HIS32700 Digital Revolutions

Academic Year 2020/2021

The aim of the module is to provide a history of the current and emerging media
technologies and their impact on exchange of information in contemporary society.
The Digital Revolution refers to the advancement of technology from analog
electronic and mechanical devices to the digital technology available today; that is, in
its simplest terms, we’re interested in where this technology, which is now part of our
everyday lives, came from; in the evolution of the various uses of technology; AND in
its development, growth and prevalence and what that has done to the world we live in
today. The current radical transformations in communications technologies will be
discussed against the background of the history of the development of digital
technology, mass media and telecommunications, with emphasis on the Internet as the
most widespread, and equally democratic as well as problematic, communication
technology to date. In a school of history context, the module should culminate in a
practical effort to explore a digital history project.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module learners should be able to:
1. understand the history leading to the range and scope of modern digital
technology; be able to identify the main contributors and their particular
2. become familiar with a range of concepts relating to digital technologies; engage
with the question of humanities’ fascination with developing technologies that
mimic the human body and mind
3. understand the role of the United States in the history of the way digital
technology has evolved, and connecting that to America’s role in global history;
engage with the question of how the tools of war were meant to enable a global
peace but which arguably ushered in a new arena of conflict
4. understand the impact the digital revolution has had on America and the world,
including the impact of socialization, on culture, on politics; surveillance,
misinformation, cultural imperialism, cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, the
5. acquire a working knowledge of the various applications of digital technology,
including the skill of writing and producing projects for new digital outputs;
6. appreciate the social role of the new digital technologies for history and beyond,
for example, their implications for social communication, economy, and lifestyles;
7. develop a clear understanding of the ethical concerns and legal implications
inherent in the new communication technologies. Be able to assess these in the
context of American history
Learning outcomes will be assessed by a final research paper which will be an
examination and critique of a chosen digital history project, and by in class participation,
which will include a presentation and significant online contribution.

Indicative Module Content:

Learners will realise the module
objectives by completing a number of curriculum tasks and activities. These are
planned to include the following topics:
 a history of human interest in and fascination with technological innovation
 a history and overview of current media technologies and their uses
 a history of multimedia Entertainment; the digital artist; what the digital offers
artistes and their audiences
 a history that looks at the impact of the digital on a wide range of social and
cultural realities
 ethical and legal issues relating to digital media and the pervasiveness of digital
 practical element that asks student to examine the use of digital tools by
historians and then to suggest a digital history idea of their own

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Learning outcomes will be assessed by a final research paper which will be an
examination and critique of a chosen digital history project, and by in class participation,
which will include a presentation and significant online contribution.

Following a one hour lecture . Each lecture will give an introduction and
overview of the relevant topic and students will be expected to engage in
active/task-based learning through peer and group work discussions via seminars
(online in discussion forums, and [if applicable] in face-to-face classroom settings
and in presentations, either online or in class). Research, writing and citation skills
will be developed through their mid-semester and final research paper projects and
posting to discussion forums online will also be a new skill that students will
learn. Students will also be asked to develop a research idea that includes a digital
history component, realized through enquiry & problem-based learning, by
searching out examples of digital history projects and designing their own ideas of
digital history presentation following this kind of case-based learning. Students
will engage with the history of the development of digital technologies, learn to
think critically and form their own responses to the impact of digital technology at
various moments in history, to engage with the social and cultural impact of digital
technologies on every aspect of daily life across the world, and to then think about
and understand the role of digital technologies in the discipline of history, vis-à-
vis the aforementioned digital history project, case-study assignment. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Class participation and discussion board contribution (30%): Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: A combined presentation / written assignment which takes the form of a seminar presentation and paper. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Research Project Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

 Sequence Feedback: - In class participation will be flagged at the half-way point for students who may need to improve on their contribution. With significant online contributions expected their will be opportunities to provide further feedback to students either to their online posts on forums or if applicable in seminars and through email. - Feedback for the combined presentation and short essay Assignment will be given in writing on the returned hard-copy if applicable, or privately by electronic means (e.g. by email or on returned electronic document) or in one- to-one meetings if requested. - Feedback will be provided on an ongoing basis on students’ preparatory plans for the end-of-semester Research Project Assignments as it is requested by the student and after the initial project idea has been submitted by the student. - Feedback on the end-of-semester Research Assignment will be given in writing on returned hard copies or by appointment in one-to-one meetings if requested by students.

Wardrip-Fruin, Noah; Montfort, Nick EDS. The new media reader. (MIT Press, 2003)
Also students must OBTAIN the following:
 Mark Bauerlein, editor, The Digital Divide Arguments for and Against Facebook,
Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking, (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin,
 Daniel J. Cohen, Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering,
Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, (University of Pennsylvania
Press: Philadelphia, 2006).
Name Role
Dr David Doolin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Laura Brennan Tutor
Dr Chiara Tedaldi Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 3, 5, 7, 10 Thurs 15:00 - 15:50
Seminar Offering 2 Week(s) - 3, 5, 7, 10 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 3 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 4 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 16:00 - 16:50
Seminar Offering 5 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Fri 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 6 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Fri 13:00 - 13:50
Seminar Offering 7 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 8 Week(s) - 3, 5, 7, 10 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50
Seminar Offering 9 Week(s) - 4, 6, 9, 11 Fri 10:00 - 10:50