DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2020 - 2021

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module seeks to provide students with a set of tools to gauge social media practices. In part, the module will develop a theoretical awareness of the different affordances of specific social media within a polymedia or a hybrid media environment; in part, it will critically discuss various user practices and how they feed into beta versions of social media. And in a final part, students will contribute their own experience-based accounts of the different social media. These three parts will provide students with a template for critically assessing different practices.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the specificity of the different social media, and their role in a polymedia environment
2. Develop a set of appropriate criteria for assessing the various user practices
3. Critically evaluate the ways in which social media articulate technical characteristics (affordances) with user practices
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the involvement of different sets of actors in constructing social media
5. Evaluate the role played by dominant players, such as corporations, governments and policy makers in circumscribing social media uses.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Online activity25No Description
Assignment Completion60Individual and group assignment completion
Independent Study18No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Social media in a complex media ecosystem
Hybrid media system; polymedia environment; media ecology; media practices;

Theories of Mediation
Understanding the role of the media, mediation (Silverstone), mediatization (Krotz) and media logic (Altheide and Snow). Sonia Livingstone and the mediation of everything.

Communicative Affordances of Technology
The concept of affordances; techno-social affordances; emerging affordance theories; understanding technology use in context

The nature of algorithms; algorithmic sociality; algorithmic accountability; algorithms, agency and power; algorithms and identity (Bucher)

Users and Engagement
Understanding social media uses and users; uses and gratification theory; gaming, gamification and play; user engagement

Policy and governance of social media
Governing social media platforms and use; key policy stakeholders and governance institutions; moderation, community standards and other policy tools; challenges of social media governance and regulation.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Andrew Chadwick: 2017, The Hybrid Media System, Oxford University Press,
  • Altheide, D. L., & Snow, R. P.: 1979, Media Logic, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA,
  • Bolter J. D. and Grusin R. A.: 2000, Remediation, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA,
  • Hepp. A.: 2012, Cultures of Mediatization, Polity, Cambridge, MA,
  • Safiya Noble: 2018, Algorithms of Oppression, New York University Press,
Other Resources

0, Book chapter, Bucher, T. and Helmond, A., 2018, The Affordances of Social Media Platforms, Burgess J, Poell T, and Marwick A (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Social Media, Sage, http://www.annehelmond.nl/wordpress/wp-content/uploads//2016/07/BucherHelmond_SocialMediaAffordances-preprint.pdf,
Programme or List of Programmes