AN EDTL APPROACH TO SUPPORTING INTERNAL COLLABORATION
“Where we were starting from then, it’s not where we are now”
What problems were being addressed?
- Digital pedagogical capacity building
- Digital practice enhancement
- Active collaboration online
Who was involved?
The EDTL Team at Trinity has evolved across the project, including academic staff, professional services staff and a range of student interns.
Why did you choose to address the challenges this way?
- Build digital pedagogical capacity
- Support experiential learning around digital academic practice
- To consolidate points of connection across the college
How were the goals achieved?
One of the early EDTL outputs was the development of an in-person professional development module for staff, known as the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) module. Led by Assistant Professor Julie Byrne and working closely with learning technologists, Kevin O’Connor and David Hamill, the module succeeded not just in supporting module attendees to enhance their digital practice, but also seeded enthusiastic and competent digital practitioners across the College community.
The TEL module aimed to provide staff with opportunities to experiment with a wide range of institutionally supported digital tools. It also aimed to encourage them to think critically and reflect on common challenges of digital teaching, e.g. how best to:
- Support collaborative engagement and enquiry online both between staff and students and between students themselves
- Approach social presencing in an online context
- Connect with students in the online space and support community building
- Make use of VLE tools to enhance assessment and feedback
- Configure the VLE to support small group interactions
The TEL module also provided the Trinity EDTL Team with an opportunity to engage collaboratively with stakeholders across the college community. Developing the TEL module included identifying the existing range of digital practices in use by academics and other professionals, what the most appropriate kinds of support were and how they could be made available to the College community.
The module ran 3 times before Covid restrictions were put in place, with 15 participants in each iteration. It was scheduled for 2-hour blocks, every fortnight, and last ran during the Autumn semester 2019. Through the module, the EDTL Team impacted directly on 45 members of staff, laying the groundwork for and seeding the emergence of a diffuse network of staff across the College, who could be called upon to support digital pedagogical upskilling at scale, during the Covid pivot.
The TEL module afforded academic staff fresh opportunity to reflect critically on their existing practices and adapt their own teaching preferences and styles to the digital paradigm. The module brought together academic and other professional staff, emphasising the commonality of shared values around the importance of teaching and learning and the potential impact of digital teaching on student learning. The module enabled the emergence of a community of practice internal to the institution with good links to other, similar communities of practice across the sector, driving collaboration between academics and other professional staff and supporting the emergence of a broader national community of practice, supported through EDTL webinars during and subsequent to the national shift to remote learning in March 2020.