Course Units and Teaching

Course unit materials

This page serves to give you a brief outline of the available course units and, in some cases, also links to their online teaching materials. Most are delivered through Blackboard.

Programme Structure
The MA: DTCE requires you to reach a passable standard in 120 credits of taught
courses and a 60 credit dissertation. It can be studied in the following modes:

• Full-time, on campus (1 year);
• Part-time, on campus (27 months);
• Part-time, by distance learning (27 months or 3 years).

This page also contains information on the Client-Based Project and Independent Supervised Study.

Image: a child using a web site

Units available  2016-2017.

EDUC70140 Educational Technology and Communication (Core Unit)
Tutor: Drew Whitworth
This unit is the foundation of study on the MA: DTCE and all students, whether fulltime,
part-time or distance, study it through their first two semesters. It covers
(amongst other things):

  • the idea of learning being an interaction with an environment, and the roles that technologies, assumptions about teaching and learning, and forms of organisation, play in shaping this environment
  • basic pedagogical theories and how these are influenced or affected by technology
  • the nature of reflective practice and its importance for the professional development of educators
  • different types of educational technology, and what influence each type can and does have over teaching
  • the role of communication in organisational, community and public life, and
    communicative approaches to decision making and teaching
  • how ICT and distance learning change the way we organise and think
    about education
  • different types of communication (written, spoken, non-verbal, computermediated,
    symbolic) and their relevance for education
  • the history of the Internet and how this has affected communication, both
    online and face-to-face
  • Appropriate Technology, and what this means for education in the
    developed world, for those with disabilities, etc.

The unit is assessed by: a 2,500 word essay; your participation in online activities
conducted as part of a “working group”, which take place on an ongoing basis through the year; and a critical commentary on a portfolio of work developed either in other DTCE units (for full-time students) or as part of your professional practice (for part-time students). Each of these three elements is graded equally.
The course is delivered through Blackboard which you can access through To login you will need your username and password.  If you are doing both this course and Media and Information Literacy (see below), you are recommended to buy Information Obesity by Andrew Whitworth (published by Chandos).

EDUC61711: Digital, Media and Information Literacy (Core Unit)
Tutor: Drew Whitworth

All students take this in their first semester of study. The aim of this unit is two-fold.
Firstly, it helps you develop your own academic skills, particularly around the use of the
internet to search for information, and then make critical judgments about it, to help
you with your studies. Secondly, it introduces you to the theories and literature in the
field of information studies and information practice, addressing the importance of
these matters for teaching and learning in the modern world. It aims to develop in you
the ability to enhance these literacies in others, whether these be future students,
colleagues, family members, etc. The unit covers:

  • theories of digital, media and information literacy
  • critical media awareness: how do the broadcast and newspaper media influence our response to information and its use in education?
  • community media and technology education
  • the explosion of information and its effects on learning and thinking: information obesity, or information health?
  • how to instil media and information literacy in ourselves – and our learners
  • information retrieval, searching and evaluation skills

The assessment on this unit requires you to put together a small portfolio (4 activities)
of teaching activities or lesson plans relevant to media and information literacy, and to
write a self-reflective commentary which places the activities in a wider context.

Like DET, it is similarly delivered through Blackboard and accessible with your username and password through

EDUC60451 and EDUC60452: Education Research parts 1 and 2 (Core Units;
part-time and distance learning students will do these in their final year.)
Tutor: Kirstin Kerr is course leader: however, the course is taught by various tutors..

These two 15-credit units extend through semesters 1 and 2.
Semester 1 focuses on : theories of education research, methodologies, types of data and ethics.

Semester 2 helps you develop a research question and looks at data analysis techniques,
helping you progress to your dissertation.
Assessment involves you undertaking a data gathering project in semester 1, and developing a research proposal then performing some data analysis in semester 2.

EDUC 70061: Language Learning and Technology (Core Unit for MA in DTCE –
TESOL pathway: it can be taken as an optional unit for the standard MA in DTCE but note that you do need to have had some experience of language teaching)
Tutor: Gary Motteram.

