KNOW WHERE TO GO
“We wanted to enhance the student digital resources that already existed.”
What problems were being addressed?
- The need to collate and signpost UCC’s digital resources for all students
Who was involved?
The UCC EDTL Team consisted of Project Lead, Clíodhna O’Callaghan, and student interns, Catherine Dawson, Alice O’Connor and Stephen O’Riordan. They were based in the Centre for Digital Education (CDE), where they collaborated with the UCC Skills Centre and the Students’ Union (SU).
Why choose to address the challenge this way?
- A wide range of resources already existed in multiple places and were difficult for students to find and navigate.
- The Skills Centre website was public-facing, ensuring students could access the information without logging in
- The UCC EDTL Interns would assert their own experience and capture the student voice
How was the goal accomplished?
After a full year of teaching and learning online, it became clear to the UCC EDTL Team that the university’s digital resources needed to be unified and clearly mapped. The student population was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of digital content being shared with them, while also struggling to navigate the multiple sources.
The UCC EDTL Student Interns, Catherine Dawson and Alice O’Connor, brought the initiative to the forefront, with the support of the UCC EDTL Project Lead, Cliodhna O’Callaghan, who recognised the project as an opportunity for the interns to not only improve the student experience but to build their own digital portfolio. And considering the issue at hand was that “no one knew where to go”, the title for the project came easily: Know Where To Go.
The next step was gaining access to a public-facing platform, ensuring students that are having difficulty accessing their online accounts, will be able to utilise the resource. The UCC EDTL Team were based in the Centre for Digital Education (CDE), whose website was staff facing. Luckily, the UCC Skills Centre was excited to host Know Where To Go.
“The student population was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of digital content being shared with them, while also struggling to navigate the multiple sources. ”
The collaboration meant the students would not be confused or bombarded by the addition of another website or VLE, as the UCC EDTL Team would simply be enhancing the digital resources that were already available. The UCC EDTL Interns began by researching the various digital education supports provided by the UCC services. Once, they had compiled a thorough and exacting list, they began to divide the resources into different categories, which began to naturally resemble the stages of the academic year:
|STAGE 1||The Basics|
|STAGE 2||Campus Specific|
|STAGE 3||Essential Software & Hardware|
|STAGE 4||Online Wellbeing & Research Skills|
|STAGE 5||Assessment Related Material|
|CONGRATULATIONS!||You did it!|
The staged process was developed with the intention of providing a step-by-step guide to UCC campus life, both on-site and online. The collaboration with the UCC Skills Centre ensured Know Where To Go covered every corner of UCC, just as the feedback from the Students’ Union (SU) guaranteed the resource’s language and branding spoke to the student population.
The constant collaboration between the NUIG EDTL Team and the NUIG Inclusive Learning Team, along with input from academic staff, support services and the Student’s Union, ensured that activities continued to evolve, and alleviate some of the pressure staff were feeling at the time. The invaluable perspective gained through the EDTL Project meetings that took place regularly, also promised the NUIG EDTL Team were persistently sourcing the most relevant answers to staff’s questions.
By Spring 2021, the positive feedback received by the NUIG EDTL Team and the NUIG Inclusive Learning Team, proved that it would be possible to host an online Inclusive Learning symposium. And that it would be possible to invite international keynote speakers, who might not have been able to partake under ordinary circumstances, as the online environment eradicated any of the concerns challenging in-person events. The two-day event focused on raising awareness across issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education. It highlighted the importance of centring the student voice, while showcasing and sharing inclusive pedagogies, practices and approaches.
The UCC EDTL Student Interns also enhanced their own digital skills by building and designing Know Where To Go, as well as creating a series of animated videos on Powtoon– a digital application recognised by the Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigiCompEdu).
The focus of these videos was to contextualise each phase of the project and to motivate and congratulate the students along their digital journey. The UCC EDTL Team also wanted to move away from the formality of previous digital endeavours, while injecting some colour and fun into the student experience.
In Autumn 2021, the UCC EDTL Team launched Know Where To Go, after three months of planning and developing it on the UCC Skills Centre website. The SU romoted it on their social media platforms, while their representatives and the college lecturers helped spread the word around campus.
The feedback from students and staff was extremely positive, especially considering the return to on-site teaching and learning. Therefore, the launch of this resource was timely, responsive and helpful for all. The Know Where To Go links are frequently checked and updated, promising that the student population always know where to go.
When the UCC EDTL Interns were organising the digital resources into categories, they realised that they did not understand many of the digital terms used. They had to work closely with their Project Lead and build an entire vocabulary for Know Where To Go, so each and every link they provided, along with its purpose, could be clearly identified.
The UCC EDTL Student Intern, Catherine Dawson, spoke over the animations and helped achieve a sense of continuity and familiarity, deepening the resource’s reach.
The Know Where To Go project would not have been possible without the EDTL Project, the Student Interns and the time/resources it provided.
The UCC EDTL Team learnt that there needed to be more centralised digital resources and communications for students, so they can use their time more efficiently and to avoid being overwhelmed with the multiple supports and resources that are already available for students online.