The TUS Learning Gate project aims to be rolled out across the Midlands region and beyond to ensure higher education opportunities are available to those living and working in these surrounding regions.
The Junction, Tullamore TUS Learning Gate Hub is now one of three impressive hubs in Offaly running the program alongside Stream Birr and eHive Edenderry.
The “TUS Learning Gate”, a concept developed by Dr. Michael Tobin, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning, aims to formally create a place/space for TUS students and academic staff to meet and learn together, providing one of the many online -Programs offered by the Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning at TUS Athlone Campus.
The ‘TUS Learning Gate’ represents a space where TUS faculty can deliver their lectures online, where students can learn online and access the TUS Library, where students can view their online lectures, meet to work on projects discuss and/or do group work based on the requirements of the program they are attending at the university. The goal is to enable students to study and work on-site, and still have a learning space they can go to that is warm, comfortable and furnished to meet their needs.
dr Tobin added, “The TUS Learning Gate locations are all ideally located and organized as a remote working hub, like here at The Junction Tullamore, with desks and offices already in place, allowing students to have some of the Tier 3 experiences to gather in their local towns. Additionally, it minimizes the need to travel to Athlone when trying to find a quiet and professional place to work.”
The concept, he continued, “came from student/faculty feedback that students of online learning often met in hotel foyers for group work, that their local broadband wasn’t good enough, or that they didn’t have a quiet place to study or have fun Classes had access to their internet. However, all of this is now being resolved with this progressive partnership between The Junction and other centers for remote work and TUS, where together they are opening the ‘TUS Learning Gate’ and thereby solving these problems for the people in these regions and their surroundings.” .
Declan Doran, Business Development and Work Practices Coordinator, believes, “The Learning Gate will also provide a place for TUS to host informational events and other such activities – to expand our outreach and ensure we provide accessible education through online learning channels offer in the Midlands.
“In addition to creating an identity at each respective Learning Gate location, TUS has a presence and seeks to collaborate with local industry in designing programs and research opportunities. TUS will use this as a site to proactively seek funding opportunities to support local learning opportunities through various government and other initiatives e.g. Springboard+, ICT Skills and Human Capital Initiative programs will be identified through consultation with local stakeholders and designed to address those to support those who work and live (and possibly commute) near each TUS Learning Gate location. Our goal is to provide relevant, accessible programs on-site or at a location connected to the TUS Learning Gate.”
Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of the Technological University of the Shannon added: “The goal of the TUS Learning Gate is to bring the delivery of higher education to these regions to ensure those who live and work in these places , part-time university programs such as those offered locally by TUS have flexible access. This will help support the social, business and industrial communities of these regions by providing access to appropriate skilled personnel, either through upskilling or reskilling opportunities made available through the partnership between each remote working hub and TUS and locally made possible by the ‘TUS Learning Gate’ concept.”
Mary Hensey, Manager of e-Hive Edenderry and The Junction Tullamore said she is delighted to be working with TUS on this new concept. “Our hubs offer tranquil professional spaces with an essential range of facilities such as fast broadband and Eduroam that support learning and encourage collaboration between members, whether you are a student or an established company. We have a presence across the country to ensure that there is no longer a barrier to accessing higher education.”
In recent years, TUS has been very successful in funding through the Springboard+, HCI and ICT Skills initiatives, all initiatives that make learning and upskilling available to many cohorts of people (employed, unemployed and others) on a flexible, part-time basis. In the current academic year, the University has over 2000 students, mostly adults, who study its range of programs from all 32 counties every week and take advantage of its range of flexible part-time programs delivered in an online learning mode in various disciplines such as business, law and leadership, quality and lean, logistics, packaging, management and many more. And indeed, these students would like to see the Learning Gate project established in all districts. The TUS Learning Gate concept at The Junction Tullamore, Stream Birr and eHive Edenderry represents a facility specifically for these students as they wish to work and learn with fellow students in a professional environment, with access to a dedicated desk and WiFi. Fi.
The ‘TUS Learning Gate’ represents a space where TUS lecturers can deliver their lectures online, where students can study and access the TUS library online via Eduroam. Students can view their online lectures, meet to discuss projects and/or do group work based on the requirements of the program they are taking at the university.