This semester 1 course unit explores a range of technologies (software/ apps, video
material, generic tools such as the Internet, word processing etc) used in language
teaching and learning with reference to both classroom practice and self-access
application. Topics covered include:

  • Second language learning and the development of digital literacy
  • The nature of reading in a digital world and the development of reading skills through the use of computer-based tasks and the WWW
  • Technology and task and text authenticity
  • ‘Computer’ based and networked writing development
  • Language learning and Web 2.0
  • Synchronous and asynchronous ‘computer’ mediated communication for language learning
  • The role of video texts (analogue and digital) in language learning
  • The impact of technology use on learner talk
  • Digital games
  • Computers and data driven learningMy Learning Essentials:The Library provides a comprehensive programme of
    online resources, workshops and drop in skills clinics throughout the year designed
    to help you to develop your academic and employability skills.
    Please refer to
    EDUC70030: Blended Learning in a Digital Age ( Optional unit.) Semester 2
    Tutor: Susan Brown.There is no one universally agreed definition of ‘blended learning’, though it is commonly perceived in terms of different instructional modes, methods and uses of learning technologies in a range of teaching contexts, both face-to-face and online. The course unit will allow participants to think about the potential of blended learning in their teaching context, what form that blended learning might take and ways of effectively designing blended learning courseware for that context, or aspects of that context.

    Specifically the course will cover:

    • understandings of the term ‘blended learning’ in the literature;
    • rationales for blended learning in different learning contexts
    • rationales for blending different technologies for learning, e.g.: VLEs with social media (e.g. wiki and podcasting);
    • practical explorations of blended courseware development;
    • instructional design principles as guiding frameworks for the creation of effective blended courseware.
    • evaluation of existing blended courseware.Assessment involves the presentation of a plan for the development of blended
      learning materials.

EDUC60491: Theories of Teaching and Learning (Optional Unit- Semester 1)
Tutor: Liz Smith/Mike O’Donoghue/Colin Mills

Though the core unit EDUC70410 will cover some basic information on the theories
of teaching and learning, this unit will go into more detail about major schools of
thought on learning theory, key ideas underpinning theories of teaching and learning
and how all of these apply to the debates which arise about teaching and learning in
a variety of different institutional, policy and cultural contexts. It would be particularly
useful for MA: DTCE students who seek an in-depth understanding of pedagogical
theory and practice that can apply in a digital setting. Assessment involves writing an

Language Education as Intercultural Practice: EDUC70040 (Optional Unit- Semester 1)
Tutor Richard Fay.

The course unit maps the main cultural and intercultural considerations relating to (English) language education / teacher education, a mapping informed by such areas of cultural studies teaching and intercultural communication training. It does so in terms of four overlapping focal areas:
· Focus I: focus on cultural content (as informed by Cultural Studies in foreign language education;
· Focus II: focus on intercultural communication (as informed by Intercultural Communication and Intercultural Communication Training;
· Focus III: focus on context and methodological appropriacy (as informed by debates about appropriate methodology, linguistic and cultural imperialism, and the teaching of English variously as a Foreign Language (EFL), Second Language (ESL), Additional Language (EAL), International Language (EIL), and Lingua Franca (ELF) as well as the teaching of English for Intercultural Communication (EIC); and
· Focus IV: focus on multicultural considerations (as informed by the increasing cultural complexity of societies in which English is being taught.)
These focal areas are underpinned by a range of theoretical, empirical, and practical concerns including:
· key concepts such as culture, communication, and intercultural communication;
· key training considerations related to ethnocentrism, meaning attribution, culture shock, culture awareness, insider and outsider perceptions, ethnography and culture-general & culture-specific descriptions and training orientations;
· key discussions regarding the post-TEFL paradigms possibilities for the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
The implications of these cultural/intercultural considerations, focus areas, and underpinning concerns are explored for (English) language educators / teacher educators with view to enabling interculturally-oriented description, analysis and evaluation of TESOL syllabi, methods, materials and contexts.

EDUC70331: Education Leadership [on-campus study only] Optional unit. Semester 1
Tutors: Dave Hall,  Helen Gunter

This unit aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of education leadership and to reflect upon its interpretation and application in different contexts. It will introduce the following content areas:

  • Major schools of thought on education leadership (with variations e.g. school
  • Relating leadership to educational matters in different social and cultural contexts
  • Diversity and intersectionality (gender, class, race, sexuality)
  • Preparation, training and developing leadership identities
  • Researching leaders, leading and leadership: methodologies and methods
  • Conceptions of teachers, children and young people and educational leadership
  • Education policy and globalisation.It is assessed through a written essay assignment. This would be a useful unit for
    any students occupying, or seeking promotion to, a leadership role in education (involving technology, or otherwise); but please note that it is currently only open to study on-campus.

