Learning on the Cutting Edge at the University of Exeter

online ma education student studying
online ma education student studying

Learning on the Cutting Edge at the University of Exeter

University students are increasingly completing their degrees from home rather than on campuses. Higher Ed Partners estimates that 98% of UK universities moved a majority of their courses online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advancements in learning technology and student comfort with online education will make remote studies the rule rather than the exception.

Exeter’s Online MA Education is a model for what students can expect from distance learning going forward. This online masters in education provides flexible, accessible, and rigorous education for established educators. Online MA in education candidates find their expectations exceeded by programme staff and faculty.

Student Expectations for Online Learning Experiences

Education technology consultancy Jisc surveyed 20,575 UK university students about their virtual learning experiences. Sixty per cent of respondents gave good, excellent, or best imaginable ratings for digital support from their universities. Student expectations will only grow as online learning becomes commonplace.

Jisc’s survey found a clear set of expectations from students at 28 universities. Prospective students are looking for online programmes that:

  • Ensure accessibility and wellbeing through programme design;
  • Integrate student involvement in every step of the learning journey;
  • Build industry-relevant skills using the latest technology.

The University of Exeter designed its online masters in education with these pedagogical best practices in mind. Graduates leave the programme feeling like they are better prepared for what lies ahead in their education careers. The experiences of recent graduates show how student needs are met through the Online MA in Education.

Accessibility and Wellbeing

Student experiences are facilitated by the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE). This online platform makes assignments and recorded lectures available around the clock. Student Support Service modules encourage good study skills and positive learning experiences no matter the student’s location.

Becky Ersser’s experience with the Online MA in Education confirms the University of Exeter’s commitment to student accessibility. Becky pursued the online masters in education after her Functional Neurological Disorder diagnosis. She credits the programme’s commitment to accessibility for a positive experience:

“...they have been amazingly supportive in a variety of ways, from ensuring resources are file format readable by my screen reader and recommending assistive software while waiting for Student Finance to conduct my assessment of need.”

Emma King helped develop the ELE in her role as the Director of Instructional Design and Academic Strategy. The development team considered every facet of course delivery for potential inaccessibility by students with Emma noting:

“It’s small things that you just don’t immediately think about, but when you improve them, they’re better for everyone.”

online students studying

Student Involvement

Forty-four per cent of respondents to the Jisc survey said their online programmes did not interact with fellow students. An invaluable component of any higher education experience is potential collaborations with colleagues and faculty. The University of Exeter infuses student involvement throughout the online masters in education experience.

Lucy Todman is one of many graduates who celebrate the programme’s emphasis on student engagement. She brought more than a decade of teaching experience in the UK and abroad to discussions with fellow students. Lucy recommends the Online MA in Education for the following reason:

“They engage you with polls and quizzes amongst the reading and debates and the material is presented in very interested and varied ways.”

Industry Relevance

Students spend years, pounds, and considerable energy as they gain qualifications for their careers. Every assignment and course in an online programme must build the skills needed for professional success. The University of Exeter built its online masters in education with the future of education in mind.

The 120-credit Online MA in Education balances core modules on global perspectives of education and educational enquiry. Degree candidates can customise their experiences with up to two optional modules from three pathways:

  • Educational Leadership 
  • Language and Literacy 
  • Special Educational Needs 

Anne-Marie Harmsworth enrolled in the programme to fill gaps in her educational experience. She felt better prepared for current and future teaching opportunities because the programme:

“...increased my confidence in my role as Course Leader and Lecturer and I have been able to contribute to discussions and decision making at an intrinsic level as a result of my increased and up-to-date knowledge of policy, practice and teaching and learning strategies.”

Tips for Success in Online Degree Programmes

The growth of online degrees is accompanied by new challenges and opportunities for students. Traditional learning experiences include fixed course times and in-person support services that align student schedules. Students who balance the freedom of online learning with the discipline to complete coursework are poised for success.

SAGE Publishing included the following tips in its checklist of online learning success:

  • Be intentional about communication and participation
  • Create a dedicated workspace
  • Seek help from support services offered at your school
  • Set a routine that works for your needs

A dedicated Student Support Advisor helps every Online MA Education student. The ELE includes a calendar, messaging tool, and library resources useful in following these tips. Daniel Stavisky notes the personalised attention he received while completing the online masters in education:

“When I needed help regarding matters that did not concern course content, Oliver Taylor, my Student Support advisor, was an amazing help. When I doubted myself because I was seriously ill and had a dissertation to complete, Dr Karen Walshe - Associate Professor of Education - was incredibly helpful and understanding.”

Finding Your Best Fit for an Online Masters in Education

Professionals in the education field find a growing list of options for their graduate education. The Online MA in Education at Exeter accommodates the busy schedules of working teachers, administrators, and specialists. The two-year programme has no in-person requirements, a competitively priced tuition of £15,000, and a £5,000 Global Excellence Scholarship for UK students.

Graduates of Exeter’s online masters in education are poised for leadership positions with public and private employers. Their job prospects are boosted in part by the University’s international reputation. Recent accolades for the University of Exeter include:

Find out how the University of Exeter's Online MA in Education fits with your personal and professional goals.


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