#OpenTeach: Professional Development for Open Online Educators

 

On the 21st of November an intra-institutional team from the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) and the Institute of Education from Dublin City University presented at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education open forum presentations for teaching and learning funding. The DCU team presented our proposed project called #OpenTeach: professional development for Open Online Educators.
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The #OpenTeach project aims to address the challenge of effectively supporting the professional development of part-time educators involved in teaching online, higher education programmes. Specifically, this project aims to develop the digital and pedagogical competencies of the 90+ DCU Connected online teachers, enabling them to create a positive and supportive learning environment for our students.

 

The project has a number of phases, as illustrated above. Firstly we will conduct an analysis of our online teachers’ professional development needs and a critical synthesis of the relevant literature on supporting part-time casual teaching staff. Then we will design and create a suite of open access evidence-based digital guides on best practice for online teaching. Using the digital guides we will develop a short online course which will be piloted, evaluated and adapted. The resources will follow an open first philosophical approach.

The full blog post describing this project is available on Orna’s LinkedIn page. For more information on the #OpenTeach project contact Dr. Orna Farrell 

Welcome to New Head of Open Education Unit – Professor Grainne Conole

Last week Professor Grainne Conole formally commenced her position at Dublin City University (DCU) as Head of the Open Education Unit. The wider NIDL team marked the occasion with an informal welcome on the first morning, and already Grainne is busy meeting DCU staff and making a valuable contribution to preparations for the start of the new academic year.

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Professor Conole is known throughout the world for her expertise in learning design and open models of education. Her appointment to the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at DCU is further evidence of our commitment to exploring and harnessing the educational potential of flexible models of life-long learning through our DCU Connected platform.

Grainne 3.jpgIn welcoming Grainne to the University, Professor Mark Brown, NIDL Director noted that DCU has a proud history of innovation in distance education and the number of students choosing to study online through DCU Connected continues to grow each year. He went on to say that ‘Professor Conole’s appointment will help DCU further develop our capacity and expand our range of online course offerings to meet increasing demand for open flexible study pathways’.

Professor Conole told NIDL staff that, ‘She is excited about her new position as DCU has a growing international reputation for its research and innovative development work in the area of Digital Learning’. Grainne noted DCU’s success in winning the rights to host next year’s ICDE World Conference on Online Learning and expressed her excitement about joining the NIDL’s organising team to offer a truly impactful and memorable international event.

Professor Conole brings considerable experience to her new role in the Open Education Unit, with over 1000 research outputs, including a seminal Springer book on ‘Designing for Learning in an Open World’. She serves on several international journal editorial boards and is a Teaching Fellow of the UK HEA (now Advance HE) and Fellow of both the European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN) and Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE).

Finally, during her welcome to DCU, Grainne reminded everyone that she was born in Ireland and has been associated with the NIDL since it was first established. In her own words, Grainne spoke of ‘how delighted she is to be joining such a great team’ and ‘is really looking forward to working with NIDL colleagues in helping to shape the future of education in Ireland, and beyond’.