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Archive for July, 2011

Study by distance learning

Applications are still being taken for a September 2011 start whether for on-campus study or by distance learning. For overseas (non-EU) students, it is becoming late to make an application as the process of securing a UK student visa will take some weeks (see the post below). However, home (EU) and distance learning students have until early September to apply for a place on the course. Please note that we will not consider new applications received after Friday 9th September 2011 (unless they are for a 2012 start). An application later than this invariably results in a late start which, from experience, disadvantages you for the whole of the first semester. The earlier you can apply, the more likely you are to be able to start the course on time.

Learning resources within Blackboard 9

The Blackboard 9 site for one of our course units, showing the Learning Resources page (click on the image to see a larger version if you are interested). We use a range of other environments in our distance learning, including videoconferencing, blogs, wikis, etc.

Several questions are often asked about the distance learning version of the degree. The two most common are:

Will my degree certificate indicate that I studied this course at a distance? No. We are aware that in some parts of the world, distance learning is treated as inferior to on-campus learning. We do not believe that this should be the case: all our students receive equal treatment and we have been involved with this kind of education for many years and know how to use a range of pedagogical techniques and technical tools to ensure equality between the two modes of study.  For that reason, all our graduates receive the same certification, that is, the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education, regardless of whether they have studied on campus or online.

What software do I need to study online? We ask that you have regular access to a computer and that it has broadband internet access. If you only have dial-up, or irregular access to a computer, you will find it difficult to study with us online. Beyond that, however, the only software you really need is standard office tools – Word, Excel, a web browser, or similar tools on a Mac or Linux system. Videoconferencing systems, which we sometimes make use of (see pic above), and the VLEs or virtual learning environments like Blackboard and Moodle, all run through a normal web browser. We do ask, however, that you have a working microphone, headphones or speakers, and ideally, a webcam.

How long does it take? The recommended length of a distance learning course is three years.

If you have any further questions about studying on the MA: DTCE at a distance please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Director, Dr Andrew Whitworth, at andrew.whitworth@manchester.ac.uk.

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MA DTCE students broadcast live from Dublin

Four students studying on the MA DTCE in the School of Education at the University of Manchester attended the 11th international Diverse conference in Dublin, Ireland last week. The conference brought together 110 academics, practitioners, and researchers from the fields of video and visual media for teaching learning to share their work.

The Manchester students’ contribution to the conference was however not limited to the content alone, as they joined 22 other students from Ireland and Norway to broadcast keynote speaker interviews, delegate vox-pops, and other materials live onto the web. The video and live broadcast production workshop was an international collaborative effort between Dublin City University (conference host) in Ireland, University College Lillehammer in Norway, and the MA DTCE programme at the University of Manchester. Students worked in teams to video interview esteemed academics such as Professor Michael Wesch and Professor Roy Pea of Stamford University, amongst others. They then operated cameras and audio and vision mixing equipment to create four live broadcasts on consecutive days.

The MA:DTCE students

MA DTCE students Meyi Scholar Okuo, Huiyu He, Kunle Arogundade, and Angela Henry on the broadcast set at the Diverse conference at DCU, Dublin.

This achievement is made even more remarkable as the students had not met each other until two days before the first live broadcast was scheduled for transmission. For lecturer and broadcast producer, Dr. Michael O’Donoghue, this was the third such live broadcast student workshop from the Diverse conference. “It’s the largest crew we’ve had for the live broadcasts, and by far the best all round experience. It’s great to see our students engaging in meaningful discussion with prominent academics, and using available video technologies and social media to put this out into the world – I’m very proud of them all”, he said. MA DTCE student Meyi Scholar Okuo added “Whilst the conference was demanding, the hands-on experience was truly inspiring and largely influenced my self-confidence”. Fellow student Angela Henry added “attending the conference gave me the opportunity to meet authors and people that you would make reference to in assignments – it fits in well with the MA DTCE in terms of using technology and communicating”. Though the Diverse conference is now over for 2011 the legacy of this activity continues. “I’m interviewing keynotes and filming at BERA at UCL in September and I hope to include a few of the broadcast crew members from Dublin on this and subsequent activities”, O’Donoghue commented.

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