Professor Sarah Moore chair, National Forum

Professor Sarah Moore chair, National Forum

The National Summit 2015 provided a timely opportunity to bring very many stakeholders from across the sector together to reflect and to showcase key outputs, activities, resources and knowledge that the Forum has generated – with much cross- sectoral collaboration – since its establishment in 2012.

The Forum belongs to the sector – and it has worked to be a lever for discussion, for conversation, for the confrontation and integration of views that are diverse and priorities that often compete. The Summit provided an opportunity to remind us of the Forum’s purpose– which is to put teaching and learning at the centre of sectoral enhancement, and thereby develop our excellence, our reputation and our ambitions in higher education.

Official Opening National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education 2015

My Ten Greatest Teachers – Prof Joseph O’Connor 

There was much to discuss and take stock of: in this first intensive phase of the Forum’s development, a lot has happened. Two key phases of teaching and learning enhancement funding have been launched and outputs from the first phase of that funding have begun to bear fruit. The Forum has launched three rounds of the national seminar series, and the first set of focused research projects are now in completion. In recognising and awarding outstanding teaching at a National level, the student-partnered Teaching Hero campaign was initiated and completed in 2014 and in the process, the Forum has generated sectoral evidence about learner perspectives on teaching excellence. Crucially, in driving a national conversation about the National Forum digital priorities, challenges and futures, the Forum’s digital roadmap has given rise to widespread participation and commitment from teams throughout Higher Education institutions in Ireland – and the key recommendations from that roadmap are now being implemented in a range of important ways.

The conclusion of the Forum’s first enhancement theme (Teaching for Transitions) has also given rise to collaboration across the sector on an issue that is of shared interest and concern to everyone. As we keep this first theme on the agenda in terms of National Forum implementation issues we also move to initiate the next enhancement theme, which will highlight the issue of assessment.

A group of pre-specified national projects are now underway addressing key aspects of the implementation of our digital roadmap. They include a focus on Ireland’s technical infrastructure, active and impactful sharing of open educational resources, engaging with learning analytics in the interests of teaching and learning enhancement, and developing digital teaching and learning policy guidelines to support Irish Higher Education institutions. Linked to all of these activities has been the generation of a nationally-agreed approach to professional development for higher education teaching and learning.

The Summit explored both the nature of and the connections between many aspects of the National Forum’s work plan, and highlighted the role that all higher education institutions and partners play in ensuring that the Forum continues to pursue enhancement, build connections, and raise our national reputation in higher education on the world stage.

Professor Sarah Moore chair, National Forum