What do I need to include?

Planning.

So the first stage I think for the UMA is deciding what I need/want to include in my programme, and approximately how much so that it meets or exceeds the requirements of a university based Masters. I am using the IOE Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights MA as a guide as it is close to what I hope to achieve.

For the IOE masters – 1 year full time – the course contains three core modules plus one choice of module. Seeing as I am choosing all the modules, for the UMA that is 4 core modules. The modules consist of lectures, discussions and debates, analysis of readings, images and films. Each core module is assessed by a 5,000 word written assignment. There is then an independent research project culminating in a dissertation of 20,000 words – there are tutorials for essays and dissertation preparation.

Basic structure for the UMA:

  • 4 core modules, each with a 5,000 word written assignment.
  • independent research project culminating in 20,000 word dissertation.

Core Modules:

What exactly is a core module? Again, I will take the IOE as a guide for structural purposes. From their website I can gather the following about the content of their core modules:

  • Explore cutting edge research and a range of theories on the areas of interest.
  • Listen to internationally renowned academic experts and guest speakers from relevant organisations.
  • Watch international films, and make off-site visits, for example to the Foundling Museum.
  • Meet peers from around the world working on the same area of interest
  • Explore your own area of interest/professional practice under tutelage of expert module tutors.
  • 5,000 word assignment

I counted approximately 8 different topics for exploration within each core module.

Basic Core Module Structure for the UMA:

My UMA will contain 4 core modules. Each core module will contain the following:

  • 8 specific focus points within the subject area.
  • Contextual information/research, as well as relevent cutting edge research and a range of theories.
  • Lectures/talks from a range of academic experts and guest speakers.
  • Relevant films and other media, as well as visits to interesting places and events that enhance and build on the area study.
  • The opportunity for discussion and debate with other people interested in this area of study on the subject matter.
  • A 5,000 word assignment, for which I will seek an expert tutor’s support and guidance.

The 4 core modules will culminate in an independent research project and 20,000 word dissertation.

I feel satisfied that I have a good idea of how my UMA will shape up. The next stage is to start putting flesh on the bones, considering what I want the 4 modules to be, what subject content within each module will be, what the written assignments will be about, and what my final dissertation might be about (so that I can build the modules as relevantly as possible). I can also start to research the sources, experts and content for the course, and develop the ways in which I can facilitate discussion and debate with peers. The beauty of a UMA is that it is agile – I can continue to adapt and shift  the programme as I go along to ensure it includes everything I need it to. I can also spend as long on each area as I need/want to, it’s totally flexible, personalised and can unfold in a way that makes most sense. Thanks to the internet, I can utilise resources close to me, as well as making connections all over the world.

If you have any comments or suggestions about my planning process so far, if you can see any crucial things that I have oversighted or misinterpreted, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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