University of Chester

Programme Specification
Radio Production MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Radio Production

Radio Production

University of Chester

University of Chester

Warrington Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year FT, 2-3 years PT

6 Years

Biannual - January - September

P312

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies

N/A

Media

Thursday 2nd October 2014

Radio as the first electronic mass medium has proved to be remarkably resilient and adaptable through eras of social, economic, cultural and technological change. In the UK, the share of adult listening (15 year and older) has remained consistently at more than 90% for decades. Radio has been riding the crest of the wave of technological change, starting a digital broadcast system well before television; integrating readily with social media and smart, portable connected devices; timeshifting via podcasts and 'listen again' services; and being at the forefront of developments such as MediaCityUK. Via podcasts and social media, Radio has become an interactive medium incorporating aspects of Web 2.0, user-created-content and citizen journalism. Radio is embedded in other media and extends its brands into other digital forms - and yet it remains discrete as millions of listeners to radio stations and radio programmes prove. Among this, some media commentators and even broadcast industry figures declare radio to be dead - a mournful chorus that has surfaced from the background repeatedly for more than half a century, despite the apparent evidence to the contrary. The Master's student must engage with exploration of this paradox and develop understandings that reconcile notions of radio from a so-called golden age with 21st century outputs and consumption. Their radio production skills and insights must equip them to thrive professionally in a medium in which some things stay the same while many things change. They must learn to address key questions: is contemporary radio an evolved medium or is it something substantially different from its original form? Is there an essential core to radio that is the root of its resilience or has it evolved into something different that justifies the declarations of a dead medium? By an immersive practical learning experience and insightful analysis, this programme aims:

  • To produce postgraduates who possess the necessary practical, theoretical and subject-specific knowledge and capabilities, as well as professional qualities and transferable skills, for working in a range of employment, primarily with a focus on Radio, its contexts, environments and practices.
  • To develop the conceptual awareness of Master's students and encourage critical analysis and evaluation.
  • To provide a structured and supported framework and environment for students' learning.
  • To provide a Master's degree programme which acknowledges and endeavours to meet the radio industry's skills needs.
  • To prepare students for progression to higher degrees or further research, including PhD.
  • To provide a Master's degree, which fulfils the criteria suggested in the QAA subject standards and benchmarks.

By the end of this programme the student/learner will…

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of considerable aspects of the radio industry, informed by academic and professional discipline-specific research and theory and insights gained through practice. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256)
  • Evidence a critical awareness of key issues, understandings, perspectives, debates and developments concerning the production of radio content. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256)
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of aspects of law, ethics, compliance and regulation and how these impact the radio producer. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256)


 


 

By the end of this programme the student/learner will…

  • Interpret, critically analyse and evaluate current ideas and debates related to radio and the production of programme content. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Devise, sustain and validate arguments employing a wide range of perspectives, techniques, ideas and concepts. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Develop and present work in a coherent, sophisticated and discipline-appropriate format. (ME7251, ME7252, ME7256, ME7257)

 

By the end of this programme the student/learner will…

  • Utilise and apply a wide range of specialist professional, practical, technical and creative radio production skills and techniques in diverse contexts and situations. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Evidence an ability to integrate theoretical learning, knowledge and experiential insights in practical contexts. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Exemplify knowledge of contemporary programme making with regards genre, production techniques and styles. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan, develop, support and sustain ongoing career and advanced skills development through the understanding and application of, and critical reflection upon, professional processes. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Make informed and measured professional and career decisions in a variety of contexts. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)

 

By the end of this programme the student/learner will…

  • Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity showing a sophisticated understanding of inter-personal needs and sensitivities in radio production contexts and circumstances. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257)
  • Demonstrate excellent team work skills and understanding of inter-personal dynamics. (ME7254, ME7255, ME7256)
  • Evidence the ability to solve complex problems both independently and as part of a team. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7254, ME7255, ME7256, ME7257) 

 

The programme offered is a Master's degree studied over one year full-time or two/three years on a part-time basis.  Each module is worth 20 credits with 200 hours of notional student learning, except for the 60-credit Radio Project, where the hours of student learning activity are notionally 600 hours.  The proposed programme takes into account the FHEQ level 7 descriptor relating to Master's awards, and the structure has at its core the establishment and development of knowledge and discipline-based skills, and a conceptual understanding of radio with an emphasis on production.  The dual intake proposed for the programme has meant the framework and delivery of the modules has been carefully considered and dovetailed.  For instance, a full-time student starting the programme in September, will take the following modules in the first few months: 

