Making Group Work ‘Work’: Reflections on Sipping Point Conversations

By Clare Gormley

Last month at The Sipping Point our teaching conversations focused on the theme of ‘Making Group Work ‘Work’’. This particular topic attracted the most people yet to the Sipping Point so for those who couldn’t be there,  I think it’s well worth reflecting on some of the points that emerged.

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Some of the participants at the DCU St Patrick’s Campus Sipping Point

At DCU’s St Patrick’s campus, the session opened up with the irrepressible Martin Molony (School of Communications) asking us to consider common group work stereotypes. No doubt familiar to many of those in the audience, these ‘types’ ran the gamut from the uber enthusiasts to the seemingly work shy. We were presented with the common challenges of group work which included varying abilities, varying skillsets, varying motivations, and varying commitment levels. In a nice about-turn of transforming a negative into a positive, we were asked to encourage students to think about these challenges as potential opportunities and indeed enablers of successful group work.

The inspiring Susan Pike (DCU School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies)  walked us through several examples of different types of group work projects she has been running in geography teacher education. These ranged from projects that had small groups of students getting to socialise and know each other through completing a local field trip, to class-wide activities that got everyone engaged in a collective, high-energy buzz about the posters they created. The confidence-building effects of these activities proved a wonderful counterpoint to all the negative ‘stuff’ we tend to hear about group work in HE, reminding us of why it’s so important to include it in curricula in the first place.

Continue to read more of Clare’s reflections on this event at her personal blog, “Learning Rush“.

NIDL Team Receive “Best Paper” Research Awards

EDEN Award.jpgSeveral doctoral students and staff supervising research in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) were delighted to accept “best paper” awards at two recent European conferences. At the EDEN Research Workshop in Barcelona, PhD students Elaine Beirne and Conchúr MacLochlainn and Professor Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl were presented with an award for their paper on Moody MOOCs: An Exploration of Emotion in an LMOOCThe paper was singled out for its originally, unique methodological design and investigation of a relatively new area of research in the area of online learning.

DCU was also well represented at the full-day Doctoral Symposium as part of the research workshop, with five doctoral students presenting on aspects of their research. In addition, NIDL scholars had a strong presence in the main workshop programme with   another five full papers showcasing current research activities. A full list of scholarly outputs produced by the NIDL team over the course of 2018 is available on the NIDL website.

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More recently at the European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL), PhD student Colette Kirwan, supervised by Dr Eamon Costello and Dr Enda Donlon received an award for her paper on Computational Thinking and Online Learning: A Systematic Literature ReviewColette is an Irish Research Council scholar currently investigating the teaching of computational thinking online.

Congratulations to recipients of these two research awards and we look forward to a growing doctoral community, particularly now that DCU Institute of Education has launched a new doctoral strand in the area of Digital Learning in the Doctor of Education  (EdD) programme.