Free Webinar for Refugee Week: Exploring the Transition Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers Studying Online

Dublin City University (DCU) is Ireland’s first University of Sanctuary and this week we have a full programme of activities to support Refugee Week. Over the past 2-years our DCU Connected Scholarship initiative for refugees and asylum seekers has been very successful and on Friday as part of Refugee Week the Open Education Unit in the NIDL will be offering a free webinar sharing some of our lessons and experiences. The webinar will be of particular interest to educators, organisations and other institutions wishing to better understand how to harness the potential of online learning to open up educational opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers.

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Title: Exploring the Transition Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers to Online Learning with DCU Connected

Facilitators: Orna Farrell, Lorraine Delaney and Colum Foley

When: Friday 1st February 1:00-2:00pm GMT

How: Login to our online classroom 

Abstract:

Dublin City University (DCU) was granted the status of “University of Sanctuary” in December 2016.  Forty two scholarships were granted to refugees and asylum seekers by the University, of which fourteen were provided by DCU’s online education platform, DCU Connected. This session will report on the journey undertaken by a team within DCU’s National Institute for Digital Learning as they put in place the framework needed to support these scholars and the related research study which explores the nature of the transition experiences of University of Sanctuary Scholars to online distance learning. A longitudinal qualitative study is designed to seek a greater understanding of these learners’ experiences in the early stages of the study lifecycle, and of how their transition into higher education can be facilitated to enhance student success. The data collection technique is semi-structured online interviews conducted annually, and the first round of interviews has recently been conducted. The data-led analytical approach for this study is Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phases of thematic analysis. The next phase of the research project involves the analysis of the first phase of interview data and the generation of preliminary findings.

Download DCU’s full programme of activities for Refugee Week.

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.