IT Sligo has won prestigious national recognition as Ireland’s leading innovator in the use of technology and flexible learning for off-campus and part-time students – and for many of them, it is key to getting a foothold on the jobs’ ladder and career progression.
“Your lecture in your time” – that’s the offer the Institute of Technology Sligo makes to potential students, whether abroad or in this country, who are keen to study for a degree or one of its many other certificate programmes but not as full-time on-campus students.
The fastest growing supplier of part-time accredited higher education in Ireland, IT Sligo will hold a special Part-Time and Online Learning “Open Evening” on Thursday, May 30th to provide information on the part-time, online and postgraduate course options available from this September.
Information will also be provided about the Government-funded Springboard initiative which provides free places on selected courses for unemployed persons.
With almost 50 courses to choose from in the areas of science, engineering, business and social science, from higher certificate to Masters level, there are courses to cater for every interest and level.
Dr Brendan McCormack, IT Sligo Registrar, says: “Some of our part time courses are delivered at the Institute in the evening time, but the majority are delivered online. This makes learning and up-skilling possible, no matter what your location or work situation.
“The majority of people on part-time courses at the Institute are in the 25 to 50 age group, and most have significant experience in the workplace and are up-skilling either to maximise career promotion opportunities or because of redundancy and the need to change to a different sector” he said.
“We will also be offering a range of courses through the Springboard initiative. This is a very worthwhile opportunity for those who find themselves out of work to gain a new or additional qualification which will help them get back into the jobs market.”
More than 1,500 students are currently enrolled on the Institute’s part-time programmes and some 1100 of these are studying online. Many students ‘log in’ for their live classes from abroad, some from as far afield as Canada, Africa, Australia and Israel. The fact that students doing the most complex laboratory work can access and control equipment remotely, means that Institute continues to lead the field in the provision of online education
Already, many hundreds of students have benefited from its long tradition of evening classes and distance learning, and over recent years it has significantly expanded its list of full online programmes.
“Our aim is to make higher education accessible, with particular emphasis on meeting the needs of the modern learner,” says Dr McCormack.
IT Sligo won a Digital Media Award for being ‘Best in eLearning’ in 2011 and last year it launched a Centre for Online Learning to build on the Institute’s outreach.
It crowned its success in the sector by winning An Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award for 2012, for Online Learning delivery.
The Institute’s flair for innovation was further underlined when it announced that it will follow in the footsteps of Universities such as Harvard and MIT to become Ireland’s first public higher education institution to offer a free online course, or a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). The MOOC, to be launched in September, is on Lean Sigma Quality.
Dr McCormack said: “IT Sligo is serving both a regional and a national need by widening access to Higher Education to a whole new generation of students, many of whom never had the opportunity of third-level study or others who may never even have previously thought that it was ‘for them’.
“Whether they are studying online in a foreign country or here in Ireland, or attending our evening classes, they may not fit the traditional image of the young free-wheeling on-campus undergraduate but they certainly share the aim of achieving an accredited degree, or certificate, no matter their age, income or employment status. That is a marvellous personal and professional achievement for them, and an enormous contribution to the educational platform of the country.
The Part-Time Learning Open Evening will be held in IT Sligo’s Yeats Library (Lower Level), in IT Sligo’s Main Building from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, May 30th. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.