This is a message to EIT students - past, present and future: to those who want to qualify well and to those determined to benefit from their learning experiences generally.
If you are studying with us presently (or have completed your studies) you will understand only too clearly what the challenges are: you are most likely working full time while studying content and concepts which are often difficult and demanding.
As you juggle these competing priorities it is not so surprising that aspects of your studies are relegated to the back burner. Despite this, I am going to encourage you to squeeze everything you can from can from your course. To do this the following two reminders may help.
Firstly, always keep in mind why you chose to embark on the course. Was it to help promote your career? Or broaden your skill base? Was it because you lacked the specific skills that work was demanding from you? Or because you needed some professional development to help you keep pace with the changes in your industry?
Secondly, don’t forget the investment you made, or are making? Not just the financial one, but the one involving your time - an extraordinarily precious commodity.
Feedback from lecturers on student engagement is often heartening. When it isn’t we become concerned. When students are fully engaged in the learning process it is, without a doubt, the key to improving their outcomes and generally results in higher levels of student satisfaction.
One of our longest-serving lecturers, John Lawrence, has adjusted the format of a number of his live webinar sessions in an effort to address this issue. He has found that instead of sticking strictly to his deadline of one hour, his longer sessions include demos and, with the extra time, student interaction becomes a priority. Students are not compelled to stay beyond the hour, but those that do tend to be, says John, “pretty complimentary”.
On the other side of the coin, John has found that students who miss their live webinars (and fail to adequately catch up with the recordings) do poorly in their assignments – often on the practical components. Weakness here, in applied learning, means that the knowledge gained by students remains largely theoretical – negating the true intention of EIT qualifications.
There is another important factor that contributes to the learning experience of students and it is one that John urges his learners to remember: “the objective (of studying) is for a greater and keener understanding ...” He is saddened when he realises that a student’s sole purpose is to pass an assignment.
Education is valuable in itself, but we must remember that it can be so much more. Michelle Obama, American lawyer and writer, said about her education:
“Through my education, I didn't just develop skills, I didn't just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.”
To our students past, present and future: we, at the Engineering Institute of Technology wish you everything of the best for 2018. Whenever you have the opportunity to learn - formally or informally - do so actively and engage in it fully.