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues (20 credits)

ME7251 New Media Practices (20 credits)

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip formats and Magazine Programmes (20 credits)

These modules will enable students to gain “a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship”, which FHEQ states is a requirement of a Master's degreeFurthermore, the mix of theoretical and practical teaching and learning will enable students to demonstrate ‘conceptual understanding’ and reflection and contextualisation of their own practice.  Full-time September intake students will then study the following modules:

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods (20 credits)

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside broadcasts and ‘remotes’ (20 credits)

ME7256 Radio Industry Practices (20 credits)

These modules will develop students’ skills and discipline-based knowledge further as well as prepare them to undertake a substantial piece of research and practice with:

ME7257 Radio Project (60 credits)

This major project is in line with FHEQ guidance that a Master's degree “typically include [s] planned intellectual progression that often includes a synoptic/ research or scholarly activity.”  This final project allows students to pursue a topic (dissertation) or produce an artefact (practical project).  The FHEQ’s guidelines also suggest a Master's should be awarded to those students who can show how “to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and 
to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses”, which the project is aimed to assess

The skills, knowledge and independent learning required for this substantive piece of work chimes with the FHEQ guidelines for graduates of Master's degrees to be able to exhibit “initiative and personal responsibility” as well as “demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.” The students are prepared to undertake this tutor-negotiated independent project through ME7252 Research Skills and Methods, where they engage with critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, as well as “a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline”.  Additionally, all the 20 credit modules require students to show initiative and independent learning.  For example, in ME7256 Radio Industry Practices, students must initiate and subsequently evidence direct engagement with industry representatives through a portfolio of work.  Comparatively, students must originate an idea or focus for an analytical report and conduct indepth independent research related to new media for ME7251 New Media Practices.

Whilst full-time students entering the programme in January would take modules in reverse order (bar the Project), they will be in no way disadvantaged as the delivery of the programme is structured to ensure 20 credit modules can be taken without pre- or co-requisites.  For instance, full-time January intake students would gain essential practical skills within the ME7255 Radio Live: Outside broadcasts and ‘remotes’ module and take those on for development in ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip formats and Magazine Programmes from September; while the same essential practical skills will be acquired by September intake students in ME7254 and developed in the context of ME7255. The content, structure and learning phasing of these two modules has been designed to allow this. This approach means that studying the course on a part-time basis is also feasible.

 A full-time student, starting in September would take the following journey: 

September

January

June

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

ME7257 Radio Project

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside broadcasts and ‘remotes’

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

 

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7256 Radio Industry Practices

 

 

A January intake full-time student would take the following journey: 

January

September

June

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

ME7257 Radio Project

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside broadcasts and ‘remotes’

 

ME7256 Radio Industry Practices

ME7251 New Media Practices

 

 

The following is an indicative academic journey for a September-intake, part-time student:

Year one

September

January

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside broadcasts and ‘remotes’

 

 

Year two

September

January

June

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

ME7257 Radio Project

 

ME7256 Radio Industry Practices

 

  

Students could exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate, after obtaining 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma after obtaining 120 credits.  Students wishing to exit with the Master's would need to obtain 180 credits.   

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ME7249 7 Contemporary Media Issues 20 Comp
ME7251 7 New Media Practices 20 Comp
ME7252 7 Research Skills and Methods 20 Comp
ME7254 7 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes 20 Comp
ME7255 7 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and 'Remotes' 20 Comp
ME7256 7 Radio Industry Practices 20 Comp
ME7257 7 Radio Project 60 Comp


All modules are compulsory
60 credits for the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Media
120 credits for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Radio Production
180 credits for the award of MA Radio Production

N/A

N/A

A first degree; there is no requirement for prospective students to hold a first degree specifically in Radio Production, or another Media subject, as the level and progression of theoretical and practical teaching and learning accounts for students who hold degrees from different disciplines.

Applications from non-traditional or mature students, with relevant professional experience, are welcomed.

Applicants may be invited to attend an interview and/or submit a portfolio of work.

For those international/overseas students whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.

