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2011 Conference Book of abstracts - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)

2011 Conference Book of abstracts - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)


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Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)

Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004)



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    2011 Conference Book of abstracts - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004) 2011 Conference Book of abstracts - Enhancing the learning experience: Learning for an unknown future (Barnett, 2004) Document Transcript

    • TeL ann In v t nN t r’ h e rig n o ai ewoks o 4hA n a C nee c t n u l o frn eE h n igteL ann Ep r n e L ann fr n n a cn h e rig x ei c :e rig o a e U k o F tr (an t 2 0 ) n n wn uue B ret 0 4 , T us a Oco e 2 t h r y tb r 7h d A higH tl u l sln oe, bi D n www. . li ie n
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    • Table of ContentsForeword ....................................................................................................... iiiGeneral Information ...................................................................................... ivConference Programme ................................................................................. viKeynote Speaker ............................................................................................. 1Workshops - Table of Presenters .................................................................... 2Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience – Table of Authors ................................. 7 Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience – Abstracts ............................................................................... 8Sub-theme 2 – Diversity of the Learner Experience – Table of Authors ......... 13 Sub-theme 2 – Diversity of the Learner Experience – Abstracts ...................................................... 14Sub-theme 3 – Staff development for Learning/Innovation in Teaching andLearning – Table of Authors .......................................................................... 19 Sub-theme 3 – Staff development for Learning/Innovation in Teaching and Learning – Abstracts 20Posters – Table of Authors ............................................................................ 25 Posters – Abstracts ........................................................................................................................... 26 ii
    • ForewordWelcome to the 4th Annual Learning Innovation Network (LIN) Conference in theAshling Hotel in Dublin. LIN is the flagship teaching and learning initiative for theinstitutes of technology (IoT) sector in Ireland and is managed by the LIN Co-ordination Group, supported by Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI). LIN aimsto disseminate and promote best practice and innovation in teaching and learningat sectoral level. It is in the area of academic professional development (APD) thatLIN has made its most distinctive contribution. Within the last year LIN has had anumber of milestone achievements, the validation of the postgraduate diploma inLearning, Teaching and Assessment being chief among those achievements. This programme will beformally launched at the conference this year. LIN operates as a collaboration project betweenthirteen Institutes of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology. The seminal contribution andongoing support of DIT for this initiative from the outset must be acknowledged at this time. Thishas been instrumental in making LIN the success it is today. Within participating institutes, membersof staff from a wide range of academic departments and students’ support services complete LINprogrammes. Therefore LIN has established itself as an inter-departmental as well as an inter-institutional project.We anticipate the conference will provide much opportunity to share experiences and discussdevelopments and innovations in the provision of a quality higher education to an ever more diversestudent body. We hope that you find the conference beneficial to your professional practice, thatthe material presented will assist you in meeting the challenges of Enhancing the LearningExperience and that you have the opportunity to meet and form new networks with colleagues fromacross the sector who face similar challenges.Best Wishes,Dr. Richard ThornDirector of Flexible Learning, IOTINational Higher Education Strategy Project Manager, HEA iii
