Executive Summary

The project aims to develop a new, innovative, accessible, flexible and interdisciplinary Masters programme.

The Centre for Lifelong Learning currently offers an undergraduate Certificate programme – formerly known as the Open Studies Programme. It currently consists of level 4, 30 CAT and 10 CAT courses, non-accredited courses and a pre-entry ‘Gateway’ to UG studies. The programme is employed, in part, as an accessible route onto the full undergraduate degree programme – either as pre-entry, APL or distinct modules on interdisciplinary degrees offered in CLL or on degree programmes in partner departments.

Given forthcoming changes in the National Scholarship Scheme, the intention of this proposal is to develop a similar programme at postgraduate level. Market research conducted by the Centre indicates that there is a real demand in the local community, and especially amongst adult learners in low participation neighbourhoods, for flexible and accessible postgraduate provision. Moreover, undergraduate students from our ‘widening participation’ courses like the 2plus2 and part time degree programme have limited opportunities to continue studies at postgraduate level.

Three initiatives will enable us to develop an accessible, flexible, innovative and interdisciplinary programme:

1. A free Gateway to PGT short course

The Gateway to PG course will run along the same lines as our existing UG Gateway – it will be free for 15 students, applicants will be interviewed, they will not need to have completed an undergraduate degree but they will need to demonstrate potential to study at PG (e.g. completed Certificates, experience in business or elsewhere etc…). We will recruit two cohorts - in Spring/Summer 2014 – one evening group and one day/weekend group. The course will consist of 30 contact hours. Like the UG Gateway, it will be interdisciplinary – drawing from students’ experiences to explore a number of substantive issues through a range of (signposted) disciplinary lenses. The course will be non-accredited and mapped to level 6 – students will be provided with a transcript and a Certificate. ‘Successful completion’ will enable students to continue onto full accredited PG study – initially via our new 20 CAT level 7 awards (see below). The free Gateway course will be funded by University Widening Participation funding.

2. A continuously evolving stand-alone 20 CAT PG award programme

CLL has placed an advert in our 2014 Certificates brochure promoting new 10 week, 20 credit PGT courses. In the first instance, students will need an UG degree to be able to sign up to one of these courses. These Awards will begin in January and we will be offering eight courses in the first suite. The intention is to offer blocks of 10 week courses at various intervals across the year - a second suite will begin after Easter and a third in September. We expect to recruit between 80 and 100 students to each suite. Prospective tutors will be encouraged to propose student-centred courses that make use of innovative pedagogies. Classes will be offered in a variety of times and formats, but there will be an emphasis on face-to-face evening provision.

3. A credit accrual model that enables students to accumulate these awards over time to complete a full Masters

The proposal is to develop a framework whereby students who complete 10 week courses are able to accrue credits - and then complete a dissertation to gain a full Masters in Lifelong Learning. Students will be able to accumulate credits within a specified time period – enabling them to ‘pick and mix’ from a wide range of disciplinary fields, or to specialise within more narrowly focused areas.

Alongside this evolving suite of 10 week courses, it is envisaged that students will be able to include modules from other departments and Centres (especially IATL and CIM) in the University and other modules offered at postgraduate level in CLL. Working in partnership with other University centres and departments, the team will develop a new interdisciplinary ‘core’ research module and a dissertation module. To enable the greatest degree of flexibility, students will be able to choose the number of credits they want to complete via the dissertation – anything between 40 and 100 credits.