Open Source Intelligence Course

2023/24 Part-time Undergraduate Short course and CPD


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences


This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Credit points:


Start date:

1 April 2024

For full instructions on how to apply for short courses, please contact the Centre for Flexible and Continuing Education -


To develop student skills in collecting, analysing and driving actionable insights from web social media, usability testing and experiments.


Social Media Analytics is the process of gathering data from stakeholder conversations on digital media and processing into structured insights leading to more information driven business decisions and increased customer centrality for brands and businesses. The primary goal of evidence extraction and link discovery is to examine, extract, compile, and utilise information derived from the information cycle to meet specific customer-focused objectives through data analysis and visualisation.

The short course aims to develop student skills in collecting, analysing and driving actionable insights from web social media, usability testing and experiments.

This course has been designed to show the unlimited opportunities that arise from the power of social media in gathering intelligence and the potential for predictive analysis. A key feature of the course is the use of hands-on software tools for analysing web and social media interactions

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About this course


Open Source Intelligence Course is defined as collecting, processing, (to include foreign language translation) refining and exploiting multiple sources of information from publically available digital media to an appropriate audience for the purpose of a specific investigative requirement.

Exploitation technology and software produces real-time streaming, trends, leaderboards, influencers, visuals and reports. The intelligence gained from open source evidential exploitation can be utilised by a range of sectors, such as business, marketing, law enforcement, security and government. Examples of open source evidential exploitation in use can include: to support criminal investigators and investigations; to determine public sentiment in current interest areas and to explore market opportunities in untested interest areas.

Open Source Intelligence Course has been designed to give students a detailed insight into open source information outlets and provide practical training in investigative resources and advanced research techniques.

The course utilises a social media monitoring system (WeLink) that accurately extracts open source data from 16 different social networking sites through 'listening lens' technology. Through this training students will become adept in network and link analysis and understand the potential for predictive analysis through open source information. As an area for research and analysis, open source evidential exploitation is fraught with legal and ethical implications. Participants will learn how to assess the validity of their work within a legal context.

The course aims -

  • to provide and deliver a realistic and structured course which is relevant to the role of Open Source Intelligence research and exploitation.
  • to provide current guidance and clarity for candidates involved in open source exploitation researching and intelligence development.
  • to train and educate candidates with the opportunities to practice and apply open source exploitation techniques utilising the guidance of Subject Matter Experts.
  • to train and educate candidates to the desired level of competence within open source evidential exploitation.

Linked programmes

CPPD Personal and Professional Development


Written assignment (Coursework) [50%]

Synopsis of a current event when open source evidential exploitation could have assisted law enforcement to prosecute, intercept or prevent a crime. The assignment must include references to reading material using Harvard Referencing - Surname, First Initial. (Year Published) Title. City: Publisher, Page(s). Screen shots of evidential findings may also be included in an appendix. Examples studied in class (i.e. social media posts from Paris attackers) may be used, but original thought is preferred. To be submitted via Turnitin on Blackboard Learn (500 words minimum).

Set Exercise (Written) [50%]

Practical exercises will be carried out throughout the duration of the course, as well as in- class quizzes to ensure students have gained a thorough understanding of subject areas prior to submitting a subsequent written assignment.

Assessment and Feedback Strategy

The short course will be assessed by coursework and this will be marked on a pass/fail basis.

Students will receive formative feedback from the module tutor, following practical exercises submitted via Blackboard. Students will also have an opportunity to complete short online tests to self-test their knowledge in advance of practical exercises.


This course is delivered fully online, with no on campus attendance requirements.

* Please note, dates and timetabling may be subject to change.

Entry requirements

This course is open for direct application.

There are no prior qualifications required, but we would suggest that applicants can provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE English Language grades A-C or equivalent).

Students will need to have access to a laptop and internet, for online delivery.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English entrance requirements of the University and will need to provide recent evidence of this (certified within the last two years).

Most of our courses require a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Additional information on English language requirements for admission at Ulster University, is available at -

Start dates

  • 1 April 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Attendance and Independent Study

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

  • Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

  • Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes.  You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study.

    In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.


Start dates

  • 1 April 2024

Fees and funding


Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and EU Settlements Status Fees: £Please contact us for further information.

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands Fees: £Please contact us for further information.

International Fees: £Please contact us for further information.

Fees information

Payment of Fees and Deposits

Information about how to pay for a course including different payment options is available at -

Fees and Funding

Information and advice about course fees and a guide to budgeting for your living costs, as well as sources for financial assistance including hardship funding, scholarships, prizes and awards, is available at - ​

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


For further information please contact us via email below-

Michael Davidson
Interim Director of Policing
School of Applied Social and Policy Science


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  1. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
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