Continuing on in our series of Student Interviews I got in touch with Niamh O’Flaherty a past CMI pupil who graduated from CMI with a Diploma in Criminology and Forensics.
Niamh O’Flaherty, hailing from cork, is a graduate of CMI’s Diploma in Criminology and Forensics who finished her course in May 2013. Due to her location Niamh had taken the course on by distance learning. She’s recently found herself relocated to Toronto in search of a new beginning. Niamh’s from a family with two older sister’s one living in Churchtown North Cork and the other in Denver, Colorado.
Niamh is no stranger to education as she has a Certificate in Health Services, a Certificate in Linguistic Tourism and a BA Degree in Business Management from the Cork institute of Technology. In the world of employment Niamh spent 10 years as a Clerical Officer with the Community Services in the Health Service Executive, Cork. She worked specifically with the Drug and Alcohol Services for 6 years and Child Protection for 3. She had accepted voluntary redundancy from the HSE in the hope of pursuing a change of career in Canada and with this in mind she felt CMI ticked all the right boxes for her situation.
Being a mother of two Niamh knows how demanding it can be working fulltime and juggling home life. She did her BA part-time 3 days a week from 6-10 which was very demanding, especially with her young boys also attending school. CMI allowed Niamh to study when and where it suited her. Picking out a specific example Niamh mentioned that when she was due to sit her exam in January 2013 her son suddenly fell ill and that CMI had no issues rescheduling her to resit the exam during CMI’s next exam period in April. As she put it “CMI demonstrated to me their awareness and consideration of students having busy lifestyles.”
Having always had an interest in behavioral studies Niamh spent months searching online for a specific course that held international accreditation, which was important to her as she had been planning her move to Canada for some time. She made the point that a lot of universities offer courses but that it was important that students remain diligent in assessing how well recognized the received qualification will be. Niamh suggested that the Criminology and Forensics Diploma was extremely cost effective, a good duration and covered an excellent arrange from someone looking to change their direction but not limit themselves to a specific field of study. In short she enjoyed covering the various aspects of the three different disciplines covered in the course: Criminology, Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation.
Niamh thought the overall timetable of her course was excellent with well-spaced out assignments and also mentioned that there was always plenty of support provided by lecturers. With her distance from Dublin (living in Cork) she found that the final exam assessment was fantastic as other courses could have provided multiple assessments resulting in various trips. When asked if the course lived up to her expectations Niamh said that it definitely did and that she found the modules very current and interesting. She believes the course gave her the confidence to pursue the path she always had an interest in, it also answered her own personal question about which of the three disciplines she’d be more interested in pursuing.
Niamh praised the part-time nature of lecturers saying that she “found the experience to be more insightful than lecturers that are fulltime lecturing and not currently practicing in their discipline”. Niamh also found CMI’s Moodle system very user-friendly and enjoyed the vast variety of resources her lecturers posted on it to keep the subject material relevant. Niamh seemed to have a soft spot for the administration staff at CMI pointing out that Tracey in the office always remembered her by name and helped her reschedule her exams.
When asked what she would improve about CMI she said she would like to have more locations nationwide for examinations to cater for distance students. It’s worth noting that shortly after Niamh left CMI they added additional live online classes to this course for distance students giving them a chance to have some personal experience with lecturers.