    EDUC70510: Multimedia Design and Development. Optional Unit – Semester 1
    Tutor: Susan Brown.This course unit aims to:

    • develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the role of multimedia in teaching and learning;
    • provide opportunities to analyse and critically reflect on relevant research and theory in relevant subject areas and make use of it to inform the evaluation and development of web-based multimedia materials;
    • provide the opportunity for the development of relevant skills in the development of digital learning materials;
    • understand various aspects of web-based materials including usability,
      accessibility, appropriate context and pedagogy.

    You will also be taught how to create web-based multimedia materials in a content management system (WordPress). The assignment will ask you to provide a rationale for the creation of set of materials and you will be expected to create at least some of the materials that you describe.

    EDUC61632: Introduction to Educational Video Production
    Tutor: Michael O’Donoghue

    •  the role of video-based material in teaching
    • practical experience with cameras, microphones, and editing
    • storyboarding and shot selection
    • interviewing techniques
    • ethics and issues of representation and bias.

    Students submit an educational video, which forms their assessment, along with a commentary on the production process. Please note that this course unit requires you to have at least some access to a video recording device, though this can include those installed on many mobile telephones these days.

    EDUC70050 Teaching and Learning Online (Optional Unit – semester 2)
    Tutors: Drew Whitworth (2016/17 only)

    Study online for all students; no face-to-face sessions for on campus students; synchronous meetings every 2 weeks in different environments including video conferencing, Second Life.
    The experiential aspect of this course unit provides an opportunity for students to explore and reflect on a range of topics intrinsically related to technology use in virtual learning contexts:

    • technology and changing educational horizons
    • distance and distributed learning
    • computer-mediated communications and online learning
    • Web2 and its implications for collaborative learning
    • building online learning community
    • developing learner autonomy
    • technology and teacher training and development

    Assessment involves identifying a topic that emerges as relevant through the course of study, and exploring this from a more personal perspective through the analysis of data accumulated throughout the course (eg logs of synchronous meetings, discussion forum contributions, learning diary), and a review of research that can enlighten interpretation and learning

    EDUC71212 Educating for Sustainability [on-campus study only for 2016/17] Semester 2
    Tutor: Susan Brown.
    The unit consists of an exploration of key themes, concepts and learning approaches, related to educating for sustainability, authentic case studies from people working in the field and student-centred projects. Specifically the unit covers:

    -An exploration of understandings of the term ‘sustainability’ in various learning contexts including professional training contexts
    -An exploration of key ideas, terms and pedagogical approaches associated with educating for sustainability;
    -Evaluation of existing learning initiatives, activity/course/curriculum development and policy development relating to educating for sustainability;
    -Development of exemplar materials/courseware for different learning contexts
    Assessment involves a proposal for the integration of education for sustainability in a chosen context including exemplar activities/materials and critical reflections on the development of the proposal in relation to key themes explored on the unit. Sustainability education is a relatively new focus in the educational field. All students will be viewed as important contributors and collaborators in building understandings of how to appropriately educate for sustainability. In that spirit, students will be encouraged to contribute their thinking (e.g. their assignment proposals) to relevant (online) communities.

EDUC70232 Intercultural Engagement and Work and in Communities
Tutor: Kate Sapin. Optional unit. Semester 2

This unit is focused on social responsibility and offers you the chance to apply the knowledge you have developed in the MA: DTCE to the benefit of a community or local organization. The unit involves a project that is integral to your learning about social responsibility in a real-world setting. For example, a MA: DTCE student may look to create a web site, video or other digital resource on behalf of the community.
Students will carry out supervised practice within an organisation during which time they will undertake a short-term project as well as an analysis of intercultural dialogue either within the organisation or between the organisation and its constituent communities. Students will be able to apply for a work-based learning opportunity from a list of approved local community organisations or can suggest their own location for the work. Within the organisational setting, induction and regular supervision will be provided by a manager to facilitate the student’s introduction to the organisation and its communities and identify a suitable area of work. Two scheduled group tutorials will provide networking opportunities and further ideas for project development

EDUC71000 Dissertation (Core Unit in the final year of study)
Tutor: varies based on the dissertation topic and available academic staff

Initial guidance on the selection of a dissertation topic and a supervisor will be given by the Programme Director. With appropriate negotiation, the Programme Director will allocate students to supervisors. The core Researching DTCE unit is designed to lead you towards developing a dissertation topic, a task you will start on from the very first weeks of study (if you are a full-time student).

