Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Manchester. We are enormously pleased to welcome our new students to our MA DTCE family!
For the 2016-17 academic year, we have 63 new starters, of which 44 are on campus students and the rest are Distance Learners, joining us from all corners of the world (Europe, Australia, Japan, India, Uganda, China, Canada, Malaysia). This is the biggest ever intake on the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education.
Including our returning distance learners and those finishing off dissertations, this means we now have 100 students in total; easily our largest ever cohort and quite a growth since we launched the MA: DTCE in 2007 with around 25 students.
Clearly there is still a lot of interest, not just in educational technology per se but the MA: DTCE’s distinctive mix of this subject matter with studies of how communication and formal and informal learning processes throughout society are affected by things like the news media, social media and political change.
We still attract teachers as students, whether they be working in early years education, primary or secondary schools, or at colleges and universities. But our cohort now also includes several journalists, musicians, web site developers, corporate training specialists, learning technologists, programme officers…. In short anyone with an interest in learning, technology and communication.
Unfortunately, enrollment for 2016-17 is now closed; but it is not too early to apply for the following year. Either way, we wish all our students well!
If you are a UK or EU national, and normally live in England, did you know you can now qualify for a Postgraduate Loan to help you with the cost of your studies on the MA: DTCE? The loan can be for up to £10,000: see this page for an overview.
This includes part-time study and study by distance learning — as long as you complete the course in two years (you would not be eligible for the loan in any third year of a distance learning course).
There are other qualifiers — you cannot already have a Masters’ or higher degree, unfortunately — and need to be under 60 years of age at the start of the course. For full details on eligibility follow this link.
The MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education has been run as a successful distance learning programme since 2007 and is still open for applications for entry in September 2016.
The course content is innovative and different from that on many competitor courses. We take a broad view of what constitutes ‘education’, covering not just the impact of digital technologies on the school or university but also workplace learning, adult and community education, informal learning (via friends, family, the media): in short all the ways that digitisation affects how people form knowledge about the world. Prior teaching experience is not required: MA: DTCE students include journalists, librarians, web and e-book developers, video and multimedia producers as well as teachers, lecturers and learning technologists. (The picture shows distance learning graduate, and video producer, Alessandra Argenti at work in Nairobi, Kenya.)
“The best online course I have ever taken” (Mike, Senior Lecturer)
Becoming an MA: DTCE graduate means you will have learned to deconstruct an educational environment of any kind, understand what has driven its creation (learning objectives, theories of teaching and learning, management and leadership, politics and technology itself) and appreciate what different digital media do, or might, bring to the environment in order to enhance it, improving the experience of both learner and teacher alike. Practical skills are addressed, such as multimedia design and video production, but you will also be introduced to theories of communication, of technology development, teaching and learning, and how these can be applied to optimise educational technology solutions. MA: DTCE graduates currently occupy a range of positions worldwide, including senior roles — for examples, see earlier posts on this blog.
Studying on the MA: DTCE by distance learning allows you to work flexibly, in ways that fit in with, and even complement, work commitments. You will not be isolated — there are plenty of ways to interact both with the teaching team and fellow students, including videoconferences, online discussion boards, one-to-one Skype tutorials and collaborative activities, which we can usually arrange at a time to suit your schedule (including for those of you studying outside the UK). There are ample opportunities to complete assignments in ways that integrate them with classes, projects or tasks that you need to complete in professional life. You can even receive course credit (15, 30 or the 60-credit dissertation) for designing and evaluating a workplace or consultancy project. We also have a ‘TESOL pathway” for those of you specialising in language teaching.
We hope you might be interested in joining us in September 2016. Visit the course page on the University of Manchester web site for more information and to make an application.
On Monday 30th May a group of on-campus MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education students visited Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire for their annual day out. In all the years this day has been run, it at least has never rained, nor has anyone fallen in the Hebden Water off the stepping stones (pictured)…. and it is good to report the same was true in 2016! Hebden Bridge is about 25 miles (40km) north of Manchester, and renowned for the beauty spot of Hardcastle Crags and also, more recently, as the location of BBC TV series Happy Valley.
We are still taking applications for the 2016-17 academic year whether for on-campus or distance study. Over the next couple of weeks on this blog we will be discussing the distance learning version of the course, its content and how it can be integrated with professional practice, and the benefits of flexible study via distance learning (also some of the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them…). So please do check back soon if you are thinking of joining us next year either in Manchester or online.
Drew (MA: DTCE Programme Director)
I work in eLearning and use information visualisations to make learning material more engaging for students. Research demonstrates that content like data visualisations, animated explainer videos, infographics and interactive webpages can capture students’ interest and help them to learn complex information more quickly. Visualisations can also reduce the information overload that students may feel when they are presented with dense sections of text.
On the MA DTCE, I decided to do a project-based dissertation. The first part of my dissertation was to develop a website to curate the visualisations I had been finding online. I also built a few visualisations of my own. For each visualisation on the website, I listed the subject and learning outcomes (wherever possible, these are from the British curriculum) that the asset aligned with. I also developed some lesson plans to show how visualisations can be incorporated into teaching practice.
The goal of the website is to make it easier for teachers who want to use content like this in their own lessons. They can use the search function on the website to find a visualisation that matches the lesson topic they are working on. Following the development of the website, I wrote my dissertation about the research I had conducted.
There are currently around 1200 visualisations on the website. I enjoyed the process so much that I continue to add to it and use the assets in my own work. On the website’s blog, I post about the field of visualisation, commenting on new assets as I find them. You can view the website at www.visualistics.co.uk.
“I started the MA DTCE as a part time on-campus student in 2013, and then switched to distance learning when I moved from Manchester to Glasgow for a new job in year two of the course. Throughout the two years, Drew (Whitworth) and his colleagues were knowledgeable and always approachable for guidance and for me to ensure I was on the right track. I can only highlight how crucial this is as a distance learner!
I had my first taste in eLearning in 2011 – 2012 as Podcasting Project Assistant at Staffordshire University, but I found it difficult to remain in this area without a postgraduate qualification when the contract ran out.
Out of everything I learned during my two years (including undertaking the course as an on campus, blended and distance learning student), and teaching myself to use technologies requested through employment adverts, I applied for and was appointed E-Learning Developer at Glasgow Clyde College in October 2015. I work with various learning technologies to produce and develop Further Education content, advise staff and external partners on student-centred teaching, innovative pedagogies, accessibility, and emergent technologies.
MA DTCE graduate appointed lecturer for the School of Communications and Marketing at Southampton Solent University
“When I joined the MA:DTCE in 2014-2015 as a full-time student, after working for 5 years as a journalist in Brazil, I was unsure about the next steps in my career. I chose the course thinking that it would allow me to draw from my background in communication and also help me learn more about education and technology, two fields which had always interested me.
I had very high expectations for the course, and it did not disappoint. It was a fantastic experience. I particularly liked the balance between theory and practice: we were taught how to make videos, podcasts and create multimedia educational content, but also looked deeply into the pedagogical theories that explained and justified our practical decisions, and learned how to do our own research. During the course, I became more and more interested in education and ended up deciding to pursue an academic career.
In early January, I started working as a full-time lecturer for the School of Communications and Marketing at Southampton Solent University. One of the course units I am teaching this semester is Multiplatform Journalism, which allows me to bring together my newsroom experience and a lot of what I have learned during the course.
When I found myself standing in front of students for the first time, I found out that I had learned a lot about teaching in MA:DTCE – through the lectures and readings on pedagogy, and also by observing the great work done by teaching staff in the course. Changing careers is not easy, but I feel that the course helped me feel confident and prepared to take on this new role.”