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MSCI528: Digital Innovation

Department: Management Science NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 10
Start Date: 07-10-2019 End Date: 13-12-2019
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Professor GS Blair

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • This module consists if two parallel streams covering:


    i) anarrativelooking at core digital developments offering the seeds of innovation;

    ii) ameta-narrativelooking at issues such as what makes a good digital innovation, seeking more radical innovations and methods and models of intellectual property related to digital and software innovation.


    Together, the streams offer a comprehensive study of both the potential of digital innovation and the wider implications of digital innovation on society and the digital economy. We believe this is a unique offering building on the direct experiences and internal narratives within the HighWire programme.


    The first stream, the digital innovation narrative, will consider contemporary issues in computer science with emphasis on developments with the maximum potential for innovation and impact on society. Topics will vary from year to year depending on their current importance but may include:


    ·       Ubiquitous computing and Mark Weiser’s vision of the disappearing computer

    ·       Mobile computing and supporting users on the move

    ·       Cloud computing as a step towards open data and big data

    ·       Open hardware and hacker culture

    ·       Developments in the World-Wide Web including Web 2.0 and Web 3.0

    ·       Social computing and supporting communities

    ·       Challenging the way we interact with computers, including tangible user interfaces (physical computing) and haptic interaction

    ·       2D and 3D visualisation including immersive environments

    ·       Gaming including serious games


    For selected topics, appropriate experts will be brought in to lead sessions, mainly from the School of Computing and Communications.


    The second stream, the meta-narrative, will consist of a set of seminars challenging students about issues related to digital innovation and its impact on society and the digital economy. This is divided into a number of sections as follows:


    ·       The first part (5 seminars) looks atmeaningful innovation, starting with a consideration of modernity and post-modernity. The step towards post-modernity includes embracing issues ofsocial equity and human rights, environmental consciousness, relativism, globalization and western hegemony, fundamentalism, the commodification of knowledge and the so called knowledge economy, and shifts in economics related to post-industrialism, manufacturing and financial markets. However, with respect to innovation, the legacy of modernity remains dominant. Critical issues are identified and contextualised with the framework of ‘worldviews’ through the ages, in order to determine what meaningful innovation represents in the twenty-first century. The seminars continue by focusing on one set of values - that is sustainability and sustainable innovation. A quadruple bottom line is introduced as a framework to reason about sustainability. The section then concludes by examining cyber-sustainability, looking specifically at sustainability from the perspective of the quadruple bottom line and how this relates to digital innovation. In particular, this seminar raises fundamental questions about innovation in the digital age looking at encouraging new thinking that naturally embraces a worldview of sustainability.

    ·       The second part (2 seminars) looks atradical innovationexamining approaches and methods that encourage and enable new design thinking. This will include consideration of alternative methods and tools to reach new insights and radical and potentially disruptive innovations unencumbered by implicit or explicit assumptions. As a second topic, we will examine radical new approaches to participatory action research building on Law’s After Method.

    ·       The final part of this stream looks atmodels of digital innovation(2 seminars) looking at issues of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the interpretation of IPR in a digital world, and looking at alternative models of innovation, in particular the open source movement inspired by principles of open innovation (also complementing and underpinning the studies of open data and open hardware in the first stream).


    These areas also complement each other and indeed have significant overlaps. For example, meaningful design can lead to radical new perspectives not otherwise considered in a more modernist approach to innovation. Similarly, radical innovation should be informed by consideration of worldviews and what represents meaningful design.


    This latter stream builds strongly on our experiences from engaging with digital innovation in the digital economy and reflects key discussions and emergent themes related to applying, interpreting and adapting innovation principles and practice in this context. This part also will include contributions from existing PhD students within HighWire as a means of feeding this meta-narrative and experience back into the first year of the course.


Curriculum Design: Pre-requisites/Co-requisites/Exclusions

  • The course is offered alongside HIGH 403 and HIGH 405.

    Attendance at HIGH 403 will provide further breadth of understanding around the literature on innovation but is not strictly a pre-requisite.

