Free Webinar for Refugee Week: Exploring the Transition Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers Studying Online

Dublin City University (DCU) is Ireland’s first University of Sanctuary and this week we have a full programme of activities to support Refugee Week. Over the past 2-years our DCU Connected Scholarship initiative for refugees and asylum seekers has been very successful and on Friday as part of Refugee Week the Open Education Unit in the NIDL will be offering a free webinar sharing some of our lessons and experiences. The webinar will be of particular interest to educators, organisations and other institutions wishing to better understand how to harness the potential of online learning to open up educational opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers.

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Title: Exploring the Transition Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers to Online Learning with DCU Connected

Facilitators: Orna Farrell, Lorraine Delaney and Colum Foley

When: Friday 1st February 1:00-2:00pm GMT

How: Login to our online classroom 

Abstract:

Dublin City University (DCU) was granted the status of “University of Sanctuary” in December 2016.  Forty two scholarships were granted to refugees and asylum seekers by the University, of which fourteen were provided by DCU’s online education platform, DCU Connected. This session will report on the journey undertaken by a team within DCU’s National Institute for Digital Learning as they put in place the framework needed to support these scholars and the related research study which explores the nature of the transition experiences of University of Sanctuary Scholars to online distance learning. A longitudinal qualitative study is designed to seek a greater understanding of these learners’ experiences in the early stages of the study lifecycle, and of how their transition into higher education can be facilitated to enhance student success. The data collection technique is semi-structured online interviews conducted annually, and the first round of interviews has recently been conducted. The data-led analytical approach for this study is Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phases of thematic analysis. The next phase of the research project involves the analysis of the first phase of interview data and the generation of preliminary findings.

Download DCU’s full programme of activities for Refugee Week.

Open Education: Teaching and Learning Away Day

By Professor Grainne Conole

Last week our Open Education team had a very productive teaching and learning away day. The aim was to reflect on the current ways in which we design and support our DCU Connected students. A background document was circulated prior to the meeting, which collated various Learning Design frameworks. We identified two overarching themes to improving our teaching and learning:

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  • New and more systematic design of online, open distance teaching and learning. In terms of thoughtful and explicit design, we need to
    • Ensure the workload across modules in consistent
    • Set up either a week by week or month by month schedule
    • Indicate the indicative time needed to complete activities and content and assignments
    • Split content into core and additional (extension)
  • Supporting, and working with, online, open distance learners and teachers (learning students).

In addition, we identified 10 principles for online teaching and learning:

  1. Flexible learning: An accessible learning experience to transform lives and societies and enable widening access
  2. Teacher presence: Expert academic teaching, guidance and facilitation from specialist, passionate educators
  3. Foster belonging: Fostering a sense of belonging
  4. Meaningful interaction: Commitment to a deep level of meaningful interaction, where self-regulated learning is active, collaborative and participatory
  5. Students as partners: Surfacing the student voice and involving them to design decisions
  6. Rich learning resources: Universal design (accessibility standards); any device;
  7. Authentic and reflective assessment: Use a variety of assessment (and feedback) mechanisms to ensure that learning is: active, authentic and meaningful
  8. Personalised support: Student support personalised to the online distance learner: academic, pastoral, technical, and administrative
  9. Research informed teaching and learning: Commitment to cutting-edge, research-led approaches to Learning Design
  10. Open education practices: Practices, philosophy and co-creation

You can read more about operationalising these principles on Grainne’s personal blog where she expands on each principle.