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FIT5090: Social informatics

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal datesfor the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Information Technology


South Africa

  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)




This unit provides students with a critical understanding of the impact of information technology (IT) within contemporary social relations. Using case studies drawn from different social spheres, the unit explores the ways in which the diffusion of IT has reshaped thinking and practice concerning social collaboration, the production of knowledge and community building. Particular attention is paid to the emerging field of community informatics, and the implications that this field holds for the work of information and knowledge management professionals


On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. analyse the nature and operation of information communities within contemporary society;
  2. evaluate community informatics as an emerging discipline and professional practice;
  3. assess contemporary debates concerning the social impact of information technology use;
  4. distinguish the collaborative behaviours and interdependencies which contribute to notions of community;
  5. analyse and critique cases from the information industry.


Examination (2 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%;

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

  1. Contact hours for on-campus students:
    • 2 hours of lectures
    • One 2-hour tutorial
  2. Study schedule for off-campus students:
    • Off-campus students generally do not attend lecture and tutorial sessions, however should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups each week.
  3. Additional requirements (all students):
    • A minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Chief examiner(s)

Ms Sheelagh Walton

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Archives and recordkeeping
Library and information science

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at:


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