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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Postdigital Society (fusion on-site) (EFIE11012)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAs technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, dynamic and embedded within the different facets of our lives, it becomes ever more important to be able to see beyond the novelty of new digital artefacts, while not losing sight of more established technologies and practices that fade into the background through familiarity and normalisation. To face complex societal challenges, we need sophisticated understandings of the contribution of technology and media to situated cultures and practices. This course challenges students to come up with methods for analysing the ways in which apparently 'digital' objects and practices are actually entangled in situated material and social activity, culture, economics, politics, and the environment.
Course description The course focuses on a range of possible analytic approaches for better anticipating the complex possible implications of emerging and entrenched technologies, considering how separating digital from non-digital, or thinking of technology as purely 'digital', obscures the entanglement of the digital in cultural, economic, material and ethical issues. Students will begin by choosing - through discussion with peers - a topic to analyse throughout the course. This topic can change as the students' appreciation of the postdigital develops. Topics are to be contextualised to each student's setting. Example topics include:
- a 'digitally-enhanced' object such as an Echo Dot or FitBit;
- an instance of a software application such as the student's email application, or an institutional installation of a virtual learning environment, learning analytics dashboard or plagiarism detection interface;
- documentation such as a social media policy or digital education strategy.

Students will collaborate with each other and with the wider public to explore and develop methods of postdigital analysis, such as the drawing of ecological maps that locate rhetoric about technology in relation to critical considerations of infrastructures, materials, environments, practices, and the ethics of governance, surveillance, and marginalisation.

This course is taught over an intensive 2-day block, with some structured activity before and after the intensive. Pre-intensive activities will involve reading, posting to the discussion board and beginning to brainstorm in groups (via methods chosen by the students). The two-day intensive period will consist of project-based group work, individual research and discussion (at a pace chosen by each student). In other words, multiple projects will remain available to be worked on, reflected on and talked about, and each student will direct their own activities during those two days. Post-intensive block, students will engage asynchronously in further discussion with peers and teaching staff with the aim of further developing a method of their choice, along with a written rationale and critique for that method. They will then undertake individual work on the summative assessment.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site 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 be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically engage with multiple viewpoints (including public engagement) in considering how new technology is embedded in existing ecologies.
  2. Analyse the relations between digital technology and culture, ethics, economics, politics, the environment, individual differences, and social and material activity.
  3. Develop and apply their own (creative) methods for examining complex relations between tools, media, platforms, hardware and software, and social and material activity.
Reading List
Indicative reading list:

Buchanan, R. (forthcoming). Networked Professional Learning in the Postdigital Age: Asking Critical Questions of Postgraduate Education. In T. Fawns, G. Aitken, D. Jones (Eds.), Beyond Technology: Online Postgraduate Education in a Postdigital World. New York: Springer.
Fawns, T. (2019). Postdigital education in design and practice. Postdigital Science and Education, 1(1), 132-145.
Law, J. (2004). After method: Mess in social science research. London ; New York: Routledge.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435-1448.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course contributes to the following graduate attributes and skills:
-curiosity for learning that makes a positive difference
-passion to engage locally and globally
-creative problem solvers and researchers
-critical and reflective thinkers
-effective and influential contributors
-skilled communicators
Keywordspostdigital,technology and society
Course organiserDr Tim Fawns
Tel: 0131 242 6536
Course secretaryMiss Abby Gleave
Tel: (0131 6)51 1337
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