This is a distance learning course and regular attendance at the University is not required. Course content is embodied in a series of written and online course Units with accompanying recommended reading and resource materials. Attendance is compulsory at one annual study week per year (two in total for the duration of the PGDip) at the University of Birmingham, and you will be expected to attend seminars/workshops held online. The most common pattern is six seminars lasting three hours each academic year. The days and times of the on-line seminars are negotiable with the tutor group practitioner tutors are appointed by the University to organise online seminars and support students throughout their course.
Those students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma may use this as credit towards the degree of MEd.
The study week provide opportunities for demonstrations and practice in the use of materials and equipment, lectures, discussions and tutorials.
Support for Deaf and Disabled students
The University of Birmingham welcomes applications from deaf and disabled students. We strongly encourage students applying to this course who may require support (including communication support) or who may require reasonable adjustments to be made as a result of a physical, sensory, mental health or learning support need to register with the disability, learning support and mental health team. Eligible students are also encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) which may provide funding towards equipment, software and support where required.
Support for all Students
The University appoints practitioner tutors who are responsible for organising and providing online seminars for small groups of students. The tutors provide academic, practical and pastoral support. These online group seminars are essential components of the Programme of Study. Also, you will be expected to obtain the services of a local qualified teacher of the deaf who will act as a ‘mentor’ and assist you throughout the course. Mentors are asked to support you in a number of ways, for example, setting ideas presented in the course materials within a local context, helping with the arrangements for visits, and facilitating access to equipment.
A further level of support is offered via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Canvas pages), and you will need to have access to the internet. You must also have regular access to your University e-mail throughout the course.
The Role of the Education Authority/School
The employing authority/school in which you are located needs to:
- Identify for the University a qualified experienced teacher of deaf children who will act as mentor for the student (see above). On average approximately one hour a week of local support is needed. In some small schools and authorities it might be necessary to buy in this support.
- Release you from teaching duties for at least half a day per week for work related to the Programme of Study and for the twenty days practical placement during year 1.
- Release you for the two study weeks for the two years programme (PGDip).
- Note that as the visits and teaching placements may involve considerable travelling, and authorities might wish to cost such travelling into their estimates for the total cost of the course.
The Teaching Placement
Those teachers who wish to obtain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf will need to undertake a teaching placement.
Tutor Angela Wootten provides an overview of the placement
Student Chris Mackintosh talks about her experience of the placement
Assessment is organised on a modular basis. Each of the taught modules has an assessed written assignment. The teaching and learning module is examined by an assignment, plus a portfolio comprising an activities file, a log of observations and visits, and evidence of successful completion of an audiology log.
The assessed teaching module requires pass grades on the practical teaching and the teaching files, as well as a pass grade on a 2,000 word assignment, , and evidence of signing competence equivalent to Signature Stage 1 (or SLA 1 for students from Ireland).
An integral part of the programme is the school-based work. All students are required to complete in their own time a programme of visits to educational establishments for deaf pupils, and clinics concerned with diagnosis of hearing impairment and prescription of hearing aids. The log of these visits and observations is assessed as part of the Teaching and Learning in Deaf Education module.
Those taking the Assessed Teaching Placement module will be required to complete two periods of assessed teaching totalling approximately 40 days of teaching over the two years of the course. For those working as teachers of the deaf the second of these placements will normally be in their own place of work. You must be prepared to undertake some travelling in order to fulfil the requirements of this element of the programme.
Release for Observations/Visits/Private Study
Course members are expected to be released from their normal duties for the equivalent of least half a day per week. Some of this time will be taken up with visits and observations, and the rest will be used for private study.