Welcome to the second edition of the Enhancing Digital Teaching & Learning newsletter! The Covid-19 crisis has brought about an unprecedented set of changes to the way Irish universities teach and learn. In this edition, we provide updates on our response as well as insight into the ways in which this crisis has transformed the digital learning environment in a matter of days.
With physical classrooms now shut down and campuses closed, we’ve started a vlog series called Higher Education in Isolation with students from across the 7 IUA-affiliated universities in which they share their experiences of online learning in these unusual times. Watch the videos here.
Our team in DCU have compiled a document titled Technology-Enhanced Assessment Exemplars aimed at helping academics who need guidance with using technology for digital assessments. It is a compilation of exemplars of digital assessment methods in different fields of study that can be accessed by anyone under the Creative Commons licence. Read it here.
Stay home, and stay safe!
Needs Must: Let’s be real about teaching online during Covid-19
By Clíodhna O’Callaghan (@cliodhnacal), Project Lead for UCC
I started a new job in UCC last December working on the exciting EDTL project by the IUA with the ultimate goal of enhancing the overall digital experience and attributes of our third level students through supporting staff with their professional development.
However, due to our current reality, my advice may contradict some of what we are advocating for nationally in our work. We are not working or living in anywhere near normal circumstances right now and so our typical expectations of ourselves in the context of teaching online, putting content online, etc. do not apply. What we need to do right now is what works best given the circumstances. Please relieve yourselves from high expectations right now because that will be the best thing you can do for your students, and for you (and yours).
If I wanted to teach online, I wouldn’t start here
By Sharon Flynn (@sharonlflynn), Project Manager
Well, things are progressing at an alarming rate here. A couple of weeks ago we had our Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning (EDTL) project team meeting, where we all discussed the #IUADigEd community, webinars and collaboration. We noted an increase in the number of teaching staff expressing an interest in teaching online, due to coronavirus.
Afterwards, I spent a few hours writing up the notes of that meeting, and hosting a really excellent webinar where team member Morag Munro shared the work she’s been doing in embedding the European digital competence framework for educators (DigCompEdu) into professional development activities at the University of Maynooth.
My twitter feed is full of (a) people panicking over the spread of the virus and (b) people sharing tips and expertise about how to start teaching online in a crisis.
Quick Case Study: University of Limerick and the Covid-19 crisis
By David Moloney (@daveymoloney), Project Lead for UL
How did you go about recruiting your 7 groups (pre-crisis)?
To begin pilot phase 2 of the project at UL, all Heads of School and Department, and Course Directors, were invited by email to an information session about the project on January 15th. The information session served to explain the project, to highlight the work undertaken to date, and importantly, to outline an opportunity for participation.
Following the information session, a short online Expression of Interest (EOI) form was circulated to all Heads and Course Directors. The designated representative of a group (discipline, inter-disciplinary, programme team or other grouping) was invited to complete the EOI on behalf of their group.
Living in a ghost town
The story of two DCU students living on-campus during the lockdown
By Vish Gain (@VishGain), Student Intern
Empty classrooms, silent hallways, pages of the student newspaper blown around the ground by wind, and the eerie stillness of a ghost town. This is what Dublin City University’s Glasnevin campus looks like on lockdown.
The only site to break the silence, campus residences, is where the last few international students are holding fort and self-isolating in response to the deadly Covid-19 outbreak that has taken the lives of tens of thousands across the world.
Among those students are Romina Dashghachian (22) and Anastasia Saenko (21), from Germany and Russia respectively, who decided to stay back in Ireland during this crisis.