Three New Online Professional Learning Courses for Educators

On Thursday 18th of November, the official DigiTeL Pro launch took place. This collaborative European funded project began earlier in the year with the aim of bringing together a team of experts from several universities, well-known for their research and leading-edge innovation in digital education.

A major feature of the launch was an overview of three new online professional learning courses designed for higher educators. Each course, listed below, explores a different mode or dimension of digital education. Together they aim to support European educators to build their teaching skills and professional capabilities for digital education relevant to their particular interests and institutional contexts.

Course 1: Synchronous and Hybrid Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration form

Course 2: Blending Your Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration form

Course 3: Online Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration for

We invite you to register for these course and/or to share relevant details within your professional networks.

As part of the DigiTeL Pro launch event, we also provided a brief update on DCU’s free course, A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner, offered through FutureLearn. This course, co-facilitated by students and originally supported by IUA and the DCU Students’ Union, has so far attracted over 10,000 students worldwide with a completion rate of over 50%. Over 2,000 DCU students have claimed full certificates of completion. The course was a direct response to the COVID crisis and focuses on developing student readiness for online learning. It completes the suite of offerings supported by DigiTeL Pro.

To further infuse a strong student readiness dimension across and throughout all four courses, the NIDL team has undertaken a literature review to help answer the following questions:

  1. What research has been published reporting student readiness for online distance learning during the COVID crisis?
  2. How strong is the “learner voice” in COVID-related research reporting on student readiness for online distance learning?
  3. What lessons can be taken from the COVID-related literature on student readiness for new models of digital education?

A report of this research will be published in the New Year, but we can already conclude from our analysis that there is limited evidence of previous literature on student readiness informing the COVID response. Secondly, although numerous national and institutional surveys have been published over the past 18 months, which report on the COVID experience, the vast majority of this research does not adequately convey the student voice. Hence, this suggests that, with a handful of exceptions, an important gap remains in the literature which tells the students’ lived experience in their own words.

The above video provides a full recording of the DigiTeL Pro launch event. We look forward to sharing further information in 2022 on this project which is being led by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU).

Supporting Open Scholarship: The Journal ‘ETHE’ goes from Strength to Strength

Our NIDL team has a strong commitment to Open Educational Practices (OEP), which extends to quite tangible support for Open Scholarship. Not only do colleagues intentionally publish their work in open access publications, such as this recent article by Eamon Costello, Tiziana Soverono and Prajakta Girme presenting ‘A Postdigital Fable‘, but they also play lead editorial roles in several journals.

The Journal is growing from strength to strength and is now a leading Q1 internationally ranked publication in the field of Educational Technology

In particular, the NIDL has a strategic investment as a formal Editorial Partner in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE), which is published by Springer. As an Editorial Partner our support helps to ensure that ETHE remains freely available to educators and researchers.

Therefore, we are delighted to report that the ETHE has consolidated its status as the leading open access publication in the field, as borne out by altmetrics, leading indexes and its social impact. The traditional impact indexes have shown how, for the second year running, ETHE has climbed further up the rankings of academic publications in the field of Education.

In just one year, ETHE has moved from 27th position to 18th (out of a total of 264 journals) in the Journal Citations Reports (JCR) Core Collection for education.

It has also significantly boosted its journal impact factor (JIF), increasing from 3.080 in 2019 to 4.944 in 2020 (first quartile, Q1).

In Scopus, another leading database of international scientific publications, ETHE has moved up from 41st to 11th place (out of a total of 1,531), obtained a CiteScore of 9.2 for 2020 (in 2019 it was 5.6) and entered Q1 of the education and computer science categories.

Beyond these traditional measures, another indicator is how the education community perceives the value and quality of the Journal, and we can report that in 2020 ETHE received almost 1,300 articles, 62% more than in the previous year.

This year the total submissions to September stands at 950, reports Josep M. Duart, Co-Editor-in-Chief from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

Altmetrics are another set of indicators that measure and analyse social interaction through the number of times an article is downloaded, its presence in bibliographic managers such as Mendeley, its mentions on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, its appearances in newspapers and blogs, etc. They measure the impact of research by quantifying its presence on the social web. There is clear evidence of how ETHE is also showing growth and achieving high impact levels in altmetrics. For example, in 2020, the journal obtained 2,493 altmetric mentions on social media and its articles were downloaded 1,093,680 times.

The Journal has a truly international outreach. In 2020, for example, 186 authors from 34 different countries published their work in ETHE.

A key element to ensure the variety, quality and internationalisation of the Journal’s subject matter is its team of more than 500 peer reviewers. The editorial team and advisory board is also made up of researchers and scholars from all of the world’s continents and regions. The Editorial Board is currently made up of 53 researchers from 27 countries, and balanced in terms of gender too. 

‘ETHE’, an open access academic journal formally supported by the NIDL, has consolidated its position as a world leading publication in the field of Educational Technology.

The Journal’s team of Co-Editors-in-Chief is made up of Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl, from the NIDL, Álvaro Galvis, from Colombia’s University of the Andes, Airina Volungevičienė, from Lithuania’s Vytautas Magnus University, and Josep M. Duart, from the UOC.  Under the team’s leadership, ETHE publishes regular thematic issues with a timely collection in 2019 for example on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on higher education. Professor Nic Giolla Mhichíl is currently leading a forthcoming special issue on the burgeoning topic of micro-credentials with guest co-editors Mark Brown and Beverley Oliver.

You can read more about the history of ETHE beginning in 2004 on the Journal’s website.