Here at the Museum, we’re very excited by the announcement that the very successful Manchester Certificate has now become a Diploma, and look forward to contributing in a variety of ways. I caught up with Dr. Joyce Tyldesley, Museum Research Associate and Senior Lecturer on the Diploma Course in Egyptology, to ask her some questions about the newly-launched Diploma.
EgyptManchester: Why do you think the online course has been so successful?
Joyce Tyldesley: Several things combine to make the online Certificate course successful. The first is that it meets a very real need. There are students all over the world who would love the opportunity to study ancient Egypt, but whose circumstances make it impossible for them to attend conventional face-to-face teaching. The Manchester course makes Egyptology a very real possibility for anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Another strength is the student body. Our students come from a wide range of geographical locations, experiences and backgrounds, and their ages vary from late teens to late 70s. Some of them face very real personal struggles to work with us, yet together they form a tightly bonded community which benefits hugely from their shared experiences. We also have an excellent course tutor in hieroglyphs expert Dr Glenn Godenho, and we receive top quality administrative and IT support from the Faculty of Life Sciences. Anne, Ian and Kate are always on hand to help students who face technical problems.
EM: What will the Diploma offer that the Certificate course didn’t?
JT: The Diploma is designed as a continuation of the Certificate course, allowing students to continue studying Egyptology with Manchester University for a further two years. While the Certificate is, broadly speaking, a history of Egypt from Predynastic times to the Roman Period, the Diploma takes a more modular approach, allowing students to focus on particular aspects of dynastic civilization, including urban development, technologies, and Egypt’s neighbours.
EM: How will the Museum’s collection be used in the new Diploma?
JT: The Manchester Museum is home to a fantastic collection of artefacts from Egypt and the Sudan. The collection will be integrated into the Diploma via a series of case studies, a photographic library and a selection of video clips and recorded discussions which will include material which is not on display in the galleries. I also hope to persuade the Curator of Egypt and the Sudan to record some lectures for the Certificate and Diploma students (hint taken! EM.). In this way I hope to give students who may be living many miles away from Manchester, a real sense of belonging to the Manchester Museum community.
EM: How important is Manchester’s historical connection with Ancient Egypt as a basis for the course?
JT: Manchester’s historical connection with ancient Egypt, and the interest of prominent local Egyptophiles, led directly to the creation of the Museum’s world-renowned Egyptology collections. To acknowledge this heritage we start the Certificate course with a consideration of how and why the Manchester collection was built up and, three years later, we end with a return visit to the Museum to consider some of the groundbreaking scientific work undertaken by Professor Rosalie David and her team of researchers.