Staff Stories: Meet Jackie

What is your role in the Centre for Adult Learning & Professional Development?

Hello, My name is Jacqueline Murphy and I am a lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology. My role is to facilitate adult learners gain key research skills which equip them to advance their academic and professional careers. My learners come with a wealth of practical and real life experience and my job is to help them gain confidence in their knowledge and use this to change our communities and society for the better.

What does your role entail?

Everything! Our modules are designed to equip our learners with the most up to date knowledge and skillset. I collaborate with colleagues across the university and community to deliver this. I work with our excellent Education Technologist Dr Bonnie Long and the Teaching and Learning team to ensure the modules are delivered in an effective and efficient way to our learners.

The fun starts when teaching starts – teaching in Adult Learning is very different to what you might have experienced previously. My students and I are colleagues and co-creators of understanding. We work together to ensure that you gain what you need from the learning process. Returning to University can be daunting and my job is to help learners realise their potential.

What is a typical day like for you?

First things first – Coffee! It is the part of the day I miss most because of the pandemic. It was a great way to catch up with colleagues and share ideas. Pandemic or not, my morning starts with emails! Our learners are part-time so normally they study at night or early in the morning. I encourage my learners to email me with questions, things they are not sure about or ideas they are developing. I spend time tweaking my online learning pages, learners can engage with the content at any time so I like to update our online learning environment Blackboard to be responsive to my student’s needs. Next stop is some recording! My students do not have to attend live ‘classes’ so I record short lectures and podcasts so you can learn on the go! I might then have an online session where I meet with my learners to chat about the course content, assignments and life in general! These normally happen in the evening to suit our learner’s schedule. I love the collaboration and sense of community which can be fostered in an adult learning class. The craic is mighty and my students often stay friends long after the course has finished!

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I love the facilitation of learning. My job is not to teach you anything. My job is to help you realise your potential. I can gather fascinating knowledge and create great practical exercises to help you develop skills but it is you that builds the understanding and capability, especially as an adult learner. You come to my learning space with so much life and professional experience – I help you to see how the theory links to what you already know. It is my privilege to be part of that journey with my learners.

How has Covid-19 impacted your role?

The main impact is the lack of good coffee but actually, my role has remained much the same. Here in Centre, we had already moved to be dynamic online education providers. Our adult learners log into their courses at anytime, anywhere – it might be via their phones on a coffee break from work or maybe on a tablet after the kids are in bed, we also have our early morning risers typing a way on keyboards before the world has stirred. Learning happens at a time and in a way that suits you. We had already moved to this online space of collaboration and knowledge creation.

Congratulations on winning a Teaching Hero Award last month, how did it feel to be nominated for this award by your students?

It is easily one of the greatest honors of my professional career. This award means so much because I was nominated by my students. I think this year has been so tough on us all for so many reasons and then there are the legends of people who decide to invest in themselves and their future by taking on or continuing a part time course. My heart is so full at the idea that I have helped them to face this challenge and that in return, they took the time to nominate me. I have propped my award by my kettle in the hope it will inspire me to make better coffee!

Interested in becoming an Adult Learner? We are currently taking applications for our part-time courses.

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