MC409      Half Unit
Media, Technology and Everyday Life

This information is for the 2021/22 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 online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading. One essay of 1,500 words is recommended.

Indicative reading

  • boyd, d. (2014) It's complicated.The social lives of networked teenagers, New Haven:Yale University Press. 
  • Byam, N. (2015) Personal communications in a digital age, Cambridge: Polity. Chapter 2.
  • Curren, J. (2016) The internet of dreams, in Curran, J., Fenton, N. & Freedman, D. (eds) Misunderstanding the internet (Second Edition), London: Routledge, pp.1-47.
  • Eynon, R. & Geniets, A. (2016) The digital skills paradox: How do digitally excluded youth develop skills to use the internet? Learning, Media and Technology, 41(3), 463–479.
  • Ito, M. (2010) Hanging out, messing around and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media, Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press,
  • Turkle, S. (2011) Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other, New York: Basic Chapter 14, pp.265-278.
  • Wajcman, J. (2015) Pressed for time. The acceleration of life in digital capitalism, London: University of Chicago Press.  Chapter 6, pp.137-62.


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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.6
Merit 42.2
Pass 39.1
Fail 3.1

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 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 54

Average class size 2020/21: 13

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication