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Becoming a student (again)

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Edited by Christopher Douce, Thursday, 16 Aug 2018, 14:47

Over the last couple of years I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some postgraduate study that could help me in role as an OU Staff Tutor.

I’ve looked at a number of different institutions, including Kings, UCL and Canterbury before discovering that the OU has an MA in Education with a specialism in Leadership and Management. After reading the module description, I decided to sign up!

As I study I hope to be doing some blogging that relates to my experience as a MA in Education student.

Introductory materials

After being formally registered, I discovered that I was able to access an introductory video (YouTube) that was recorded as a part of the OUs Student Hub Live induction event. As I listened to the video, I made a few notes about the different parts of the MA. What follows is a summary of those notes.

Stage 1: EE811 Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change

As far as I understand things, this first module offers students with some grounding and emphasises the importance of critical thinking an analysis. A point I noted down was that with undergraduate modules, module materials are there to support the students, whereas with postgraduate modules, students are encouraged to interrogate various resources, such as policies, papers and module materials. Students should consider what things haven’t been said.

Topics in the first section include the concept of agency, the importance of professional development and concepts of leadership, such as distributed leadership and transformational leadership.

Stage 2: EE812 Educational leadership: exploring strategy

Since I’ve managed to get a credit transfer from previous postgraduate study in education, this is the module that I’m starting with. Topics will include power and culture. I noted down: unpacking leadership and management, subjects such as culture, identity, context and role.

Since there is an emphasis on strategy, I noted that there will be exploration of issues around conflict, moral leadership and democratic leadership. From the video I remember the point that there is not a formula for leadership that you can pick up from a management text book. Instead, leadership is relational (I understood this in terms of being connected to relationships between people) and context bound. I also noted that within the concept of moral leadership there is also a link to the notion of social justice.

From what I gathered, this module will also help with the development of research skills. This is a point that leads onto the final module.

Stage 3: MA Ed dissertation: leadership and management

During this stage students will have to write a dissertation. This dissertation will be a proper bit of research that has a practical focus that is based on the student’s own context. A key point that I noted down whilst the video was playing was that the topic might be something that a students might have wanted to do within their organisation for a long time. There’s also an emphasis on gathering of empirical data.


Whenever I can I do try to look ahead and this video has got me thinking. I’ve asked myself the question ‘what could I study in the context of my own work?’ There are loads of different things, such as aspects of professional development or exploring and studying online teaching practice. Of course, I need to put these initial thoughts to one side until I’ve got stuck into the module. I haven’t formally studied Education within OU before (but I have studied other postgrad modules, such as computing and the social sciences), so I really need to walk before I can run.

One thing I have done is put all the TMA cut off dates in my diary along with the date that the module website opens (which is a couple of weeks before the module starts). From experience, I think I know how best to study, which is: get up an hour or so early to do some reading and note taking. I’ll also be hoping that I can download some materials onto my aging Kindle, so I can read materials whilst I’m travelling.

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