Online Master's Degree

Teaching Modern Languages to Adults


On this page, you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the TMLA Programme. If your particular question is not addressed here, browse through the course documents on the other pages using the index bar above, or write to us through the Contact Us page.

For whom is the Programme designed?

The TMLA Programme is intended for practitioners in MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), teachers of EFL/ESL (English as a Foreign/Second Language) and teachers of community and heritage languages, based both in the UK and abroad, who wish to upgrade their current qualifications by taking a course leading to a postgraduate Master’s degree.

For how long has the TMLA programme been running?

The Postgraduate Certificate TMLA has been offered as a campus-based course since 1997 (accredited by the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education as well as the University of Dundee). Since 2003 the Certificate, Diploma and Master's TMLA (in EFL/MFL) have been on offer in distance learning mode.

What makes this Programme different from other, similar programmes?

Because the TMLA is not language-specific, it brings together lecturers and teachers from a wide variety of linguistic backgrounds - which creates a very rich environment in which to exchange ideas and opinions, and to engage in collaborative projects - and allows us to take a much broader view of language teaching theory and practice around the world. Individual participants also have a chance to explore the pedagogy not only of their primary teaching language, but of other languages with which they may be familiar. Furthermore, because the TMLA is conducted online, it offers great flexibility for busy professionals.

In what language is the Programme taught?

The language used for all class work and assignments is English. However, participants on the course may make use of other language expertise - for example when teaching observed lessons - and indeed, are encouraged to use other languages in addition to English when researching information for assignments or projects.

How many levels does the Programme have?

The TMLA Programme is divided into three levels: Certificate Level, Diploma Level, and Master's (Dissertation) Level. Higher levels build on lower ones and become progressively more demanding, with the final level consisting principally of a Master's Dissertation. Successful completion of one stage of the programme is a prerequisite for admission to the next phase (with the exception of suitably qualified candidates admitted to Diploma level by the Programme Director). More information on the topics covered can be found on the Overview of Modules page.

How long does the Programme last?

Each level requires one year of part-time distance study, with the courses normally running from late October until early September of the following year. For more information, see the Overview of Semesters page, or for this year's course dates, go to the Overview of Dates page. The total number of years spent on the course depends on whether you wish to exit with a Certificate (after one year), a Diploma (two years), or a full postgraduate Master's (three years).

What prior qualifications do I need to participate?

You require an excellent level in your target teaching language + very high standard in a second language + a degree or equivalent + appropriate teaching experience. An entry interview or an entry essay may also be required in borderline cases, or in cases of admission directly into Diploma Level. Full details can be found on the Overview of Structure page.

I am not teaching at the moment / do not yet know where I will be teaching in the future. Can I still apply?

Yes. Just keep the "Confirmation of Teaching" form until you have a definite contract (part-time hours will suffice) and send a letter with your application form stating that you are in the process of seeking teaching hours and will confirm them in due course. (This applies only to applicants for the Certificate Level. Candidates at Diploma and Masters' Levels are advised but not required to continue teaching while completing the TMLA.)

Is it possible to enter directly into the second year (Diploma Level)?

If you have not completed the Certificate Level, it is possible to enter directly into the Diploma Level only if, in addition to the above requirements, you have also completed the Cambridge/RSA DELTA or equivalent. This may be of particular relevance for EFL/ESL teachers. Additional APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) regulations apply to these candidates.

What qualifications do I obtain at the end of the Programme?

Normally, a successful student will exit after three years with a postgraduate Master's Degree (TMLA), awarded by the University of Dundee, Scotland, UK. This will be an M.Phil. for all entrants prior to and including the 2004 intake; from 2005 onwards, the award will be an M.Litt. However, it is also possible to leave after one year's successful study with a Postgraduate Certificate (TMLA), or after two years with a Postgraduate Diploma (TMLA). In each case, the University awards the qualification.

Is it possible to enrol for individual modules without studying for a whole year of the Programme?

Yes, many of the modules detailed on the Overview of Modules page are also available as single stand-alone modules for professional development purposes. Anyone interested in applying to take individual modules should contact us for further information.

Is the course run entirely online?

Yes, at Certificate and Diploma Levels, the course is online with the exception of one optional Induction Day per year, held at the start of first semester. If you go on to Master's Level, you are required to come to the University of Dundee for a short period (normally 1-2 weeks) to consult with your Dissertation Supervisor and make use of the facilities of the University Library.

Where are the Induction Days held?

