Elective Modules

Elective Modules

Please find below the descriptions of the elective modules available. All elective modules are only offered during the Spring semester/2nd semester (January - May).

These modules are designed to suit students at any level, and no prior knowledge of the subject area is needed. If you want to learn something new, then one of these modules could be for you!

If you select an elective module, we will also ask you for a second (and possibly third) choice, since these modules are open to all students and have a limited capacity. Students are only permitted to take one elective module (the other modules must come from their subject pathway).

ELE002 Games for Change

The module will provide the opportunity to work in teams in order to develop game design concepts for serious applications.

The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : the knowledge, processes and techniques of game design and study examples of serious games that have been developed to benefit society.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Critically analyse texts and applications in a variety of media
2. Work collaboratively with peers to analyse and critique their own and others’ ideas
3. Undertake interdisciplinary team work, accountability, and communication
4. Facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas across disciplines in order to develop creative solutions to complex problems.

Indicative Content
1. Overview of Games: A brief history of games, game art and gamification
2. Games for Change: Understanding how games can benefit society
3. Game Mechanics: Deconstructing core components of popular game genres
4. Gameplay Constructs: What is gameplay and how is this broken down and communicated within the game design
5. The Game Design Process: Conceptualisation, iteration, phases of workflow
6. Game Design Theory and Practice: Identifying the elements within effective design and how they are implemented
7. Documenting the Design: Interactive oriented design, technical design, capturing requirements
8. Business Models: Exploring methods that can be used to generate revenue within the game design

ELE005 Defence Against the Dark Arts

Aimed at students who have an interest in technology but are not experts, the module will include “personal” digital safety, but go beyond this and look at principles, enabling students to apply their knowledge to tomorrow’s digital world as well as today’s. We also include aspects relating to industry/management/society. The aim is to make computer security fun and practical, while also being eye-opening and covering base knowledge that will continue to be relevant to future generations of devices.

The aim of this module is to provide the student with knowledge and practical skills in cybersecurity for students whose core modules do not focus on this. It considers the main threats to cybersecurity and personal, technical and societal countermeasures.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to :
1. Describe vulnerabilities in computer systems and possible threats arising from their exploitation.
2. Evaluate and assess methods for defending computer systems and securing data and information.
3. Explain the significance, underlying science, limitations and consequences for society of cryptography and information hiding

Indicative Content
1. Current state of computer security: An overview including legal aspects
2. Cyber attacks, vulnerabilities and threats: Malware, Network attacks (denial of service, packet sniffing etc), bots, rootkits. How the bad guys can obtain your password.
3. Information Leakage, recovery and forensics: Recovering deleted or corrupted files. What your browser knows about you. Web browser forensics.
4. Securing networks, accounts and devices: Defence against malware, honeypots, Secure protocols, intrusion detection, Password security, Mobile device security
5. Human aspects of cyber security: The Psychology of Hackers, Social Engineering, identity theft, Usability vs security.
6. Breaking the code: An introduction to cryptography, Encryption and Decryption, public and private keys, the key exchange problem.
7. History of Cryptography: The Caesar cipher, polyalphabetic ciphers, the Playfair cipher, the role of Enigma and the Bletchley Park cryptographers in WWII
8. Computers and Crypto: Diffie-Hellman and RSA encryption. Phil Zimmerman and “Pretty Good Protection". Quantum Cryptography – Provably unbreakable information hiding. Mathematical Underpinnings – Large prime numbers and why they matter.
9. Steganography: A picture's worth a thousand words when you're hiding the wood in the trees.
10. The Law, Society and Cryptography: Why you can be imprisoned for forgetting your password. The Civil Liberties Arguments for and against strong-crypto. International perspectives on information hiding, information freedom, the right to privacy and the conflicts between these. Are unbreakable cyphers an unqualified “good thing”?

ELE007 Cities of the future/Smart cities

This module will introduce the concept of smart cities, which brings together hard infrastructure, social capital including local skills and community institutions, and (digital) technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.

