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TCP2031 : Digital Civics

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alexander Wilson
  • Visiting Professional: Dr Sebastian Weise
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Digital Civics aims to develop and bolster students’ understanding of—and critical engagement with—technologies in contemporary society, particularly its intersection with space, society, and democratic involvement. Through engaging with the role of a spectrum of technologies, the module will explore both their intended use and broader consequences of the use of digital technologies. The role of technology will be considered through the lens of citizens, governments and organisations. The aim is for students to develop an understanding of the potential challenges we’ll face in an increasingly digitalised world.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module is delivered through a series of weekly lectures and seminars. Each week, the lectures will explore a theme, with the seminars providing the opportunity for reflection and discussion.

The indicative outline of sessions per week:
1.       Introduction
2.       People, Technologies, and Places
3.       Digital Government
4.       Digital Local Democracy
5.       Ubiquitous Computing
6.       Algorithms, Automation and Autocracy?
7.       Social Media
8.       Designing Digital Services
9.       Designing Digital Services II
10.       Conclusion
11.       Assignment Drop-In

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present in Person - Formal lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading129:55119:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00Present in Person. Design workshops
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion86:0048:00Blog Posts
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching approach invites critical engagement with the topics through lectures and seminars. Lectures will support students understanding of technologies, and their consequences, and the seminars will provide the space for these to be reflected, debated, and questioned.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M60Critical essay on the role of a technology in contemporary society.
Reflective log1M40A series of 8 blog posts on the digital civics canvas page.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MInterim group presentation and progress review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will allow students to argue a critical perspective on the use of technology in an area that interests them. The weekly blog posts will encourage students to keep a reflective log on their progress through the course, and help inform their essay. Students will be encouraged to read and comment on each other’s blog posts.

Reading Lists