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.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Online Learning

In March 2017, Professor Mark Brown gave a brief keynote presentation at the OLC Innovate conference in New Orleans. New OrleansThis is one of the largest conferences of its type in the United States organised by the Online Learning Consortium.

His presentation explored the 7 deadly sins of online learning and was metaphorically anchored in the storyline and lessons from the 1927 film Metropolis. This is a silent German epic directed by Fritz Lang, which is a pioneering work of the Science-fiction genre influencing generations of filmmakers through iconic images of oppression and liberation.

New Orleans1

metropolismovieAfter describing each sin, Mark argues that when it comes to structural innovation we need to break free from the institutional shackles that limit our imagination.
The key point is that online learning should be in the service of big ideas, not as a big idea in itself. He told conference delegates that in many respects we are all sinners as new models of online and blended learning have yet to significantly contribute to the big idea of a safer, more equitable and socially just future for all.

A feature article building on the keynote presentation later appeared in EdSurge with Mark talking about how we can repent from the 7 deadly sins.