Dr. Carina Ginty: Empowering higher education space with advanced digital technology

10 Best Influential Educational Leaders in 2022

W. B. Yeats, an Irish poet, and prose writer once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of the fire.” And to light this fire we all have to continuously burn despite the storms and pandemics.

Dr. Carina Ginty, Head of teaching and learning as well as Project Lead DigitalEd with her team kept the fire of education ignited at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). “Digitalization and adopting technology are key strategies for GMIT,” she says.

“When the pandemic hit globally, we at GMIT rapidly responded by developing digital teaching and learning platforms thanks to considerable and quick investment from our partners,” Carina added further.

There was more to her story and diligence with which she and her team reformed the digital education system at GMIT.

Let’s know the gist of the challenges Dr. Carina had to face and her contributions during the pandemic that led to modernizing and digitalizing the teaching and learning experience at GMIT.

Tell us about the genesis of GMIT?

GMIT has 5 campuses under its institution in the West of Ireland with more than 7000 students from over 40 countries gaining profound educational experience.

GMIT is a member of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) and we are swiftly moving towards becoming a new Technological University (TU) in the Northwest part of Ireland.

How did you strategize the digital teaching and learning capabilities at GMIT?

We were considering implementing digital platforms to reform the educational experience at GMIT long before the pandemic. We had included digitalization and technology usage in our 2019-2023 strategic plan.

During the pandemic, our GMIT and CUA partners made considerable investments due to which we could develop digital interventions to support online learning, teaching, assessment processes. One of these initiatives was the DigitalEd platform under the iNOTE project which is being supported by the HEA Innovation Fund in Ireland.

How do you think was the response of faculty and students to this sudden migration to digital learning amidst the pandemic?

If we talk about the response in GMIT campuses, our staff showed quick enthusiasm and willingness to engage in the new opportunities in the digital learning space.

Digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Moodle made student interaction and engagement easier. During the digital transition amidst the whole COVID-19 pandemic situation, our whole focus was on helping our students engage with online learning space to build a better tomorrow.

Our DigitalEd initiative was at the cent of this digital transition. The scale of what we achieved across GMIT campuses and extended to our CUA partner sites showed the potential of the digital transition of the education system for national as well as international institutes.

What do you think should be the strategic move of the education institutions post-pandemic?

During the pandemic, one thing I noticed, which was the extraordinary efforts and goodwill demonstrated by the people involved in teaching, learning, leading, and supporting areas of the education field.

As for moving forward in the world of digital education post-pandemic, I believe this cycle of implementing and improving digital education should be continued. Research and review-based actions and decisions are what we critically need during our journey of digital transformation.

And looking at the circumstances globally, the use of digital teaching and learning platforms is expected to increase in the near future.

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