Massive Online Open Course

Just as the online revolution is dramatically changing the music industry – as most recently evidenced by the recent sudden closure of music giant HMV – it also appears that a seismic shift in the way higher education is delivered may not be far away.

IT Sligo has announced that it is to follow in the footsteps of Universities like Harvard and MIT to become Ireland’s first public higher education institution to offer a free online course or a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC).

Traditionally, colleges charge fees for online programmes and offer accreditation upon completion.  By comparison, under the MOOC model, courses are free, are not accredited and have ‘massive’ enrolments – in some cases in the thousands.

MOOCs are considered to be a ‘disruptive innovation’ in higher education and have been sweeping the US in recent years. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $3 million in the development of MOOCs in the US last November and Bill Gates said MOOCs are going to ‘revolutionise education’.

Ireland’s first MOOC will commence at IT Sligo this September and will take the form of a free, six-week online course in Lean Sigma Quality, the foremost quality process improvement approach for companies in the manufacturing and service industries.

President Professor Terri Scott, said the initiative is a natural progression for the Institute; “IT Sligo has been at the forefront of innovations in online learning so we see it as a natural progression to be forging new ground with this MOOC ,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting development and we’re delighted to be pushing the boundaries in improving access to higher education.”

In line with leading MOOC provisions internationally, the course at IT Sligo will be entirely free and it won’t be accredited. However, students completing the course will benefit considerably from the experience, according to Brian Mulligan who is one of the Programme Managers at the Institute’s Centre for Online Learning; “Students who complete the course will receive a certification of completion and will have the option of progressing to our accredited online Six Sigma Green Belt course,” he said, adding that the Institute’s existing online learning platforms Moodle and Adobe Connect will be used to deliver the programme.

The first MOOC will be delivered by Brian Coll and Dr John Donovan, academics from the institute’s School of Engineering & Design who both lecture on the Institute’s online BSc and MSc in Quality.

The change of higher education is set to mirror the disaggregation witnessed in the music industry in the last number of years, said Brian Coll. “Just as it is now less likely for someone to purchase a complete album as opposed to a single music track, people may soon be selecting the amount of education they want from various sources, studying it in their own time at a time and location that suits them, and putting it together in a combination that meets their skills needs – just like is done on iTunes,” he said.

“The online revolution is changing the world irrevocably,” said Coll. “We’ve seen plenty of examples of what happens to sectors and organisations that have been reactive rather than proactive to the pace of change and higher education is no different.”

For more information or to sign up for IT Sligo’s MOOC go to

€1 million invested in Radiowave Cancer Therapy at IT Sligo

A research agreement which brings the total investment into radiowaves as a cancer therapy at IT Sligo to in excess of €1 million has been finalised.

The investment will secure the employment of an additional 3 researchers at the Institute’s Mitochondrial Biology and Radiation Research Group and will include the provision of specialist equipment which is unique in Ireland.

Researchers at IT Sligo, led by Principal Investigator Dr James Murphy, are leading the global radiowave research project which also involves researchers in the US and Australia.

The research is being funded by the Radiowave Therapy Research Institute in Western Australia and its Director David Bonnin described the findings which have been made at IT Sligo to date as ‘very exciting’; “We’re very excited and encouraged by the findings in the first stage of the programme and we’re delighted to be continuing our investment into the research,” he said.

Dr James Murphy, who is a Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Lecturer at IT Sligo, said that the research stands to benefit a number of types of cancer; “We’re investigating the potential in radiowave therapy as a stand-alone and adjunct therapy in the context of several cancer types initially and we’re extremely encouraged by progress made to date,” he said.

The research project has been ongoing since 2008 and the latest investment represents the second stage of the process, which will include the locating of specialist equipment to the IT Sligo campus and the employment of 3 new researchers to add to the already 5-strong team at the Institute.

The Radiowave Therapy Research Institute in Western Australia was established in 2005. It is a non-profit, privately owned and privately funded establishment studying the physical, clinical, biochemical and human factor outcomes of radiowave therapy in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Radiowave therapy is already used in some parts of the world to treat cancer and is considered to be a non invasive therapy without long term side effects.

