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Designing Sustainable Digital Futures

Key information

Subject area:

Stackable Microcredentials


Course type:

Assessed Module


Credit level:

7


Credit value:

30


Duration:

10 weeks


Available course dates:

From: 13 January 2025 To: 28 March 2025
Application deadline: 02 December 2024

Course overview

Critics have highlighted the extractive and neocolonial dimensions of contemporary digital culture, pointing to the mining of raw materials used to construct digital devices and the harvesting of training data for predictive algorithms, large language models, and biometric tracking technologies; they have drawn attention to the ecological impact of digital technologies, from piles of toxic e-waste to the massive carbon footprints of data centres; at the socioeconomic level, digital platforms have been accused of exacerbating inequality and precarity, and of fomenting political instability. Rejecting discourses of dystopian fatalism, this module focuses instead on identifying sites and contexts where focused interventions have the potential to foster more ethical, equitable and ecologically sustainable digital futures. From greener approaches to design, to policy interventions intended to curb online harms, to instances of artists and activists making innovative use of digital media to reshape attitudes and behaviours, you will explore and evaluate a variety of case studies spanning sectors, industries and geographies. Moving beyond identifying and understanding problems, you will work to generate your own proposals for driving positive change.   

Please note that it is recommended that you take the module Mapping New Trends in the Digital Landscape before taking this module, due to the links between course content. 

What does this course cover?

This module aims to: 

  • Cultivate a systematic understanding of critical theories and concepts relevant to the design of sustainable digital futures, such as risk, sustainability, precarity and decoloniality.
  • Explore the sociopolitical, economic, and ecological impacts of contemporary digital technologies and media.
  • Interrogate obstacles to sustainability and identify opportunities to develop more equitable, ethical and sustainable digital futures. 
  • Examine case studies spanning a range of industries, sectors and geographical contexts, encompassing fields such as design, education, policymaking and activism.  

What will I achieve?

At the end of the module, you will be able to: 

  • Analyse issues using terms and concepts derived from critical and theoretical literature relevant to the design of sustainable digital futures.  
  • Explain the sociopolitical, economic and ecological impacts of digital media technologies, and their potential to threaten and enhance sustainability, across a range of domains.  
  • Propose interventions to promote ethical and sustainable practice, using formats tailored to specific target audiences to convey arguments, information and ideas.
  • Identify concrete examples of projects, platforms and practices that support or threaten sustainability, extrapolating broader tendencies and principles from specific case studies.  

Who is this for?

Standard entry requirements for the stackable framework are:

  • A 2:2 honours degree or international equivalent
  • A CV and personal statement outlining reasons for study
  • English language at Band B (IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each skill).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed via the following:

  • Group presentation (1,000 words or equivalent) = 20%
  • Critical essay or project accompanied by critical commentary (3,000 words or equivalent) = 70%
  • Engagement and participation = 10%

What is the teaching schedule?

This module involves online and live webinars. At least one live webinar will take place per week. Exact dates and times will be confirmed upon enrolment. 

Further information

This module is offered as part of our flexible master’s awards in Professional Development. The awards are one of the most flexible currently offered in the UK, providing the opportunity to study a range of modules from across King’s, both on-campus and online. Whether you are looking for a promotion or to retrain, you have come to the right place.

Designed for mature professionals juggling life and work commitments, our postgraduate awards will enable you to study at your own pace. In challenging financial times, you are also able to fund your studies module-by-module. We will support you to select the right module diet that meets your objectives while ensuring that you are well prepared for success.

We will also help you to build your professional network of peers from across our suite of CPD modules.