Postgraduate

CSC8601 : Systems and Societies

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0

Aims

This module will introduce students to critical perspectives on technologies and socio-technical systems and the processes at play in their design and implementation in society, in order to help them develop tools for more ethical practices. Students will learn about the importance and implications of values in design; the challenges and opportunities of designing for diverse contexts, communities and users; the role that markets and political landscapes play in the social shaping of technologies; and the role of technologies as “disrupters” of social systems and their impact on social relations. Social innovation, ethics and frameworks for responsible innovation will also be introduced as practical toolkits to engage and respond to complex social issues and the challenges posed by new and emergent technologies and complex socio-technical applied in context. The module will examine the consequences of technologies and appropriate socio-technical interventions and responses through extensive discussion and in-depth analysis of a series of case studies. This includes both approaches and methods for present-in-person delivery, as well as for remote/online learning.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will be delivered through seminars examining critical cases of socio-technical systems. Students will reflect on and further engage in this debate by sharing new media communication.

Indicative topics to be addressed through the seminars, include:
1.       Critical and historical perspectives on technologies & socio-technical systems: value and politics in design
2.       Critical perspectives on socio-technical systems: contexts, communities and “users”
3.       Digital innovation & society: impact and trends
4.       Markets, democracy, social justice and socio-technical innovation
5.       Social Innovation and systems design
6.       Ethics and frameworks for responsible innovation: practical opportunities and challenges
7.       Toolkits for responsible innovation and for designing with society

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials240:3012:00Asynchronous online delivery of core topics in systems and societies
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00Essay preparation and writing (includes draft formative prep) and feedback from Tutors.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading161:0016:00Independent reading in prep for online group discussions on subject topics.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading161:0016:00Reflective blog preparations.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00PiP activities such as discussions, maybe delivered synchronously via zoom.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Synchronous teaching activities such as guided discussions via zoom.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery100:305:00Online via Zoom live-supported work on reflective essay applied to a system in society.
Total100:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will provide the conceptual and practical tools required for a critical examination of socio-technical systems’ design and implementation in society. This is provided through delivery of lectures materials, which will be available online; and synchronous present-in-person workshops and seminar sessions with mixed teaching methods, which invite students to explore, learn, discuss and reflect on critical challenges and opportunities underpinning socio-technical innovation. Seminars will be supported by case studies analysis, where critical perspectives can be applied. The module will draw on small group teaching such as activities and seminars and discussions to promote groups exploration of the topics, debate and to allow students’ personal perspectives to strengthen and enrich the discussion. The teaching methods also include opportunities for questions and feedback during drop-in surgeries. The students will also be required to keep a reflective blog over the course of the module.
Content for lectures materials has been broken down in smaller chunks to allow online content delivery and enable students to assimilate content.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M100Essay (2000 words) exploring a contemporary challenge for systems and societies
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MDraft outline of assessment essay (500 words max)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module will require students to produce new media communication content (e.g. blog posts) (unexamined) that critically appraise and reflect upon contemporary challenges and opportunities for socio-technical innovation in society. This will be built upon in an essay that will require the application of conceptual and practical tools to support responsible innovation in context at the service of particular user groups and communities.

Production of the essay will require background reading and the ability to critically apply such reading to a specific context/user case and related challenge, question, topic. Students will be required to submit a draft outline of their essay for formative assessment to give them support and guidance as the essay is developed.

Reading Lists

Timetable