Successful Visit by NIDL Delegation to Australia

In late November 2017 a team of DCU staff, including Professor Mark Brown, Dr James Brunton, Associate Professor Deirdre Butler, Lorraine Delaney, Dr Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl and Lisa O’Regan from Maynooth University, contributed to the annual ASCILITE International Conference on Innovation Practice and Research in the use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education in Adelaide. ASCILITE is the largest professional body in Australia and New Zealand supporting the use of new learning technologies in higher education and the conference attracted almost 500 delegates.


The Irish delegation was visible throughout the conference presenting a total of eight papers and posters. Notably the Student Success Toolbox project team led by Dr James Brunton won the “Best Poster Award” which was one of approximately 30 entries at the conference.


In many respects this project serves as a model for future NIDL initiatives as over the past two-years more than 20 scholarly have been generated by the project team. Moreover the programme of research and development is set to continue beyond the life of the funding, which is an important measure of the success and sustainability of any externally funded initiative.

In early December, as a follow up the ascilite conference, the delegation of DCU staff, participated in a number of institutional visits, including:

• Deakin University hosted by Professor Beverley Oliver, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education.

• Open Universities Australia hosted by Brett McLennan, Head of Learning Design Content.

• Swinburne University hosted by Professor Mike Keppell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning Transformations.

• University of New South Wales, Sydney, hosted by Professor Geoff Crisp, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education


Prior to the ascilite conference, Mark Brown also participated in the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) President’s Summit, which attracted over 100 senior institutional leaders in the area. Mark gave a brief presentation on the closing day trying to summarise many of the major discussions themes.

Toolbox Project Wins OLC Effective Practice Award

OLC.jpgIn November 2016, the Student Success Toolbox project under the leadership of Dr James Brunton was a successful recipient of an Effective Practice Award at the Online Learning Consortium’s Accelerate conference in Orlando. OLC is one of the largest professional bodies in the United States for higher educators with an interest in harnessing the potential of new digital technologies.

The award was presented during a gala luncheon event which attracted a large audience.


The NIDL has a close relationship with OLC with Professor Mark Brown contributing over several years to their well known leadership development programme and during the conference he also served on a high-level panel discussion, including professors Terry Anderson, Peter Shea and Karen Swan, exploring some of the lessons from the research literature on online learning. The room was full to capacity and generated favourable feedback in the conference evaluation.