Digital Cultures

About the major

Digital Cultures critically investigates the internet, new media and digital technologies and the roles they play in contemporary society, culture, business, politics, the arts and everyday life. Throughout their progress in the Digital Cultures major, students will explore the interface between emerging new media technologies and cultural practices involving information, communication, knowledge, identities and power. You will build a rich understanding of how new technologies are generated, circulated and consumed. Topics covered in the Digital Cultures major include the web; social media; online identities; mobile media; social networks; computer games; virtual communities; theories of technology and culture; digital research; and media arts.

The Digital Cultures major places intelligent, interactive, mobile and networked technologies in context, taking both a critical and interdisciplinary approach that draws on sociology, history, philosophy, media studies, cultural studies and new media studies to understand the dramatic changes emerging as digital media proliferate. Our teaching combines face-to-face coursework with online exercises and practical work in computer labs. Graduates in Digital Cultures are skilled communicators and critical analysts of new technologies and the latest developments in digital media across Australian and global contexts. They are well positioned to play key roles as social commentators, innovators and leaders.

Requirements for Completion

A major in Digital Cultures requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in Digital Cultures requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

First Year

Students will engage in critical theoretical debates surrounding media and communication, both on their role in society and their place in industry. The first year Digital Cultures student’s experience provides them with an overview of the core issues surrounding media and communication, and the transformations towards digital ecologies and economies. Digital Cultures students in their first year will be best placed to think through complimentary units that support digital cultures, for example units in film, literature, or sociology. The first year of a Digital Cultures Major will provide students with the necessary skills to explore the digital transformations of media and communications in their second and third year.

Second Year

The second year experience for a Digital Cultures student enables them to begin specializing in their field. They will undertake core units that develop their understanding of the networked communication environment across the web, social and mobile media. They will explore the changing experiences of space, sociality and power in digital environments. These core units will work best for those students who are developing their skills in complementary areas that have been established in first year. Students will also begin to hone their researching and writing skills in preparation for their third year of their major

Third Year

In the third year of a student’s Digital Cultures Major, they will further develop their professional researching and writing skills as they explore the contemporary issues within the digital media and communication landscape. They will focus on areas of specialisation in Digital Cultures through their personalized selection of units from the Major Table, for example investigating technology and culture, digital arts, or games. They will develop competencies in researching digital cultures. The third year experience also enables the Digital Cultures student to integrate their digital media expertise with their chosen double major selection or humanities interest.

Honours

If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: Admission to honours requires a major in Digital Cultures with an average of 70 percent or above.

If you commenced your degree in 2018: Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Digital Cultures with an average of 70 percent or above. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

In the honours program, students are expected to enrol in two honours seminar units. All students will submit a thesis of 18,000-20,000 words on an approved topic, with a research proposal submitted to the honours coordinator by December of the year prior to enrolment. Additional assessments will focus on research design, methodology and critical readings undertaken in first semester. Mid-year enrolment is not available. Part-time enrolment is available with permission from the honours coordinator.

Advanced Coursework

Our Advanced studies programme seeks to provide students with advanced understanding of the foundational traditions in digital cultures, communications and media as well as the tools to research digital cultures practice in fields such as education, traditional media, web and app development, games, libraries, art, marketing, publishing, and galleries.

The requirements for advanced coursework in Digital Cultures are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.
24-36 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2019.

Contact/further information

Department website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/

School of Literature, Art and Media website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/slam/

Undergraduate Coordinator: Dr Jonathon Hutchinson
Phone: +61 2 9351 2821
Email:

Honours Coordinator: Dr Fiona Giles
Phone: + 612 9036 6272
Email:

Example Pathways
Digital Cultures major
Year 1 Sem 1

MECO1001
Introduction to
Media Studies

1000 level unit 1000 level unit 1000 level unit in another
major/minor from
Table A or S
Sem 2 MECO1002 Media
and Communications
Landscapes
1000 level unit 1000 level unit 1000 level unit in another
major/minor from
Table A or S
Year 2 Sem 1 ARIN2610 Internet
Transformations
2000 level unit 2000 level unit/OLE 2000 level unit in another
major/minor from
Table A or S
Sem 2 ARIN2630
Cyberworlds
2000 level unit 2000 level unit/OLE 2000 level unit in another
major/minor from
Table A or S
Year 3 Sem 1 3000-level
Interdisciplinary
Project unit
One 3000 level unit
from the Digital
Cultures major table
3000 level unit in
another major from
Table A or S
2000/3000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Sem 2 ARIN3620 Researching
Digital Cultures
One 3000 level unit
from the Digital
Cultures major table
3000 level unit in
another major from
Table A or S
3000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the contemporary cultural changes in media, communication and digital technologies.
  2. Apply disciplinary skills and theoretical knowledge in digital cultures to reflect critically on and analyse the role of digital technologies in the production, distribution and consumption of knowledge, culture and identity.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the contributions of the critical humanities and qualitative social sciences to theories regarding the interrelationships between technology and culture.
  4. Apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to further their own work in digital cultures and make a positive contribution to other communities.
  5. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of oral, written, visual and electronic communication genres through analysis and production.
  6. Apply creative problem solving skills to conceive of, develop and present ideas for specific briefs, clients and audiences, and demonstrate ethical integrity and responsibility.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in diverse cultural contexts.
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical, legal and governance challenges associated with digital media and technologies and be able to communicate these effectively.