Launch of The National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2015
We are delighted to be hosting Ireland’s first Teaching and Learning Summit which will take place in The Printworks, Dublin Castle on December 10th 2015. The Summit represents a timely opportunity to bring very many of our partners together to take stock and to showcase key outputs, activities, resources and knowledge that the Forum has – with much cross- sectoral collaboration – been able to generate since its establishment in 2013. In addition, the Summit will provide an arena in which we will be able to progress focused conversations on Teaching and Learning enhancement.
As December marks the end of the first three years of the National Forum’s development, the Summit offers the chance to take in the range of integrated activities to which so many of you have contributed during that time. There is much to discuss and take stock of: in that period, 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. We have had two phases of our national seminar series, and our focused research projects are now in completion too. 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, we have generated much needed evidence about student perceptions of teaching excellence. In driving a national conversation about our digital priorities, challenges and futures, the Forum-published digital roadmap has given rise to widespread participation and commitment from teams throughout all our 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 given rise to collaboration across the sector on an issue that is of shared interest and concern to us all. The next enhancement theme promises to highlight another overarching area that will benefit from more active collaboration and sharing. Other national projects that are underway include a focus on the 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 for all Irish Higher Education institutions. And, linked to all of these activities has been our collaborative work in helping the sector to develop a nationally-agreed approach to professional development for higher education teaching and learning.
The work of the National Forum has been intensive – and we are particularly grateful to all our HEI’s whose commitment to its principles have ensured that the Forum continues to be both academically led and impactful in all of its activities.
To take stock of that impact, Ireland’s Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning will represent a wonderful opportunity to gather and to bring together some of the most important outputs of this work. It will be a diverse and dynamic event during which we will explore the nature of and the connections between many aspects of the National Forum’s work plan, and highlight the role that all our institutions and partners have played in making the Forum as active and as engaged as it has become.
The National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning also represents a chance to reflect on the underlying purpose of teaching and learning in the Irish Higher education sector. We very much look forward to welcoming so many of our key partners to this event and hope to benefit from that collective wisdom and experiences as well as sharing ours.
In addition to the intensive day of discussion and engagement, the Summit will conclude with an evening event to celebrate the winners of the institutionally-led teaching expert award. We will recognise and endorse the work of the most knowledgeable and impactful professionals throughout the sector. We look forward to this exciting event and to exploring, showcasing, celebrating and engaging with very many of you in the interests of a National, collaborative and evidence-based approach to teaching and learning enhancement.
Prof Sarah Moore
Chair, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
Book Now for Summit ’15
The National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2015 booking system is now open. The system allows users to register for the Summit and also details the event’s full day long programme.
As the number of Summit places is limited, early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.
Summit queries should be sent to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and Scholarship
Over the last academic year, 55 researchers selected from across the Irish higher education sector were engaged in research and scholarship projects funded through the Forum. Eight projects focused across three main topic areas: learners’ experience of their HE transition and non-completion; scholarship and research in teaching and learning (1990-2105) and policy analysis of national engagement with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Open Educational Resources (OER). All of the research projects were conducted by staff with the highest levels of expertise, creativity combined with rigour and commitment to the enterprise at hand.
Conducted over a six-month time-frame, the depth and reach of the research extended across the entire sector involving: 7,000-plus student responses, inputs of over 270 staff, a review of more than 2,600 peer reviewed bibliographic entries, analysis of public information of 35 institutions, and institutional engagement of 22 Higher Education Institutes. The significance of this research and scholarship activity is twofold.
Firstly, it is based on active and systematic higher education practitioner inquiry on contemporary topics of relevance to staff supporting learning across the higher education sector. Secondly, informed by international teaching and learning scholarship, these projects have examined the current Irish higher education context to identify achievements and issues to be built upon in an evidence-based manner. In so doing, they offer a valuable analysis of the current realities of our higher education practices and contribute to the Forum’s goals for a scholarly approach to enhancement.
Some of the highlights emerging from the research include:
- Irish teaching and learning research output has been climbing exponentially since 2008 with publications across more than 400 international journals. Analysis of publications demonstrates a strong evidence base for the enhancement and development of teaching, as well as identifying directions for further research; https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Project-5-Mapping-Existing-Research-Output.pdf
- Transition to higher education remains challenging for many students in terms of adapting to the requirements of their programme and academic workload, though students were positive in their appreciation of transition and experiential initiatives which help build academic skills and understanding of the college experience; https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Research-Report-6-Transitions-from-Second-Level-FE-to-Higher-Education.pdf
- Academic programme is highlighted as the most common reason for students’ non-completion. It is a complex topic involving questions of, clear communication and understanding of programme content, prior learning, along with best fit between programme and learner motivations. Nevertheless this work invites us to consider the possibility that leaving for some students can be a positive choice and this raises interesting questions about programme design, student mobility and portability of learning achievement; https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Project-4.pdf
- Recognition of prior learning as a mechanism for valuing prior learning achievement both accredited and unaccredited is still very much at a developmental stage, with some examples of good practice in HEI’s and by professional bodies. https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Project-4.pdf
The first phase of publication of the outcomes for this funded research activity has begun, some reports are already available on the Forum website, the remaining projects will be published by early November. See: https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/t-l-scholarship/national-forum-research-projects/.