The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : Knowledge and understanding of the different aspects of a smart city and their impacts on our lives.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Understand concept of smart cities
2. Analyse data within the concept of a smart city

Indicative Content
1. Social impacts: There is an overall need for theoretical and methodological plurality in how we assess the impact and value of future cities in terms for individual and societal well−being. Gaps in our understanding relate to the complex ways individuals and groups engage with built and natural settings, the cultural goods and consequent benefits that may arise and the inequalities associated with these cultural benefits.
2. Security: Different types of cyber attacks that could be launched against a Smart City. Impact of cyber attacks. Approaches to securing the smart grid and critical infrastructure, i.e. improving cyber resilience.
3. Sustainable urban food production includes the long established allotments movement to large scale projects based on sustainability throughout the food chain. Urban food production includes the long established allotments movement. The demand for urban growing also responds to the densification and intensification of living areas, due to population rise, migration and demographic aging with lower housing and ‘garden’ space standards placing greater importance on collective production
4. Energy, waste and water: At present, water and wastewater facilities are often the largest and most energy intensive responsibilities owned and operated by local governments, representing up to 35% of municipal energy use. Future cities will need to utilise more sustainable methods of water and waste water management and renewable energy production
5. Digital technologies: Digital technologies will play a major role in creating sustainable and resilient cities offering a vehicle for more inclusive decision−making process and promoting dialog amongst architects, urban planners, the public and technologists.

ELE009 Sustainable Development in Scotland

Based on a breadth of knowledge from across the disciplinary spectrum and from lay and community-based interests, this module aims to reflexively foster the development of a range of skills, knowledge and techniques within the natural, technological and social sciences that are relevant to the study of environmental sustainability and concurrently, life in the twenty-first century. It will promote an understanding of critical issues that confront humanity and begin to discern appropriate responses to these issues.

The aim of this module is to begin to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to innovate locally in the context of transforming globally; that is, an understanding of social, cultural, economic and environmental issues associated with sustainable development and its practicalities; an understanding that will facilitate a transformational experience and a notion of active citizenship.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. outline and discuss the complex relationship between society and the environment;
2. describe the principles and characteristics of sustainable development and appreciate how they relate to specific study disciplines;
3. describe the social and cultural nuances of recent political and social change as regards sustainable development and global agreements thereof;
4. recognise and critically evaluate the social, technological and natural aspects of a range of environmental issues;
5. reflect on personal modes of practice and knowledge attainment in line with sustainable lifestyles and sustainable futures; and,
6. an appreciation of local innovation as regards global transformation.

Indicative Content
1. The Challenge of Sustainable Development:
Problems associated with life in the 21st Century and the relationship to scientific provisionalism and uncertainty are discussed.
2. The Genesis of Sustainable Development Concept:
Developments associated with the Club of Rome are outlined while Limits to Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons are discussed.
3. Evolution of Sustainable Development:
The Reo Summit and Suitability, and Policy Developments thereof will be discussed.
4. Scientific Inquiry and Sustainable Development:
We will look at controversial issues like climate change, oil peak, and food production and the role of science in helping delimit them as problematic will be outlined.
5. Mainstreaming Sustainability:
Sustainability and Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience, as individual and social concerns, will be evaluated. And their role in transformation will be discussed.
6. Communicating Sustainability:
Human well-being, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy and the practicalities of Sustainability in Scotland are discussed.
7. Sustainable Development in Practice:
Community Empowerment associated with Land Reform. Energy Production and Food Production in Tayside are looked at.
8. Ethics and Sustainability Policy:
Active citizenship and Globalisation are discussed.
9. Innovating Locally, Transforming Globally:
Transformations that are required to embrace Sustainability will be analysed and discussed.
10. Active Relationship for Sustainable Futures:
Thinking globally, acting locally.

