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MCH2091 : Collaborating in Digital Cultures (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nick Rush-Cooper
  • Lecturer: Professor Richard Clay, Dr Tom Schofield
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To develop students’ skills in collaborative group work that enables the development of digital
software and/or hardware outputs that address challenges requiring integrated technical,
social, and cultural solutions
2. To develop students’ ability to compare and evaluate methods and working practices (and
underpinning theories) used in such collaborative work
3. To promote and develop scholarly, practical, and creative strategies for self-supported and peer-reliant

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will introduce students to theories, methods, and working practices that help them to work in small teams to understand and collaboratively address challenges in ways that involve the development of software and/or hardware outputs. Students will be introduced to problem finding tools, idea generation tools, and idea testing tools, as well as to examples of digital outputs that demonstrably address challenges, and to methods that help teams to work well together.

At the start of the module, students will be presented with a range of briefs that have been developed in consultation with organisations operating in the private, public, charity, and voluntary sectors. Each brief will outline real-world challenges faced by an organisation that could be addressed at least in part by developing new software and/or hardware. Students will form small project groups to address one brief, refining their understanding of the issues at stake, and developing prototype digital outputs.

Each project group will include 4 – 6 students at least 2 members of each group will have technical skills in basic software and hardware development.

Each project group will collaboratively build an increasingly sophisticated and shared understanding of the real-world challenges presented in their brief. Generating and testing their ideas iteratively, teams will work through processes of rapid prototyping and testing (accompanied by desk based research) towards the completion of a tested prototype software and/or hardware output that addressed the challenges.

The focus of the learning is on the project process, the application of relevant theories and concepts, the use of relevant skills and techniques, and critical reflection on that process. At the end of the module teams will give a group presentation to the rest of the cohort, demonstrating any prototypes, explaining how it was developed to address issues raised by their brief, outlining the challenges that they faced and their work to overcomes them, a critical reflection on the context of their projects and anticipate would need to be addressed if their output were to be rolled out into the ‘real-world’.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops92:0018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will present theories, methods, and working practices used in collaborative development of software and/or hardware to address real-world challenges which demand integrated technical, social and cultural solutions.

Small Group teaching will take the form of seminars exploring lecture topics and will also be used to establish groups to address particular briefs by collaboratively developing a digital output. Seminars will also afford opportunities for peer crit sessions of groups’ project work.

Workshops will enable students to practise and develop skills in collaborative group work that will enable their team to development of a digital prototype that addresses their brief’s real-world challenges.

Project work will allow students to work individually, in sub-groups, and/or as a project group to increase their understanding of core texts and to work on the development of their group’s project.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202A20Students in each group will all play a role in giving a presentation of the group's portfolio to the rest of the module cohort
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A80Group web-based portfolio outlining with texts, images and/or films how a group went about responding to it's brief.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log2MA set of 5 blog posts each of at least 300 words relating to lecture and seminar topics and to their project group's work
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Summative assessment in the form of group portfolios gives a structured form to knowledge and skills outcomes relating to working collaboratively to address real-world challenges through the development of software and/or hardware. Students will work together to produce a portfolio that outlines how they: developed a shared and evidence - based understanding of their brief’s real-world challenges; iterated rapid prototypes, tested them, and refined them; settled on a final prototype output; how that output addressed their brief’s challenges with integrated technical, social and cultural solutions, and where short-comings might be if their output(s) were rolled out into the real-world.

Portfolios will clearly identify how critiques of theories, methods and relevant real-world projects informed the group’s work at different stages of their project. The assessment in total is equivalent of 1,600 words per student.

Summative assessment in the form of a group presentation (by all group members) of their portfolio will allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of, and skills in discussing, the team’s collaborative working processes, and how it relates to their critique of theories, methods, and real-world examples of relevant projects.

Formative assessment in the form of the reflective log is a space to demonstrate students’ responses to, and critique of research on, lecture and seminar topics and on the experience of collaborative work within their group. The reflective log will take the form of 5 blog posts demonstrating critical reflections and further reading, and the final post will be each student’s reflections of how other subject areas they have studied during their degree have informed their experience of this module. Blog posts are submitted at regular intervals throughout the semester.

Reading Lists