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EDUC66011/66012 and EDUC66031/66032 Independent Supervised Study & Client-Based Projects

Either 15 or 30 credits of taught optional course units can be substituted by a period of Independent Supervised Study (ISS) or a Client-Based Project (CBP). These are briefly discussed here. More detail, for CBPs particularly, is at http:// and anyone considering doing such a project should read those pages carefully.
ISS/CBPs are available in either semester and can also be studied during the summer break (this is now the only credit-bearing option available in the summer).

However, they are not recommended for any student in their first semester of study.
They can be taken by both on-campus and distance learners. We recognise that our portfolio of course units will not necessarily meet everyone’s requirements. There are two ways in which you can engage in a project which might more directly meet certain employment needs or other interests not otherwise catered for on the DTCE programmes.

Independent Supervised Study enables you, in consultation with a supervisor, to design a “mini-course” with its own learning objectives and assessment – usually an essay, but not always. Usually this is done when you have a specialist interest which we cannot otherwise cater for. For instance, a student recently designed an ISS that allowed her to look into the work which had been done on using digital technologies
to help adults who lacked basic literacy skills. No such unit was available anywhere in the school, but this gave her the opportunity to design her own. (60 credit ISSs are not available, but this is simply because your final dissertation serves the same purpose.)

Client-Based Projects involve students working as teaching or development assistants with “clients” who may be staff members of the MA: DTCE, other teaching staff in the School of Education, their own employing organisation, a school or college in their locality or any other organisation which agrees to participate. They will work with the client to assess a problem or other context in which some kind of intervention is required, whether this be a new technological tool, a new way of working, a new approach to communication, etc. The intervention will then be designed, tested or piloted, implemented and evaluated. CBPs are also available in 60-credit form, as the Mode B dissertation.


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Credit loads and assessment

Three possibilities are available to students wishing to partake of this opportunity.

60 credit option. Here, the work is done in the form of a Mode B Dissertation. The length of the final report is 10,000 – 15,000 words. The following should be included and each is assessed:

  • assessment of context and requirements capture
  • justification of design decisions taken (with reference to academic literature where appropriate)
  • the testing/piloting and evaluation
  • the design itself (as with any mode B dissertation, the quality of the actual intervention is judged and this forms part of the grade for the work; note that this is why Mode B dissertations are otherwise shorter than Mode A (a traditional research-based dissertation))
  • self-reflection on the process.

30 credit option. This uses 30 credits of independent supervised study. Length: 6,000 – 7,000 words. The following will be assessed:

  • assessment of context and requirements capture
  • justification of design decisions taken (with reference to literature)
  • testing/piloting and evaluation
  • self-reflection on the process.

15 credit option. This uses 15 credits of ISS. Length: 3,000 – 3,500 words. The following will be assessed:

  • assessment of context and requirements capture
  • justification of design decisions taken (with reference to literature)
  • self-reflection on the process.

It is expected that the credits awarded will also reflect the size of the design task itself. 15-credit projects, particularly, will only be expected to be small, possibly “one-off” pieces of work, of a size no larger than would be expected in any other 15-credit practical course unit (e.g. a very small web site, a single Flash movie, a single teaching and learning activity, etc.). Students should determine which credit award is appropriate, in discussions with the Programme Director and/or their potential supervisor (see below).

15- or 30-credit CBPs will be considered options: they cannot replace core course units. A 60-credit CBP, on the other hand, will suffice as the dissertation for the MA: DTCE.

PG Certificate students can only study for a 15-credit CBP. PG Diploma students can study for a 15- or 30-credit CBP. CBPs will normally be undertaken by individual students but in some circumstances, joint projects will be considered. However, final reports will remain individual pieces of work.

The timescale for CBPs will vary, but students must bear in mind that the actual enrolment will take place in accordance with university timetables. In other words, submission of the final report must take place either: in mid-January (for 15 or 30 credit CBPs on which the student is enrolled in semester 1); in late May (15/30 credits in semester 2); or in accordance with dissertation deadlines of 30th April/1st September (for 60 credit CBPs). Nevertheless, around these dates, there is considerable flexibility, including the possibility that work could be undertaken during the summer months.
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What should the intervention be?

