Which Course Virtual Week online education fair kicks off on 12 September

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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It is fair to say that Which Course Virtual Week is a first for Ireland. This is an online, or virtual, education fair and it takes place from Monday 12 September to Saturday 17 September. Prospective students or anyone considering taking a course, from a hobby to postgraduate studies, can meet with colleges and course providers using the online platform.

Online education events have grown in popularity across the United States and Asia, and they are catching on across the rest of the world. Beth Rees of Careers Unlimited explains the how and why of Which Course Virtual Week.

What is the difference between Which Course Virtual Week and a traditional education fair?

Obviously the big difference is that the Which Course Virtual Week takes place online. However, other than that, it is very similar indeed. The platform has been designed to look like a traditional education expo. In exactly the same way as a physical exhibition, colleges and course providers have booths and staff on-hand. Students can visit the booths to collect information, such as prospectuses and brochures. They can also speak to student recruitment officers, liaise with professional bodies and submit applications. There s video, text and voice chat facilities, so attendees can choose the option that suits them best.

What are the advantages of an online event?

Time and money! Educational fairs tend to be held in big cities. In Ireland they are almost always in Dublin. This means that every single person outside of the capital has to travel to take part. There s the cost of transport, and some people may need to take time off work too. It s not practical for prospective students living abroad to travel to educational fairs either.

Careers Unlimited has run the very successful Which Course event at the RDS since 2007 so it is something we have been aware of for a while. Educational fairs, virtual or traditional, are a fantastic resource for anyone thinking of going to college or returning to education. We wanted to do something that was not only innovative, but that would democratise the process. Anyone considering doing a course in Ireland can take part wherever they are. It doesn’t matter if you are in Athlone or Atlanta, at home, in the office or outside as long as you have an internet connection you can take part.

Are there any pros for colleges and course providers?

Again, the big gains are time and money. There is no need for college staff to travel or pay for hotels. Colleges don t need exhibition backdrops, posters, or printed prospectuses. They have a range of digital tools to share information with students and they can include marketing materials such as videos too. As well as video, text and voice chat facilities, course providers can hold webinars, or virtual seminars, to address large numbers of prospective students during Which Course Virtual Week.

What about the human touch? Is it missing with something like this?

Anne Sexton

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