2021 is a very important year for teaching and learning in Ireland and the Board of the National Forum recently discussed key priorities for the higher education community. Throughout the year, we will be focused on honouring remaining commitments to the sector arising from our 2019-21 Strategy, responding to emerging needs, particularly those that have arisen since March 2020, and preparing for the next strategic phase of the National Forum.
The post-2021 national strategy for teaching and learning will be developed this year in consultation with our Board, policy partners, National Forum student and staff associates and the wider higher education community. This document will outline priorities and key actions for teaching and learning over the coming years. In preparation for this, discussions will take place and evidence will be gathered regarding how the value and recognition of teaching and learning can be strengthened and what the experience of the sudden move to online/remote teaching and learning has taught us about how teaching and learning enhancement can best be optimised into the future, enabling success for all learners.
Digitalisation has been identified as a strategic challenge across all areas of government within the National Development Plan and higher education has an evolving digital transformation agenda which has been impacted by the shift to online/remote teaching and learning. In 2021, the National Forum will work with sectoral partners to better understand the post-2020 teaching and learning context through review and systematic exploration and also to establish a vision for the future of digital teaching and learning in Ireland, in partnership with key stakeholders. Within the international context, Ireland will be entering into strategic dialogue at European level in 2022 focused on how digital education can best be enabled and aims to have well informed perspectives to this end.
In addition, the 2021 workplan of the National Forum features a number of specific areas on which we will concentrate. A series of national webinars will be held focused on key topics of immediate relevance to the sector including assessment, agile curricula and open policies, practices and resources. Enhancement initiatives will be supported, and good practice will be shared across the sector, through the SATLE and Network and Discipline Funds and the National Seminar Series. The evidence recently built on student success will inform a toolkit to support institutions in the development of whole-of-institution strategies for student success. The opencourses.ie platform will be further enhanced, and facilitation of courses supported. Research on embedding wellbeing in the curriculum will be completed in partnership with USI. Commitment to excellence will continue to be recognised and fostered through the DELTA, Teaching Heroes and Fellowship Awards. The value of teaching and learning will be showcased and related strategic discussions held during VITAL Week (08-12 Nov).
We look forward to working with colleagues across the country as we prepare for a post-pandemic future for higher education. Further details on all developments will be posted through news items and National Forum social media channels over the coming months. You can become more actively involved with our work by signing up to our National Forum Panel. You can also receive updates from us by signing up here and can follow us on in Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.