MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Digital Media and Information Literacy (Distance Learning)

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC77082
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Digital, Media and Information Literacy (DMIL) combines the study of theories of information use, behaviour and practice, with more practical investigations of their own context and the information needs and criteria for evaluation that arise from that specific context. The syllabus includes;

  • the notion of cognitive authority (Wilson 1983) – how do we make judgements about the credibility and worth of information, based on the views of others?; how can this authority be embedded in information systems and, then, potentially challenged by the digitally literate (Whitworth 2014)?;
  • the various frames and faces of information literacy (Bruce 1997, Bruce et al 2006), seen as skills and competencies by some, but also defined more deeply, as an understanding of personal context, the social impact of information and the experience of variation;
  • the idea of information landscapes (Lloyd 2010) and their association with communities of various kinds, including geographical, interest-based, practice and so on: and how these landscapes influence the context of information, how literacy is acquired through immersion in a context and its associated ‘digital habitat’ (Wenger, White and Smith 2009);
  • how digital, information and media literacy have been taught, and how they can be taught.



The unit aims to:

help students develop effective personal information practices required at Masters’ level study, particularly online information searching, academic writing and the evaluation of information available in the ‘public sphere’, particularly the broadcast media and social media such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, etc. 

Also, to help students develop relevant and effective teaching practice in the area of digital, media and information literacy.

To introduce students to theories and practices of information and technology management in the digital age.


Teaching and learning methods

On-campus students: 25 hours seminar and workshop time

20 hours pre-reading for ‘flipped classroom’ sessions 

30 hours portfolio preparation

75 hours private study


Distance learners: 6 hours synchronous online sessions (3 x 2 hours)

20 hours pre-reading for ‘flipped classroom’ sessions/discussion

20 hours self-guided activities (‘personal workshops’) and online discussion boards

30 hours portfolio preparation

75 hours private study.


The materials intended for distance learners lead them through each week’s teaching in a ‘personal workshop’ format, undertaking self-reflective and self-guided activities that are directly equivalent to those that on-campus learners complete in class.


Knowledge and understanding

Use frameworks for understanding information behaviour, applying these to an analysis of their own and others’ information practice

Develop an understanding of the history of computer studies/ICT/digital literacy and information literacy education in the UK and worldwide

Intellectual skills

Critical analysis of the literature

Ability to apply phenomenographic principles (the analysis of variation) to an analysis of diverse phenomena

Practical skills

Information searching using online databases

Development of creative teaching and learning activities using computers and other ICTs

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Evaluation of academic information


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be available through Blackboard

Recommended reading

Whitworth, A. (2014): Radical Information Literacy: reclaiming the political heart of IL, Chandos: Oxford.

Whitworth, A. (2009): Information Obesity, Chandos: Oxford.

Bruce, C. S. (2008): Informed Learning, ACRL, Chicago.

Lloyd, A. (2010): Information Literacy Landscapes, Chandos, Oxford.


Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Whitworth Unit coordinator

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