DCU selected to host World Conference on Online Learning

Ireland’s reputation as a digital frontrunner continues to grow with news that Dublin City University (DCU) has been selected by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) to host the 2019 World Conference on Online Learning. Held every second year the World Conference is the largest and most prestigious international event exploring new open, online and flexible models of education.


Gard Titlestad, ICDE Secretary General, reports, “DCU submitted an outstanding case to host the 28th ICDE World Conference, which in November 2019 will attract to Dublin the world’s leading scholars, researchers, innovators, policy-makers, industry partners and practitioners working in the field”.

DCU’s success in winning the rights to host the 2019 event was formally announced on Thursday in a presentation to over 1400 delegates from 96 countries during the closing ceremony at this year’s World Conference in Toronto. The announcement was marked earlier in the day by an official signing ceremony, which notably was sealed by the DCU delegation sharing a glass of Irish Whiskey with the Secretary General and members of the ICDE team.


Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL), and 2019 World Conference Chair says, “Our successful bid in hosting the World Conference with a theme of Transforming Lives and Societies is recognition of DCU’s leadership and growing international reputation in the area of online learning”.

As Professor Anne Looney, Executive Dean of DCU’s Institute of Education, Ireland’s largest teacher education provider, reports, “DCU has a strong team working in the field of digital learning and is committed to opening access to education and providing opportunities for life-long learning through new digital technologies”.

WCOL Promo 1 Updated

Global demand for online part-time study continues to grow internationally, with currently over 6 million students in the U.S alone estimated to be completing some of their degree online. Professor Brown notes, “In Ireland, despite the current restrictive funding model, the demand from part-time mature students for more online and flexible learning pathways continues to increase as people look to earn as they learn”. This year DCU accepted a record number of new registrations for online degree programmes offered through the DCU Connected platform.


Professor Brown reports that more than 60 million learners worldwide registered for a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in 2016, and this figure is expected to continue to grow over the next few days. Notably, DCU will be launching its first official MOOC in 2018 on Irish Language and Culture through the FutureLearn platform. This MOOC initiative is part of the Fáilte ar Líne – Welcome on Line project supported by the Irish Government under the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

FutureLearn Purple 1

Associate Professor Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl, Head of the NIDL’s new Ideas Lab leading this collaborative initiative between FIONTAR & Scoil na Gaeilge says, “Further MOOCs are planned over 2018 as DCU looks to innovate in new models of online learning and to provide access to engaging, learning opportunities to people living throughout Ireland, and beyond”.

Minister of Education

DCU’s commitment to promoting the Irish language and widening access to life-long learning was discussed at this year’s conference in Toronto with Hon Mitzi Hunter, Minister of Education, and further recognised at this year’s World Conference, with Professor Brown’s appointment by ICDE as a Global Ambassador for Open Educational Resources.

According to Professor Brown the World Conference in Dublin will provide an excellent platform to showcase both Ireland’s innovation in digital learning and global reputation in the IT sector. He says, “DCU is looking forward to working with both major industry partners and the Irish Education sector in staging such a significant world event in Dublin”.

DCU would like to acknowledge the support of Fáilte Ireland and Happening Conferences and Events in the preparation of its successful bid against other competition to host the World Conference. More information about the 28th ICDE 2019 World Conference on Online Learning will be available from the following website:


WCOL Promo 2 Updated

A DCU Connected Experience, Wherever You Are

This morning over 130 DCU staff and external guests from around Ireland attended the launch of a major new brand called “DCU Connected”. Today’s launch by the President of Dublin City University, Professor Brian MacCraith, marks a very significant milestone for both DCU and the National Institute for Digital Learning. The NIDL has played a key role in the development of the brand, although importantly ‘DCU Connected’ is inclusive of teaching and learning activities throughout the University and Linked Colleges.

Launch Photo1

Of particular significance is the way ‘DCU Connected’ places the focus on the way learners can be connected in today’s digital world, wherever they are, rather than promoting a particular delivery mode or technology platform. While ‘DCU Connected’ includes a growing suite of online degree programmes it also encompasses flexible short course options (including MOOCs) and a number of major transnational initiatives with strategic partners. Most importantly, “DCU Connected” is not merely another term for delivering online courses to people living throughout the world. The initiative is grounded in DCU’s mission of ‘transforming lives and societies’ and a philosophy of working with partners around the globe to develop local educational experiences for local requirements.

During today’s launch DCU’s new overarching brand for its digital learning environment (Loop) was also announced but more information about this initiative will be available over the next few weeks. The intention is that all DCU students will be in the loop, part of the loop and will play a key role in making and maintaining the loop!

A copy of today’s formal press release issued by DCU appears below.

Press Release

Thursday August 7th 2014

DCU launches a new Online Education brand

 A DCU Connected experience, wherever you are in the world

Dublin City University today announced the launch of an exciting new online, flexible learning brand, DCU Connected.

This overarching brand encompasses a growing suite of online degree programmes for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as flexible short course options and major transnational initiatives in many countries where DCU has already established strategic partnerships.

At the launch today, President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith said, “Today’s announcement is much more than a brand launch – rather it is a public commitment by DCU to embrace the best of digital technologies to enhance the learning experience of students, both nationally and globally. Whether you live in Sligo, Seville or Shanghai, DCU Connected provides access to world-class online education, with international expertise and locally-relevant courses designed to meet your needs.”

DCU Connected “…perfectly describes our off-campus, flexible study options and courses available either directly from DCU or in partnership with one of our strategic global partners, such as Arizona State University.”

These strategic partnerships around the globe will provide a key point of difference for DCU Connected, as they greatly extend the range of study options available to students. They also reflect DCU’s mission of ‘transforming lives and societies’ by working with other organisations around the globe to jointly develop the most appropriate world class educational solutions for addressing local problems.

Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at DCU, noted that “DCU has over 30 years experience offering what was traditionally known as ‘distance education’. DCU Connected is the evolution of our commitment to flexible learning but with a more contemporary and clearly international focus”. Importantly, DCU Connected “is not just about online learning but a deeper philosophy about the connected nature of learning in the 21st Century — wherever you are”.

At today’s launch, the guest speaker was Professor Gráinne Conole, an internationally-renowned expert on digital learning and open education resources, based at the University of Leicester. Professor Conole, who is also a Visiting Professor at DCU, commended the university on its vision and leadership, noting that the brand was future-focused and that “online learning at DCU is no longer at the edge of the university experience; it’s at the very heart of it”.

The new DCU Connected website www.dcu.ie/connected will be available from Monday 11th August to coincide with an extensive marketing campaign to support the launch.


Media Contacts:

Teresa Murray

DCU Communications & Marketing

T:  01 700 5217

M:  085 174 4279

E: teresa.murray@dcu.ie


Michelle Smyth

DCU Open Education

T: 01 700 5327

M: 08

E: michelle.smyth@dcu.ie