MA International Education (TESOL)

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Digital Media and Information Literacy

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC61712
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 Education
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 students’ 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 course unit comes in all MA: DTCE students’ first semester of study and as well as introducing them to these important frameworks and concepts, the DMIL course unit also attends directly to their own academic literacies, including information behaviour, information practice, use of ICT and action research.



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.


Teaching and learning methods

On-campus students: 22 hours seminar and workshop time, including 2 hours in a synchronous online session held with distance learners, exploring differences in context and how these affect information practices.

25 hours pre-reading for ‘flipped classroom’ sessions 

30 hours portfolio preparation (including podcast)

75 hours private study


Distance learners: 4 hours synchronous online sessions (2 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 (including podcast)

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

Intellectual skills

Mapping of information landscapes, and use of concept mapping more generally

Critical analysis of the literature

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

Practical skills

Begin development of an e-portfolio

Information searching using online databases

Transferable skills and personal qualities

 Evaluation of academic information, media messages, everyday discourse

Assessment methods


Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


Creation of a portfolio of teaching and learning activities relevant to a specific informational field or practice, including a commentary that describes and evaluates the activities with reference to theories of information literacy



2,000 words  for the commentary plus other materials appropriate to the chosen activities (e.g. lesson plans, PPT slides)


2-3 weeks after submission




Feedback methods

Feedback is provided 14 working days after submission

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 Landscapes, Chandos, Oxford.

For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see:

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 4
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Whitworth Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This is an optional course unit for MEd Communication, Education and Technology students.

NB: It is advised to contact the tutor if you wish to take this unit as an option as availability may be limited.


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