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An open laptop with glasses resting on top and a cup of coffee.

Mastering online learning


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.

 

Active learning

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 

Anthony Chukwuebuka Egbo portrait

the 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 asking questions."

 

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 campus.

Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2021 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G