‘Time management and self-motivation is important’

What will college look like? A final year student tells us about Early Childhood Studies at NUI Galway.

‘Use technology to your advantage, there are lots of online planners and apps that can help you to manage your time,’ says Eamie Murphy

Many courses are being redesigned to cope with the new Covid-19 environment. The process started months ago for many courses but others were already being delivered remotely or with the use of virtual or online tools.

Many will wonder what their course will look like this year. We spoke to students already studying blended courses in order to hear their perspective.

Eamie Murphy is a final year student of Early Childhood Studies and Practice at NUI Galway.

Can you describe how the course is delivered?


The course is delivered through a combination of distance and blended learning. Students attend a small number of on-campus workshops during the year, with most of the learning material delivered through Blackboard, an online learning platform. Through Blackboard, students have access to course information, announcements, course materials and assignment information. This coming semester NUI Galway will be moving to a fully online teaching model for my course so all lectures will be delivered online.

What do you think of the virtual environment – does it work for you?

I think it is fantastic. I work as a manager in a creche in Co Galway. The way the course is delivered allows me the flexibility to continue working full time and also pursue further education. I have been able to create my own schedule and manage my studies in a way that suits me.

How do you submit assessments/sit exams?

We upload all assignments and projects on to Blackboard. Up until this year, exams have taken place on campus but I know some international students who have sat exams online so this may be an option for the future.

How do you interact with fellow students?

Students on my course come from all around the country. In order to keep in contact, we mainly rely on online communication. We are friends on social media platforms, and we have a dedicated WhatsApp group that we make full use of – it’s a really active group and we support each other through college and life in general. We have become close friends and I’m sure our WhatsApp group will continue long after we graduate.

Is it easy to interact with tutors/lecturers?

The tutors all reach out on Blackboard before the workshops to introduce themselves. They upload all of the module materials and assessment information for us to review in advance. We meet in person at the workshops, but we can email them directly at any time. The tutors and co-ordinators on my course have been brilliant. They give really detailed feedback and are so generous with their knowledge and expertise.

Any tips for incoming first year students?

When you are studying from home, time management and self-motivation is important. This can be challenging so I would advise incoming students to set realistic goals and celebrate their achievements along the way. Use technology to your advantage, there are lots of online planners and apps that can help you to manage your time. Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the experience of college.