The MA is a modular course carrying 180 UCET 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 elearning, 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 below, 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.
Graduates from the course can follow a number of career paths: some continue to work in their existing posts, but often with enhanced status; some move into teacher education, materials development, publishing, the media, managing self-access facilities, testing and assessment, research; some set up their own businesses. Alternatively, graduates may use the programme as a springboard into further study, eventually leading to a PhD.
For example, we quote one student who studied on this course in 2005-6:
I was employed with my Master's degree at the Arab Open University. It is a non-profit Higher Education Institution established mainly to enable those who missed the chance of attending the University to pursue their higher education through distance learning. I belong to the faculty of computer studies, while they also have languages and business studies. We offer undergraduate as well as postgraduate studies at the AOU! I've planned two modules for this semester. One is "Education and ICT", the other is "Using Computer Software in Education". I'm using the best that I have experienced in Manchester to construct stimulating courses.