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Mullingar boasts a brand-new IT Learning Gate

The Irish town has significantly improved higher education flexibility in the region

  • February 14, 2020 17:30
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium ait learning gate  launch
Source: westmeathcoco.ie

A successful example for cooperation between the local government and educational institutions has been set in Mullingar, the county town of Westmeath County, Ireland. After the inauguration of the Athlone IT Learning Gate, last month, the town and its surroundings now offer far more flexible access to higher education classes provided by the Athlone Technology Institute.

Bringing HEI closer to remote areas

The centre is located at the Mullingar e-Working Centre, Áras an Chontae on Mount Street and was officially inaugurated by representatives of Athlone Institute of Technology and Westmeath County Council on January 24th. It allows students and academic staff to meet in person or organise online or blended learning programmes. Furthermore, online access to library materials and meeting rooms are available to students, which grants them the opportunity to keep up with their education from the comfort of their homes and to also visit an educational facility and meet their peers whenever they need so.

According to Westmeath Co Co representatives, the new learning space “offers both hot-desking facilities and more long-term solutions for individuals who require a quiet workspace. The e-Working Centre is suited to employees who are currently commuting long distances to work but would like to work closer to home. Additionally, it is available for small or start-up business owners”.

Dr Michael Tobin, Dean of Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning who introduced the concept of the IT Learning Gate of Athlone, specified that it is perfectly located and organised as a remote working hub with desks and offices already in place, enabling students to have some of the third level experience in Mullingar. Additionally, it minimises the necessity to travel to Athlone when attempting to seek out a quiet and professional space to work in.

Flexible learning comes to the Midlands

With the new centre the online and blended learning students from Mullingar, a town with a population of around 20 thousand inhabitants, will dispose of a calm and quiet learning place with stable WIFI, nearby their home. Hence, this cooperation brings a Higher Education facility and a professional learning environment to the Midlands’ town which is located some 60 kilometres away from the Athlone Institute of Technology.

It is expected that cooperation of the Technology institute will expand to include as many of the 20 remote areas in the Midlands as possible, so as to give them access to their flexible part-time online/blended learning programme

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