Online learning to play vital role in decentralisation

16 Jul 2004

Government chief whip and Minister for the Information Society, Mary Hanafin (pictured) has described online learning as “particularly important in the context of the Government’s programme of decentralisation.” She made the comment while introducing a new fully online MBA course, accredited to more than 16 universities worldwide, available to Irish students.

The course is offered and accredited by the prestigious Universitas 21 Global – a Singapore based network of Thomson Learning and 16 member universities in nine countries including the US, Canada, Britain, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Member universities enrol more than 500,000 students and employ over 40,000 academics globally. The course is being offered in Ireland in conjunction with PAI Publications Ltd, the publisher of Public Affairs Ireland Journal, the leading guide to legislative, regulatory and public affairs in Ireland.

The e-MBA course offers a large selection of modules that may be tailored to the choice of the individual student. While there are 10 core subjects, there are another seven electives, which enable selection of relevant modules. The final section of the course is a research project, which typically relates to one’s area of work.

“Class” sizes are kept to about 20 students. The programme content consists of online web-based lessons and textbooks. Students maintain constant contact with their instructor and classmates, and communicate with discussion boards, emails and ‘chats’. The Universitas 21 MBA student uses real world experiences in individual and team-based assignments, projects and case studies.

Describing the importance of e-learning to the information society, Hanafin said: “The need for lifelong learning is a reality and the internet has a key role to play in helping people to secure further education without being constrained by their physical location and occupational or family pressures.

“The Information Society requires that such choices must be available to everyone, regardless of location or personal circumstances and this course can play a key role in achieving this objective. I see it as particularly important in the context of the Government’s programme of decentralisation,” Hanafin said.

Dr Jeremy Williams, Director of Instruction and Assessment and Associate Professor in E-Learning at Universitas 21 Global, said he looked forward to welcoming the first Irish students on the course. “We leverage the power of the World Wide Web and other electronic resources so that anywhere that you have access to the internet, this fully online, interactive, instructor-led MBA is brought to you.

“Our student-centric content backed by interactive and collaborative technologies will ensure that students get the best of education relevant in the global context and provides an international perspective with real life situations drawn from around the world,” Dr Williams said.

By John Kennedy