STAFF & STUDENT PARTNERSHIP
“The equity was incredible”
What problem was being addressed?
- The need to include the student perspective
Why did you choose to address the challenges this way?
- An alternative point of view would be provided
- The student voice would be represented
Who was involved?
The University of Galway EDTL Team consisted of the Project Lead, Kate Molloy, who was based in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), and the Student Intern, Lauren Muldowney.
How were the goals achieved?
One of the most unique discoveries the EDTL Project uncovered was the value and the potential of staff and student partnerships. It was not a revelation the team expected – but it was an understanding that changed the way the EDTL Team conducted their research and implemented their findings, with their student interns by their side.
The partnership between the University of Galway EDTL Project Lead, Kate Molloy, and the student intern, Lauren Muldowney, is the perfect example of the difference that can be made to the student learning experience, simply by trusting students’ input. Considering the EDTL Project was focused on enhancing staff and students’ digital literacy, which would then improve the students’ academic life and future possibilities – it now seems incredulous to believe that students might not have played such an integral role in the digital transformation.
From the moment the University of Galway EDTL Student Intern, Lauren Muldowney, joined the team, she was interested and involved in every aspect of the work the EDTL Team were doing. Despite her significant workload studying medicine and entering her 4th year, Lauren was a proactive and efficient member of the team, with a crucial insight into the areas where students were struggling digitally and why the issues were continuing to occur.
The first project:
The first project Lauren embarked upon was an interactive lesson for students new to learning online: Online Learning at University of Galway. It was published online in September 2020 and shared widely by the university. And after reaching over 7,000 views that month, it was clear that Lauren was more than capable of fulfilling a brief, as well as speaking to her peers. Lauren’s practical insight into the student experience produced an invaluable resource at a difficult time for all.
The University of Galway EDTL Project Lead, Kate Molloy, became aware of the fact when she proofed Lauren’s work and not only recognized the standard, but the minimal amount of input it needed. It was an illuminating realization, which led to Kate envisioning the work that was possible now that she had a trusted partner and a direct connection to the student population.
Over the next few months, the partnership increased productivity and efficiency, as the Project Lead entrusted the Student Intern with pivotal research, content creation and keynote presentations, enabling her to focus on developing other elements of the EDTL Project. The addition of the student voice and perspective was crucial to the success of the University of Galway EDTL Team. It was even a welcome and helpful inclusion during the Learning Technologies module that the Project Lead taught every week during the second semester of 2020. The staff who participated in the module were keen to hear Lauren’s insights during weekly workshops.
Here are some of the topics the University of Galway Student Intern discussed:
- Video production
- Digital skills
- Open education
- Social media
- Relevant language
By the end of the internship, the University of Galway Student Intern’s work was visible throughout the university, as well as the EDTL website, where the EDTL Approach for Online Exams – Advice for Students guide, authored by Lauren Muldowney, is still gathering views, just as it has been adopted by the University of Galway Examinations Office. There are also countless webinars and conference presentations with Lauren speaking confidently amongst the academic participants– a constant reminder of the impact the staff and student partnership had on the EDTL Project.
Student representatives are often invited to join academic discussions, but they are not given the opportunity to partake in the discussion. The EDTL Project employed student interns in each of the universities involved and gave them a platform to voice their ideas and concerns, which in turn revolutionised the team’s output.