University of Chester

Programme Specification
Television Production MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Television Production

Television 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

P311

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies

N/A

Media

Thursday 2nd October 2014

The media industry has witnessed significant technological change and development in recent years and there has been considerable impact on the television sector specifically.  The introduction of on-demand/catch up TV services, through platforms like the iplayer, and the proliferation of online channels, such as Netflix and Amazon, has meant the media landscape has changed dramatically with different audiences accessing content in different ways.  In recent years, there have been successful ‘TV’ shows, which have only been available to watch online.  Nevertheless, the viewing figures, in the millions for shows like The Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing, evidence that ‘appointment viewing’ is still important to today’s audiences.  Ofcom’s Adults media use and attitudes report 2013 acknowledges that going online has increased for adults since 2005, but that “Watching television remains the dominant media activity”.

Red Button technology, the use of mobiles and tablets, second screen, and social media have all influenced and effected television production.  Along with technological advancements, content has also developed; new genres of programming have arisen such as ‘scripted reality’ and global formats dominate the schedules.

Television Production Master's students will need to understand and engage with these contemporary issues, challenges and developments.  Through a mix of practical and theoretical teaching and learning, students will engage with the skills, techniques and practices required to work in and beyond this exciting industry.

This programme aims:

  • To produce graduates 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 in a television environment.
  • 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 television 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 will be able to:

 

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of considerable aspects of the television industry, much of which is informed by academic and professional discipline-specific research and theory (ME7249, ME7250, ME7251, ME7252, ME7253).
  • Evidence a critical awareness of key issues, debates and developments impacting on television production (ME7249, ME7250, ME7251, ME7252, ME7253).
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of aspects of law, ethics, compliance and regulation and how these impact on television production projects. (ME7247, ME7248, ME7252)

By the end of this programme the student will be able to:

  • Develop and present work in a coherent, sophisticated and discipline-appropriate format (ME7247, ME7248, ME7253).
  • Interpret, critically analyse and evaluate current ideas and debates related to television production. (ME7249, ME7250, ME7251, ME7252, ME7253)
  • Devise, sustain and validate arguments employing a wide range of techniques, ideas and concepts (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7253).

By the end of this programme the student will be able to:

  • Utilise and apply a wide range of specialist professional, practical, technical and creative television production skills and techniques in diverse contexts and situations. (ME7247, ME7248, ME7250, ME7253 )
  • Evidence an ability to integrate and evidence theoretical learning and knowledge within practical contexts (ME7247, ME7252, ME7253).
  • Exemplify knowledge of contemporary programme making with regards genre, production techniques and styles (ME7248, ME7251, ME7253).
  • 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 process. (ME7247, ME7250)
  • Make informed and measured decisions in a variety of contexts (ME7247, ME7248, ME7253).

By the end of this programme the student will be able to:

  • Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity and sophistication(ME7248, ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7253).
  • Demonstrate excellent team work skills. (ME7247)
  • Evidence the ability to solve complex problems both independently and as part of a team (ME7247, ME7248, ME7250, ME7253).
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility. (ME7247, ME7250, ME7253)

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 Television 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 television production.  How and where 'Television' fits into contemporary society, the synergies with and impacts of other media, including social, online and multiplatform will be explored. 

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: 

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television (20 credits)

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues (20 credits)

ME7251 New Media Practices (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 (ME7249 and ME7251) and practical teaching and learning (ME7247 and ME7251) 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:

ME7248 TV Formats and Features (20 credits)

ME7250 Television Industry Practices (20 credits)

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods (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:

ME7253 Television 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) such as a programme or film.  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 assessThe student's critical awareness of their own engagement with professional practice and current discipline-specific theory and debate will be explored throughout the programme.     

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, independent learning and an ability to respond to assessment briefs.  For example, in ME7250 Television 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 in-depth 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 practical skills within the ME7248 TV Formats and Features, as TV studio production is a focus of the module.  The students would then hone their skills in ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television from September.  This approach means that studying the course on a part-time basis is also feasible.

A full-time student joining in September would follow this journey: 

September

January

June

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

MA7253 Television Project

ME7249 Contemporary Media  Issues

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

 

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7250 Television Industry Practices

 

A full-time student joining in January would follow this journey:

January

September

June

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

MA7253 Television Project

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 

ME7250 Television Industry Practices

ME7251 New Media Practices

 

 

An indicative journey for a part-time student, joining the programme in September, could be:

Year one

September

January

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 

Year two

September

January

June

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

MA7253 Television Project

 

ME7250 Television Industry Practices

 

 

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

 

 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ME7247 7 Multi-skilling for Television 20 Comp
ME7248 7 TV Formats and Features 20 Comp
ME7249 7 Contemporary Media Issues 20 Comp
ME7250 7 Television Industry Practices 20 Comp
ME7251 7 New Media Practices 20 Comp
ME7252 7 Research Skills and Methods 20 Comp
ME7253 7 Television Project 60 Comp

All modules are compulsory
60 credits for the award of Post Graduate Certificate in Media
120 credits for the award of Post Graduate Diploma in Television Production
180 credits for the award of MA Television Production

N/A

N/A

A first degree; there is no requirement for prospective students to hold a first degree specifically in TV Production, or another Media subject, as the level 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 media 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 forms and honing of TV 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 Industry Practices module to develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the media industry, with a specific focus on their discipline area. 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 Television 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 Multi-skilling for Television requires students to critique their own practice.

In the M-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 Television Production 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. 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.

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. Significantly, students must directly engage and liaise with industry in the Television Industry Practices module; periods of work-based learning or placement can be utilised within assessment on this module. 

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.  There will also be opportunities for students to work collaboratively, not just with students on the MA in Television Production, but with students from across the Department of Media's PGT courses.  Such collaborative projects must be tutor-approved.

Learning opportunities will be via a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials given by lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing 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.

Guest speakers will be involved in the delivery and success of the programme; practising professional programme makers 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.

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 television 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.

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning and to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme.

Many of the modules on the MA Television Production utilise industry-focused 'briefs' for assessments, which could be to produce a documentary or an 'as-live' entertainment show for a particular channel.  At times, students are given 'live' briefs, in consultation with industry figures.  These kind of assessments require students to consider many key aspects of broadcast production such as audience, compliance and cost. Students can benefit enormously from these assignments as they replicate industry practice. 

The plagiarism detection software Turnitin is used in the Media Department and 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 will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of, as well as the ability to synthesize, advanced knowledge, skills and understanding. 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.

 

Graduates of this programme may pursue careers in production, starting as a runner, production assistant, junior researcher or camera assistant with major broadcasters or independent companies whilst other students may wish to move into corporate content production.  The emphasis on multi-skilling on the programme means students could move in and out of a variety of cognate areas, throughout their career, from programme-making to web production or even radio (visual online broadcasts).

The ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate manner and format are key skills for all postgraduate students but will be highly relevant for those who may decide to pursue a career in teaching, for instance, or remain in academia and study for a higher degree such as a PhD.  Ultimately, graduates of this postgraduate programme will be equipped with a mix of effective key and transferable skills and competencies aligned with media specific methodologies and practices, most specifically related to the television industry.  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 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."

 

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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