Digital Media BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)

Cambridge

September 2021

Please note: this course is closed for September 2020, but we welcome applications for September 2021.


Overview

Create engaging and innovative content by studying our full-time Digital Media degree at Cambridge School of Art, ARU. Receive ongoing support to find work placements. Your experience in multimedia across different platforms will help you stand out in a range of UX design and content creation careers.

Full description

Careers

We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities for you to learn through work-based projects, internships and placements.

Our links with major companies in Cambridge, such as Sookio, Frontier and Jagex, will allow you to engage with live briefs and competitions to enhance your portfolio and give you experience of working life.

Our in-house employability advisers organise and run workshops, seminars, networking events, portfolio reviews and design challenges. They'll also help you find vital work experience, allowing you to graduate with the skills and confidence you'll need to succeed in the creative workplace. Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

By completing our BA (Hons) Digital Media course you'll be prepared not only for roles in the current digital media industry, including web design, social media analysis, content writing, videography, motion graphic artist or interactive designer, but also for near-future careers such as digital culture commentator or virtual habitat designer. You might even invent your own new role in this fresh and exciting cultural landscape.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

Year one, core modules

  • Fundamentals of Digital Media
    This module introduces you to the basic skills and processes. You’ll need to balance technical capability with an appreciation of what makes compelling digital content. You’ll be introduced to the potential and scope of digital media through a series of short exercises and tasks which will address different learning styles and inclusive user profiles. Project briefs will also challenge you to engage with social issues both nationally and internationally. During this module, you’ll be conceiving, researching, experimenting and making a variety of digital media content. You’ll develop competences in the use of digital media software and hardware and will apply this to gradually more challenging project briefs. You should expect to be work individually and in groups, with students from other courses on some projects. Through practical, interactive lectures you’ll be introduced to the historically fundamental issues of content creation and application for digital platforms, with more emphasis on the ways in which content and function connect, and how and where users might interact with content. In seminars and critiques you’ll formatively assess, analyse and evaluate the project’s development, especially the emotive quality, functionality and appropriateness for purpose. Your coursework, including all ongoing research, analysis and development work and the design solutions/outcomes to the short tasks and projects, will be assessed at the end of both the first and second trimesters.
  • Thinking Digital: A Practical History of Digital Media
    On this module you’ll examine the key histories, theories and practices of Digital Media from its earliest origins up to the present day - and beyond. Through a series of lectures, you’ll consider how the rapid technological advances of the late 20th century have influenced our consumption of media, becoming increasingly screen-based and digital, and explore the various ways in which this transformation impacts our culture and society. As we explore these shifts, you’ll examine how analogue media has itself been transformed by the digital realm; how video, photography, sound recordings and other technologies have been affected by the digital revolution; the ways in which old and new media are being used by Artists and Designers today; and how they utilise technology to produce new digital work, and the visual and aural languages that have resulted from this. In seminars you’ll explore key ideas including the digital human, internet of things, virtual reality, augmented reality, virtual reality and the networked society. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on the ongoing consequences of such developments, as well as speculate on their future impact. By introducing key concepts, this module will give you an essential historical and cultural framework in which to place your own practice and explore ideas that you want to engage with. You’ll do this by joining up historical content and theoretical concepts with practical exercises: by trying out examples of historical, current and emerging media you’ll produce experimental outcomes that allow you to try out the technologies you’ve studied from a contextual viewpoint. This will merge your practical application of ideas and technologies with theoretical concepts. Alongside this practical exploration, you’ll develop academic and practical skills that will prepare you for critical and contextual studies in art and design at higher levels, and build your confidence in the key transferable skills needed in higher education.
  • Web Design and Digital Content Creation
    This module will introduce you to web design, the production of web content including photography, video and animation, and to the informed use of professional web design software. As it introduces new digital skills and new software, it will equip you with the technical vocabulary necessary for describing and analysing web material, and a working knowledge of industry-standard web design tools. We will explore a variety of methods and analyse the effectiveness of different approaches and outcomes. We will also explore a variety of technologies, both code and non-code based. Having built confidence in your new skills, you will then go on to apply them by responding to projects designed to help you explore and demonstrate an understanding of effective web design processes and media. You will present these in a portfolio at the end of the trimester for assessment.

