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.  Colin-Hassard

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. 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.

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.

The festival features a diverse schedule of events from comedy, poetry, music and film to discussion, lectures and exhibitions, and full festival details can be found at Connect with Colin and his work via; Twitter: @ColinHassard;

YouTube: ColinHasssard

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We often tell our students that it is a mistake to think that social media is free. 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! 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.

Corrine-Heaney-Masters-Digital-Media-CommunicationThis 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. Read what Corinne has to say about her experience of DMC below.

“They say ‘third times a charm’ and when it came to study this was true for me. 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. 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.

My whole experience of learning this time around was different. 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. 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.

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. They helped me find my passion, and encouraged me to embrace it! After completing the postgraduate certificate in 2013 I got a promotion in work, became an active member of Young Influencers a recently established network dedicated to promoting a new vision for NI, and made the giant step of producing my first feature film, having no experience of filmmaking before. 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.

It was the DMC experience that exposed me to these opportunities and gave me the confidence to make the most of them. Naturally, as soon as I heard the Postgraduate Certificate was extended to a full Masters programme, I was eager to get back into the classroom – I am excited about the new possibilities my further learning in this area will bring.”

Follow Corrine @corrineheaney |

University of Ulster launches Masters in Digital Media CommunicationSince its launch in September 2011, the Postgraduate programme in Postgraduate Digital Media Communication has gone from strength to strength. Following demand from past students keen to further their studies in this dynamic area, a new pathway has been developed. 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.

The Certificate programme covers the fundamental aspects of digital media, including digital and social media platforms and operational capacity. The Diploma programme focuses on building the strategic capacity to create and manage digital strategy implementation. 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 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. 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.

If you would like more information on the one-year, part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication commencing in September 2014, or the new pathways to Diploma and Masters level, please email the Course Director, Fiona McMahon at: or Tweet us @dmculster.

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‘Working foEmma DMC Testr smaller companies can mean that there isn’t always someone there for you to learn from, and often you are the “digital expert”. I wanted a course that would provide me with further support to nurture my existing skills.

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. DMC does this perfectly. 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.

The class environment is really supportive. Not only are you learning from your lecturers and industry experts, you learn from your peers. 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.

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! I would happily recommend the DMC course to anyone who is looking to increase their Digital Media skills’ – Emma Leahy, Sync NI

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Its all GO

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’.  This lecture will look at how traditional organisations now face problems in adapting to what has changed in the networked world – changing relationships, ways of communicating and organising.  Next on the agenda is exploring ‘Online Consumer Behaviour’, before we finish the day with ‘Developing a Digital Strategy’.  The course last year was very successful and saw students taking what their learning into their respective companies and making a difference. Tomorrow lecture will be from 13:00-21:00 in the University of Ulster, Belfast Campus.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: it’s not too late to register for the one-year, part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication! There are a limited number of places left on this innovative, industry orientated course. If you feel that this qualification could help you advance in your current career or embark on a new one please email the Course Director, Dr Valerie Purchase: for further information.


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Emma Burdett of Allstate NI

As we start into our 2013-2014 academic year the last year’s cohort of DMC students have been reflecting on their experience. For some, such as Emma Burdett of Allstate NI, the course presented new career opportunities: “Working in marketing, digital media was always going to be important for my role – it really is so much more than just Google and Facebook and this course gave me the knowledge I needed not just to truly understand the ins and outs of digital media but also to help progress my career – in fact this course actually led to me getting a job just by having it on my CV!”.

Corrine Heaney of Save the Children

As for those in established roles, the DMC course ensured that they were able to fully leverage the opportunities that digital media presents. 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. DMC provided me with exactly that opportunity and connected me with others working in this field”.


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. If you would like more information about the DMC course, please email the Course Director, Dr Valerie Purchase, at


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On Thursday 9th May 2013 from 9.45am to 2.00pm current and future industry leaders will converge on the Belfast campus of the University of Ulster for a free master class on “Growing your Business in the Digital Economy”.

Ulster Business Festival 2013, Digital Economy, SEO, Adwords, Analytics, Social MEdia, Email Marketing, Ambition Digital, DANI, Pierce Communications, PostGraduate Certificate Digital Media CommunicationThis innovative event will cover issues such as how to use digital and social media effectively for your organisation, including which social media channels to engage with; how to get to grips with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), as well as analytics and Adwords; and how to avoid the potential legal pitfalls of inappropriate use of social media for your organisation.

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. 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.

Places are limited, so in order to secure your place register before 4.00pm on Monday 6th May by contacting Karen Reid by on: 02890 366982, emailing or registering online at

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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. 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. Focus will shift to web design and Search Engine Optimisation for the remainder of the first semester.

From Top (L-R): Professor Johnny Wallace, Dr, Valerie Purchase, Fiona McMahon, Olivia Hamill, Emma Gribben, Naomh McElhatton, Karen Reid, Sarah Crowther, Claire McCabe, Barry Adams

Striking a balance between theory and practice is an important feature of the course. As the term progresses, students will continue to benefit from lectures and workshops with several highly experienced practitioners. These include, Jill Robb, Managing Director of Ambition Digital, and contributor to Smart Insights, (the go-to online resource for all things digital, founded by leading digital marketing academic and practitioner, Dr.Dave Chaffey); Barry Adams, Digital Services Director of award-winning marketing services agency Pierce Communications, and an editor for the award-winning ‘State of Search’ blog; and Naomh McElhatton,  Managing Director of online advertising agency DANI (Digital Advertising Northern Ireland), founder of the prestigious DANI Awards and one of NI’s top 40 under 40.

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. Recent graduates from DMC met up with lecturers at the Culture Tech event in Derry/Londonderry in August, attended the DANI awards in September and more recently an evening with Rand Fishkin, CEO and founder of SEOmoz organised by Barry Adams. Next up is an event on November 15th at 6.00pm at the MAC in Belfast, organised by Digital Exchange (@DigiExNI). This free event will focus on perceptions of ‘Digital’ and ‘Digital Citzenship.’

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In the current economic climate it can be difficult to find the edge that sets you apart from your competitors in the job market. For those interested in business communication and marketing, the Digital Media Communication (DMC) qualification signifies expertise in the flourishing area of digital media.

Recent DMC Graduate Elizabeth Carnahan of NIBC

Recent DMC Graduate Elizabeth Carnahan, NIBC

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. 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.

Check out testimonials to read and see what our graduates have to say about the course.

As a fully-accredited university postgraduate qualification, the course curriculum, delivery and assessment are externally scrutinised at the end of each academic year. The external examiner for DMC particularly commended the theory–engaged teaching, live projects, formative assessment methods, and regular online discussions for engendering the independent learning ability and deeper thinking required to develop “innovative, postgraduate level workers who are life-long learners and leaders in their field.”

If you would like more information on one-year, part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media Communication, please email the Course Director, Fiona McMahon: or Tweet us @dmculster.

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