World Refugee Day: DCU and FutureLearn announce 30 Refugee Scholarships

world-refugee-day-photos-download-1-1080x675.jpgWe are delighted to share the news on World Refugee Day that as Ireland’s first University of Sanctuary (UoS), Dublin City University (DCU) is launching in partnership with FutureLearn, a global leader in online social learning, 30 scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers. The joint DCU FutureLearn scholarship initiative will enable refugees and asylum seekers living in Ireland to undertake study from a wide range of courses offered on FutureLearn’s online platform though to certificates of completion.12790015_10153784985600342_457612615_o.jpg

Among the courses offered on FutureLearn is DCU’s ‘Irish 101’, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched earlier this year, and one of the first of its kind globally to offer an introduction to Irish language and culture. Associate Professor, Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl, Head of the Ideas Lab and the Fáilte ar Líne Project, at the National Institute for Digital Learning in DCU, remarked:

irish-101.jpg“We are delighted that ‘Irish 101: Introduction to Irish Language and Culture’ is a core component of this joint DCU & FutureLearn initiative. Not only will it support this community of learners as they connect with the Irish language and Irish culture, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to engage with learners from around the globe.” ‘Irish 101’ is co-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the 20-year Strategy For The Irish Language 2010-2030, supported by the National Lottery.

future-learn.pngAnnouncing the 30 new scholarships, Mark Lester, Director of Partnerships Development at FutureLearn, said: “DCU has long been a champion of online education in Europe. We are delighted to be building upon our partnership with DCU in providing 30 scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland, who will have an opportunity to access hundreds of flexible learning options.”

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Prof. Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at DCU, commented: “DCU has, for many years, been a leader in developing new models of open and online learning as it endeavours to expand access to higher education. As Ireland’s first ‘University of Sanctuary’, our partnership with FutureLearn builds on our existing scholarships established last year to support Irish asylum seekers and refugees to complete online degrees through DCU Connected. While today’s announcement coincides with World Refugee Day, the latest DCU FutureLearn Scholarships are further evidence of our ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of inclusion. They mark an exciting new chapter to help enrich the lives and opportunities of Ireland’s refugee community.”

More information about this new scholarship initiative for Irish refugees and asylum seekers, including details of the application process, will be announced shortly.

Brief Reflections on our Reflect Learning Portfolio Awards and International Symposium

Launched in 2016, Reflect is DCU’s learning portfolio platform. Available to all DCU students and faculty, the portfolio makes learning visible through the creation of a personalised and reflective living showcase of academic, professional, and personal achievements.

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While it has taken a lot of work to embed Reflect in DCU’s digital learning ecology there are now over 10,000 regular users of our Learning Portfolio.

slide.pngBack in April students from all programmes using Reflect were invited to enter the Learning Portfolio Showcase and Awards. Eportfolio showcase competitions have been used across the globe from New Zealand and Hong Kong, to the U.S. and Ireland to promote eportfolio practice, recognise and reward student attainments, and celebrate the hard work that teachers and students have put into making eportfolios a success.

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In April, the second annual DCU Student Showcase Awards took place. A large number of student entries were received and evaluated by a panel of judges using the eportfolio rubric, collaboratively developed by the Eportfolio Ireland community of practice.

F51488D5-9292-4A26-B210-96EADEBA3FEE.JPGLisa Donaldson, our Reflect champion, reported that “the standard of entries was exceptionally high, with first year students in particular, proving to be very creative with their learning portfolios”.
Eight students were shortlisted for the top prizes of Beats headphones and gift vouchers.

Billy Kelly, Dean of Teaching & Learning, was present to recognise students in front of faculty and their peers and to present the awards.

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Building on this highly successful experience, which validated some of the excellent work taking place using Reflect, we were then delighted at the end of May 2018 for DCU to host an international symposium on the use of eportfolios in education. Jointly hosted by the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL), and the Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA), “ePortfolios & More: The Developing Role of ePortfolios within the Digital Landscape” provided a valuable forum for educators from around the world to reflect on the implementation of eportfolios for promoting critical self-reflection, 21st Century skills, life-long learning, and more.

You can access many of the post event documents and slides from the symposium website and still get valuable insights and a strong sense of the rich and productive discussions over several days from reviewing the relevant hashtag:

#ePortfoliosandMoreDublin