Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Data Civics (fusion online) (EFIE11079)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryHow do you 'see' a city? What platforms and tools can you use? Any raised platform will improve your view of the physical shape of a city but how do you see its social, economic and cultural shape?

This course introduces the concept of Data Civics as a way of observing, consulting and engaging people using a range of internet platforms . From social housing to cycle lanes, you'll learn how to research topics using qualitative digital methods.
Course description This course will introduce you to the concept of Data Civics by exploring the role social media and internet platforms can play in observing the city and informing civic governance. Digitalisation, together with the Covid-19 pandemic, has dramatically reconfigured urban life. Using Edinburgh as a context, the course explores these changes in how people live, work and play in cities, the persistence of patterns of inequality amidst these changes and the kind of local services that might mitigate them.

Throughout the course you will investigate how platforms, including - Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Civicscope, a bespoke neighbourhood mapping tool - can be used to research urban life. You will learn about patterns of change in neighbourhoods, work and retail while developing your skills in creating and analysing social media and platform content both individually and in groups. You will explore the strengths and weaknesses of different platforms for researching different kinds of audiences and questions and use collaborative platforms, including Miro and a workspace networking, to draft, organise and present your findings.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  6
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 3, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 3, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 2, Online Activities 6, Formative Assessment Hours 5, Other Study Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 69 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 10
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Group Assessment (10%)

A group assessment built on the formative assignment to finalise the Miro presentation of platform content (Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, workspace threads) designed by the group. The assessed work is the Miro workspace not a live presentations (10%).

2) 1500 Word Individual Assessment (90%)

1500 word project due 4 weeks after the intensive workshop that critically assesses the concept of 'data civics' using substantive engagement with platforms as tools for research (90%).
Feedback Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Feedback and feed forward will be given by course organiser and TA in the pre-intensive period to help set up clubs and platforms. Regular feedback and feedforward sessions punctuate lectures and group work throughout the two intensive days in QAs, planning and reflection exercises on the formative assignment and how it will be developed in the summative assignment. During the post-intensive period support will be available to finalise project plans and individual roles within them.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the specialised theories, concepts and principles associated with data civics and its links to the more general theories, concepts and principles associated with civics as a sociological method.
  2. Apply their critical understanding in practice by creating content using a range of platform-based skills and techniques.
  3. Develop creative responses to a civic issue.
  4. Work both independently and in groups to communicate issues through platforms and written projects.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:

Essential Reading:

Kath Bassett; Idil Gallip; Elif Doyuran; Liz McFall; Addie McGowan (2021) Covid Arcadia report

Patrick Geddes (2019) Civics as Applied Sociology

Patrick Geddes (1911) The Civic Survey of Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh

Karen Gregory & Miguel Paredes Maldonado (2020) Delivering Edinburgh: uncovering the digital geography of platform labour in the city, Information, Communication & Society, 23:8, 1187-1202, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2020.1748087

Liz McFall and Darren Umney (2021) Data Civics (draft)

Liz McFall and Darren Umney (2021) Planning the cities of the future. Understanding Digital Societies, Sage; Carter, S.; Perriam, J. (Eds.)

Shannon Mattern (2021) A city is not a computer: other urban intelligences, Princeton University Press

Oliver Wainright (2021) An experiment in civic activism

Recommended Reading:

Sarah Barns (2018). Smart cities and urban data platforms: Designing interfaces for smart governance. City, Culture and Society, 12(March), 5-12.

Sarah Barns (2019). Platform urbanism: Negotiating platform ecosystems in connected cities. Palgrave Macmillan

Rebecca Madgin & Richard Rodger (2013). Inspiring Capital? Deconstructing myths and reconstructing urban environments, Edinburgh, 1860-2010. Urban Hist 40, 507-529

Further Reading:

Walter Benjamin. (2002) The Arcades Project, Harvard Uniersity Press

Ebenezer Howard. (1902) Garden Cities of Tomorrow

Nigel Thrift and Ash Amin (2015) Seeing like a city

Patrick Geddes (1915) Cities in Evolution: an introduction to the town planning movement and to the study of civics. Williams, Oxford
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course contributes to the following graduate attributes and skills:

a) Specialist knowledge and intellectual curiosity;
b) The use of innovative methods for local, impactful engagement;
c) Creative problem solving and independent research;
d) Critical and reflective thinking;
e) Cross-platform communication skills.

Students will develop their platforms skills for multiple uses; to research, create content, engage stakeholders and disseminate findings while critically reflecting on the enduring challenges of urban and civic development and planning. This will provide them with a basis for connecting their everyday experience with modes of intellectual inquiry and strategies for lifelong learning. The case-study approach combined with the practice based and collaborative approach to learning will contribute to transferable skills that can be applied in a range of settings.
KeywordsPlatforms,Gig Work,Smart Cities,Urban Planning,Social Media,Civics,Mapping,Technologies of Seeing
Course organiserDr Elizabeth McFall
Course secretaryMr Lawrence East
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information