Doctoral Student Receives OLC’s Inaugural Emerging Scholars Award

4.jpgWe are delighted to share the good news that the major US-based Online Learning Consortium (OLC) has selected one of our doctoral students, Elaine Beirne, to join their inaugural class of Emerging Scholars. The Emerging Scholars program provides current and recently graduated doctoral students the opportunity to contribute to research projects in the OLC Research Center for Digital Learning and Leadership. The program also offers a chance to collaborate with institutions and organizations around the world on research projects and network with peers and mentors in the digital learning field.

In the official press releaseKathleen Ives, D.M., OLC’s Chief Executive Officer says the “Emerging Scholars is a unique program in the digital learning arena”. Dr. Ives reports that “It complements our other graduate student initiative, which provides the opportunity for graduates students to present at OLC conferences. These two programs offer the OLC community the chance to engage with the next generation of digital learning researchers and practitioners, and help them advance their careers.”

The call for Emerging Scholars generated applications from around the world. After a rigorous review process four inaugural scholars were selected for a two-year term, including:

  • Elaine Beirne, Dublin City University, Ireland
  • Katherine McAlvage, Marylhurst University, Oregon
  • Mary Rice, University of New Mexico, New Mexico
  • Matthew Romanowski, University of Arizona, Arizona

Elaine Beirne, PhD candidate working in the Ideas Lab in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL), is being supervised by Associate Professor Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl and  Dr. Gearóid Ó Cleircín Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge. Irish 101.jpgElaine’s research interests include educational psychology, online learning, second language acquisition, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and computer-assisted language learning. Specifically, her thesis, which is funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is focused on exploring the antecedents of learner emotions during an Irish language MOOC. The study aims to inform the development of online language learning environments that foster learning enhancing emotions.

Ai_NPRUg.jpgDr. Jill Buban, OLC’s Senior Director, Research and Innovation, who instituted the Emerging Scholars program said, “These graduate students bring unique professional perspectives and research interests from varied institutions, and we are thrilled to welcome them as Emerging Scholars,” Dr Buban who is well known to the NIDL team went on to say, “It’s exciting to launch a program like Emerging Scholars – perhaps the first of its kind in the digital learning space to provide doctoral students an opportunity for hands-on research and networking within the field.”

Congratulations to Elaine and we look forward to hearing more about her experiences of being an OLC Emerging Scholar – Faith thú.

Exciting Plans for Hosting a Distinctively Irish 2019 World Conference on Online Learning

We are pleased to have successfully hosted over the past three days a high-level visiting delegation from the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) to help with our advance planning for the 2019 World Conference on Online Learning. The ICDE delegation led by Gard Titlestad, Secretary General, arrived in Dublin on Sunday 11th February 2018. Formal discussions got underway on Monday when the group met with members of the DCU/NIDL Organising Committee, along with representatives from Happening Conferences and Events (HCE).


CCD Exterior Daytime View from Southside West with Jeanie Johnston Boat.jpgThe day started with a walk through of the Convention Centre Dublin’s (CCD) world-class facilities as we confirmed our requirements for hosting such a major international conference. Everyone agreed that the CCD is ideally suited to hosting this prestigious event and for showcasing the very best of Ireland to a large international audience. Held every second year, the 2017 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto attracted over 1,400 delegates.


Over the reminder of the day we discussed a number of exciting ideas and plans for the Dublin conference 3-7 November 2019. We would like to particularly thank CCD staff for their expert advice, great hospitality, supply of food and refreshments over the day, and use of a meeting room for our discussions.

CCD Multi Light Exterior Night View with SB Bridge - credit David Heath Williams.JPG

On Tuesday the ICDE delegation visited Dublin City University’s (DCU) All Hallows, Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses before continuing our discussions. The intention is that DCU will host a number of timely and topical pre-conference events and workshops, including a meeting of University Presidents, Leadership Summit, the ICDE Doctoral Consortium and Digital Learning Schools Symposium, on our St Patrick’s campus before the formal start of the 28th ICDE World Conference on Online Learning.


Once again, we would like to acknowledge the support of Fáilte Ireland in our successful bid to host this major World Conference. Members of the Organising Committee consisting of key representatives from DCU, ICDE and HCE are determined to make the World Conference a truly memorable and outstanding event, with a distinctively Irish flavour. To this end we have some exciting ideas, novel twists and valuable additions to the programme in mind which we hope will make “Dublin” the place to be in early November 2019.
5.jpgYou can keep up-to-date with news and announcements by registering your interest through our website, subscribing to our NIDL blog, or following our dedicated World Conference Twitter account: