Now available by distance learning: my MA in Online Journalism

The MA in Online Journalism which I established at Birmingham City University in 2009 is now available via distance learning.

The MA in Online Journalism by distance learning is primarily aimed at people who are already working in a content- or technology-related role.

Students can use their current work as part of their studies, or use their studies to explore ideas and skills that they have been unable to explore as part of their role.

The course requires self-discipline and motivation, and I look for evidence of that in the application process. You will be communicating regularly both with myself and other students on both the distance learning and ‘with attendance’ versions of the course, so there will be plenty of support, but like any Masters level course you will be expected to learn independently with guidance to develop your own areas of expertise.

I’ve actually been teaching the distance learning version of the course since last September, but hadn’t publicised the fact (I wanted to ‘soft-launch’ the first year with a small group first, and use agile principles to continue to develop it).

But now the secret’s out: The Guardian reported on the course last month, and student Robyn Bateman has written about her experience of studying via distance learning in Wannabe Hacks this week.

I’ll be blogging further about how the distance learning course has changed how I teach the MA as a whole, and changes in education more generally, but that’s for another post. In the meantime, I’m particularly welcoming applications from individuals with good experience as a working journalist, or as a web developer, or who are running or considering launching their own journalism enterprise.

7 thoughts on “Now available by distance learning: my MA in Online Journalism

  1. Robyn Bateman

    It’s too good a course to be a secret! There’s no way I’d be able to do an MA any other way and just because I study from home I don’t feel I’m missing out – I just know it’s down to me to get the work done and that support is available whenever I need it. Distance learning is a great option for those who want to continue to work and enhance their knowledge and qualifications at the same time. So thanks for taking me on :0)

  2. Emma Tameside

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve been thinking about doing something similar for a while, but I’m concerned a purely distance learning course might miss out some important aspects. I remember doing a distance learning certificate with the IDM a while ago and, although it was really useful and enjoyable, I did miss the opportunity to knock heads with my peers and get some real classroom environment. Are you think thinking about any face-to-face teaching also or is it 100% online?

    Like I say, I’ve looked into online degrees [] before but I just want to make sure that nothing will be lost in the transition to a purely online method of teaching. What is the deal with coursework or assignments? Where will the exams be held? Is there a way students can collaborate beyond just online forums?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Paul Bradshaw Post author

      I think the peer-to-peer contact and collaboration element is important, and we do have a number of platforms where that happens – a Facebook page, mailing list, Twitter, blogs, chats and real world events. All students are welcome to come to classes as well, and to attend events and visits (e.g. to the BBC, Guardian, etc) that we organised – so, for instance, one of the distance learners took place in the visit to the Birmingham Post & Mail’s Hyperlocal bloggers day in their first week; another attended a social media cafe with students; and a third attended another event. That’s obviously not possible for international distance learners, but if you’re UK based then it’s viable. We also connect students with the wider networks in their field through an assignment in the second semester.

      Coursework and assignments are no different – they’re the focus of ongoing work and of tutorials. You submit them online (as do the with-attendance students).

      There are no exams – all assessment is through project work.

      Hope that helps – feel free to send questions to my BCU email


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