Study on the MA: DTCE by distance learning

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.)

Alessandra working

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.

MA: DTCE student, Ioannis, explores the Mubil 'virtual laboratory' with the Oculus kit
MA: DTCE student, Ioannis, explores the Mubil ‘virtual laboratory’ with the Oculus kit

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.

MA: DTCE lecturer wins ‘Most Innovative’ award from students

Drew Whitworth

MA: DTCE lecturer and Programme Director, Drew Whitworth, has won an award from the University of Manchester Students’ Union, as the ‘Most Innovative’ lecturer in the university: see http://manchesterstudentsunion.com/unionawards.

The award follows last year’s Blackboard Catalyst award for ‘Communications Strategies’ — with the course being the only one in Europe to win such an award. Both awards show that the MA: DTCE team as a whole is committed to cutting-edge teaching on educational technologies. We are still taking applications for the 2013-14 academic year, and hope that you will be able to join us in Manchester and be part of this exciting and innovative programme!

MA: DTCE wins 2012 Blackboard Catalyst award

Drew Whitworth, MA: DTCE Programme Director, receiving the award from Blackboard's President (Academic Platforms), Ray Henderson
Drew Whitworth, MA: DTCE Programme Director, receiving the award from Blackboard’s President (Academic Platforms), Ray Henderson

The MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education was this month awarded a prestigious international award for teaching, the Blackboard Catalyst award. These awards “honor those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences” (from the Blackboard Catalyst awards page).

The award was given under the ‘Communications Strategy’ category: “Award recipients will have demonstrated results that have driven student success through improved grades/ scores, increased attendance or retention, or stronger stakeholder engagement.” In the citation, the MA: DTCE was praised for “making efforts to bring distance learners fully into the learning community at Manchester”.

The award specifically recognises the work done in the two core, foundational course units of the MA, The Development of Educational Technology and Communication in Education, on which distance and on-campus learners work together on activities, directly communicating so they understand each others’ different learning environments, and then reflect on the experience.

The award was given at the 2012 Blackboard World conference in New Orleans on 12th July.

MA: DTCE course unit given ‘Honorable Mention’ in international contest

Working groups in the DET course
Working groups in the DET course, each of which contains both online and on-campus students

The MA: DTCE core course unit,The Development of Educational Technology (DET), has received ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Blackboard Catalyst awards, under the category, ‘Communication Strategies’. This is an international contest and course tutor, Dr Drew Whitworth, will be travelling to New Orleans in July 2012 to receive the award at the annual BbWorld conference.

The award was given for the course unit’s innovative approach to bringing together online and on-campus students in the same ‘working groups’ (tutorial groups) – an unusual arrangement, as online and on-campus students are normally taught separately. The judges also commended the unit for its commitment to having students reflect on the nature of the learning environment, including having on-campus students take at least one class in a fully online environment and then write about the experience afterwards.

The MA: DTCE team is very happy to receive this award and we believe it is a recognition of the quality and creativity of the course. All students take DET in their first semester of study, thus it is the first unit taken by distance learning students, and is expressly set up to help these students become accustomed to the reflective and engaging methods used on the degree as a whole. We look forward to posting updates from the trip to New Orleans in July!

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