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Current projects

Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Funding in Higher Education 2020- Call for Proposals

The Higher Education Authority, in partnership with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, has announced a new non-competitive fund for teaching and learning in higher education and it signals a significant commitment to the enhancement of teaching and learning in Irish higher education.  With a total value of €5m, this 2020 Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement (SATLE) fund is designed to bring together teaching and learning expertise, institutional priorities and dedicated funding through the recurrent grant allocation, to support strategic alignment. 

The strategic focus of this call is Transforming Teaching and Learning for Student Success. Through research and consultation within Irish higher education, potential enablers of student success identified include policies and practices, student partnership and engagement, professional development, evidence-based decisions, transition supports, and assessment and feedback approaches. The pandemic has taught us how quickly circumstances can change and the need for those who teach and those who learn to be confident in their knowledge and skills and supported in adapting their abilities to a variety of circumstances. Through this call, institutions are being prompted to reflect on what they have learned in 2020 and consider what this means for how they can strengthen the key enablers of student success within and across face-to-face, blended, online and remote teaching and learning contexts.

In order to ensure strategic alignment with the funding call, the focus of the UL funding will be allocated to projects focussed on any of the following enablers of student success:

  1. Student partnership and engagement
  2. Professional development and the centrality of those who teach
  3. Supporting transitions and cultivating belonging
  4. Assessment and feedback approaches

As part of the internal process within UL, we invite applicants to prepare an initial Expression of Interest  of no more than one page.

Please submit this to CTL@UL.ie with SATLE 2020 as the subject header, copying your Faculty Dean (or nominee) by noon on Friday 11th December.  The outcome of the internal review process will be available by Monday 21st December to allow project teams begin the projects in January 2021 and engage with proposal development and review with National Forum.  Please note that the funding call, including details of institutional allocations, the application and review process, and key dates, is available here

 

Our Erasmus+ funded SHOUT4HE project aims to develop a recognition framework for effective use of technology in Higher Education (HE) teaching, design an e-platform for sharing open education practices and resources and create a set of e-resources for sharing of teaching practices. There are five university partners (Bordeaux, Cardiff, Hasselt, Limerick, Nice), in four countries (Belgium, France, Ireland, the UK), all of whom are involved in HE teacher education. Each partner is working with several local HE teachers covering a wide variety of disciplinary knowledge and pedagogical experience with the goal of recognizing, developing and sharing innovative practice with technologies. Leading one of its working packages, CTL coordinated the partners meeting in November 2019 and the ‘Sharing Open Educational Practices in Digital Learning’ national multiplier event in collaboration with National Forum and the IUA, with participation by over 50 attendees nationally.

For more information, contact angelica.risquez@ul.ie

Project Logo.

 

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning (EDTL) project aims to enhance the digital attributes and educational experiences of Irish university students through enabling the mainstreamed and integrated use of digital technologies across the teaching and learning process. It is a three-year project involving 7 Irish Universities which commenced in January 2019, funded through the Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA) Innovation and Transformation Programme.

>> Find out about EDTL activities for staff @ UL

>> Find out about EDTL activities for students @ UL

 

The core objectives of the EDTL project seek to enhance:

  • the digital attributes of all Irish university graduates,
  • the educational experiences of all Irish university students through the mainstreamed and integrated use of digital technologies, including social media where appropriate, as part of the teaching and learning process, and
  • the digital skills of those who teach in Irish universities.

For further information, contact UL project lead David Moloney david.f.moloney@ul.ie

Unique First Year Student Engagement (Semester 1, AY 2020/21)

During the summer period of 2020 and in the context of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Student Support/ 1st Year Experience Working Group identified key issues predicted to impact new undergraduate students to UL. These included;

  • A curtailed learning and social experience; particularly for students entering from second level as many had experienced limitations in their education since March 2020.
  • Significant reduction in peer interaction in UL; this risked a reduction in opportunity to form communities of learning, develop friendships and socialise. It was likely there would be no physical orientation tours or large-scale orientation activity.
  • Academic supports that were previously provided in physical spaces and face-to-face would no longer be appropriate.

UL1001: Foundations for Success in UL

Significant adaptions were made across central and professional services in UL over the summer period in preparation for the new academic year and to address the gaps noted above.

A new project which was undertaken to provide additional and adapted support to new undergraduate students to UL was ‘UL1001: Foundations for Success in UL’.

In the context of Covid-19, and in the absence of an Orientation Week (Week 0), UL1001 was developed to provide introductory and transitionary sessions for all first year students between Weeks 1 and 5 inclusive.

These sessions sought to provide a socialising opportunity for new students and was offered within academic programme cohorts, and facilitated through Sulis (VLE) programme sites.

Design

New undergraduate students to UL ordinarily experience orientation activities the week before lectures for all undergraduate students commence. This was not viable at the beginning of the academic year 2020/21, and there were significant logistical challenges orienting and inducting new students to UL within the limitations of the pandemic. The transition for new students into an online and hybrid environment, instead of a physical one was considerable. Programme socialisation was prioritised in the design of UL1001 because of opportunities lost due to pandemic restrictions, and a staged approach to transition was taken to avoid information overload for new students.

The involvement of peers to navigate this transition for new students supports research on the importance of peer interaction and peer relationships and was practical with the volume of new students. The interaction between older peers and new students was designed to occur in small groups for four of the five weeks (Weeks 1-4), with the fifth week facilitating Active*Consent workshops.

During weeks 1-4 older peers, referred to as Virtual Guides, would facilitate a range of activities and content, and allocate students to small groups to socialise amongst each other. The first two sessions would focus on setting up a social media group for small group interaction, ice-breakers to get to know classmates, explain the academic timetable, navigate Sulis, explain the provisions through Academic Registry and ITD, and spend time on Q&A sessions.

The third and fourth sessions focused on understanding the transition to Higher Education, setting expectations, planning for assessment and time management. These sessions also covered the range of academic and personal supports available to students during their time in UL.

Operations

To provide weekly sessions to a first year cohort of over 3,000 students, a recruitment and interviewing process was undertaken to select older undergraduate and postgraduate students to take on the role of virtual guides. A pool of guides were trained and there was ongoing communication with guides throughout the course of the module. This group were well positioned to provide regular feedback which allowed for timely responses to structural or operational concerns.

The module was scheduled in the evenings, Monday to Thursday from either 6.00-7.00pm, or 7-8.00pm.

The project was operationalised by the Student Engagement and Success Unit (a collaborative unit between CTL, Student Affairs Division, and Library), CTL staff, members of the Sexual Health and Wellbeing Working Group, and Student Life.

There was significant support provided to this project by the Education Technology team in ITD, and Academic Registry.

Evaluation

An evaluation of close to 600 first year responses is being prepared to gauge the effectiveness of this work.

For more information on this project you can contact sarah.gibbons@ul.ie

The Student Support/ First Year Experience Working Group comprised of representatives from;

AVP, Student Engagement; Centre for Transformative Learning; Student Affairs Division; Student Life; Library; Academic Registry; UL Global; ITD; Faculty.