Prospective Students

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An Introduction to the course

Why this degree? | Why Manchester?
What you will study | Distance or face-to-face?

Welcome to the MA in Digital Technologies, Communications and Education

An iPhone
An iPhone – one of many technologies you could employ on the MA: DTCE

(MA: DTCE). The course has the overall aim of using digital technologies, the broadcast media, and/or interpersonal, group or organisational communications techniques to enhance practice, research and the professional and academic development of educators in technology- and information-rich environments.


The MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education (hereafter, MA: DTCE) can be studied either by distance learning or on campus in Manchester.

In any given year the MA: DTCE attracts a very wide range of students, whether on campus or online.


The course is suitable for:

  • educators and/or educational managers using, or desiring to use, digital technologies and communication in any aspect of their teaching;
  • computing specialists (programmers, designers and other practitioners) with an interest in becoming involved with the development of educational materials or software;
  • ex-teachers who are returning to the profession and who wish to update their skills, knowledge and understanding of digital technologies and communication in education;
  • anyone else with an interest in the use of digital technologies, communication and education.

This page is supplementary to the enrolment web page, which contains more practical information.

It addresses the question: why enrol on this degree?

Why study this degree?

The course, through a mixture of core and optional core course units, together with the opportunity of supervised individual study, aims to:
• introduce students to the potential of digital technologies and communication in the teaching and learning process;
• help students develop relevant and up to date skills in educational technology;
• develop in students the ability to determine when the use of digital technologies and communication in education is and is not appropriate;
• give students the intellectual resources to critically evaluate the uses of digital technologies and communication in education;
• give students the opportunity to critically study the management of digital technologies and communication in education, and the impact of these on the management of education in general;
• encourage in students the ability to write their own e-learning, video and/or multimedia learning material;
• build in students the confidence to experiment with innovative uses of digital technologies and communication in education;
• make students aware of research into all aspects of teaching and learning with digital technologies and communication;
• equip students with the skills needed to undertake research in this area;
• enable students to carry out well designed research in this area.

Students successfully completing any of the Manchester Institute of Education’s courses will:
• have extended their systematic theoretical knowledge of a particular field of
• have extended their ability to analyse and evaluate critically theoretical and practical work in their chosen field;
• have developed their ability to reflect on their own practice and on the relationship between theory and practice in their chosen field; have comprehensive understanding of research approaches appropriate to their chosen field and acquired an ability to critically examine published research;
• have acquired the skills to design , implement and research an extended study on a topic of their choice;
• have developed skills in critiquing educational research;
• have extended their ability to write appropriately in a range of academic and professional genres;
• have developed the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment and/or further study.


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Why Manchester?

Manchester is one of the Europe’s premier universities. Its merger with UMIST in 2004 made it the largest campus university in the UK. In 2007 Manchester’s careers service was voted the best in the UK for the fifth year running by the Association of Graduate Recruiters. It has an excellent record at helping alumni further their careers (see the profiles page).

Its tradition in both education and computing is a long one. Indeed, in the 1940s, the campus hosted the first ever working computer in the modern sense. We now host the Manchester Computing Centre, home to several supercomputers and the High Performance Computing laboratory.

Manchester also co-hosted (with the University of Southampton) the ESRC-funded Elearning Research Centre. The School of Education itself has a strong research interest in the use of digital technologies in education and also a portfolio of teaching in this area: as well as the MA DTCE we offer the MA TESOL.

City of Manchester Stadium.

Manchester itself is a dynamic, modern city with a vibrant culture. The cost of living is less than in London. It is conveniently located, with a major international airport, and two hours by train from the UK’s capital. In Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, it has one of the world’s most famous sports stadiums: nor must we forget the City of Manchester stadium (see picture), home of Manchester City and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry is one of the country’s finest. Its club and music scene are world-famous. Manchester lies on the edge of the Pennine Hills, and a short journey south of the Lake District, England’s finest countryside.

Follow the link to read more about what the university can offer you as a student.

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What you will study

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).

Individual course units are either 15 or 30 credits. Core units that you must take, are made up of 75 taught credits (90 for the TESOL pathway) plus 60 for the dissertation. This leaves 45 credits (30 for the TESOL pathway) to be taken as optional units.  More detailed information, particularly regarding the requirements for the different levels and modes of study, can be sent to you on request: use the contact details on the main enrolment page, or look at the information in the “current students” section of this site (the page on course units and teaching).


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Distance or face-to-face?

We recognise that in the 21st century, students increasingly seek education for professional development, but that they are not always in a position to take a year’s leave of absence from their jobs (and possibly families) in order to come to the UK and study. As a result, we offer each of the DTCE course units in an online form as well as face-to-face. We consider there to be no difference whatsoever between the face-to-face and online versions of the degree. Distance and on-campus students interact in many different ways on the degree; assessments are shared; and online materials equivalent to face-to-face classes are always available. On occasion, on campus students take classes as online students, and then reflect on the experience: we believe that only in this way can students come to fully understand the impact of digital technologies and online communication on education.

We recognise the contradictory aspects of educational technology; that on the one hand, students and teachers alike

VR headset
Virtual Reality is pushing the boundaries of how we interact with technology.

have an interest in pushing boundaries and exploiting emerging technologies in their teaching. On the other, there is a need to address “digital divides”, and not exclude people from education simply because they cannot afford the latest technology, or their local infrastructure is struggling to keep up. We have therefore designed our learning environments to meet this double-headed challenge.

Indeed, because you will be both using and learning about digital technologies in education, we use the course environment as an arena for your own experimentation. As Marshall McLuhan once famously said, “The medium is the message”. Students on the MA DTCE, whether working in Manchester or in their own homes and workplaces, actively reflect on the technologies they use and can immediately apply them in their own teaching.

Regardless of whether you choose to study online or face-to-face, for a 60-credit Certificate or the full MA, we hope that you are interested in applying for the Digital Technologies, Communication and Education course. If so, you can do so through the enrolment web page.

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