The programme accords with the subject benchmark statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies and Master's Degree Characteristics document (www.qaa.ac.uk).

Developing a systematic and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the radio industry will clearly be at the heart of the programme; there will be a focus on key areas such as legal, ethical and creative constraints and considerations, issues and developments related to new media technologies as well as more traditional media form and honing of radio production-related skills. Incorporating the study and practice of new media reflects a focus on ‘fusion skills’ and convergence, which relates directly to an M-level characteristic as defined by QAA: “an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the discipline informed by current scholarship and research, including a critical awareness of current issues and developments in the subject.”  Students will take the Radio Industry Practices module to develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the radio sector of the media industry. Emphasis will be placed on regulation, policy and practice. Students will develop an awareness of the current media job markets with specific focus on freelancing and entrepreneurship and there will be opportunities for employer engagement and client liaison.
 
The subject benchmark states (1.5) that “Degree programmes in communication, media, film and cultural studies are characterised by a diversity of emphases, drawing in different ways on the disciplinary and professional sources outlined above, and offering a range of approaches to theoretical, critical, practical and creative work within these fields.”  Both the content of the programme, for instance the study of new media technologies and practice, and the diversity of delivery and assessments chimes with QAA’s guidance on the characteristics of a Media degree.
 
A defining principal of such a degree is stated (subject benchmark statements for Communication, media, film and cultural studies, 2.3) as a programme, which has “the aim of producing graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach both to understanding media, culture and communications in contemporary society, and to their own forms of media, communicative and expressive practice”.  The Radio Project is the culmination of the development of these practical and conceptual skills but all the modules aim to address this principal.  For instance, New Media Practices, Research Skills and Methods and Contemporary Media Issues all require substantial systematic and evaluative research skills and ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes requires students to critique their own practice.
 
In the MA-level Characteristics guidance, QAA states that graduates of Master's degrees generally have
 
“A range of generic abilities and skills that include the ability to:
·      use initiative and take responsibility
·      solve problems in creative and innovative ways
·      make decisions in challenging situations” and “communicate effectively, with colleagues and a wider audience, in a variety of media”

 
Whether in conceptual or practical contexts, this programme aims to produce graduates who can demonstrate a critical awareness of their discipline and their own practice.

Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods, which are related to, and relevant for, the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills. The curriculum and learning experiences offered to students will be designed to reflect the specific aims, emphases and learning outcomes of the programme. Students will be made aware of these at the outset from the programme and individual module handbooks available through the VLE. Further, students of this programme will reap the enormous benefits of exploring a range of materials and sources, from both academic and non-academic contexts cognate with the field of study.

As graduates, students of the MA programme will already be expected to have a level of aptitude for independent learning and autonomous decision-making. However, in applying these skills to a technically, intellectually demanding area such as programme making, students will be guided through initial stages of idea generation and production skills, allowing them to gain confidence as they progress through the programme.  Students will increasingly be expected to demonstrate the individual ability to originate, research, assimilate, develop and critically review and reflect on ideas across a range of practically and academically focused modules, in accordance with level-related assessment criteria. The concurrent and subsequent reflection on their own and current industry practices should enhance the student’s portfolio of knowledge and experience and enable them to think critically and engage openly with their chosen field.  This increasing emphasis on student self-direction and personal responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed. Students will have opportunities to reflect upon their own background/nationality etc., and contextualise their work with this perspective.

Learning opportunities will be via a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials given by lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practising media professionals from across the media industries.  Lectures and seminars will be the typical method of learning and teaching, with seminars allowing for whole and smaller group activities to take place.  Individual and group presentations, screenings, discussion of own and others' work can all take place successfully in this environment. Workshops will be offered in which students will learn, practice and develop technical and creative skills and competencies. The workshop is one of the most instrumental and important methods of sharing creative and technical practice, offering a supportive environment for the discussion and dissemination of tutor-guided student-centred practice and constructive peer criticism. The tutorial will be a forum within which individual and group ideas and projects will be discussed, critically developed and strategies for successful completion evolved.  Tutorials will also be utilised for the discussion and development of individual portfolios of work and written projects. Significantly, students must directly engage and liaise with industry in the Radio Industry Practices module; periods of work-based learning or placement can be utilised within assessment on this module.  There will also be opportunities for students to work collaboratively, not just with students on the MA in Radio Production, but with students from across the Department of Media's PGT courses.  Such collaborative projects must be tutor-approved.

