Students from around the globe are being offered the chance to study for a new master’s degree from The University of Nottingham — without ever having to leave home.
The new MA in English Studies is the latest course to be offered through a web-based distance learning programme in the University’s School of English Studies— allowing students to study for a degree from anywhere in the world via online resources and e-mail contact with tutors.
It means that, for the first time, students learning at a distance can now work towards a degree which combines the study of English language with English literature from the Medieval period right up to the present day, and take advantage of the full range of staff expertise right across the school.
Dr Louise Mullany, Director of Distance Learning in the School of English Studies, said: “We found that we were being inundated with requests from applicants for a course with literature-based components, as well as options that combined modern English language studies with a more historical approach.
“As we had an MA English Studies running on-site which fulfilled many of these criteria, it seemed like a logical step to develop and transform this on-site course into a distance programme.”
The School of English Studies at The University of Nottingham now has more than 120 students studying in 25 different countries on five different continents through its distance learning programme, which was launched in 2001.
One of the biggest challenges during the development of the programme was overcoming problems of access to resources — while some students may find it relatively easy to buy books and access other university libraries locally, others living in more remote areas may not have that luxury.
The introduction of a range of comprehensive electronic library packages of English language and literary works has now transformed the amount of resources available online, allowing this new course to go ahead.
The Hallward Library, based on University Park campus, has subscribed to many of these packages including Literature Online, Shakespeare Online and Medieval Sources Online. The School of English has also been developing in-house online teaching resources on Nottingham-based authors DH Lawrence and Lord Byron, with funding from the English Subject Centre.
E-learning technologies have been put in place to create virtual classroom opportunities for distance learning students to reflect the seminar discussion that forms the basis of the traditional, on-site MA in English literature. In addition, it offers WebCT discussion boards, chatrooms, podcasts, SKYPE and specially-recorded lecturing video clips which can be accessed at any time, whichever time zone the student lives in.
The new MA in English Studies is a flexible programme that can be completed in a timeframe to suit the student, usually between two to four years. Depending on how many modules are studied and how many credits students obtain, they could come away with a Postgraduate Certificate, a Postgraduate Diploma or a full MA.
Students can choose from a wide range of English language and literature topics including Shakespeare, Middle English Romance, Gothic Literature, British Travel Writing, World Englishes, the Psychology of Language and Literary Linguistics, with more options due to be added soon as the MA course develops.
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.