January has been a significant month for teaching and learning in Irish higher education. The 107 teaching and learning enhancement initiatives that were announced by Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T. D., have now begun across 22 higher education institutions. Collectively, the initiatives represent an investment of €5.57m focused on ensuring that teaching and learning within and across subject areas is characterised by innovation, coherence, connectedness and meaningful student engagement.
Each of the 22 higher education institutions has one initiative which involves seed-funding local enhancement projects across the institution. 28 of the funded initiatives are dedicated to discipline groups and programme teams, 45 initiatives focus across multiple subject areas and a further 12 initiatives are fostering collaborative links with professional bodies and/or industry partners to enhance teaching and learning content and practices and the success of students beyond higher education.
In addition to fulfilling the government’s intention, outlined in Budget 2019, to allocate additional funding for teaching and learning capacity building across the sector, the funding of these initiatives is resulting in increased collaboration and alignment at local level in the achievement of ambitions set out in institutional strategies.
The initiatives cover a wide range of topics such as practice-based learning in the social sciences, student engagement in large class environments, fostering staff and student creativity, embedding virtual reality in radiography training, creative use of technologies in home economics education, embedding sustainability across the curriculum and beyond, enhancing employability skills for international postgraduate students, fostering deliberate practice in critical analytical writing for postgraduate learners, and enhancing placement experience in civil engineering. The full list of funded initiatives can be viewed here and further detail on each can be accessed here.
The National Forum will be providing support to initiatives throughout the year, beginning with an information webinar for initiative teams this Friday, 24 January. Opportunities for teams to meet and share knowledge and good practice will be also arranged throughout the year.