Digital Technologies and the Future of Work
How we work, and the nature of the work we do, is being re-imagined. New digital applications, the maturing of automation, and the emerging transformations facilitated by artificial intelligence, have all prompted innovations that impact on every area of our lives. This module focuses on the potential of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ to offer creative opportunities for the restructuring of employment practices, and will explore the factors that influence the impact of change at both macro and micro levels.
In preparation for their own working lives, the module will also guide you in developing your own digital literacies. Via a social learning pedagogy, you will develop strategies to find and evaluate online sources of information both individually and collaboratively, and interrogate the ways in which you curate your digital lives and communicate with others within virtual environments.
There are no pre-requisites for this module, and it’s open to students from outside the Business School, regardless of campus location.
The module was developed for online study 2 years before Covid19, when we were already highlighting the growing importance of digital communication and collaboration to career success in the contemporary workplace. Most of the teaching and learning takes place on our virtual learning environment, and you will be expected to make regular contributions via online discussions throughout the module.
Full module specification
|Module title:||Digital Technologies and the Future of Work|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 1: |
This module challenges you to consider new technologies and their impact on industrial and commercial processes, reaching beyond the hyperbole to establish reasoned and informed views on the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. In parallel we aim to encourage you to articulate the implications for work, communication, and community. As the module is offered in a blended format, you’ll experience learning in an online environment, which will prepare you for modes of working that are becoming increasingly common.
As described above, this module is provided in a blended format. Face-to-face teaching is limited, with the majority of teaching and learning taking place through synchronous and asynchronous discussion online.
Each week you will be provided with some set readings and asked to seek out other material (in particular published within the previous year that prompts further discussion on the topic). You will be expected to share your sources and ideas in an online social learning environment.
You will also be expected to develop their personal communication skills and digital literacies, and to provide evidence of how these have improved as a result of engaging with social learning in this module.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. explain how, across different professions, geographical and virtual environments, technological innovation can facilitate changes in working practices;
- 2. evaluate the extent to which technology can both help and hinder productivity and wellbeing in the workplace;
- 3. discuss how technological innovation may impact both positively and negatively upon certain sectors or groups of individuals;
- 4. provide evidence of your own development in understanding how technology may impact on your own future career, and those of your peers.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. critically evaluate academic and other sources of information to reach objective conclusions;
- 6. explain and evaluate the impact of technological advances across business and personal contexts.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. demonstrate an ability to develop and maintain an argument and persuade others of its validity;
- 8. articulate an understanding of how communication modes in an online context require specific skills.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Online interactions and contact through Virtual Learning Environment||16||Engaging with the module cohort and educators online.|
|Reading and preparation for assessments||54||Background reading to support engagement|
|Production of portfolio and video/poster||74||Preparation through reading and writing/collation of portfolio content.|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Online interactions||Various||1-8||Online (from peers and tutors)|
|Plenary session discussion||Throughout class contact||1-8||Verbal (from peers and tutors)|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Portfolio of written work||80||lio (1,500 word essay and 1,000 word reflection)||1-8||August Reassessment Period|
|Poster||20||1 page||1-3, 5,6||August Reassessment Period|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Portfolio of written work (80%)||Portfolio as above (1,500 word essay and 1,000 word reflection) (80%)||1-8||August Reassessment Period|
|Poster (20%)||Poster (1 page) (20%)||1-3, 5, 6||August Reassessment Period|
In the first teaching week the tutors will provide an overview of the topics to be covered, and explain the learning and assessment approach. This session will include activities to build cohort identity and understanding, setting the tone and ground rules for online interactions throughout the term. Embracing the principle of working alongside students in the co-creation of knowledge, we will also use this week to make choices about areas to focus on during the module.
The module begins with participation in our FutureLearn MOOC “Building your Career in Tomorrow’s Workplace” alongside learners from all over the world. This introductory course focuses on the macro-level changes in society and technologies which are profoundly impacting on our professional lives. There will be workshop sessions during the module where you will work collaboratively to consolidate your progress and prepare for the assessments. This will involve online interactions and opportunities to seek guidance from each other and the tutors in bringing evidence of your learning together into a portfolio for assessment.
You will explore a range of topics, for example:
The realities beneath buzzwords such “4th Industrial Revolution and “digital transformation”
Employment, Automation and AI
Job for life? Fragmentation and the gig economy
Society, Community and Connectivity
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Fry, H. (2018) Hello World: how to be human in the age of the machine, London: Penguin
Gowing, N. and Langdon, C. (2018) Thinking the Unthinkable: A new imperative for leadership in the digital age, John Catt Educational Limited
Hughes, C. (2018) Fair Shot: rethinking inequality and how we earn, Bloomsbury
Keen, A. (2018) How to Fix the Future: Staying Human in the Digital Age, New York: Atlantic Books
Pein, C. (2018). Live work work work die a journey into the savage heart of Silicon Valley. Melbourne; London: Scribe.
Schwab, K. (2017). The fourth industrial revolution. Portfolio Penguin, London
Standage, T. (2013) Writing on the Wall: Social media – the first 2000 years, London: Bloomsbury
Stockwood, J. (2018) Reboot: A Blueprint for Happy, Human Business in the Digital Age, Virgin
Zuboff, S. (2019) The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Profile books
Schwab, K. (2017). The fourth industrial revolution. Portfolio Penguin, London.
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Last revision date