Towards a National Digital Skills Framework for Irish Higher Education
A newly published review and comparison of existing frameworks and models in the sector.
This collaborative piece of research and analysis explores the vital role digital capacity plays as an important ally for Irish higher education while simultaneously probing the suggestion that digital capacity is an essential but as yet not fully defined enabler of sectoral strategic change.
It offers an overview of some of the key frameworks used to define and develop digital and information literacies in higher education. The examples it considers are representative of the major core themes and trends facing digital capacity nationally and internationally. This report aims to have identified a set of broad categories that the authors suggest could form a solid basis for a national for digital skills framework not just for students or academic staff but for anyone working or studying within the the sector.
Led by NUIG, other project partners included University of Limerick, University College Dublin and Mary Immaculate College.
To download a copy of Towards a National Digital Skills Framework for Irish Higher Education click here.
National Seminar Series 2015/16
The Forum has announced details for its 2015/2016 National Seminar Series. This new Series will focus on the Forum’s next enhancement theme Assessment FOR, OF and AS Learning. The Series starts on 29 October. The full Series programme can be downloaded here.
Teaching and Learning
The Forum Bulletin was recently in conversation with Gavin Clinch, The Institute of Technology, Sligo, the lead partner in “A MOOC to improve the transition from second to third level education”.
What’s your project Gavin?
A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to improve the transition from second to third-level education. The MOOC was submitted under the Forum’s 2014 Teaching and Learning Enhancement Call for Building Digital Capacity. The MOOC will be called ‘Get Ready Education’ and have the tagline ‘A Learning Journey’.
The Institute of Technology, Sligo leads and we partner with six other institutions that includes University of Limerick, NUI Galway, GMIT, Limerick IT, Mary Immaculate College and Letterkenny IT.
What’s the background to this project?
Research shows the most significant challenge to a student successfully transitioning from second to third-level education is the lack of preparation for and understanding of the type of learning required at third level. In response to this identified transition challenge, a MOOC is being developed to support secondary school senior cycle and first year undergraduate students undergoing this specific transition experience.
What’s the project’s current status?
The second and third weeks of November will see the start of the MOOC pilot. A mix of secondary schools, plcs, and third-level institutions have been invited by the project partners to trial “‘Learning to Learn”, the MOOC’s first module that will be offered using self-directed and teacher-facilitated pathways. The pilot will provide us with an opportunity to evaluate the MOOC usability and design based on the feedback from the participants, teachers and the e-moderator and to modify the design accordingly.
What’s next for the Transition MOOC?
Pilot findings will be used to inform a nationally available ‘Transitioning MOOC’ for all senior cycle and undergraduate students. Due for release in April, the self-directed version of the MOOC takes six weeks to complete- the teacher- facilitated option taking double that – with both approaches focusing on the same programme of an initial week of orientation, followed by four weeks of discrete modules before ending with a week of reflection.
Next year we will also be adding three additional MOOCs- one for parents whose children are making the transition from second to third level education. Another will support faculty. We are keen to assist, through the MOOC, those new teachers who may be starting to teach first -year, third-level students .Lastly, our third MOOC will cater for adult learners transitioning from the workplace into higher education.
Our model has always been aimed at an Irish audience and it’s that group that we have in mind as we develop a promotion programme for the 2016 MOOCs. This will be a collaborative effort by all of the seven partners who have got the project to where it is now. We look forward with interest to next month’s pilot.
The MOOC partners mentioned in this conversation are: IT Sligo (Lead), Gavin Clinch; IT Sligo (Lead), Jennifer Gilligan; University of Limerick, Dr Fiona Farr; Galway-Mayo IT, Dr Carina Ginty; Limerick IT, Seamus Hoyne; Mary Immaculate College, Dr Anne O’Keeffe; Mary Immaculate College, David Moloney; NUIG, Dr Mary Fleming; NUIG, Nuala McGuinn; Letterkenny IT, Brian McGonagle.
Forum Events October – December 2015
|29/10/2015||Shortlist for the National Teaching Expert Awards 2015 announced|
|04/11/2015||Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2015 Project Type B proposals Stage 2 submissions completed|
|11/11/2015||Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2015 – Open forum presentations- Project Type B|
|12/11/2015||Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2015 – Open forum presentations- Project Type A|
|18/11/2015||Network of Networks Meeting|
|27/11/2015||Shortlisted National Teaching Experts – Open Forum Presentations|
A Snapshot of Non Accredited PD in Irish Higher Education – report
Profession Development Consultation – Compilation of Submissions
A Current Overview of RPL in Irish Higher Education
Student non-completion on ICT programmes – A Briefing Paper
Reaching out – A Briefing Paper
|10/12/2015||The National Summit for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2015 9am-4:30pm (The Printworks, Dublin Castle)
National Teaching Expert Awards Ceremony 6pm – 10pm (The Printworks, Dublin Castle)