2019 World Conference on Online Learning: The Countdown has Started…

The 28th ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in Dublin, Ireland is now less than a year away and the team in National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) has been busy over recent weeks preparing for the conference. The last conference in 2017 in Toronto attracted around 1,400 delegates and this year’s Organising Committee promise a truly unique Irish experience along with an exciting and engaging conference programme.

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The call for papers went out on Monday 19th November and in the context of the conference theme of “Transforming Lives and Societies” a range of opportunities will be available for participants to discuss many of the contemporary issues facing today’s educators. There will be a variety of invited symposia and pre-conference workshops along with a special event for doctoral students but also plenty of time for delegates to mix socially and enjoy the sights and delights of Dublin. Note the conference key dates and watch out over the next few months for further news and updates, including how to enter our special monthly draw to win tickets to visit the iconic Guinness Storehouse during your stay in Dublin. You may also wish to follow the World Conference twitter handle:

@WCOL2019

In the meantime you view a brief video below where members of the local organising team from DCU mark the one-year milestone before researchers, policy-makers institutional leaders and educational professionals from around the world gather in Dublin in November 2019.

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“.