The intervention does not have to be ICT- or teaching-based, though both are likely to feature heavily bearing in mind the innate biases of the degree. However, in addition (or alongside) such pedagogical/technological interventions, work could be done to solve problems which are administrative; procedural; communicative; managerial and so on. The work might involve the creation of a tangible digital object such as a web site, Flash movie or other similar application, or the use of a CMS, blog, interactive whiteboard etc.: but it might also involve more general work (for example, a new approach to the teaching of media literacy); a staff development initiative; rethinking the information management or communications practices within a training organisation; and so forth. Indeed, virtually anything is possible as long as it can be argued to fit within the degree goals as noted above.

If the intervention is something which cannot be easily submitted for assessment – e.g. it is a class-based intervention of some kind – the student needs to arrange with the supervisor some way for the latter to view the intervention. This might involve making a video of a class, or arranging for an observation to take place. Note that this is not necessarily an issue for 30- or 15-credit CBPs, though even here, it is likely the final report will need to refer to the intervention itself in order to make its academic points.

While they may, of course, assess the quality of the intervention (and the design process) according to their own needs, the client will not be involved in the award of credits. No information will be solicited from the client regarding students’ performance on the design task beyond what is necessary for the maintenance of good relations. However, in that there may be occasions on which the client needs or wishes to contact us directly, the supervisor will act as the first point of contact between the MA: DTCE and the client.
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How can students develop a CBP?

There are two main ways. First, the student may have a project in mind prior to making the request, either because it is relevant to their (or their employers’) current work practice, or through personal connections. Second, MA: DTCE staff will develop over time a menu of projects with which we are in need of help or, possibly, of “commissions” which have been passed to us. This list will be publicly available (via the web site, and it is up to students who are interested in one (or more) of the projects to take the initiative and contact us about them. It is not the supervisor’s (or other staff members’) job to find projects for students, beyond providing this list. Students should not apply for a placement “on spec”.

An application form will be made available and should be completed by the student for submission to the Programme Director. Application will also involve a supporting statement being secured from the potential client. Note that applications may be refused if the PD is unsatisfied that:

  • the aims and objectives of the project have been clearly specified.
  • permission has been granted by the client and the client will properly support the student.
  • the size of the project is appropriate to the number of credits being awarded, and the suggested deadline is feasible. (Changes may be suggested to both.)

We foresee a fluid approach to the development of CBPs. Some projects might develop over many months, both in terms of discussions with clients/supervisors and and the actual work itself. This may therefore extend beyond the bounds of the actual semester in which the student is registered on the CBP and submits the assessment. (A 30-credit placement should be enrolled on in a single block of credits, rather than two separate 15-credit ones.) On the other hand, some may move from initial idea to completion quite rapidly, say within a few weeks. Therefore, in order to retain as much flexibility as possible, no fixed deadlines are imposed on applications for CBPs. Interested students can and should start enquiries with both potential clients and supervisors at any time. At that point, the scale of the project can be judged and suggestions made as to how many credits will be appropriate, what submission deadline should be targeted, and how all these factors will influence the students’ overall MA: DTCE timetable.

However, that it is not recommended that students undertake a CBP in their first semester of study. This means that full-time on-campus students will only be able to undertake CBPs in the period January – September each year.
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All CBPs will be supervised, though the exact level and nature of this supervision process is open to negotiation between the student, the supervisor, and the client.

Normally, the students’ Personal Tutor would supervise the work but as with any other dissertation (or similar) project, if the PD believes that a different supervisor would be more appropriate to the project, then providing all parties agree, a switch will be made.

CBPs where a member of MA: DTCE staff is acting as the client will involve a third party as supervisor: one person cannot be both client and supervisor. Once the report is produced, it will be treated as any other assessed work submitted for a Mode B dissertation or ISS, that is, the supervisor will act as the first marker; second and external marking will be used where necessary; and all procedures with respect to extensions, late submission, academic malpractice and so on remain in place.

The application form can be downloaded from the MA DTCE common room on Blackboard.
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    November 30, 2011 at 8:01 am

    All perfect work keep it up.

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