May Newsletter

May Newsletter
May Newsletter
May Newsletter

Student Partnerships: The EDTL Internship

The EDTL project is committed to the concept of Students as Partners and creating genuine student partnerships with staff. This past month has been a furry of activity for our student interns, who have been organising an event to help capture the lessons learned over the past 3 years, as well as presenting at the 2022 Change Agents Network Conference on the research our intern Fernandos Ongolly has carried out on the internship model in the EDTL project.

photo of people near wooden table
Photo by fauxels on

On the 11th of May EDTL Interns took part in the Change Agents Network Conference 2022, presenting on research led by Fernandos Ongolly on the experiences of student interns in the EDTL project.

The conference ran for 3 days in a hybrid format, with the EDTL team presenting on the first day. Following a presentation of Ongolly’s research, there was a brief student panel where current and former interns discussed their experiences and views on student partnerships in higher education.

The abstract is available to read below:

Engaging students as partners in teaching and learning: A Case Study of the EDTL Student Internship
Fernanados Ongolly, Sharon Flynn and Míde Nic Fhionnlaoich – Irish Universities Association

The Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities Project (EDTL) is a three-year project funded through the Irish Higher Education Authority’s Innovation and Transformation Programme. It is aimed at enhancing the digital attributes and educational experiences of Irish university students through enabling the mainstreamed and integrated use of digital technologies across the teaching and learning process. Between 2019 and 2021, 20 student associate interns were recruited to the EDTL project with the aim of engaging students as co-creators in developing digital teaching and learning resources. All the interns in our project were/are actively enrolled in an ongoing course in one of our seven participating universities working collaboratively with a members of staff stationed at their respective universities.

Using our internship model as a case-study, we conducted 18 qualitative interviews with 10 interns and 8 staff towards the end of 2021 with the aim of understanding (i) staff and students’ perspectives on student-staff partnership in teaching and learning and (ii) students’ perceived benefits when actively involved as co-creators in teaching and learning. This data was coded on Dedoose and analyzed thematically. We propose a session to share with the audience our student interns’ experiences based on both the outcome of our 18 qualitative interviews and live discussions from a panel of our former and current student interns.

From the interviews, staff reported that having student interns brought about productivity and effectiveness in their work at their respective universities as they brought in authentic students’ voices through sharing their learning experiences and thoughts that would not have been otherwise captured by only staff in developing teaching and learning resources. The students were also helpful in assisting with the design and development of digital teaching and learning resources, organizing events, contributing to the project newsletter, managing the project social media pages, among other project duties. On the other hand, student interns reported that the partnership made them feel as active stakeholders in the teaching and learning process and provided an avenue through which they shared their learning needs in creating resources. In addition, through their active involvement in the creation of resources, they acquired skills that would later be useful to them once they graduated from college.

Lessons drawn from our internship model highlight the value of actively involving students in the process of developing teaching and learning resources as they bring in authentic student voices and own the process as well as the benefit that this comes with among students and staff.

At the end of this month our student interns will be hosting an collaborative event on student partnerships, aiming to take lessons learned from the EDTL project.

Bringing together current and former interns, staff members and stakeholders in higher education in Ireland, this event will be an informative space, where various internship models will be presented, along with exciting updates on the extensive work carried out by the EDTL Project Team across 7 universities. Sharing reflections, valuable learnings, and experiences of student partnership are encouraged by all attendees.  We will also focus on co-creation activities, working together, as students and staff, to identify what we feel is needed for authentic student partnership and participation.  

The event takes place on the 30th of may and registration can be found here.

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