ELE010 Live Well and Prosper

This module's primary aim is to illustrate how lifestyle can effect physical and mental well-being. This module will enable students to reflect on their own lifestyle choices and how to incorporate good health behaviours into their lives.

The aim of this module is to provide the student with: the knowledge and understanding of how physical activity and other lifestyle factors can influence physical and mental well-being.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how lifestyle choices can affect physical and mental well−being.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of sleep on health and performance.
3. Understand the link between physical inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes
4. Be able to conduct basic health and fitness tests and interpret the data collected from these tests.
5. Demonstrate effective team work and presenting skills

Indicative Content
1. Sleep and stress:
The impact of sleep and stress on health and performance. Completion of sleep diaries and questionnaires related to sleep patterns and stress.
2. Physical activity:
Current physical activity recommendations, components of physical fitness.
3. Physical inactivity:
Understanding why people are inactive. The link between physical inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
4. Physical activity and mental well-being:
The effects of physical activity on mental well-being.
5. The effect of carbohydrate consumption and exercise on blood glucose:
Measurement and recording of blood glucose in response to the carbohydrate ingestion and exercise.
6. Simple health and fitness testing:
Measurement and recording of data. Tests will include blood pressure, strength, endurance and flexibility. Data will be compared with normative values for these tests.

ELE011 Debating the 21st Century

This module aims to facilitate the development of critical thinking skills that form the basis for progression across the academic disciplines of the university. Student engagement is activated by fore-fronting `timeless' and `timely' ethical, social and political issues in a series of set piece debates, and by the provision of innovative follow-up opportunities for both enquiry-based group dialogue and individual critical reflection. Through a combination of debates and tutorials students are taught how to recognise, construct, evaluate, criticise and defend different forms of argument.

The aim of this module is to provide the student with critical thinking skills that form the basis for successful progression through Abertay degree programmes.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Exhibit an ability to analyse, evaluate, debate, and communicate knowledge from competing intellectual perspectives.
2. Demonstrate organisation, self-management and scholarship skills by using information technology to access relevant sources and complete assessments for set deadlines.
3. Show evidence of collaboration and discursive review of written work with student peers.

Indicative Content
1. Potential 'Timeless' Debates:
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: eg, existence of God; privacy and civil society; private property; money as source of 'evil'; nature/nurture; free speech; pornography; capital punishment; prostitution; animal experimentation; meaning of justice; abortion; affirmative action; just war; trade union power; good life/good political community; human nature; monarchy; value of democracy; meaning of equality; citizenship rights etc.
2. Potential 'Timely' Debates:
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: eg, Scottish independence, academic freedom; drug legalisation; drug use in sport; immigration; free health care; war on terror; EU membership; euthanasia; progressive taxation; race and gender discrimination; gay marriage; human rights; politics/sport; global warming; internet censorship; nuclear power; education league tables; nuclear weapons; GM agriculture; religion; cloning; fair trade; value of contemporary culture; etc.
3. Critical Thinking Seminars:
Follow-up discursive discipline specific seminar sessions led by teaching staff on topics covered in formal debates. Students are tutored to identify types of argument presented, evaluate perspectives and to reflect upon their own reasoning processes and value assumptions. The debates and seminars facilitate a foundation for the acquisition of graduate attributes.
4. WEB CT Wiki Discussion Forum:
Students will be required to work in small groups to write a short 800 word indicative "Thinking Summary" online Wiki of the arguments presented in each debate. These summaries will be constructed by each designated Thinking Group of three students using the Wiki facility on Blackboard which will facilitate further discussion on the moderated WEB CT discussion forum.

ELE012 Film and Game Genres


This module introduces students to the cultural codes and formal content underlying the composition of popular cultural genres, as these are realised traditionally through films, and more contemporaneously through video games.



The aim of this module is to provide students with an overview of key questions relating to the understanding of film and games genres, and the continuities and discontinuities that arise from these distinctive, yet related cultural forms.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand some basic structural elements of the production process of both genre types, considering points of similarity and convergence as well as difference.

