Core Module Information
Module title: Understanding Cybercrime

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC09119
Module leader: Shane Horgan
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science

Students should have an understanding of core introductory criminological theories and concepts (e.g. Anomie, Control Theory, Strain Theory, Labelling theory, Radical Criminologies, and Governmentality), and experience of applying them critically to make sense of real-world contexts and phenomena (e.g. essays, literature reviews, briefing reports).

Description of module content:

This research-led module will introduce students to the sociological and criminological study of cybercrime and cybersecurity. After exploring the internet’s transformation of society and crime, the module will introduce students to different categories of cybercrime (computer targeted crime, computer-enabled crime, and computer content crime). It will then examine online safety and cybersecurity, the transformation of victimization, cybercrime and gender, and policing cybercrime. Each week students will critically consider how useful different criminological theories and research methods are for understanding cybercrime. The module will also introduce the ‘rapid evidence review’ as a form of assessment. In doing so, it introduces students to one way policy comes to be evidence informed, as well as the limits of that approach. It is important to note that this course is not technical in nature and knowledge of computing is not a prerequisite.

Learning Outcomes for module:

LO1: Describe and critically evaluate how the internet has reshaped existing crimes and enabled the emergence of new ones

LO2: Identify and examine different categories and features of 'cyber-enabled' and 'cyber-dependent' crime

LO3: Critically analyse contemporary approaches to internet policing, cybercrime prevention and cybersecurity

LO4: Examine and critically evaluate the usefulness of classical and contemporary criminological theories for explaining cybercrime, internet policing ,and online victimization

LO5: Operationalize the rapid evidence review methodology and apply it to a cybercrime context

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 1, BLENDED, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: BLENDED
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Shane Horgan
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
This module will allow you to reflect on and apply your previous learning and everyday experience, and build on the knowledge, core skills and engage in new learning via this new context. Through your reading, forum engagement, and online tutorials you will analyse how crime has been transformed by technology, the implications this has for criminal justice institutions and their practitioners, and critically assess how society is responding. The module will also allow you to develop your teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills via formative feedback exercises, synchronous and asynchronous discussions using the virtual learning environment. The mode of delivery also promotes active learning and develops students' capacity for independent learning.

On this module, you will be provided with a diverse range of engaging and interactive material and exercises the will introduce you to the topic generally, how to study on the module, and how to begin making sense of the conceptual and practical materials that allow you to achieve learning outcomes one to four. Students will receive a mix of live lectures and pre-recorded mini-lectures explaining key concepts and police related to different types of cybercrime, security responses and theoretical criminology. You will be directed to a range of e-learning resources for each weekly topic to support independent learning. This includes but will not be limited to textbooks, journals and journal articles, blogs, and videos. You will be required to engage with online lectures, regular short writing exercises, case studies, and weekly online tutorial discussions to discuss key ideas, promote independent critical thinking, and ultimately the achievement of learning outcomes one to five. Online tutorials will be particularly important for discussing rapid evidence review methodology and enabling you to meet learning outcome 5. Asynchronous class activities and discussions will be promoted through discussion forums on the virtual learning environment (VLE).

You will have access to module and topic-specific materials; module handbook, module introduction/overview/key learning outcomes; weekly summaries of key learning points, PowerPoint slides, video and podcasts which further explain key concepts and material, links to academic books, book chapters, journal articles, and blogs.

Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment (week 6): One fifteen-minute group presentation outlining a cybercrime type of the groups choosing and a critical evaluation of an applied criminological theoretical explanation. You will be expected to submit narrated PowerPoint slides. Each group will receive detailed formative feedback. This formative assessment will allowed you to receive feedback on communications skills and progress towards learning outcomes 1-5.

Summative Assessment:
Summative Assessment (Week 14): One 3000 word rapid evidence review in which you will be asked to provide a review of the evidence on one of 4 optional cybercrimes and critically assess current approaches to prevention. You will receive dedicated time in tutorials in weeks 7 to 11 on developing their rapid evidence review. This assessment will assess learning outcomes one to five.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 20
Face To Face Tutorial 10
Independent Learning Groupwork (Scheduled) 5
Independent Learning Guided independent study 165
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Report 100 LOS 1-5 14/15 , WORDS= 3000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
SSC09119 Understanding Cybercrime