Dr Philip Whiteman and Helen Hurford-Dawson explain the critical features which make our 100% Online Masters of Public Administration a unique and effective programme for public sector professionals today:
“It’s very closely aligned with major policy and managerial pressures facing practitioners working within this sector,” explains Dr Philip Whiteman. “It deals with the ‘here’ and ‘now’ as well as concepts that will come in the future.”
Helen continues, “Students take the theoretical content they learn and then use it in their day-to-day life - it’s public sector management based on real world examples and a qualification that will help on CVs and in career progression. The commitment to study and work at the same time will alone tell a potential employer that this is someone who has drive and discipline.”
The programme received its first students in August 2015: online education is still a relatively new concept for the faculty who teach (and students who study) it. Therefore, to ensure that this programme maintains the same standards as campus, faculty adhere to strict criteria:
“When we created the Online Masters of Public Administration, we ensured it was equivalent to a masters-level course, as specified by the Quality Assurance Agency (the regulator for higher education standards throughout the UK). We also aim to improve our practice based on what we learn from current students too,” explains Dr Philip Whiteman.
Helen adds in, “In terms of feedback, a student once told me that at the end of a video insert he jumped up and clapped - I couldn’t think of a better compliment as he explained that it felt he was right in the lecture theatre.”
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Philip concludes, “This is a great compliment! However, it certainly challenged us in the beginning in terms of using our existing knowledge from teaching on campus. It caused us to review a lot of material before going live, in terms of modifying it to best suit an online learning environment and making it as immersive as possible.”
Students studying online must also meet a range of entry requirements. Most notably though, it’s not just about academic rigour:
“I’m not necessarily looking for someone who’s got a ‘double first from Oxford’. What’s more important is a strong interest and a professional background from practice – as well as qualifications from previous study. It’s about people who can contribute to the programme and not be ‘passive’ learners,” explains Dr Whiteman.
“It’s about ‘one community’. We offer a community of practitioners across the world who are able to study and share experiences.”
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So what does the future hold for the Online Masters of Public Administration?
“I can see it growing as we continue to adjust to the changing demands within practice and policy,” says Dr Whiteman.
“We will keep reacting to new and changing markets as public administration is not a fixed entity.” Helen adds,
“From the technology side, I think we’ll use video and audio even more than we currently do. I’m really interested in the development of virtual reality - I think we’ll start to see some really exciting developments there.”
If you are interested in learning more about this programme, please fill out our request information form or contact a member of our Admissions Team today.