Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to TV and Digital Culture
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2-hour exam, answering short essay questions  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of assignments, when necessary, will be in accordance with the conditions and timetable set by the university. Resubmission of assignments, when necessary, will be in accordance with the conditions and timetable set by the university.   100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. evidence an understanding of key debates in the formation and development of television studies, including present-day concerns with ‘post-television’, transmedia television and convergence culture.

2. meaningfully integrate two of the following areas of study – production, text, audience, context – in a theorized case study of a specific television text.

3. relate television studies’ work to its disciplinary and theoretical contexts (humanities; social sciences; English Literature; cultural studies; structuralism; poststructuralism), demonstrating understanding of the ways in which television studies has drawn on a range of schools of thought.

Brief description

This module introduces key issues in the development of television studies, including the importance of “reading television”, and thus how television’s distinctive textualities have been explored through textual analysis. The module also considers television studies’ relationship with cultural studies and media sociology (alongside its broader debts to the humanities and structuralism/poststructuralism). In order to synthesize key approaches in television studies, a specific case study is explored, combining production ethnography with textual and contextual study. The module then goes on to explore major debates such as that surrounding the cultural status and value of ‘quality TV’, as well as that surrounding historical and contemporary markets for “global” or transnational TV. The final three weeks of the module explicitly address television’s changing place and identity within digital culture, analyzing TV’s digitalisation, “transmedia television” linking TV texts with Web content, and the ways in which “convergence culture” has begun to challenge television’s pop-cultural centrality.


Week 1: The history and development of Television Studies
Week 2: Textual analysis and the rise of the ‘canon’
Week 3: Television audiences (I): The romanticisations of cultural studies
Week 4: Television audiences (II): The questions of media sociology
Week 5: A case study in production, text and context
Week 6: The ‘quality TV’ debate: US and UK traditions
Week 7: Transnational Television
Week 8: “Post-TV” and the emergence of digital television
Week 9: Transmedia Television
Week 10: Living in a convergence culture

NB: each week comprises of a 1 hour lecture, a 1 hour seminar, and a 2 hour screening block


To introduce and explore significant debates in the emergence and history of television studies;

To relate contemporary television to the contexts and technologies of digital culture, addressing TV as a digital medium; considering transmedia television as an intertextual array articulated with participatory cultures (something which the 2nd semester module, ‘Social Television, Fandom and Participatory Media’ will build on); and investigating ‘TV’ as an object in relation to convergence culture.

Distinct in approach from its partner module ‘Small Screen Aesthetics’, this core module instead focuses on linking television studies to the disciplines and schools of thought which have had an impact on its intellectual formation (the humanities and social sciences; English Literature, cultural studies and media sociology; structuralism and poststructuralism).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will become familiar with basic quantitative information on TV ratings systems and appreciation indexes
Communication Students will be expected to contribute to seminar discussions and relate their own research progress orally. Students' capabilities to structure ideas and arguments in their coursework and exam essays will form part of the module assessment criteria.
Improving own Learning and Performance At multiple points across the module, students will be asked to summarise how their learning and performance are progressing. This will enable learning and performance to be improved by identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use information resources within the library where relevant within their research, as well as analyzing Web 2.0 in relation to digital television and convergence culture.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop research skills, presentation skills, engage in group work, and develop their writing skills. These attributes will feed into their development as individual researchers well-suited for academic / research careers.
Problem solving Students will need to articulate work on two elements of production / texts / audiences / contexts in their TV case studies, as well as responding appropriately and effectively to unseen exam essays.
Research skills This element is developed through students' own investigations into specific TV shows, and their use of relevant theories. Students will bring research and information literacy skills to bear upon the module, articulating the results in their assessments (essay and exam).
Subject Specific Skills Understanding of television studies’ debates and concepts; ability to integrate multiple aspects from production, text, audience and context; capacity to relate television studies’ work to disciplinary and theoretical frameworks.
Team work There is no assessed group work on the module, but students will work together in seminars within small-group discussions


This module is at CQFW Level 7