MC409      Half Unit
Media, Technology and Everyday Life

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leslie Haddon


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Data, Networks and Society, MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Research) and MSc in Media, Communication and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted.

Course content

The course aims to explore how information and communication technologies are experienced in everyday life. This includes examining how ICTs are socially shaped, through looking at current theoretical frameworks as well as historical and contemporary examples. The course covers such matters as the domestication of ICTs, their place in social networks and their implications for time and space. Finally, a range of potential social consequences are considered, from the specific implications for parent-child relationships to broader questions about the extent to which these technologies are changing social life.


This course will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as online videos. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

  • Ito, M. (2010) Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Boyd, D. (2014) It's Complicated.The Social Lives of Networked Teenagers,Yale University Press, New Haven.
  • Byam, N. (2015) Personal Communications in a Digital Age, Cambridge, Polity.
  • Turkle, S. (2011) Alone Together: Why we Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Basic Books, New York.
  • Curran, J., Fenton, N. and Freedman, D. (eds) (2016) Misunderstanding the Internet (Second Edition), Routledge, London.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 12.9
Merit 46.8
Pass 37.4
Fail 2.9

Teachers' comment

We are bombarded with claims about how technologies like the internet are changing everyday life - this course provides the tools to evaluate those arguments.

Students' comments

"I really like the way in which each topic was historicised to gain a better understanding of the process."

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2019/20: 42

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication