Last week, 15 new MScSED graduates were conferred with their degrees at NUI Galway (fortunately, before the wicked winter weather arrived). At the programme reception afterwards, graduates and their families mixed with faculty and staff in a happy, celebratory atmosphere. It’s always a joy to attend a conferring ceremony, but for the MScSED programme the sense of anticipation and excitement is that bit greater. The programme is entirely online, so during the programme we meet most of our students only at the Orientation Day and Thesis Workshop. Students who live outside Ireland we may never meet at all! But we grow to know them well, over the course of the 2-year programme, based on our regular online interactions. Graduation, then, is exciting for students and staff alike, for the chance to celebrate with people we know well but may hardly have met.
At last week’s conferring celebrations, amidst all the happy chatter, three pieces of feedback stood out for me. They were recounted by our new graduates as elements of the programme which stood out for them and were instrumental in their success:
- Feedback – Facilitators who provided rich feedback were praised highly, for helping students to stay engaged and to dig deep for real learning.
- Support – Individual support from module facilitators as well as ongoing support from the programme team were considered essential “so we don’t feel like we’re all alone out there”.
- Passion – Finally, one graduate said that the best advice he received was to “choose a thesis topic that you are passionate about”. He took that advice and his passion sustained him on the long path towards completing his (excellent) thesis.
MScSED graduates, we congratulate you on your success! And we thank you for reminding us why we enjoy this work so much; as one of our facilitators said, celebrating your achievements with you “refills the enthusiasm reservoir”. You help us to remember, in the midst of all our activities, the importance of Feedback, Support and Passion.