Mastering online learning
All images used with permission
A Master of Information Technology course led online-learning nonadmirer, Anthony Chukwuebuka Egbo, to some surprising discoveries about the skills he would gain.
It wasn’t a straight line for Anthony to complete a Master of Information Technology online. It wasn’t even straightforward commencing his master's.
"Back when I was in Nigeria, I always had an interest in computers, IT, and technology. But because of the limited resources there, I never had the opportunity to pursue the dream," said Anthony.
"I came to Australia to complete my double degree in philosophy and theology, but during the course, I lost interest. I recalibrated and reanalysed my life goal and then decided to switch to the Master of Information Technology and I am glad that I did".
“The combination of philosophy, theology, and information technology is really funny and interesting. I love ethical issues and how they relate to technology, especially as it relates to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity.
"Take, for instance, a scenario where a self-driving car is out of control and is bound to hit pedestrians; either an old man or young child, how would it decide who to avoid? How will it value each life?"
Not according to plan
When Anthony began to study, he knew what he wanted. On-campus lectures with like-minded students and face-to-face time with academics. He loved the conversations, the debate, and the human interaction that came with in-person learning.
But then, as 2020 did its thing, the world changed and classes went online. Anthony was dismayed.
"To be honest, I have taken online courses before, but I preferred face-to-face learning. I learn better that way," he said.
Thankfully for Anthony, he discovered that learning online with Australian Catholic University (ACU) was not only better than he expected, but it also taught him a new set of skills that would set him in good stead for his future career.
Anthony dreaded the loss of a voice and the loss of human interaction. He feared lectures would be more like watching a YouTube clip, a passive exercise with the humanness removed. To his surprise, it was anything but.
"I found that the learning became more
active. Often in a face-to-face lecture, you might have one or two students who
ask questions, but online, you have different methods to get everyone
involved," he said. "The lecturers adjusted their style of teaching to the students' needs. Instead of coming online and just giving the lectures with slides per
face-to-face module, they had more of a discussion-style class and made sure
they got everyone involved.
"Sometimes we used Zoom and had
breakout rooms to discuss topics in a smaller group before bringing our ideas
to the larger class.
"These days, in an online-lecture
format, every student is involved in what's going on, making contributions and
Collaborating and listening
"One of the benefits of online
learning was the opportunity to have independent yet collaborative learning,
managing your own time, but still keeping a level of communication with other classmates.
It's quite different from studying online alone," he said.
"You make your own decisions, are in
control of your own pace, yet you collaborate with others even when not
physically present with them. Given that I am studying IT, learning online is
good for me. Online classes are made feasible by technology, so I have come to
learn quite a lot by experience, problem-solving, and sheer curiosity, things
that I would not have ordinarily learned in face-to-face, in-class mode.
"I might even be here in Australia but
working with people in other countries.”
Even through distance Anthony built
friendships and kept connected to his classmates.
"One of the biggest challenges during
COVID-19 was not being able to meet with friends, but my classmates and I
overcame it. We communicated more with online meetings outside of class
schedule. The meetings were helpful, and everyone involved communicated openly,
sharing what they were up to. We were all in it together; we supported each
other and were kind to one another. The distance didn't keep us distant, it did
not matter anymore," he said.
Putting online skills to work
Anthony has put those skills to work
already, volunteering to redevelop the Melbourne-based
Impact for Women website. His
future, however, lies in cybersecurity.
"I've taken a lot of cybersecurity
units and the skills I've learned, and the implementation, even with this
website, will be a huge advantage for me in the job market," he said.
"The world we live in is very dynamic
and always changing. One of the things online studies helped me gain was the
ability to continually adapt to new situations, even when I am not comfortable
with them. It was a big lesson.”
Interested in a career in IT? Find out more about studying a Master of Information Technology, either online or on