Year two, core modules

  • Contemporary Issues and Debates
    This module builds on the histories, contexts, and ideas introduced at Level 4, and will enable you to begin building a critical framework in which to situate yourself and your own developing practice. We aim to produce creative, socially aware and critically-informed professionals, and this module will engage you with the ethical considerations and responsibilities that are increasingly important for professionals today. You’ll explore contemporary issues and debates within creative practice through examples that address, complicate and solve some of the problems we face globally today. The module content will respond to current issues. To reflect this, your learning activities will be open and flexible, responding to current events, discourses, exhibitions and emerging debates, and you’ll be encouraged to identify your own areas of research throughout. Having engaged with the issues that impact on the contemporary practice of your discipline, and reflected on the role of artists and designers globally today, you’ll apply this critical insight to your own future. You’ll be briefed on how to identify and develop plans for your final year research assignment by either: a) planning for a work placement by researching and identifying possible roles and opportunities in relevant industries/organisations; or b) identifying and developing a proposal for your Level 6 Research Project.
  • Graphics in Motion
    This module will introduce you to the key principles, processes and techniques needed to create motion graphics motion capture sequences. You’ll explore and apply creative technique for motion graphics using an appropriate range of digital production methods. You’ll also explore and evaluate historical and contemporary motion graphics practice. The module will be project based and you’ll be challenged to engage with live briefs that could be commercially driven or be part of an ongoing response to social issues. You’ll be responding to briefs, some of which will include working collaboratively and require creative solutions to social or commercial challenges. You’ll need to apply knowledge and practical skills gained throughout the module to achieve effective outcomes.
  • Immersive Storytelling
    Storytelling has never been more important and prevalent than in the 21st Century. With the advent of digital media, traditional storytelling practices have been disrupted, distributed and developed using diverse means of communication saturated by social media. The storyteller still exists but operates in a multimodal space. No longer is the storyteller the one keeping authorial control but part of a dialogue with the user. Equipped with new agency the consumer becomes creator and controls their experience, linear narratives break off into branching stories evolving the act of storytelling into an immersive encounter. Working with and hacking traditional narrative structures and technologies, you’ll explore the environment that your story inhabits. Through IoT and physical computing you’ll work with interactive design that goes beyond UX, liberating your stories from screens and enabling them to exist in both real and virtual worlds. You will be developing a story either individually or as a part of a team, working with interactive design to create an immersive storytelling experience to be installed in a group exhibition at the end of the module. Example technologies you could work with include a range of creative computing hardware and software: wearable technologies (e-textiles, virtual reality) electronics (Arduino), data visualisation (Processing), programming (Python), microcontrollers (Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey, Bare conductive, Micro:Bit) and digital media software (Klynt, Adobe CC). Sessions will be workshop based with on-going critiques and peer review, which will formatively assess, analyse and evaluate your development. You’ll be supported conceptually with opportunities for feedback from StoryLab, our interdisciplinary research institute that experiments with different approaches to storytelling and explores their role in transforming and informing society. You’ll submit a portfolio of coursework including all ongoing research, analysis and development work and the design solutions/outcomes to the short tasks and projects and the exhibited outcomes will be summatively assessed at the close of the semester.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project: Digital Media
    This module will set you challenges that begin with experimentation and exploration within digital media practice. This could involve specific media types and platforms looking at new ways of creating content or how a variety of media could be combined to form an entirely new approach. You’ll be encouraged to solve challenging digital media practice briefs using an enhanced awareness of contemporary digital practice and concepts. Briefs may include individually commissioned work, live set briefs, or national competitions, which will help prepare you for professional work practice. There will be an initial portfolio review followed by individually negotiated projects that will further skill acquisition, creative development emphasising experimentation and risk taking. This module will contain a number of projects and you’ll have the opportunity to produce an extended piece of work, negotiated with the tutor on an individual or group basis. This will be based on a demanding self-initiated proposal or live brief and will be the culmination of your Digital Media degree course. At the outset, you’ll prepare a demanding proposal, demonstrating your capacity to work to a planned schedule, research your options imaginatively, take account of current thinking on the issues your project raises, develop your work in convergent and divergent ways, respond positively to criticism and arrive at creative solutions. You’ll be expected to display, in both preparatory and finished work, an advanced understanding of the methods, techniques, materials and processes appropriate to your chosen media. Your developmental work will be subject to peer and tutor review and will be assessed with your finished work.

Year three, optional modules

  • Research Project
    The Research Project will foster your independent study with the guidance of a tutor. You'll devise your own project that will reflect on/co-ordinate with/enhance your own studio work and interests, encouraging your self-reflexivity and critical distance. Seminars will give you a forum to learn from each other's research. You will also be supported by individual tutorials with a member of staff. The Research Project may include a variety of relevant topics, including reporting on your own work experience. You can illustrate it with photographs, drawings or video, discussing your approach with your assigned tutor. (30 credits)
  • Working in the Creative Industries
    Gaining work experience enhances your employability, and work based learning offers you the chance to key gain industry knowledge, skills, contacts and networking opportunities. This module will give you the opportunity to explore a working environment in the industry you have identified as relevant to your future career. It will encourage self-managed learning, and enhance your employability by developing your communication, personal organisation, team-working, and networking skills, as well as giving you opportunities to apply those skills to real-world experiences, thereby increasing your self-reliance and confidence. The experience can be used as a basis for directing and focusing your career plans, and can influence your final year projects. In lectures, group tutorials and seminars you’ll also explore skills analysis and reflective writing. You will need to identify, negotiate and agree with an employer (or employers) the terms of the placement in association with a module tutor, to ensure that the learning outcomes can be achieved. You’ll be given guidance and will need to submit a placement registration form and risk assessments for approval by the module tutor. The work placements may be carried out in a variety of settings depending upon your requirements, areas of interest and availability of opportunities. The minimum period will be 100 hours, and you can undertake more than one placement for the module. You’ll create a reflective report and presentation on your work experience. The report will include the application procedure you have conducted (CV, letter and portfolio); market and background information on the employer; market sector analysis; your role(s) on the placement(s); academic and vocational analysis; transferable/employability and specialist skills analysis, knowledge and experiences (opportunities, advantages, constraints, aptitudes and interests); and a final evaluation (impact on your final year and career aspirations). It will also include copies of the submitted registration and risk assessments. You’ll also need to include a workplace diary that logs activity and supports an analysis of the learning achieved.

Assessment

Modules are subject to change and availability.

Our modules allow you to demonstrate your progress by producing coursework to set projects, and formal briefs. At the end of each semester you’ll submit design work for practice-based modules, and a written document for contextual/theoretical modules. These will then be graded and you’ll receive written feedback.

You’ll also receive on going feedback on your design project concepts and develop your learning in taught sessions, one-to-one discussions, project reviews, peer to peer feedback and group critiques.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Field trips and visits

Take part in our digital media-related trips to broaden your experience of the industry. Most recently we've visited the BVE trade show at London's Excel Arena, as well as Cambridge Science Festival talks on technology.

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)

£9,250

International students starting 2020/21 (per year)

£14,100

Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Entry requirements

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Portfolio review

It is essential that you send us a digital portfolio for review.

For full information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our Cambridge School of Art portfolios page.


Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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UCAScode: P301

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