Success for Learning Portfolio Team

The Association for Learning Technology’s (ALT) Learning Technologist of the Year Awards celebrate and reward excellent research and practice and outstanding achievement in Learning Technology.  This year’s Awards and ALT conference were held at the University of Manchester, September 11th to 13th.


We are delighted to report that the Learning Portfolio Team from Dublin City University (DCU) was selected as the winner of the Learning Technologist of the Year Team Award for their support for the successful implementation of our Learning Portfolio (Loop Reflect). The Learning Portfolio platform, based on Mahara, now has over 10,000 users and is regularly used in many different contexts by staff and students across all of DCU’s faculties. The team is jointly led by Mark Glynn and Lisa Donaldson, and supported by student eterns Chloe Langan, Niamh Gurrin and Mirenda Rosenberg.

In addition to the judges choice Team award, the Learning Portfolio team was pleased and honoured to be have been selected by ALT peers for the Community Choice Award. Their success is being recognised by these two awards would not have been possible without the willingness of faculty staff to successfully innovate and implement Loop Reflect in a range of modules and programmes across the University. The above video provides a brief summary of the Learning Portfolio initiative at DCU supported by the Teaching Enhancement Unit.

Welcome to New Head of Open Education Unit – Professor Grainne Conole

Last week Professor Grainne Conole formally commenced her position at Dublin City University (DCU) as Head of the Open Education Unit. The wider NIDL team marked the occasion with an informal welcome on the first morning, and already Grainne is busy meeting DCU staff and making a valuable contribution to preparations for the start of the new academic year.

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Professor Conole is known throughout the world for her expertise in learning design and open models of education. Her appointment to the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at DCU is further evidence of our commitment to exploring and harnessing the educational potential of flexible models of life-long learning through our DCU Connected platform.

Grainne 3.jpgIn welcoming Grainne to the University, Professor Mark Brown, NIDL Director noted that DCU has a proud history of innovation in distance education and the number of students choosing to study online through DCU Connected continues to grow each year. He went on to say that ‘Professor Conole’s appointment will help DCU further develop our capacity and expand our range of online course offerings to meet increasing demand for open flexible study pathways’.

Professor Conole told NIDL staff that, ‘She is excited about her new position as DCU has a growing international reputation for its research and innovative development work in the area of Digital Learning’. Grainne noted DCU’s success in winning the rights to host next year’s ICDE World Conference on Online Learning and expressed her excitement about joining the NIDL’s organising team to offer a truly impactful and memorable international event.

Professor Conole brings considerable experience to her new role in the Open Education Unit, with over 1000 research outputs, including a seminal Springer book on ‘Designing for Learning in an Open World’. She serves on several international journal editorial boards and is a Teaching Fellow of the UK HEA (now Advance HE) and Fellow of both the European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN) and Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE).

Finally, during her welcome to DCU, Grainne reminded everyone that she was born in Ireland and has been associated with the NIDL since it was first established. In her own words, Grainne spoke of ‘how delighted she is to be joining such a great team’ and ‘is really looking forward to working with NIDL colleagues in helping to shape the future of education in Ireland, and beyond’.