University of Chester

Programme Specification
Broadcast Media MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Broadcast Media

Broadcast Media

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

P310

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies

N/A

Media

Thursday 2nd October 2014

As the Information Age matures into the Digital Age, the pace of technological change continues to be rapid and the impact on our daily lives is significant. The internet, social media, connectivity and bandwidth determine how we engage with others and with the wider world. The broadcast media industries have been radically affected but rather than sounding the death knell of traditional television and radio, these changes are driving the development of these platforms. While audience figures are no longer like those achieved when there were only a relatively few terrestrial television and radio channels, ‘appointment viewing’ and listening still predominate and sit alongside 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”.  The millions of viewers tuning in to see their national side in the World Cup, to watch the final of The X Factor or to listen to BBC Radio 2’s breakfast shows prove that audiences still access scheduled content through traditional media forms and channels. Alongside this, new generations of media consumers are increasingly accessing content via online platforms, through catch up services, or enjoying more convergent experiences through live streaming, second screen and/or social media. 

Students of the MA Broadcast Media programme will need to analyse and debate the changes and developments which have affected the industry and be able to discuss these in relation to their historical, political and cultural contexts.  The programme will equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursuing a career in broadcast media production, navigating and negotiating their way in through a shifting media topography.

 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 broadcast media 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 broadcast media 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.

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of considerable aspects of the broadcast media industry/industries, much of which is informed by academic and professional discipline-specific research and theory. (ME7249, ME7254, ME7261)
  • Evidence a critical awareness of key issues, debates and developments impacting on broadcast media production.(ME7248, ME7249, ME7260)
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of aspects of law, ethics, compliance and regulation and how these impact on broadcast media projects. (ME7247, ME7255)

 


 




 




  • Develop and present work in a coherent, sophisticated and discipline-appropriate format. (ME7247, ME7248, ME7249, ME7255, ME7260, ME7261)
  • Interpret, critically analyse and evaluate current ideas and debates related to broadcast media. (ME7249, ME7252, ME7254, ME7260, ME7261)
  • Devise, sustain and validate arguments employing a wide range of techniques, ideas and concepts. (ME7249, ME7252, ME7261)

  • Utilise and apply a wide range of specialist professional, practical, technical and creative production skills and techniques in diverse contexts and situations. (ME7247, ME7248, ME7254, ME7255, ME7261)
  • Evidence an ability to integrate and evidence theoretical learning and knowledge within practical contexts. (ME7254, ME7261)
  • Exemplify knowledge of contemporary broadcast media productions in relation to genre, production techniques and styles. (ME7247, ME7248, ME7254)
  • 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, ME7254, ME7260)
  • Make informed and measured decisions in a variety of contexts. (ME7248, ME7255)

  • Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity and sophistication. (ME7248, ME7249, ME7252, ME7261)
  • Demonstrate excellent team work skills. (ME7247, ME7254, ME7255)
  • Evidence the ability to solve complex problems both independently and as part of a team. (ME7247, ME7254, ME7255, ME7260)
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility. (ME7252, ME7255, ME7260, ME7261)

 

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 Broadcast Media 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 broadcast media production. Students will be given opportunities to develop skills in the more traditional forms of broadcast media (ie television and radio) but even within specific TV and radio modules, students will examine new media and how developing technology is impacting on broadcast media. This may be the 'visualisation' of radio or the use of mobile technology to target and reach particular audiences.  Ultimately, the synergies and connections between different media platforms and technologies will be explored.  The Broadcast Media Industry Practices module will allow students to engage directly with the broadcast media industry/industries regionally, nationally and even globally.  

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 student starting the programme in September, could take ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television (20 credits) and ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip formats and Magazine Programmes (20 credits) in the first few months, enabling them 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 degree.  Furthermore, the mix of theoretical and practical teaching and learning will enable students to demonstrate ‘conceptual understanding’, reflection and contextualisation of their own practice. 

