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Course content

MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education is an award-winning course that uses 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 course is offered in three modes, each starting in September.

  • full-time study in Manchester lasting 12 months
  • part-time study in Manchester, which normally lasts around 27 months
  • part-time study at a distance, by e-learning over two or three years.


  • Further your career by improving your skills and knowledge base in the area of digital technologies and communication, in order that these can be applied in any educational setting.
  • Enhance your interpersonal and group communications skills in order to learn independently and make effective decisions through self-reflection on your own practice.
  • Develop the ability to design your own educational materials using digital technologies and in particular to develop creative and innovative approaches to this work.
  • Build your confidence and ability to identify and critically evaluate the use of digital technologies, whether in formal educational settings or the informal educational processes of society, and with specific reference to your own needs and practice.
  • Develop your ability to systematically understand and critically evaluate research and research methodologies relevant to digital technologies in education, and apply this knowledge in actual research projects.
  • Develop an ability to manage and understand rapid technological change and its effect on educational processes, institutions and policies.

Teaching and learning

Formalised lectures are rare. Instead, classes tend to mix lecturer input with group work, computer and video activities, simulations, problem-based learning and class discussions. We make considerable use of enquiry-based learning (EBL), encouraging students' critical reflection on their own practice and beliefs: formed both by their professional experiences and intuitions, and theory and research. We encourage both individual and co-operative learning and research and hope to foster an ethos of life-long-learning. As most of our participants are themselves experienced teachers, we appreciate the wealth of knowledge and practical experience that they bring to the course and we encourage all participants to use all sources of professional insights including their fellow participants. We provide training in the use of electronic databases, library resources, and computer based statistics packages. Many other key skills will be developed during the course.

Coursework and assessment

The form of the assessment varies from unit to unit, including:

  • practical project work, i.e. creation of a web site or other educational software
  • a written literature review or other essay of approximately 3,500 words
  • criticism of existing software, web sites etc.
  • creation of a teaching portfolio
  • writing reports on schools or other educational settings
  • collaborative group work.

For dissertations, you can choose between a Mode A (traditional type) or a Mode B (portfolio type) dissertation. Mode A dissertations report on a research project of your own design or, possibly, discuss or develop theoretical understanding relevant to the field and/or your professional development. Mode B dissertations are more practical, and involve you designing, testing and implementing a technological solution to an educational problem, for example, a website or piece of interactive multimedia, and then reporting on this process. Mode A dissertations are 15,000 - 20,000 words long - the length of Mode B work can be negotiated, but the overall workload is expected to be equivalent to that of a Mode A.

Course unit details

The MA is a modular course carrying 180 points. It is divided into a taught component of 120 credits (subdivided into eight course units of 15 credits) and a dissertation of 60 credits. The taught component must be successfully completed before the dissertation can be submitted.

The course is semesterised. For on-site participants, this involves Semester 1 (late September - late January), Semester 2 (February-mid-June), and, for full-time participants, a summer semester (mid June - early September) for the dissertation. Part-time participants, whether studying in Manchester or at a distance by e-learning, follow the same teaching semesters as full-time participants but with a lighter study load in each. Their dissertations can then be completed over a longer period and submitted in either April or September.

Each 15-credit course unit is normally taught in one semester either through face-to-face classes or through various types of distance/e-learning. Except where noted, all courses exist in both a face-to-face and distance version. It is possible for students to complete the degree by a mixture of face-to-face and distance methods, if this is desired. Each 15-credit course unit is designed to fill 150 hours of study time. This time includes both set activities/classes, independent study, and work on assessment projects.

TESOL Pathway

Applicants may choose to specialise in a recognised area of Digital Technologies, and currently there is a TESOL pathway available. For further information, please contact  .

The degree that you would be awarded if you took this specialism would be called: MA DTCE (TESOL )

A pathway student must successfully complete a 15 credit core course specialising in language learning and technology; focus on their specialism and relevant research methods in the 30 credit unit Researching DTCE; and complete a 60 credit dissertation with a focus on TESOL and technology.

Additional fee information

We have planned the part-time distance/e-learning course so that completion within three calendar years is possible and we expect that most students will follow this schedule. However, we recognise that distance learning studies have to be accommodated within participants' busy personal and professional lives and sometimes unpredictable circumstances arise. In such cases, interruption of studies for up to a year is possible without any fee implications. In other cases a slower study pace can be arranged involving additional fee calculations please contact the  for details. Thus, there is a financial incentive to complete within three years.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 

Visit the Digital Technologies, Communication and Education (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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