BBC's new MA puts high flyers on a virtual campus

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 February 2000




(2000), "BBC's new MA puts high flyers on a virtual campus", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 32 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

BBC's new MA puts high flyers on a virtual campus

BBC's new MA puts high flyers on a virtual campus

Keywords: Media, Management, Management development, BBC, Training, Online computing

The BBC has developed and launched an Online MA in Media Management for its next generation of top managers.

Working with the University of Leeds, the BBC has spent the past year designing the MA programme's content and delivery. The ten-module course - designed for staff from within the BBC's programme-making areas such as producers, journalists and finance managers - spans every area which its managers could have to face when guiding the organization through the increasingly competitive and technologically complex global media industry.

Every key issue is addressed - from strategic management in international media, digital and Internet technologies and the social factors which affect such technology take-up, through to the implications of new technologies on multimedia organizations such as the BBC. The programme also covers marketing in a global marketplace, analysing the audience, managing organizational change, the management of major projects such as mergers and acquisitions, and the role of public service broadcasters in the multimedia world.

The course is expected to take up to three years. However, with the bulk of the course being delivered via the University of Leeds' "Virtual Science Park", accessed by the Internet or the BBC's intranet and through videoconferencing tutorials, the actual face-to-face teaching required to complete the course will amount to only 15 days in total.

This is a key consideration for the first wave of BBC staff about to embark on the new MA initiative, as Ian Hayward, Head of Business Training at the BBC, explains:

Talented, ambitious people must have their skills and knowledge developed but they are not going to put their careers on hold to do it - nor should they have to. That is why we have taken care to develop a highly practical, industry-focused curriculum which is delivered in an extremely innovative, flexible way.

The course draws upon the expertise of three elements of the University of Leeds - the Business School, the Institute of Communication Studies and the "Virtual Science Park". The latter is at the forefront of Internet-based training delivery. It provides a virtual campus through which the BBC staff on the MA will be able to interact with each other and the course team, download course materials and locate relevant resources.

Although the course delivery is flexible, the content is extremely demanding. Having completed the ten course modules, the participants will then have to complete a major 10,000-word project. This level of study, the distance learning nature of the course and the fact that those taking it will be combining it with their day-to-day roles means that the 50 applicants for the course had to go through a rigorous, day-long assessment to ensure that it was right for them.

Following the assessment, 17 applicants were selected for the MA. They started their studies last year. However, the BBC sees the first intake as only the beginning, with at least an equivalent number expected to start the course in 2000.

Ian Hayward again:

The beauty of online delivery is its flexibility and we firmly intend to capitalize on it. Over the next few years, we will be looking at how we can expand the MA, increasing course numbers and possibly offering it to the broadcast industry as a whole.

The Online MA is the latest in a line of initiatives which reflect the BBC's ongoing commitment to management training. Over the past seven years, through its Business Education Programme, over 700 BBC staff have completed the BBC MBA (Public Service Management), the Diploma in Business Administration or the Open Modules.

The flexible nature of the Online MA also reflects the growing trend in the BBC for offering staff training opportunities which fit in with new ways of working. BBC Training & Development, the leading provider of training to the UK and international production and broadcast industry, is pioneering new ways of delivering self-paced, self-managed learning which combines the best of face-to-face with online, interactive training.

Orders, enquiries and further information regarding the BBC's new Online MA course in Media Management from Ian Hayward, Head of Business Training, on 01765 3529. Details of all training courses can be found by visiting the BBC Training & Development Website at

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