IS40840 Data & Society

Academic Year 2023/2024

We live in a data-saturated world. Data are collected about us from birth to death and produced by and about us in our daily lives. Data are a resource, a commodity, and sometimes a threat. It is impossible to live a life without being “datafied”; even attempting to do so can be considered suspicious. In this module, we examine some of the many ways in which the datafication of society is creating both opportunities and problems for citizens, policy-making, cultures, and societies. The module begins with exploring and defining relevant concepts such as algorithms, Big Data, and platforms, then delves deeply into a range of topics including data infrastructures, “smart cities”, open data, “data for good”, data and bodies, data justice, and biometrics. Readings will be drawn from science & technology studies, information studies, anthropology, and communication and media.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

• Define and analyse algorithmic processes, Big Data, and related terms with respect to their importance to contemporary societies
• Recognise the interconnections between data, infrastructures, collection and dissemination technologies, software, platforms and how data are produced and used
• Identify some ways in which groups and communities are using to make more informed choices and decisions for human well-being
• Identify specific concerns and harms related to datafication
• Demonstrate an informed and critical approach to understanding data power and politics

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lecture; in-class discussion; hands-on classroom based activities 
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 In Module Component Repeat Offered
Examination: Midterm covering material from first half of term
Take home exam
Week 7 Yes Graded No


Essay: Final paper or policy brief Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
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?

feedback on each assessment will be given on Brightspace

Name Role
Lauren Teeling Lecturer / Co-Lecturer