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.

DCU Connected Website

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.

 

Success of DCU-Fuse in Reimagining the Future

DCU-Fuse was a unique 24 hour online envisioning and collaborative brainstorming experience, which took place over 30th & 31st March 2017, in partnership with students to engage stakeholders in development of a new 5-year Strategic Plan (2017-2022). FuseThis innovative project, first of its kind in Europe, was framed by Dublin City University’s (DCU) mission of ‘transforming lives and societies’ and strongly anchored in five core principles of ethical leadership: inclusion, openness, collaboration, sustainability and transformation for better futures. The objective was to canvas the community for ideas using an innovative online platform during World Open Education Week to shape and reimagine the next phase of the University’s development.

The unique DCU-Fuse platform was structured to support 32 separate online conversations over 24-hours across four channels, covering a variety of themes, which engaged the DCU community in meaningful dialogue related to the University’s future. NIDL staff was actively involved in leading and contributing to these conversations. Almost 6000 separate online posts and contributions and over 7000 likes were shared, along with around 80,000 page views, over 24-hours. Importantly, the DCU-Fuse experience also established thriving physical hubs on each academic campus supported by students throughout the 24 hours.

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A distinctive feature of the DCU-Fuse experience was the underlying conceptual framework designed to reflect the University’s mission, core principles of ethical leadership, and contemporary models of open, inclusive and transformative online learning. More specifically. DCU-Fuse integrated key elements from three seminal theories on learning technology innovation. Twitter Fuse

Firstly, Laurillard’s (2013) Conversational Framework informed the platform design and engagement model by ensuring rich feedback loops. Secondly, Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry Framework was influential in fostering a strong sense of presence and community amongst participants, augmented by rich interactive content. Notably, each conversation was facilitated by a member of the University community, with support from a team of moderators who participated in relevant training. Thirdly, Hattie’s (2015) concept of Visible Learning based on a synthesis of over 1200 meta-analyses informed the platform usability and structure of conversations to enhance the flow of activities over the 24 hour period.

The DCU-Fuse experience was also invaluable in leveraging the University’s wider digitalisation agenda. Put simply, DCU “walked the talk” by infusing technology throughout our institutional culture in a truly open, inclusive and transformative experience. As Niall Behan, the new incoming Students’ Union President, comments:

“DCUFuse brought large-scale town hall meetings to the 21st Century online environment. This level of commitment to ensuring all opinions are heard, is part of a holistic model everyone at DCU is proud of. By being self-reflective and inquisitive in this manner, all aspects of the student experience can be improved, creating an even better institution”.

The following presentation on DCU-Fuse experience was later presented in June by Professor Mark Brown at the annual European Distance and e-Learnng Network (EDEN) conference.