Distance education with high-speed broadband

Distance education with high-speed broadband


As more communities become equipped with high-speed broadband, the opportunities for learning are endless.

Distance learning is on the up. It’s no longer the case that students must pick a university based on its location, or uproot their lives to be near the college they have chosen. Through open universities and the availability of high-speed broadband, students can now get the education they want whiling living where they choose to live. Using online tools, virtual learning environments and video lectures, students can engage fully with their courses, connect with lecturers and earn a recognised qualification.

For Andrew Brolly, a trainee accountant in Letterkenny, Donegal, distance learning used to mean going the distance to and from his Galway-based university every week. On top of working full-time at accountancy firm Stewart & Maclochlainn, Andrew would spend at least nine hours each week travelling to and from weekend lectures.

“Before high-speed broadband there was a lot of travel,” says Andrew of his exhausting schedule. “I used to finish work at half five on a Friday evening, travel four-and-a-half hours to Galway, then a full day Saturday and full day Sunday at lectures. I would travel home on Sunday night. I might not get home until about 10pm on a Sunday night and then straight back into work on Monday morning.”


Since open eir brought high-speed broadband to his community, Andrew’s whole life has changed. Now, he can complete his college course at home without missing out on anything covered in classes. “I can sit at home, watch a lecture online and download my notes,” he explains. “They can be watched live but they also remain on the system so if I do miss a Saturday lecture, I can catch up and watch it on a Monday.”

With more free time at the weekends, Andrew can spend more time on social activities. “High-speed broadband has changed my life,” he says. “I can meet my friends, go to the pub, go bowling, go to the cinema; it really is great.” And, he has more money in his pocket to fund his increased social life. “Just on accommodation and travel, it’s saving me about €300 every month,” says Andrew. “It’s a huge saving.”