May 2020 Newsletter

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Image by Sandra Schön from Pixabay

The past few months have been a steep, and bumpy, learning curve for both students and staff who teach in Irish higher education. Campus shutdowns led to an online pivot phase as an emergency measure to ensure continuity in teaching & learning. We’ve been conducting regular webinars to help support teaching staff make a smooth transition to blended learning ahead of the new academic year, which can be accessed here.

Upcoming Webinars

  • The #IUADigEd Team response to INDEx results, Project Team, Monday 8 June.
  • Launch of the UDL Toolkit, Suzanne Stone & Karen Buckley, Monday 15 June.
  • Copyright law and open licenses for digital learning, Darius Whelan & Catherine Cronin, Monday 29 June.

This month we want to share with you the results of the Higher Education in Isolation series of vlogs, our project team’s response to the INDEx Survey results, and a student perspective on what we can learn from the spring semester’s pivot phase.


Higher Education in Isolation Vlog Series

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

On 16 March 2020, the IUA started a Higher Education in Isolation Vlog series where students and staff from across the 7 affiliated universities documented their experiences learning and teaching online while staying home in the lockdown. After a month, we had more than 20 vlogs, each telling a different but familiar story. You can find the entire series of videos on our website.

The idea was then turned into a student competition on our Instagram page to mark our debut on the platfrom for greater engagement with students moving forward. Last week, we announced our top three winners… continue reading


EDTL team welcomes the results of INDEx Survey

Written by the EDTL project team members

Irish National Digital Experience Survey

In Autumn of 2019 third-level students and staff who teach took part in the Irish National Digital Experience (INDEx) Survey. This was managed nationally by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and coordinated within each HEI in conjunction with their Students’ Unions. The findings of this national survey were released on 7 May 2020 in an excellently managed online launch. We, the IUA Enhancing Digital Teaching & Learning Project team, are delighted to welcome these findings and share our support and our vision for working with these findings as part of our project.

The INDEx Survey 2019, capturing 25,484 responses from students and 4,445 responses from staff who teach, marks a critical juncture in Irish higher education. It provides a national dataset of the digital experiences, engagement and expectations of students and staff who teach in our sector prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic… continue reading


One step back, two steps forward: Learning how to learn online

A student reflection on the spring pivot ahead of the new academic year

Written by Vish Gain

Online teaching isn’t about replicating the classroom

Since the Covid-19 outbreak and the shutdown of Irish university campuses, online learning as the future of third level education is the talk of the town. Even if classes don’t go completely online and follow a ‘blended’ approach, a mix of online and physical classes, we know that things are never going to be the same again. The last few weeks of the spring semester, the emergency ‘pivot’ phase, has most stakeholders of this system divided: some welcome it, and some dread it. But most importantly, needs must. 

In April, I attended my last few online classes for the semester. Disruption in the teaching and learning environment was a steep, and bumpy, learning-curve for students as well as staff who teach. Even though universities had access to resources, there was no ‘one plan fits all’ model in anticipation of a sudden need to move completely online. All ongoing development in digital T&L was intended for the long term, and yet here we were with an urgent need for a standardised set of tools and practices to meet the demands of academic integrity in the seemingly uncharted territory of online-first learning… continue reading



The Enhancing Digital Teaching & Learning Project is based at the

Irish Universities Association
48 Merrion Square
Dublin, D02 PK02
Ireland

+353 (1) 676 4948 info@iua.ie

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