“Highly Commended Award” for Team Innovation for Student Success Toolbox Project

The Student Success Toolbox project, led by a team within the National Institute for Digital Learning, has received a “highly commended award” for team innovation in teaching and learning from the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). The award was presented during an ECIU showcase event to a large audience of invited guests in Brussels on Thursday 30th November.

Team Award

This project seeks to address the problem of effective transitions and the foundations for student success during the initial stages of the study lifecycle with a specific focus on flexible learners. Enhancing retention and completion rates of this group of flexible learners is a significant problem both globally and within the Irish context. The Student Success Toolbox project was supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education under the Building Digital Capacity fund. It was a collaborative project involving Dublin City University, Sligo Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and Dundalk Institute of Technology.


The particular focus of this project is on supporting flexible learners through key transitions in the early stages of the study lifecycle: from thinking about study, making choices, the registration process and through to the first few weeks. A basic premise of the project is that the foundations for student success start early in the study lifecycle, and that insufficient attention has been given in the literature and within institutions to the importance of the period before flexible learners formally commence their study.

A related underlying assumption is that this crucial transition period may be enhanced by the availability of appropriately designed digital readiness and preparation tools, which help to scaffold both prospective students and those about to embark on part time or online/distance study for the first time. In this project eight digital readiness and preparation tools were developed as Open Educational Resources (OERs) with a Creative Commons (CC-BY) licence. The eight tools can be viewed on the project website, and can be downloaded and adapted by other institutions from the project’s Github webpage.

Taking on the World by Walking Towards the Future

A handful of the NIDL team was delighted today to meet up with DCU Connected student Cian MacManamon who later in the month will be competing for Ireland at the World University Games in Taipei.

bGLJxIZf_400x400Cian recently completed his Post Graduate Diploma whilst juggling training, competing and studying online through DCU Connected. He’s a great example of how busy schedules even for elite athletes don’t stop online students from earning degrees and achieving their personal and professional goals. The ability to manage time, meet tight deadlines and see it through to the end goal whilst meeting other commitments are all important qualities employers tell us they value in our part-time online students. And the flexibility of online study means that Cian intends returning to DCU in September 2017 to continue his postgraduate studies.


Cian is one of eight DCU students competing at the World University Games. We wish him all the best in Taipei and look forward to hearing more about his combined sporting and academic success as he walks towards the future.