These are held at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Course participants are encouraged to attend if at all possible, as it is a good chance to find out more about the course and the VLE, and to get to know the lecturers and fellow students. However, if you can’t make it to the Induction Day, don’t worry – log on at the time you are given, and you will have a chance to meet your peers “virtually” and to start learning about the system at the same time as them.

What kind of equipment is necessary for a course like this?

As the course is run online, it is necessary to have access to a PC which is connected to the internet. The following are the key specifications:

Hardware: 32 MB of RAM, 50MB of free disk space
Platform: Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, or ME; MacOS 9 or MacOS X
Software: Microsoft Office Readers (available free), Adobe Acrobat Reader (also free)
Browser: Internet Explorer 4/Netscape 4 (or greater) - JavaScript & Cookies must be enabled.
Network: 56 K modem or Local Area Network

It is strongly suggested that you should have access to the above from home or an office, though it would theoretically be possible to participate from a remote location with full public internet access, such as a university computing laboratory. Further details of recommended software can be found in the Orientation Packs.

What kinds of activities do students engage in?

The set-up of the TMLA is based on the latest pedagogical theory and currently accepted models of best practice. As educational approaches continue to evolve, so too will the course, though we do not anticipate any major changes to its structure in the immediate future.

Students will normally participate in asynchronous and synchronous classes, as well as a number of other key activities outside class time. The most important sessions are the asynchronous class discussions, where you will be asked to contribute a number of “posts” to a discussion board on (a) pre-set topic(s) which will be announced at the start of the week. You can log on whenever you like during the week to add your posts, and respond to those of the lecturers and other students. Some modules also involve a number of one-hour synchronous classes which you are expected to “attend” at regular intervals, often once a month, and generally in the 4pm – 7pm time slot on Friday afternoon/evening (GMT/UK time). The bulk of the time is spent discussing the topics set for that week, usually based on past discussions and the week's readings. Students may sometimes be asked to "present" part or all of these sessions as a component of ongoing projects.

In addition, you will be asked to participate in other kinds of activities, including for example: reading other students’ contributions, for later discussion in an asynchronous or synchronous class; giving feedback on other students’ contributions, usually on an asynchronous discussion board, but sometimes by private email; sending feedback, comments or questions directly to the tutor; or getting together with a group of students to plan a piece of group work, either in the VLE or by email. You will usually be asked to read one or more texts each week for each module. A text might consist of an article, a book chapter, or a couple of chapters together. You are expected to have read the set materials before contributing to an asynchronous discussion or attending a synchronous class.

Where will I find the books and articles I need?

Many books and articles will be available in good university or public libraries. However, required texts will also be placed online within a secure password-protected domain, which will be accessible to all participants on the course.

What kind of time commitment is required?

Although this is a part-time course, designed to be as flexible as possible to fit in with the timetables of full- as well as part-time lecturers, tutors and teachers, it does require a definite time commitment, as follows:

Online hours: You will normally be expected to spend one to two online hours per week for an asynchronous class (this is most likely to be divided over the time it takes to make two or more separate posts on separate occasions) and one hour per week for a synchronous class (participating in a virtual discussion). Most students will normally take two modules at any given time, and in any given week may therefore have a combination of two asynchronous classes (most common), one asynchronous and one synchronous class, or two synchronous classes (least common). Inbuilt flexibility in the system means that students may spend more time on asynchronous topics which are of particular interest to them.
Offline reading hours: You will be required to do some reading for each module each week. The amount may vary considerably from week to week, but will not usually be more than three chapters of a book per module per week. Reading also entails reflecting, and making notes for future reference, so that you can participate fully in online discussions.
Offline task hours: For each module, you will have certain forms of assessment which you will need to complete, whether a traditional essay, a series of reports, a practical project, a group project, peer- or self-assessment. While we would suggest that as far as possible it is worthwhile beginning tasks early in the semester, the way you divide your time is up to you – and some students find the semester breaks (as indicated on the Overview of Semesters page) are a useful time to work on large projects, including group projects.

How much does it cost?

Fees for the 2004-2005 academic session are as follows:

International Students

£1500 per annum

EU and Home students

£1300 per annum

Price per freestanding individual module for professional development (i.e. not taken as part of the programme leading to a postgraduate qualification) :

£450 per module

Further details can be obtained from the TMLA Secretary, to whom questions about fees for the 2005-2006 academic session should also be addressed.

I still have a question! Whom do I ask?

We're always happy to answer questions. Simply go to the Contact Us page for details of how to reach us.

Owner: CALS / University of Dundee [Legal Disclaimer] Page Editor: Mark Pegrum Last updated: Monday 29-Mar-2004 17:03