Technology Enhanced Learning: What works and why?

Partner Institutions

Project Lead: Dublin City University

Project Partners: Athlone Institute of Technology, Dundalk Institute of Technology

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mark_glynn_001Dr Mark Glynn

Dublin City University

Tel: +353 1 700 6181

Email: mark.glynn@dcu.ie

Detailed Proposal
Our proposal for a “Technology-enhanced Learning (TEL) Week” aims to build digital literacy and engagement for
students and teachers by exploring the question: “What works and why?” The basic premise is there is no
‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the effective use of new digital technologies for teaching and learning. The answer to this question needs to be found through critical reflection and rich professional dialogue grounded within institutional contexts and discipline specific practices. The proposal is anchored in a recent Australian study, which explores the gap between the rhetoric and realities of technology-enhanced learning (Henderson, Selwyn & Aston, 2015). This study highlights the need to problematize claims about the potential of technology-enhanced learning to more fully engage a wider range of stakeholders in capacity development.
Our TEL Week will have a strong focus on the discipline specific contexts in which teaching and learning takes place, with a common goal of helping to promote better outcomes for learners. The professional learning will be designed around a partnership model which engages a range of stakeholders in order to harvest and broker what we know works and why through a variety of events.
To enhance the long-term impact of the TEL Week this initiative includes the launch of a Mentoring Circles initiative to build stronger communities of practice across our cluster and within disciplines. Specific deliverables associated with this proposal include:
• A minimum of 20 separate development events
Launch of a minimum of eight peer mentoring circles
• Establishment of a minimum of 10 TEL Innovation Projects
• A staff survey of “what works and why” in practice
• A student produced video wall of “what works and why” in practice
In summary, this proposal focuses on impactful professional development for staff through a range of events which are linked by a common overarching question.

A focus on programme-level teaching enhancement and curriculum development is a key strategy to promote long-term sustainable impact. This strategy is already an emerging focus at each partner institution and aligns with current initiatives.

In addition, we will evaluate the impact of this initiative as it relates to enhancing teaching and student learning – not just end of event evaluations. To gain a deeper insight into the impact of this initiative in answering the question “what works and why?” in institutional contexts we will adopt a validated Impact Evaluation Framework (Coolbear & Hinton, 2013).

More specifically the framework used by the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching will be adapted to meet our
requirements.
There are four dimensions to this framework:
(i) impact on staff,
(ii) impact on learners,
(iii) impact on providers, and
(iv) wider outreach.
The Steering Group will define lead indicators under each heading.
These indicators will include but not be limited to:
(i) number of participants,
(ii) number of Mentoring Circles,
(iii) number of Innovation Projects,
(iv) level of commitment to integrating additional technology tools,
(v) examples of technology uptake and enhancements in digital literacy,
(vi) level of commitment to programme-wide curriculum redesign,
(vii) responses to follow survey and evidence of what staff and students report works and why,
(viii) analytic data on use of technology tools,
(ix) quality of the collaboration between the partners and the impact on those directly involved, and
(x) extent that “TEL Week” is disseminated and shared through arange of communication channels.
Lastly, we will appoint an International Advisor from the New Media Research Group at Monash University to support our evaluation based on the findings of similar work in Australia

There are five major phases:
(i) the establishment phase,
(ii) the planning phase,
(iii) the implementation phase,
(iv) the evaluation phase, and
(v) the follow up action phase. Note the latter phase is outside of the official timeframe of this project.

During Phase 1, a Steering Group will be established with at least one institutional contact from each partner. This group will then meet regularly. A Project Manager will support the Steering Group and help select the most appropriate professional development events and activities. The Project Manager will play a key role in coordinating the “TEL Week” at each partner institution and a dedicated website and appropriate social media channels will be developed as part of a wider Communication Plan.

During Phase 2, there will be a call for expressions of interest to contribute to the event. Submissions will be evaluated alongside a range of activities that we have already identified as well suited to addressing the overarching question (e.g., what works and why in a specific discipline, in supporting assessment feedback, in fostering first-year engagement, etc.).

In addition an invitation will be issued to propose specific TEL Innovation Projects along with a request to help establish and facilitate Peer Mentoring Circles to foster rich teaching and learning conversations within specific interest areas.
In Phase 3, each institution will host a minimum of five development events specifically addressing or integrating four potential technology-enhanced learning domains—that is, what works and why for
(i) learners in class,
(ii) learners out-of-class,
(iii) staff in class, and
(iv) staff out-of-class.

This phase also involves the establishment of the Mentoring Circles and the launch the TEL Innovation Projects.
In Phase 4, evidence of impact will be documented and reported, including the results of a follow up staff survey of what works and why.