Digital Business Models

Module description

The digital economy has created significant opportunities while generating new modes of competition in both ‘traditional’ and new sectors of the economy. Established businesses need to appreciate the capabilities of digital technologies within the organisational context in which they will be embedded in order to effectively capture value through digital innovation, while entrepreneurs have few such constraints.

Each week you will draw upon the combined expertise within the group to develop your own community of shared digital practice that can continue to evolve as a study resource beyond the module itself. 

You will experience online collaboration and community building first hand through 1) participation in the collaborative development of module content and 2) subsequent reflection on its value in terms of your learning and future careers. 

Full module specification

Module title:Digital Business Models
Module code:BEMM129
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Lisa Harris - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

This module examines the business models and strategies of a wide range of digital businesses, from start-up environments to the transformation of established organisations. By drawing upon a range of case study examples, you will critically evaluate the strategic decisions needed to convert digital opportunities into competitive advantage, and reflect upon the role of technological innovation in the sustainability of society as a whole.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Review the opportunities and challenges posed by new digital business models
  • 2. Discuss the implications of technological innovation for how we live, learn and work

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Explain how digital innovations can be developed in a variety of contexts
  • 4. Reflect upon the culture changes required for effective business transformation in the digital age

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with the social learning process

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Introductory face to face lecture (2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2424 hours of learning and teaching directed through content and activities within the Virtual Learning Environment (8 weeks x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching44 x 1 hour (fortnightly) face to face workshops to take questions, provide scaffolding and assessment feedback
Guided Independent Study120Reading, research and preparation for tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
The first blogpost will be assessed on a formative basis500 words1Verbal in workshops and via ELE
Formative exercises will also be embedded during the sessions online and will take various forms including individual and group exercises, discussions, case studies and personal reflection exercises

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Blogpost 230800 words1,2Audio via ELE
Blogpost 330800 words3,4Audio via ELE
Blogpost 4 & Discussion40400 words plus summary 2-minute video or 1-page infographic showing evidence of weekly engagement with module 5Audio via ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Blogposts 2,3,4Report, 2,000 words1-5Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

A student will be referred in all components if the student fails the module with a mark of below 50% overall.

A student if deferred in a single component will be reassessed in that component only .

Syllabus plan

  • Lessons from the history of technological change
  • The "fourth industrial revolution"
  • The changing nature and location of employment
  • The blurring of physical and digital space
  • The circular economy
  • The sharing economy
  • Digital business transformation within established organisations
  • Entrepreneurial digital business models       
  • What does the future hold? 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Shadbolt, N.R., Smith, D.A., Simperl, E., Van Kleek, M., Yang, Y. and Hall, W., (2013) Towards a classification framework for social machines. In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 905-912). ACM.

Viswanathan, (2011) Interview in Alexandra Institute, 2011, Inspiring the Internet of Things, FP7 ICT Internet of Things Initiative

Donkin, R. (2009) The Future of Work, Palgrave Macmillan

Hughes, C. (2018) Fair Shot: rethinking inequality and how we earn, Bloomsbury

Schwab, (2016) The 4th Industrial Revolution, Penguin

Stockwood, J. (2018) Reboot: A Blueprint for Happy, Human Business in the Digital Age, Virgin

Keen, A. (2018) How to Fix the Future: staying human in the digital age Atlantic Books

Standage, T. (2013) Writing on the Wall: Social media – the first 2000 years, London: Bloomsbury

Mayer-Schönberger, V. (2018) Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data

Black, S. (2016) “Saving Bletchley Park: how #socialmedia saved the home of the WWII codebreakers” published by UnBound, London.

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date