2.  Understand video games using theories from sociology, cultural and media studies, film and games studies.

3.  Appreciate narrative dynamics and spectacular cinema through the appreciation of key distinctive genre films, focusing on epic fantasy, crime/thriller and horror, and war films.


Indicative Content

1. Introduction

Genres as Cultural Forms and Cultural Products

2. Genre and Cinema

3. Games and Genre

4. The Fantasy Genre

5. The Horror Genre


ELE015 Renewable Energy Challenges and Opportunities

The module is of an interdisciplinary type and will cover the areas of social, managerial, economic, political and technical challenges and opportunities associated with emerging renewable energy innovation, production, supply and consumption.

The aim of this module is to provide the student with the knowledge of the renewable energy production and consumption and their various implications in our modern society. Delivery of the module will focus on challenges and opportunities created by these various implications.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Appreciate the social managerial challenges and opportunities associated with renewable energy.
2. Understand the economic and political challenges and benefit of renewable energy
3. Develop an understanding of technological opportunities and innovation challenges of renewable energy by an overview of: Wind, wave,solar, hydro−electric, and bio−based solutions.

Indicative Content
1. Renewable Energy Nontechnical Challenges and Opportunities:
i. Social and political challenges and opportunities of renewable energy production supply and consumption. ii. Economic and environmental challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption. iii. Strategic and managerial challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption.
2. Renewable Energy Technological Challenges and Opportunities:
iv. Geotechnical, Geophysical and Hydrographic information; Knowledge of sources of hydrographic information and interpretation of published charts. v. Forces on structures; Appreciation of the various forces acting on marine structures. vi.Technical limitations and challenges of energy distribution systems and energy storage. vii.Current technological development trend,collaborative innovation in renewable energy.

ELE018 Ethical Reasoning for a Global Society

Graduate attributes refer to qualities, characteristics and skills that can transfer to being responsible citizens (Bowden et al, 2000). Britain has become a more multi−cultural society and there is an aspiration that Abertay graduates will become global and active citizens therefore they should understand the concepts of tolerance, and the importance of making sound ethical decisions.

The aim is to:increase students’ awareness of the requirements/responsibilities in respect of Equality and Ethics legislation;Require the students to reflect on their responsibilities (moral/ethical) and their potential personal preconceptions when engaging with organisations and their membership.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Understand the terms inclusiveness, equal opportunities, positive action and reasonable adjustment
2. Discern the ethical issues within personal and professional decisions
3. Identify and utilise fundamental evidence−based ethical arguments detailing considerations which individuals/organisations need to make
4. Reflect on how knowledge and insight into equality and ethics issues will inform their engagement with individuals and organisations

Indicative Content
1. Introduction to equality and ethics legislation equality and ethics legislation
2. Diversity competence; moral/ethical reasoning Inclusiveness, equal opportunities, positive action, Reasonable Adjustment, moral/ethical reasoning
3. Attributes for the workplace and for global citizenship
4. Reflective Practice Application of models of reflective practice
5. Contemporary Issues

ELE019 The Secret Life of Language

Whether we’re writing a status update on social media or an academic assignment, we continually adjust our language to suit our context. This elective module will look at a range of linguistic issues, including “proper English”, how language can be used to create moral panics, and the ethics of communication. We will do this by analysing a wide range of texts including films, digital games and poetry; students will also create a number of academic, scientific or creative texts of their own. Peer review of each other’s work forms an integral part of this module.

