Positive feedback from students is humbling and amazing, but it is particularly extraordinary when it comes with gratitude for what is a fairly gruelling process. Those of you who have undertaken the EIT’s online courses (3 month certificate courses through to eighteen month advanced diplomas) will agree that the going can be tough. It is a feat to just successfully complete a qualification, but when it is achieved whilst juggling full time work and the responsibilities of family it is quite remarkable. Before relating this short tale, therefore, congratulations is in order – to all graduates – but especially, and obviously, to those of you who have graduated through the EIT.

One of our South African students, Rephinus Omoro, has recently graduated from the Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering – one of Paul Celenza’s DME02 cohorts. When Rephinus started investigating further study he was (and still is) working for Kusile Fabrication Pty Ltd, as their CNC Foreman; responsible for programming the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and overseeing the machining production process. Quite fulfilling, but he was looking to upgrade his skills and anticipating opportunities for promotion. Because he wasn’t able to put work on hold while studying, the EIT became an attractive option; online, flexible and specialising in a range of engineering fields.

It was interesting to learn from Rephinus about his ability to cope with this extra commitment in his life. He admitted that it was his family who took the brunt! He did have to sacrifice some family time, but as each assignment was completed and submitted he was able to compensate as that was when the pressure eased a little. He believed that despite the extra stress the key was to maintain a peaceful atmosphere at home – necessary for the family when the dynamic has changed and to facilitate his daily study program.

He was also asked about the challenges of his particular study ‘trench’ – how had he coped with the hungry trench rats (submission deadlines) and the deep mud (general and on-going rigour of the course)? His answer was not surprising - self discipline, including a daily study agenda. His kind words to Paul, however, illustrate the value of the e-learning coordinators’ support to the study process: “You’ve been so patient and have inspired me to complete my assignments even when I was almost giving up.”

Other aspects of the EIT online learning process assisted Rephinus too. His ability to listen to the lecturers’ live webcasts as often as necessary helped to reinforce the course content for him (the recordings are sent to students as soon as they have been delivered). And the flexibility of the course – if something prevents you, part way through the course, from continuing your study, you can take it up again with a subsequent cohort of students later on.

In the main, however, Rephinus’ gratitude was for the course itself – in his words: “The course was designed in a way that allows the learner to directly apply what has been taught to real-time problems in the work-place” (an argument for studying and working supposedly – despite the time burden). He goes on to say: “I have gained the skill to anticipate the consequences of new designs and to initiate solutions to problems. I have new programming skills and can complete tasks or projects to specification at my first attempt.”

Thanks very much to Rephinus for his assistance with this article and we, at the EIT, all wish him everything of the best.

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