Meet the tutor – Dr Mike Shaw

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our engineering tutor team further and welcome the arrival of our newest member, Dr Mike Shaw. With over 30 years of teaching experience, Mike will be a huge asset to UniCourse and provide our Electrical and Electronic Engineering learners with a vast amount of knowledge and support.

We asked Mike a few questions to allow our visitors and learners to get to know a little bit about our latest addition.


Can you tell us about who you are, where you live and what you do?

I was born and bred in Crosby, about 10 km north of Liverpool, where I still live now, although I lived away from Crosby for periods of time when I was working in other employment. I’m a Chartered Engineer with principal expertise in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and was Subject Head at a well-known UK university.


When and why did you decide you wanted to become a teacher?

I’ve been teaching in higher education for over 32 years now. Although it was a career path that I didn’t exactly plan for, teaching as a vocation goes back several generations in my family, so I suppose it is in the blood, really. One of the best feelings is passing on knowledge and experience to others who are keen to learn, which gives me the greatest buzz.


Why did you decide to join the UniCourse tutorial team?

I have known UniCourse Limited for several years. It has a great deal to offer industry and people seeking career development in engineering and business as an organisation. I knew it was a growing and developing company, and for me, this was an ideal opportunity to assist that goal; a win-win situation.


What are your thoughts on the emergence of online distance learning as a viable alternative to traditional education?

There are so many people for whom the traditional study model simply doesn’t work and effectively disenfranchises them from that opportunity. For people working full-time with family and other commitments, online study for an industry-standard engineering qualification really is a no-brainer. Studying in your own time and fitting that around your other obligations is the obvious way to go. It’s very cost-effective too.


So, you’re an engineering tutor; have you always had a passion for engineering?

Quite simply, yes! Engineering is all I know, and I’ve dabbled in engineering since about the age of 14, and it still fascinates me. I will never grow tired of it, that’s for sure.


What should a prospective engineering student expect to learn from you at UniCourse?

They will undoubtedly have a challenging experience because engineering is that type of subject. Still, they will also have an enjoyable experience and one that will benefit them, not only intellectually but professionally as well. The potential career development opportunities are enormous.


What are some of your favourite strategies for teaching material to learners?

I believe that learning has to be interesting and fun, so providing those qualities within the learning environment is essential. Demonstrating the relevance of the material is also crucial. It is not learning for learning’s sake but showing the significance and application within the real world that is essential.


What would you say to a learner who wanted to give up, believing they are not capable of acquiring the qualification?

Never give up. It’s really sad to hear people say those sorts of things. Everyone has an innate ability or skill, and half the time, the challenge is providing learners with the confidence to recognise and use those abilities to their best benefit. Once they can appreciate that talent, the hard work is usually complete, and it spurs them on to bigger and better challenges. Everyone has some form of latent ability; it just needs teasing-out and nurturing. Just have self-belief.


How would you describe your teaching style?

I suppose my teaching style could be described as ‘inclusive’. I want learners to be involved and encouraged. I want them to be engaged with their subject and, yes, to be challenged as well, but I’ll go to the ends of the earth to help those interested and willing.


Who has served as an inspiration to you in terms of what you do?

If there were one person that I would single out, it would be Richard Feynman. He won the Nobel Prize for quantum physics in 1965, and while clearly being able to understand supremely complex subjects, he had an innate ability to get over complex concepts very quickly to non-experts. He’s fascinating to listen to.


And finally, what motivates you to keep going?

Quite simply, enthusiasm and interest in my subject and a desire to pass that on to others.


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