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Congratulations to our student Colin Hassard, who will be the Artist-in-Residence for the 4th Annual Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival, which runs from the 6- 12 December 2015.
In addition to studying part-time for a Masters in Digital Media Communication and working full-time, Colin is also an award-winning poet, known for thought-provoking content and unique brand of humour.
Colin will present his one-man show Breaking Bard at the opening of the festival this Sunday night, 6 December 2015, at the Black Box, Belfast.  On the final night of the festival, Colin will be performing with his band Dirty Words at the Refugee Welcome Party.
This month we kick off with a guest post from Corrine Heaney, who, having graduated with distinction from the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication, has come back for seconds by signing up to complete her Masters. As ‘co-creators’ the teaching team became mentors, helping to support my career and personal growth, and I soon found myself starting to build connections outside my usual colleagues and sector groups, and developing digital networks as a space to continue learning outside class. It was the DMC experience that exposed me to these opportunities and gave me the confidence to make the most of them. Since its launch in September 2011, the Postgraduate programme in Postgraduate Digital Media Communication has gone from strength to strength. The Certificate programme covers the fundamental aspects of digital media, including digital and social media platforms and operational capacity. The Postgraduate Certificate is an innovative course specifically designed to meet the needs of professionals working within the field, as well as those keen to embark upon a career in this rapidly expanding industry.
When I began my search I knew I needed a course that combined academic knowledge with real industry advice to appreciate how theory works in practice. The classes provided me with real examples and techniques that I later applied to my own work and made me fall in love with digital all over again! We are excited to say that our first lecture for the DMC course begins tomorrow exploring challenges for organisations in ‘Communicating in a Networked Environment’.
DEADLINE EXTENDED: it’s not too late to register for the one-year, part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication! As we start into our 2013-2014 academic year the last year’s cohort of DMC students have been reflecting on their experience.
As for those in established roles, the DMC course ensured that they were able to fully leverage the opportunities that digital media presents. The innovative, flexible nature of the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication allows anyone with an interest in digital media communication, from the recent graduate to the established practicioner, to benefit.
The event will feature a number of academic and professional contributors to the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication (DMC) programme, including Jill Robb of Ambition Digital and Naomh McElhatton of DANI, who will update participants on the latest developments in the field. The second year of the Postgraduate Certificate is well underway with a full to capacity class of 20 professionals from a variety of backgrounds including media, the third sector, education and retail. DMC students past and present are encouraged to get involved in Digital Media events taking place throughout the province to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. In the current economic climate it can be difficult to find the edge that sets you apart from your competitors in the job market.
As our recent graduates Leigh Walsh and Michael Bonner have proved by taking up new posts in marketing communication and social media marketing, it can be a way to develop a new career.
As a fully-accredited university postgraduate qualification, the course curriculum, delivery and assessment are externally scrutinised at the end of each academic year. ISOC has run several customised media relations and writing training sessions for UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company. You will build a foundation of universal techniques to enhance the impact of your writing, then apply them in stimulating exercises across many specialised PR formats.
You will master press releases, features, case studies, speeches, website content, blog-posts and more. This is a universal course designed for learners at different levels and in a range of roles.
This course is recommended for PR and communication professionals at all levels who would benefit from an in-depth immersion course to raise the value of their writing skills. Every day follows a hands-on format, revolving around fun and fast-paced writing exercises. Within each module, best practice and key concepts are covered off in a concise briefing, followed by stimulating learning activities like workshops, discussions, case studies and role-play exercises.
This one-day module covers essential writing skills that PR professionals should use daily to amplify the impact of everything they write, from press releases and case studies to emails and blog-posts.

