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’.

Prestigious Accreditation for DCU Connected Online Psychology Degree

DCU’s BA in Humanities (Psychology Major), offered online through DCU Connected, has become the first online distance education degree programme in Ireland to be accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Welcoming the news, Dr James Brunton, Programme Chair, commented: “This accreditation demonstrates that the programme meets the highest international standards for undergraduate, pre-professional education and training in Psychology”.

DCU Connected 2017DCU has a long history of opening up access to higher education through online distance education, as not everyone has the option of undertaking full time, on-campus study.

Now, for the first time, a PSI accredited online option is available in Ireland for people that need a flexible route to a university qualification in Psychology.

Prof. Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at DCU, said: “This achievement is further evidence of DCU’s commitment to providing excellence in online education which helps to transform lives and societies”.

The DCU Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (Psychology Major) is a Level 8 honours degree programme, which provides students with a focused, tailored programme of education in Psychology.

The online DCU Connected programme offers students great flexibility in that they can vary the number of modules they undertake in a given year to work around their life, family and work responsibilities.

This prestigious accreditation means that students who graduate with a BA in Humanities (Psychology Major) through DCU Connected, and who achieve a minimum of second-class honours, will be eligible for graduate membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

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Dr Brunton concluded: “We are proud to announce this news as the accreditation process was extremely thorough and demonstrates how new flexible models of learning are becoming increasingly accepted by major professional bodies as a means for widening participation in higher education”.

For more information on this programme or other DCU Connected undergraduate programmes, please visit: