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GUI Media: Aesthetics and Issues of the Digital Screen - TFT00061I

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nick Jones
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This humanities module offers a close critical investigation of the aesthetic impact (and arising issues) of that ubiquitous mode of media production and delivery, the graphic user interface (GUI). Far from a neutral way of watching films and television shows, playing games, and accessing apps, the GUI shapes these experiences and the way they are designed. Students will explore the various ways in which this occurs, identifying the cross-media intermingling enabled by the GUI, discovering a range of theoretical tools to analyse the digital media environment today, and undertaking their own interdisciplinary forms of analysis.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims:

  • To provide an understanding of the intermedial connections that shape the screen media environment today
  • To apply theoretical analytical models of visual media in a highly interdisciplinary fashion
  • To think critically about the wider material consequences of recent changes in media that have arisen thanks to the graphic user interface (GUI) and digital screens generally

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • understand the history of the GUI and how it is central to media production and distribution today
  • understand how this centrality shapes the aesthetics of media texts themselves
  • demonstrate an ability to undertake cross-medial theoretical analyses of media objects in order to investigate both aesthetic approaches and the wider consequences of these approaches


Task Length % of module mark Group
N/A 100 A
Video Essay + Report
N/A 100 B

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark Group
N/A 100 A
Video Essay + Report
N/A 100 B

Module feedback

You will receive written feedback in line with standard University turnaround times.

Indicative reading

Friedberg, A. (2006). The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York and London: New York University Press.

Johnson, S. (1997). Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate. New York: Basic.

Jørgensen, K. (2013). Gameworld Interfaces. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Verhoeff, N. (2012). Mobile Screens: The Visual Regime of Navigation. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.