Writing for news value: how to weave strong news angles through PR writing in order to grasp attention and drive coverage.
This one-day module combines three key competencies: language and technical writing skills, news judgment, and tailoring news writing for the online space.
This one-day module explores hands-on techniques to translate plain good writing into effective writing for the Web. This one-day module looks beyond the humble press release to harness the wide range of written formats that every PR professional should master. This one-day module covers the specialist techniques of speechwriting, from outlining a well-structured framework to mastering the fine art of rhetoric. Speech planning: strategic approaches and planning techniques to lay the foundations for effective speeches. Structure and flow: how to outline and structure a speech framework for optimal narrative flow and development of concepts.
Training consists of concise briefings on best practice, backed up by interactive learning activities like workshops, role-plays, case study analysis, coaching, brainstorms and structured group discussions.
This course is interesting, intellectually stimulating and delivered in a relaxed and professional style.
All ISOC trainers are hands-on communication professionals with at least 15 years of experience. This course is delivered in an executive boardroom format, not classroom-style, and in a small group no larger than eight people. ISOC is also accredited by the British Accreditation Council, a UK Government-mandated training standards body. Participatory Media Production, the new course in the Master of Communication for Social Change, will be launched in the second semester of 2014. The course is a collaborative approach to the production of media (audio, video, still images, text) that emphasises working with a group or community in creating their media for learning, making themselves heard, and enabling positive change and transformation. Participatory Media Production is designed so the students gain a foundation for understanding participatory media theory, facilitating participatory production processes, and creating and evaluating participatory media products relating to a complex social issue. Convenors of the course will be Centre for Communication and Social Change Director Elske van de Fliert, Dr Kitty van Vuuren, Dr Scott Downman, and Dr Peter Milne. The Master of Communication for Social Change of The University of Queensland is the only Master of its type in Australia.
The Master fosters critical thinking in how participation can make a difference in the planning, implementation and evaluation of development processes, the key role played by culture in social change and contemporary uses of community media and ICTs in the facilitation of change. Graduates from the Master develop skills to work in international development agencies, rural development, community engagement, community media, project management, education, government, policy development, and not-for-profit organisations, among others. He has performed his work on national radio, has twice represented Ulster at the All-Ireland Poetry Slam Final, and is a former Belfast Book Festival, Culture Night and the Belly Laughs Festival poetry slam champion. It requires resources including skills, knowledge, and time, and time is definitely the Achilles’ heel when it comes to the DMC team updating our blog posts! I went back to university 5 years into working professionally and with a degree in Criminology and Masters in Human Rights Law under my belt. Taught by a cross-disciplinary team of lecturers, it was the mix of theory, practice, discussion and links to business that made the course engaging and interactive.
Following demand from past students keen to further their studies in this dynamic area, a new pathway has been developed.
The Diploma programme focuses on building the strategic capacity to create and manage digital strategy implementation. Regardless of which point you choose to leave the programme, you will have had the opportunity to develop a solid foundation in the principles and practices of digital media communication. I wanted a course that would provide me with further support to nurture my existing skills. Not only are you learning from your lecturers and industry experts, you learn from your peers.
As one student, Corrine Heaney of Save the Children, noted “Digital media provides us with a new platform for our communications and campaigns work so I was keen to gain more understanding of how we could develop these tools in a strategic and planned way. Professor Jonathan Wallace, a member of the DMC course team, and contributor to the event provides an overview of what you can expect on the day.

Learning so far has focused on online consumer behaviour, value propositions, and web planning with expert contributions from Paul McKeever, CEO of leading web strategy, design and technology studio Front. As the term progresses, students will continue to benefit from lectures and workshops with several highly experienced practitioners. For those interested in business communication and marketing, the Digital Media Communication (DMC) qualification signifies expertise in the flourishing area of digital media.
Of equal importance however, is the opportunity it provides for existing practitioners to advance in their roles, and help their employer organisation better engage with stakeholders. Learning is pitched at a core level, designed to help you analyse core concepts and execute universal skills. This extended training format focuses intensively on a single set of competencies for five days.
You will also receive personal coaching on your writing style – and feel free to bring along any speeches and other that you are working on, if you would like in-depth feedback and guidance. Over the course of five days, you will cover all of the core skills and concepts of writing for PR as well as specialist formats and applications. Your trainer will introduce the concepts clearly, then focus on real-world skills that connect the big picture to your job. Edexcel has audited ISOC’s systems for the design, delivery and management of training and inspects us regularly to assure quality control of all aspects of training and assessment.
All learners who are following CPD schemes can get CPD points from attending ISOC’s courses. Specifically Writing for the Web, the trainer (Felice Hawley) made reference to my website which was incredibly helpful and impressive.
It explores the different ways in which communication can be leveraged to bring about change in attitudes, behavior and knowledge in individuals and communities. Now we can commit to practicing what we preach by posting regular updates, thanks to the support and enthusiasm of our DMC students past and present, and the professional contributors to the course. As Communications and Campaigns Co-ordinator for a large international NGO, I wanted a course that would be of personal interest, but that would be relevant and useful in my career. The fact that students are encouraged to ‘co-create’ the learning experience through sharing ideas and debating theories, models and businesses really helped me gain confidence in the subject area.
Students applying for the course now have the opportunity to continue their studies beyond certificate level and complete a Diploma or Masters in Digital Media Communication. At Masters level, students have the opportunity to specialise in a specific area of interest by undertaking a research project in digital media communication.
The course boasts some the best academics in their field from across Communications, Advertising and Marketing and Computing at Ulster, as well as leading industry professionals. Importantly, having a strategy that you have developed for your business at the end of the course is a real bonus and a very rewarding process. DMC provided me with exactly that opportunity and connected me with others working in this field”. Focus will shift to web design and Search Engine Optimisation for the remainder of the first semester.
Courses are updated regularly and trainers are active in the industry so your knowledge will be fresh and relevant. ISOC is owned and managed by Pinnacle International, the world’s largest specialist communications and PR training company.
Edexcel awards two million qualifications every year around the world and has 5,500 education partners in 110 countries. More recently I have been supporting the independent film scene volunteering with Belfast’s independent short film festival Film Devour, working on producing my first short film whilst also engaging in discussions on the future of Northern Ireland and supporting the Connected Citizen’s Project with Hydebank College.
As well as public courses, we provide private and customised programmes including media interview training, presentation training, and multi-year multi-competency postgraduate programmes.

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