The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to the ways language is used, particularly to express identity. We will look at writing and reading as social interactions that vary among different communities of writers, such as academics, bloggers and journalists. We will examine the conventions around these interactions and evaluate the way we decide who has the “authority” to write and how the “rules” around language use can change and be negotiated within particular communities. The module will encourage students to think critically about writing in a range of areas, including journalism, research, popular fiction and screenwriting; students will be encouraged to write in a range of genres, both individually and collaboratively.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. explain the key concepts of sociolinguistic study
2. identify key aspects of particular genres and discourse communities
3. critically evaluate texts in terms of their successful use of these identifying aspects
4. work collaboratively with peers to analyse and critique their own and others' writing
5. produce texts, through drafting and redrafting, which use appropriate genres and conventions effectively

Indicative Content
1. "Good English": the role of standardisation, dialect and idiolect − how we choose language to reflect our identities and our role in a speech or discourse community
2. Language and influence: how the media constructs narratives to persuade or inform the audience (and how to tell the difference)
3. Creating a narrative across genres: the conventions, freedoms and limitations of different forms; using these forms in new ways
4. Narrative changes over time: how authors reinvent old stories to reflect current concerns
5. Technical writing: the use and manipulation of data; hearing the author's voice; critiquing "bad science"
6. The ethics of communication: (electronic) media and ownership, attribution and theft

ELE021 Success through failure: How we learn from disaster

This module will utilise the expertise of Abertay in the Natural and Built Environment. The students will learn about natural disaster such as landslides and flooding, structural disasters such as the Tay Rail Bridge and the system of critical infrastructure, part of built environment, such as road, rail, air and shipping transport networks, power grid, gas and water networks, health system, etc., constitutes the backbone of modern societies.

The review of causes requires students to develop their investigation skills and their critical thinking is developed through examining the impact of changes arising from the disasters.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Understand the causes and consequences of different disaster scenarios
2. Identify the role of reports and investigations that inform lessons to be learned from failure

Indicative Content
1. Overview of the scope and the content of concept of critical infrastructure failure during natural disasters and resilience against such failures
the consequences of geophysical, hydrological and meteorological disasters on critical infrastructure and critical infrastructure protection capabilities against natural disasters. Interdependencies of critical infrastructures during large disasters, presents a brief review of current research being done in this field, and presents a methodology to address interdependencies.
2. The identification of the vulnerabilities of the critical systems
The critical systems upon which modern society, economy, and polity depend. The identification of the vulnerabilities of these systems threats that might exploit these vulnerabilities. The effort to develop techniques to mitigate these vulnerabilities through improved design.
3. Flooding in Scotland
general overview of fluvial, pluvial and coastal flooding, the structural, economic and societal impact and responses to flooding. Resources will include historical examples, current policies and information (including SEPA flood maps). Case study (with virtual/actual field visit?) the Perth Floods of 1990 and 1993 and the Perth flood defence scheme*
4. Landslide origins, types and mitigations
General overview what landslides are, why they happen and what can be done to prevent them.
5. Structural Failure
e.g. why did the Tay Bridge fails and what did the failure mean for the Forth Rail Bridge
6. Reports and investigations
the role of reports in accident and disaster investigations in creating informative reports; case studies of accidents, disasters, learning from history, learning from case studies, learning from common law
7. Case studies
Power System Blackouts, Smart Grids and self-healing systems. Nuclear Plant Emergency How Would the Public Respond?

ELE023 Career Management in the 21st Century

The world of work is constantly evolving with new industries, occupations and ways of working emerging all the time. Finding the right career path depends upon having an awareness of your own strengths and motivations and how these fit into the job market. So, is this the time to think about what you have to offer and how you can start to shape your future? If so, this elective will help you to develop the knowledge and awareness required to make good career decisions and the skills and confidence to successfully navigate each stage of the recruitment process for graduate jobs.

