceptual and theoretical language, ways of differentiating between interface technologies.
3. Analyse interfaces and unpack the political, social or cultural implications of these interfaces.
4. Link debates and concepts between a variety of subject areas including mobility studies, cultural theory and cultural geography to reflect on the social and spatial implications of interfaces in everyday life.
5. Provide a critical reading of interfaces and recognise the cultural significance of these technologies.
6. Reflect on the rise of interfaces and their role in labour and play.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to have developed skills in analysis, organisation and independence and critical thinking.

Analysis: evidence of students’ skills of analysis will be tested by an assessed essay that will demonstrate their ability to synthesize and articulate key theoretical frameworks for understanding interfaces.

Organisation: students will be expected to research and investigate a range of primary and secondary sources to analyse interfaces and their political, economic and cultural implications. Students will also be given an opportunity to give an oral presentation that will require skills of time-keeping, public presentation and slide show design.

Independent and Critical Thinking: students will be asked to gather, organise and deploy ideas to formulate arguments and present them effectively in oral and written form.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:001-hour lecture to discuss topics that will be expanded upon in 2-hour workshops
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion182:0082:00research and preparation time for assessment one (individual oral presentation).
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion185:0085:00research and writing time for assessment two (essay).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Guided workshop (including interactive group activities)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Due to the complex nature of material and in-depth engagement required, lectures will be 1 hour supported by a 2 hour workshop each week. this enables more interaction between staff/students and revolves around specific interactive learning activities designed by the Module leader. These activities integrate part of the formative assessment and feedback ahead of the summative assessments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A652500 words
Oral Examination1M3515 minute single person oral presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module utilises a two assessment structure. The first assessment will be a 20-minute individual talk on the analysis of one interface of the student's choosing (35% of the mark), which will be scheduled during the two-hour weekly workshop. At the end of the module students will complete a 2,500-word essay from a choice of essay questions set by the module leader (65% of mark).


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.