“Archaeology of Darkness”

Writer Brian Keenan will be among a panel of experts who will probe the theme of darkness at a conference in IT Sligo during the Halloween Bank Holiday weekend.

Fifteen speakers from Ireland, Britain and the US will address the “Archaeology of Darkness” conference   on such diverse subjects as ancient art, religion, prehistoric mining, caving, photography, and seasonal folk traditions during the one day event on Saturday, October 27th.

In his address “Bargaining with the Boatman”, Keenan will give his own unique insight into confinement and darkness as he describes the impact of four and a half years in captivity, as a hostage in Beirut from April 1986 to August 1990.

Emmy award winner Professor Jack Santino from Bowling Green State University in the US, will reflect the Halloween theme with a lecture about darkness and seasonal folk traditions, while another highlight will be Co Clare caver Tim O’Connell’s account of the 11 days he spent in 2010  in the world’s deepest cave. The Krubera-Voronja cave in Abkhazia, a disputed breakaway Georgian republic on the Black Sea, has been dubbed the “underground Everest”.

The conference is organised by Dr Marion Dowd a lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology in IT Sligo and Dr Robert Hensey, an expert on religious practices and belief systems in Neolithic Ireland, particularly the Irish passage tomb tradition.

In her lecture “In Search of Solitude in Darkness: Cave use in Late Bronze Age Ireland”, Dr Dowd will detail some of the fascinating artefacts she has uncovered in Irish caves. Dr Hensey will discuss people’s responses to darkness in the past and present in his address.

The eclectic programme will also include a lecture by Colman O Clabaigh OSB,  a monk of Glenstal Abbey and a medieval historian,  about  the role and experience of anchorites or religious recluses in Ireland between the twelfth and the seventeenth centuries. .

Professor Muiris O’Sullivan, Associate Professor of Archaeology and former Head of the UCD School of Archaeology will discuss the enigma of prehistoric art in Irish passage tombs.

In his lecture “Dark Places and Supernatural Light in Early Ireland”, Dr John Carey of UCC will explore the view that darkness was synonymous with enlightenment in early Gaelic tradition, while archaeological photographer Ken Williams will recount photographing some of Europe’s most spectacular dark places.

The event is open to all but places are limited. Further information and registration forms can be found at

Seán Gallagher to Visit Sligo Careers and Business Expo

Presidential candidate and Dragon’s Den supremo Seán Gallagher will visit Sligo on Friday 7th October to take part in the SelfStart Today Exhibition and Workshops being held at The Clarion Hotel.

The free event, from 10am to 7pm, features over 40 exhibition stands and 48 individual workshops dedicated to providing expert, professional and practical advise to those wishing to either start their own business, kickstart their existing business, developing their career or seeking employment opportunities. Those considering improving their educational qualifications or upskilling will find a visit to the expo of invaluable assistance in determining a course of positive action.

The exhibitors on the day are recognised as leaders in their particular field of expertise which includes finance, media, marketing, web development, training, mentoring, careers, and are totally committed to providing the optimum level of practical support to new and existing companies, individuals eager for further educational and personal development. Their involvement further demonstrates their belief and commitment in developing a better and more productive positive environment for Sligo and the NorthWest in these challenging times.

SelfStart Today ( offers the visitor a unique opportunity to speak to companies that can mentor and encourage the best progression for any business model, including possible grant aid and the latest staff recruitment initiatives. It also provides a connection with networking groups who can show and guide businesses to develop existing and as yet untapped potential.

For anyone wishing to change their mindset in relation to self-development, career and educational improvement, the event will afford the visitor the chance to use the professional exhibitor’s knowledge and guidance to develop and progress new ideas that are needed to achieve the desired goals.

The latest innovative business communication methods through video, internet, social media and online promotion will all be on display.
Team Hermes, the IT Sligo-based champions who took New York and Silicon Valley by storm by winning the coveted Microsoft World Imagine Cup in July are returning from yet another whilwind US tour and will be present on the day to share the concept of their winning project with the audience.

In conjunction with the Expo many agencies and companies will hold 30min free workshops in separate presentation meeting rooms, throughout the entire day, to impart further guidance and mentoring.

More details can be seen on the expo’s website,

Fancy working in the USA for the summer?

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