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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