Throughout the course, the importance of systematic and focused research will be emphasised and students should evidence an understanding of the appropriate methods and approaches, required for and in a variety of contexts. Students who wish to conduct practice-based research and study would choose to take Broadcast Media Industry Practices. For those students intending to pursue a written dissertation for the final project, ME7261 Broadcast Media Project (60 credits), the appropriate option would be ME7252 Research Skills and Methods, which aims to develop students’ research, critical thinking, analysis and evaluation skills and discipline- based knowledge further. The 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.” Students will have the opportunity 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 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.” Additionally, all the 20 credit modules require students to show initiative and independent learning. For example, in ME7260 Broadcast Media Industry Practices, students must initiate and subsequently evidence direct engagement with industry representatives through a portfolio of work.
 
Delivery of the programme is structured to ensure the majority of 20-credit modules can be taken without pre- or co-requisites, which means that studying the course on a part-time basis, with a double annual intake is feasible.  For instance, September students would obtain practical skills in ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television (20 credits) at the start of the year but January intake students would gain initial practical skills within the ME7248 TV Formats and Features, as TV studio production is a focus of the module.  Comparably, students would gain practice skills in both of the Radio modules, at different points within the year:

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

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and ‘Remotes’ (20 credits)

A full-time student on the MA in Broadcast Media, joining the Department in September would have the following academic journey:

 

September

January

June

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip  Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7261 Broadcast Media Project

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and ‘Remotes’

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

OR

ME7260 Broadcast Media Industry Practices

 

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

 

 

A full-time student entering the course in January would have the following academic journey:

 

January

September

June

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7261 Broadcast Media Project

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

OR

ME7260 Broadcast Media Industry Practices

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and ‘Remotes’

 

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 

 

The following is an indicative academic journey which a part-time student, joining the programme in September, could take:

Year one

September

January

June

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

 

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 

 

 Year two

September

January

June

ME7255 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and ‘Remotes’

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

OR

ME7260 Broadcast Media Industry Practices

ME7261 Broadcast Media Project

 

ME7248 TV Formats and Features

 

 

Students could exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate in Media, after obtaining 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Media after obtaining 120 credits.  Students wishing to exit with the Master's in Broadcast Media 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
ME7252 7 Research Skills and Methods 20 Optional
ME7254 7 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes 20 Comp
ME7255 7 Radio Live: Outside Broadcasts and 'Remotes' 20 Comp
ME7260 7 Broadcast Media Industry Practices 20 Optional
ME7261 7 Broadcast Media Project 60 Comp

 

60 credits for the award of Post Graduate Certificate in Media
120 credits for the award of Post Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Media
180 credits for the award of MA Broadcast Media

N/A

N/A

A first degree; there is no requirement for prospective students to hold a first degree specifically in Broadcast Media, 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 broadcast media industry/industries is at the heart of the programme; there is a focus on key areas such as legal, ethical and creative constraints and considerations, issues and developments related to broadcast media production and honing of production-related skills. Integrating different modes of broadcast media production reflects a focus on and understanding of contemporary issues and ideas such as ‘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.” Across the programme, students will develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the media industry. Emphasis is placed on regulation, policy and practice. For those opting to take the Industry Practices module, 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 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 Broadcast Media Project is the culmination of the development of these practical and conceptual skills but all the modules aim to address this principal.  For instance, Research Skills and Methods requires substantial systematic and evaluative research skills and Multi-skilling for Television requires students to critique their own practice.  In all modules, students will explore current themes, issues and debates related to Broadcast Media; indicative curriculum may include global formats and broadcast media platforms and audiences.

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 Broadcast Media 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 content production, 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 Broadcast Media Industry Practices module; periods of work-based learning or placement can be utilised within assessment on this module.  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 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 Broadcast Media, 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; for instance, practising professional programme makers and radio presenters 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 Broadcast Media 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, 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.

Many of the modules on MA Broadcast Media utilise industry-focused 'briefs' for assessments, which could be to produce a Radio 4 programme or an 'as-live' entertainment show for a particular channel.  At times, students have been 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. Indicative assessments may include podcasts, 'director's commentaries', presentations and recorded audiovisual projects.  Some assessment may be formative, allowing students to gain tutor feedback to utilise in preparation for summative assessments.
  • 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 knowledge, skills and understanding as well as the students’ ability to independently synthesize these.  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 many areas of Broadcast Media, working as a production assistant in a commercial radio station to becoming a camera assistant or junior researcher for an independent TV company.  Multi-skilled graduates may navigate a very interesting career path, reflecting the convergent nature of media today, moving in and out of cognate sectors such as web production.

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 broadcast media 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.

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