The aim of this module is to help you focus on the career options that best match your strengths, interests, values and priorities. The course will also help you to understand what employers look for in graduates so that you can excel in the full range of recruitment activities.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Identify knowledge, abilities and transferable skills developed by one’s degree
2. Synthesise one’s key strengths, goals and motivations into a rounded personal profile
3. Demonstrate knowledge of general trends in graduate employment and opportunities for graduates in one’s discipline
4. Devise a short/medium-term career development action plan
5. Demonstrate understanding of effective opportunity-search strategies
6. Demonstrate ability to present oneself effectively in selection interviews and other selection processes

Indicative Content
1. Developing self awareness
Profiling of personal strengths, values and priorities in relation to career choice.
2. Developing opportunity awareness
Generating career ideas based on your personal profile; Exploring the range of graduate opportunities within job sectors of interest; Reviewing occupations that are directly related to your own subject discipline.
3. Developing a career action plan
Matching your personal profile with best fit opportunities in the job market; Creating a timeline of actions to improve your prospects of meeting your aim.
4. Developing job seeking skills
Sourcing suitable job opportunities - both advertised and unadvertised; Creating a professional image online; Identifying the skills and qualities employers look for in graduates; Learning how to produce targeted applications for specific job roles; Practising the presentation of your strengths and motivations in face to face selection activities.

ELE024 Mythbusters: Food Facts, Fads and Fiction

This module will give students an understanding of some of the processes involved in food production, and will include debunking myths of the food industry, discussing common misconceptions and exploring ideas which present the food and nutritional industries in a bad light.

The aim of this module is to provide the student with: knowledge and understanding of the different aspects of the food industry and their impacts on our lives.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Discern current information and identify common misconceptions regarding where our food and drink comes from and how
2. Appraise current data within the context of the food and drink industry, and reflect on their impact on society
3. Present in a team environment a reflective account of an aspect from the module

Indicative Content
1. Student led investigations
Student led investigations of the different sectors within the food and drink industry including: prebiotics – and the controversy surrounding the term; if barbequing is a healthy cooking method; and exposing the celebrity chef - common Myths about cooking
2. Consumerism
Does the food industry listen to us? -Understanding consumer and sensory science to better understand why you buy the products you buy. - How food / public health is reported by the media? - The French paradox / Mediterranean diet.
3. Future of food
Ethical food production and the future of foods, and, what’s waste got to do with it?
4. Debunking myths
Debunking food myths, more science than science fiction in our food today, like the science behind getting sauce out of a bottle and what to drink – Whisky or Beer?
5. Facts from fiction
Finding facts from fiction, investigating the three second rule – should I eat things that have fallen on the floor? What’s so super about super-foods? Fat or sugar: Which is worse?

ELE026 Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest

This elective module will take a pluralistic view on how we approach and understand mental health, from historic, social, therapeutic, and individual perspectives. Students will be posed with questions such as ‘what is madness?’, ‘how does society position people with mental illness?’, and ‘how do we best respond to challenges to our mental health?’

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of distinct contemporary and historical perspectives on mental health, to encourage students to consider how representations of mental illnesses are connected to society and contextual frameworks of understanding, to recognise the needs for social and individual action to maintain good mental good health, and to have insight into the interventions used to aid recovery from mental health problems. In addition, this module will provide students with activities which could enable them to maintain their own mental health and resilience.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module the student should be able to:
1. Students will be able to conceptualise and discuss a range of historical and contemporary perspectives on mental health, mental ill health, and psychiatric disorders.
2. Students will be able to integrate a range of contemporary ideas on mental health in order to have insight into the experience of individuals with, or at risk of, mental health problems.
3. Students will develop the ability to recognise how representations of mental health in film and literature can impact popular understanding.
4. Students will be able to provide examples of interventions and activities which help maintain mental health, or allow recovery form mental health problems.
5. Students will have an awareness of their own resilience and how to monitor their own mental health needs.

Indicative Content
1. Historical and cultural perspective on mental illness
How do we ‘think’ about mental health, and mental ill health?
2. Diagnosis and the anti-psychiatry movement
Who holds the power to decide what is normal in terms of psychological well-being and behaviour?
3. Gender, culture and mental health
How gendered cultural expectations and representations influence how we respond to mental health issues.
4. Media representations
The impact of film and literature on attitudes and understandings of mental health
5. Resilience, treatment and recovery
Common mental health problems in the UK, treatment and management, and frameworks for enhancing well-being and resilience