A national webinar series has just been announced by the National Forum to take place throughout 2021, providing guidance and sharing good practice on topics of particular importance in the current context.
A key lesson from recent times is that in higher education, as elsewhere, the only constant is change. Students, teachers, leaders and systems being responsive and adaptable to change is fundamental to the success of the sector. 2020 precipitated a need for core aspects of higher education, such as teaching, assessment and curriculum design, to become more agile and adaptable between online/remote and face-to-face contexts. The development of enabling open and digital policies and supported engagement with open educational resources and practices (OER and OEP) have also been shown to be crucial to the ability of institutional communities to successfully navigate an increasingly digital educational context.
Webinars will be organised from March to June across topics of relevance to institutional communities as they navigate change and leverage what has been learned since 2020 to prepare for an enhanced future for teaching and learning. In October, a partnership event between the National Forum and the HEA will then focus on how to enable student success more broadly within our altered contexts.
The following is an overview of the national webinar series:
26 March: Using OER and OEP for Teaching and Learning
The potential benefits of using open educational resources and practices (OER and OEP) in higher education include improving access, furthering equity and enhancing teaching, learning and assessment. This webinar will share a range of materials and guidance designed to build capacity in OER and OEP in Irish higher education. It will also inform the development of an open course centred on the topic. Registration is now open for this webinar here.
15 April: Building a Shared Understanding of Agile Curricula. Part 1
The concept of agile curricula has come to prominence in recent years, not least through the HEA’s recent Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3, which is set to see an investment of €197 million over the 5-year period, 2020 to 2024. Aligning with the significant related work on which institutions are now embarking, this webinar will begin a national conversation on how we understand the concept of an agile curriculum and what can be learned and shared across related projects and initiatives at national level. Registration for this webinar is now open here.
06 May: A Focus on Assessment. Part 1
Few aspects of higher education were more under the spotlight in recent months than assessment. Across institutional communities, the experience of selecting and designing alternative assessments had a number of impacts on attitudes and intentions for the future. The future of assessment, in light of recent experiences, will be the focus of this webinar, organised in partnership with QQI.
28 May: A Focus on Assessment. Part 2
This webinar will build upon and extend the national conversation on future assessment practices begun during the 06 May webinar.
10 June: Developing Enabling Policies for Digital and Open T&L
Policies related to digital teaching, learning and assessment, which had been developed in a different context, were suddenly road-tested by whole institutional communities in recent months. Topics such as lecture recordings, data protection, data privacy, copyright, intellectual property rights and digital wellbeing are relevant to all engaged in digital and open teaching and learning. This webinar will share guidance and resources on the development of enabling policies for digital and open teaching and learning to underpin enhanced practice.
23 June: Building a Shared Understanding of Agile Curricula. Part 2
This webinar will build upon and extend the national conversation on agile curricula begun during the 15 April webinar.
06 Oct: Transforming Teaching and Learning for Student Success
As we embark on the autumn semester, this webinar, organised in partnership with the HEA, will reflect on what has been learned through the pandemic context and will consider what this means for how the key enablers of student success can be strengthened across face-to-face, blended, and online/remote teaching and learning contexts. The webinar will include the launch of a toolkit to support the development of whole-of-institution strategies for student success, as well as sharing of good practice on this topic across the sector.
All webinars will take a national perspective while drawing upon the collective knowledge and experience across institutions. National and international experts will make contributions and the webinars will involve informing/sharing key resources designed to enhance future thinking and practice.
A culminating event in the 2021 calendar will take place on 08-12 November. A series of national and regional events will take place across the country showcasing teaching and learning in Irish higher education. The theme of the week will be ‘Valuing Ireland’s Teaching and Learning’ (VITAL) and it will involve students, staff, senior managers and policy partners across the country through a mix of live and pre-recorded events in which good practice and scholarship will be shared, strategic discussions will be held, excellence will be recognised, and the sector will come together to consider how to realise the promise of a valued and informed teaching and learning culture in Irish higher education. More information on VITAL Week will be published in the coming weeks.
Please mark your diaries for all the above events and follow our updates on Twitter for registration and further details.
Details for all webinars will be listed on the series webpage here as they become available.