Busy Week for NIDL Team with DCU Connected Events

Several DCU Connected events over the past week have kept Open Education staff and members of the NIDL team busy.

Cupcakes1The week started on Monday 14th August with the launch of the new DCU Connected campaign, which was officially marked with Champagne glasses and a special batch of branded cupcakes.  We were pleased so many colleagues and groups from across the University who contribute to DCU Connected could join us in this launch event. Supporting our online students is a real team effort.

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As the following images show our DCU Connected posters and billboards will be popping up around Ireland over the next few weeks. Our online students come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and the NIDL team takes considerable pride and satisfaction from the part we play in extending access to higher education to people throughout Ireland, and beyond.

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We have over 30 years experience of online distance education and take our work very seriously as we understand the transformative potential of higher education. This is why the NIDL is heavily involved in professional bodies such as the European Association for Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). Notably, six papers by NIDL staff on some of our innovations have recently been accepted for ICDE’s forthcoming World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto.

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On a slightly less serious note, as part of this year’s DCU Connected campaign we are inviting people to send us a selfie with one of our posters in the background as we have another batch of our special cupcakes ordered to arrive in the next few weeks. The best selfies will go into a draw to win a box of cupcakes, which just like Class comes to you can be delivered to your door!

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On Thursday last week we were pleased to see such a positive response from so many people to our first DCU Connected Open Evening. We really appreciate the opportunity to meet our prospective students in person and to help answer any questions they may have about studying through DCU Connected. Our next Open Event in Dublin is between 10:00am and 12:00pm on Saturday 26th August 2017.

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Last Saturday, there was also a large response to our display at the Springboard+ Information Day at Alexander Hotel in Dublin. Our team met with dozens of prospective students thinking of taking advantage of fully funded opportunities through Springboard+ to upskill, study online and complete a DCU qualification in an area of employment growth.

IMG_4439Speaking of fully funded opportunities, on Monday 24th August 2017 applications close for our 10 University of Sanctuary Scholarships for online study through DCU Connected and we are looking forward to sharing more information in due course about the successful candidates. This latest scholarship initiative for refugees and asylum seekers is further evidence of DCU’s strong commitment to transforming lives and societies through new and emerging models of higher education. Suffice to say we expect another busy week head of us in the countdown to the start of the new academic year.

 

 

Launch of new DCU Connected Marketing Campaign

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new DCU Connected marketing and recruitment campaign for the forthcoming academic year which formally gets underway on Monday 14th August. This year’s marketing includes a mix of posters, radio advertisements and targeted use of social media, with a 2017/18 campaign tagline of “Class comes to you”. 

DCU ConnectedIn this blog we have embedded a few examples of the visuals supporting our new DCU Connected campaign. The intention of the campaign is to amplify the flexibility that DCU Connected provides for part-time students and busy working professionals who have the option of studying towards a DCU qualification, wherever they live in Ireland—or beyond. To coincide with the campaign launch we will also be launching our new DCU Connected website.

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What is DCU Connected?

DCU Connected is the term we use to describe our online modules and programmes taken by around a 1000 DCU students who choose to study predominantly online, off-campus. DCU has a proud 30-year history of extending access to higher education for mature, part-time, geographically dispersed students through technology-enhanced models of online distance education.

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Why do we use the term DCU Connected?

At DCU we use the ‘DCU Connected’ platform to describe our online offerings as the focus is on the distinctive and transformative nature of the learning experience—that is, being connected! Importantly, this places the online experience in the world of our learners and helps to avoid the idea that “online” is nothing more than a web-based delivery mode. More to point, the DCU Connected experience is designed to be highly interactive and far more engaging than merely reading online content from the comfort of your home. In today’s digitally connected world through DCU Connected our online and geographically dispersed students can feel strongly connected to DCU, and their fellow classmates, wherever they live.

Currently our range of DCU Connected programme offerings are shared across two faculties and the Open Education Unit in the National Institute for Digital Learning. This year we have also received a sizeable external Government grant under the new Springboard+ scheme to offer a range of online programmes at no cost to students, which target people seeking work, homemakers and caregivers, and in some cases those already in employment wishing to reskill and transition to a new career. The more inclusive Springboard+ scheme is a sign from the Government that online learning is slowly becoming a valued means of supporting employability, lifelong learning and the development of human capital for the knowledge society.

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What future developments are planned?

Global demand for flexible models of higher education, particularly for part-time study at the postgraduate level from working professionals, continues to grow and we expect more DCU Connected courses will be available through Faculties over the next couple of years. Currently in the United States, for example, almost 30% of university students (over 6 million) are studying online. To put the growth in demand in further perspective, in Australia, around 34% of university students now study part-time (currently 13% in Irish universities), with over 30% studying off-campus through some type of online flexible delivery option. The proportion of remote distance learners is currently less than 3% in Irish universities.

Notably, in 2016 around 60 million people worldwide also registered for a free online course through one of the major MOOC platforms (e.g., Coursera, EdX, or FutureLearn). DCU will shortly be making an exciting announcement in this area. While the hype around MOOCs may have reduced there is no doubt that this form of online learning is here to stay.

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If you would like more information about DCU Connected or wish to talk with someone about developing a strategic partnership with the NIDL in this area, then please do not hesitate to contact us.