Guest speakers will be involved in the delivery and success of the programme; Industry representatives willing to share their knowledge and experiences with the group will be invited to add breadth and depth to the experience of the cohort and add to the currency and vibrancy of the programme.  Students will engage throughout the course with external bodies to facilitate research and development of both academic and production outcomes; thus developing a network of future contacts and forging working relationships between themselves, the media creative industries and the University.

The University's student radio station provides a genuine broadcasting environment for coursework and enhanced private study activity that stimulates, challenges and rewards participants. The social and interpersonal aspects of this experience is of high learning value. Students will be expected to work independently outside timetabled teaching sessions. They will be provided with structured reading for seminars and expected to work individually and within groups, to successfully complete both academic and practical assignments. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments related specifically to sectors of the radio industry, and they will, naturally, be expected to read critically a wide range of media-related academic texts, newspapers, journals and magazines and engage meaningfully with a variety of media forms.

Students may also gain valuable experience with the Department of Media's commercial enterprise, the Hot Room, working on live briefs for internal and external clients.  Some opportunities may be embedded in the curriculum but some students gain paid employment through the Unijob system, therefore gaining both money and work experience to detail on their CV.  

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence for internal and external use the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme. In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement.

The plagiarism detection software Turnitin continues to be used in the Media Department and now feedback is also generated through this application's grademark facility.  This process allows tutors to give specific feedback on assignments and for students to utilise this for future projects and to recognise the importance placed on accurate referencing and original work. 

The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:

  • Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
  • A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
  • Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
  • Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students’ ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills.
  • As the academic year progresses students will have significant elements of self-direction in their coursework.
  • Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.

The development of the programme and curriculum has been informed by the graduate characteristics detailed in the benchmarking statements for ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’ in addition to the QAA ‘M-level Characteristics’ document. A course that has at its core the synergy between theory and practice, relating critical and reflective thinking in an academic environment to the practice of media production and practice, is likely to reflect many of the characteristics detailed in these documents.

Typically, students graduating from this PGT programme will display many of the characteristics detailed in the ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’:

  • “Engagement with forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through an appropriate command of oral, written and other forms of communication."
  • “Understanding of production processes and professional practices within media, cultural and communicative industries."
  • Critically informed competency in the management and operation of production technologies, procedures and processes."
  • The ability to engage with and to advance creative processes in one or more forms of media or cultural production."
  • The ability to consider views other than their own, and exercise a degree of independent and informed critical judgement in analysis."
  • The ability to work across a variety of group and independent modes of study, and within these to demonstrate flexibility, creativity and the capacity for critical self-reflection."
  • “Knowledge of the central role that communications, media and cultural agencies play at local, national, international and global levels of economic, political and social organisation, along with the ability to explore and articulate the implications of this."

Graduates of this postgraduate programme will therefore be equipped with a mix of effective key and transferable skills and competencies aligned with media specific methodologies and practices. Furthermore the ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate manner and format are skills attractive to the radio and wider media industry and also enable students to undertake further study.  Where the more practically focused modules will benefit from an underpinning theoretical knowledge of past forms and contemporary practices, the more academically focused modules will allow the aggregation of practical and professional skills and practices to be examined in aesthetic, cultural, social, historical and political contexts.

The media industry partnerships and liaisons that the department fosters and encourages will allow for a close and positive working relationship to continue with a range of media practitioners. The University has a continuing relationship with contacts at the BBC, amongst other broadcasters and media companies, which has led to a variety of opportunities for both students and staff and ensures that student education remains closely aligned with industry requirements and skills gaps.

Careers in the creative industries and media in particular are increasingly portfolio in nature and so adaptability and versatility as encountered on this programme, are key. Graduates from this Master's programme will be eligible to consider careers in radio broadcasting (producer, reporter, researcher, editor, presenter) and in a range of allied roles where audio media forms and content are designed, purposed and manipulated. Additionally, the graduate's insights and experiences will be applicable to careers in public relations, media relations and advertising. High level media proficiency continues to be valued in teaching, training and professional development spheres. As practice as research gains increasing acceptance, careers in academia are also now possible.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Not applicable.

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