    Attendance at HIGH 405 will provide more depth of understanding through its immersive studio-based style of teaching but again there is no strict pre-requisites here.

    In other words, all courses in this series can be attended as standalone offerings.

Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • MRes in Digital Innovaion (first year of the four year HighWire Doctoral Programme);

    MSc in E-Business and Innovation (EBIN)

  • 100% Reflective report

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • Assessment for the course will be through a reflective report in the form of a blog with each blog containing typically 6 entries based on the material covered in the course. Blog entries can include technical or advanced material but should be accessible to a broad audience. Each blog entry should consist of between 800-1000 words (although there is some flexibility in that you can trade-off more blog entries against length – say up to 9 - as long as there is a level of depth in the material presented). There should be reasonably balanced coverage of the two streams of the course and indeed blog entries can and indeed should span both streams. Blog entries should not be based solely on the material covered in the seminars but should demonstrate additional research and assimilation of knowledge.


    Blogs are chosen over alternative forms of assessment as they provide a good fit to the intended learning outcomes of the overall programme and to this particular course. The overall programme is concerned with digital innovation and its impact on the real world (on the digital economy and society more generally). A blog is public facing and addresses the participants in the digital economy. It is therefore a more outward looking form of writing than say an essay. This also complements other parts of the HighWire programme where they will get practice in a variety of writing styles including paper writing, reflective essays, posters, presentations, client reports and research proposals.


    This particular course seeks both breadth and depth and also coverage of innovative technologies together with a meta-narrative concerning the use of such technologies. A set of blog entries provides a mechanism to have good coverage of the range of topics considered and also real depth in selected areas. A blog also enables a mixing of narrative and meta-narrative in interesting and creative ways. In addition, many of the HighWire students develop blogs as part of their public dissemination/ impact work in tandem with their PhDs and this provides a level of feedback on their writing styles for blog entries.


    As mentioned earlier, the module will be assessed 100% on the blog entries. Assessment is based on the balance of the overall portfolio together with the strengths of the individual entries. The assessment criteria used for the marking are as follows:


    In terms of the overall portfolio (weighted 30%):


    -       Breadth of coverage of contemporary digital innovations

    -       Depth of knowledge displayed in selected areas

    -       Overall balance of narrative and meta-narrative

    -       Coherency of the overall blog


    In terms of the individual blog entries (weighted 70%):


    -       Background research including reaching out beyond the reading list

    -       Successful assimilation of knowledge into tight and engaging storyline

    -       Blending of narrative and meta-narrative

    -       Level of innovation/ having a surprise factor

    -       Writing style appropriate for given audience

    -       Level of reflection demonstrated in the writing


    The blogs will be double marked by the two academic members of staff involved in the course and moderated by a third member from the HighWire team.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

    • To provide students with a broad knowledge of a wide range of key contemporary developments in Computer Science and to appreciate their potential role in providing pathways to innovation in the digital economy and society more generally.
    • To provide students with a deeper knowledge in selected areas of Computer Science developments.
    • To enable students to think not just about potential innovations but to reflect on key issues related to meaningful and radical innovation.
    To provide students with knowledge of different models of innovation including an awareness of intellectual property in the digital age and open source approaches to software development.

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • To enable students to assimilate, debate, evaluate and discuss material related to digital innovation and to present this information in a variety of forms.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...
    • Demonstrate a broad, and selectively deep, knowledge of key contemporary Computer Science developments.
    • Apply such developments in their ongoing research and to advanced problems in the digital economy.
    • Demonstrate an ability to synthesis and apply approaches to innovation that are meaningful and potentially radical.
    • Contribute to the ongoing research debate on these developing subjects.
    • Apply such awareness in their ongoing research and to advanced problems in the digital economy.
    • Appreciate the role of intellectual property in digital innovation and be aware of mechanisms to protect such intellectual property.
    • Appreciate alternative models of open innovation as demonstrated by open source software.

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to...
    • Present work on digital innovation and related meta-narratives to a variety of audiences.
    Demonstrate a reflective approach to innovation related to the digital economy. 

Contact Information

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