After more than 20 years, Sri Lankan graduate, Shironica Karunanayaka, returned to the University of Wollongong (UOW) campus.
“I left UOW in early 2001, immediately after submitting my doctoral thesis, and could not attend the graduation ceremony. However, there was a great desire and a hidden hope in my heart, that one day I would visit UOW again. I could fulfill this wish only in 2022 and it gives me a wonderful feeling,” explained Shironica.
Shironica was working as a junior academic staff member at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) when she was awarded a scholarship to pursue her doctoral studies at UOW. She said it was a great opportunity for her professional development and career progress. After graduating, Shironica became the first educator in Sri Lanka to specialise in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the field of Education, which allows teachers and students to make the most of the digital technologies available to them.
“The opportunity to undertake my doctoral studies at UOW and become the first doctorate in Sri Lanka specialising in ICT in Education and Training was a significant achievement in my professional life. This experience resulted in furthering my career with a key focus towards technology-enhanced learning and teaching.”
When she returned to OUSL with a Doctorate of Education (EdD) from UOW, Shironica was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in Education. She later became the Head of the Department of Secondary and Tertiary Education and then the Dean of the Faculty of Education.
“I believe the valuable exposure, experience, and the foundations in Educational Technology I received at UOW has truly been a great inspiration and a significant enabler in my professional achievements.
“I was able to provide administrative and academic leadership in various initiatives to enhance integration of technology in education. For instance, developing and implementing the first fully online course at OUSL, integrating interactive multimedia, and professional development online courses for teachers.
“I am happy to say that I became the first Professor in Educational Technology in Sri Lanka and am currently serving as a Senior Professor in Educational Technology at OUSL.”
Shironica said that she has many fond memories at UOW.
“I loved the beautiful natural environment in the campus surrounded with trees, and especially the duck ponds. It was a very pleasant study environment. Both academic and admin staff were so friendly and helpful.
“I feel so nostalgic to return to the UOW campus. It’s great to be back after two decades.”
Doctor of Education