Digital Futures

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BA Media Communications Digital Futures


Hand-in/Deadline date and time:

Hand-in method: Electronic submission

File Size/Type to be submitted: One .DOC or .PDF file (maximum file size
Turnitin or Moodle: – Accepts .DOC or .PDF files to a
maximum of 20MB. If you are submitting work
If you are submitting work online via Turnitin: this assessment will be submitted
via Turnitin and/or Moodle: via an online submission platform called
The CLTAD e-learning blog Turnitin UK. As part of the submission
includes step-by-step guides to process, the University will utilise Turnitin UK
uploading assignments to both to check the authenticity and originality of your
Moodle and Turnitin: work.


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FAO Disabled/Dyslexic Students:

Disabled and dyslexic students who have an ISA (Individual Support Agreement) in place may be eligible to request an Accommodated Assessment submission deadline for written work. Students are advised to follow the guidance as provided on their ISA and to contact their disability advisor if they have any queries. Guidance can also be sought from the

Please note: it is your responsibility to submit your work on time and by the required method, otherwise there may be an impact on your achievement and progression.

Further information about your responsibility to submit your work is available on the website:

If you have any queries about submitting your work or are experiencing any difficulties in submitting work, please contact you Programme team well in advance of the submission deadline, via email on:

Please note all feedback is indicative until formally received and confirmed at an Exam Board. You will be informed of your results and when these will be published via email and/or Moodle announcements.

Aims / Context:

The future of promotional and persuasive communication is intimately connected to rapid technological change and its social, cultural and economic consequences. This unit explores two distinct areas: firstly, following on from ideas introduced in Digital

Youth Cultures we look at ?big data? (or internet-scale computing) and its uses (and misuses) in research and other contexts; secondly, we look in detail at mobile technologies, software design, and the rise of the ?app? as a communicative medium.

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The connection between data gathering mechanisms, online search, selection and preference, and profiling will be explored. The unit consists of lectures and taught sessions that will equip you with skills to effectively collect and analyse digital data. You will be encouraged to make links between technical and commercial decision making and development and ethical considerations related to questions of surveillance, privacy, ownership, and the creation of corporate value.

Assignment criteria / format:

Students will write a 4,000 word academic essay with appropriate referencing in place.

Choose ONE essay question from the ones listed below to produce a 4,000-word academic essay with appropriate referencing in place.

Essay Questions:

1. Analyse the various solutions to the problems of consumer privacy and big data; and assess the validity of each potential solution.

2. How can we regain our privacy? Critically discuss in relation to digital panopticism and the data box.

3. What is a ?social machine? and how does it hope to overcome the limitations of big data? Provide examples to illustrate your argument.

4. What is Facebook Atlas and how does it affect advertising practice? Critically discuss both the potentials and dangers of this big data technology.

Your essay should:

1. Answer the question explicitly and consistently.

2. Show evidence of reading from key academic sources (as recommended in the course outline and beyond) and should demonstrate precision and clarity in the use of theory.

3. Provide carefully documented examples relevant to the question.

4. Be written in an appropriate academic style, clearly indicating where
? passages are either quoted or paraphrased.
5. Provide full and accurate references for all sources used in the preparation of
? the essay in the form of a bibliography.

Please list in your references any other data sources you might have used, such as films, broadcast programmes or tapes you have viewed and you refer to in your essay (title, channel and date of broadcast if a TV programme must also be included). Also, websites used need to be cited in the text.

This assignment counts towards 100% of the total mark for this unit.

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Learning outcomes:

On completion of this unit you will be able to:

Understand the theoretical concepts relevant to digital futures (Subject


Demonstrate knowledge of the various institutional applications of communications strategies in relation to digital futures (Subject Knowledge);

Understand and apply critical theory and analysis to the social, political and economic contexts of digital futures and its communications strategies


Conduct independent research and apply the results of that research within the theoretical parameters of the subject (Research);

Demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas and arguments in academic forms appropriate to your discipline (Communication and Presentation).

Reading list:

Details of the University?s online referencing system for practical and written work:

Auletta, K. (2011) Googled: The End of The World As We Know It London: Virgin Books

Brill, J. (2014). The Internet of Things: Building Trust and Maximizing Benefits through Consumer Control. Fordham L. Rev., 83, pp. 205-417

Fairfield, J., & Shtein, H. (2014). ?Big Data, Big Problems: Emerging Issues in the Ethics of Data Science and Journalism?. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 29(1), pp. 38-51

Kitchin, R. (2014). The data revolution: Big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences. London: Sage

Lessig, L. (2006). Code. Available at:

Lupton, D. (2014). Self-tracking modes: Reflexive self-monitoring and data practices. Available at SSRN 2483549

Lyon, D. (2014). ?Surveillance, Snowden, and big data: capacities, consequences, critique?. Big Data & Society, 1(2)

Mayer-Schonberger, V. (2013) Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work And Think London: John Murraysur

Needham, J. (2013) Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything

Massachusetts: O?Reilly Media

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Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011) The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry) Oakland: University of California Press

Marking Criteria:

If you are an undergraduate student, you can access the UG marking criteria via your course Moodle page and also at the link below:

Other key information:

The UAL Assessment Webpages include useful information on:

The course requirements

What happens if you fail a piece of work or miss a deadline

What to do if you are ill or have other extenuating Circumstances What to do if you want to take time out from your studies

The adjustments that can be made to assessments if you have a disability How to avoid plagiarism in your work

What to do if you want to appeal an exam board decision.