    • General InformationCONFERENCE THEMEEnhancing the Learning Experience: Learning for an Unknown Future (Barnett, 2004)1SUB-THEMES The first year experience Diversity of the learner experience Staff development for learning / Innovation in teaching and learningABOUT THE CONFERENCE ORGANISERSLIN - The Learning Innovation Network - was established in 2007 with the aim of workingcollaboratively to enhance Learning and Teaching in Institutes of Technology’. The project was athree year collaborative project between the thirteen Irish Institutes of Technology and DublinInstitute of Technology. Funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund (Cycle 1) LIN received the highestpossible rating from the Gordon Davis SIF review. As a result, LIN has secured further funding tosustain its activities under the auspices of the SIF 2 Flexible Learning project. LIN’s priority is theprovision and support of Academic Professional Development (APD) opportunities within the sectorand we recently validated the modular Postgraduate Diploma in Learning Teaching and Assessment.LIN is run by the LIN Co-ordination Group and each institute has a LIN contact. The LIN contacts arelisted in the table below. Contact Institute Nuala Harding Athlone Institute of Technology Daniel McSweeney Institute of Technology Blanchardstown Anne Carpenter Institute of Technology Carlow Stephen Cassidy Cork Institute of Technology Jen Harvey Dublin Institute of Technology John Dallat Dundalk Institute of Technology Mary Anne O’Carroll Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Aedin O’hEocha & Carina Ginty Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Denis McFadden Letterkenny Institute of Technology Terry Twomey Limerick Institute of Technology Stephanie Donegan Institute of Technology Sligo Rose Cooper Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin Brid McElligott Institute of Technology Tralee Carol O’Byrne & John Wall Waterford Institute of Technology Niamh Rushe LIN Co-ordinator – IOTI Marion Palmer Chair of the LIN Co-ordination GroupABSTRACT REVIEWERSWe wish to thank the following abstract reviewers who participated in the selection process for thepapers and posters of the Annual Conference.Catherine Bruen Trinity College DublinRosemary Cooper Institute of Technology Tallaght, DublinPaul Gormley National University of Ireland, Galway1 Barnett, R. (2004) Learning for an Unknown Future. Higher Education Research and Development, 23 (3), pp.247-260. iv
    • Jen Harvey Dublin Institute of TechnologyValerie Mannix Waterford Institute of TechnologyDaniel McSweeney Institute of Technology, BlanchardstownCarol O’Byrne Waterford Institute of TechnologyKevin O’Rourke Dublin Institute of TechnologyMarion Palmer Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyRuth Pilkington University of Central LancashireBrendan Ryder Dundalk Institute of TechnologyCATERINGLunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.RECORDINGLink to conference presentations will be on www.lin.ieWI-FI ACCESSAccess for Ashling Hotel Wi-Fi: ashling150TWITTER UPDATESFollow updates from the conference on Twitter using #LIN2011 v
    • Conference Programme vi
    • Keynote SpeakerDouglas Thomas has been a professor at the Annenberg School forCommunication and Journalism at the University of Southern California since1993. He is the author or editor of five books, including his most recent workA New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World ofConstant Change (with co-author John Seely Brown). During his time at USC,he has focused his research on radical cultures of learning at the intersectionsof technology and culture, beginning with the underground worlds ofcomputer hackers and virus writers. He has studied the open sourceprogramming community as well as a decade long ethnographic researchproject of the culture learning in and around computer games.In addition to studying gamers and gamer culture, Professor Thomas worked with colleagues at USCand Indiana University to design and produce two educational video games as well: The RedistrictingGame (with Chris Swain, USC) that allowed players to understand and analyse the inner workings ofpolitical redistricting and gerrymandering and Modern Prometheus (with Sasha Barab, IU), aninteractive retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which helped students understand and analyseethical decision making in the world of technology and science. His research has been supported bythe MacArthur Foundation, the Lounsbery Foundation, and the Annenberg Center at USC, andfocuses on the transformation of learning, knowledge, education and global civic engagement in thedigital age. He is founding editor of Games & Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media, a quarterlyinternational journal that aims to publish innovative theoretical and empirical research about gamesand culture within the context of interactive media.His books include: Hacking Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2002), a study of the cultural,social, and political dimensions of computer hacking, Reading Nietzsche Rhetorically (Guilford Press,1998), an examination of the role of representation in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche,Technological Visions: The Hopes and Fears that Shape New Technologies (with Marita Sturken andSandra Ball-Rokeach, Temple UP, 2004) and Cybercrime: Law Enforcement, Security and Surveillancein the Information Age (with Brian D. Loader; Routledge, 2000. His current projects include Power,Play, and Performance: Studying Virtual Worlds, an examination of player culture and community inmassively multiplayer online games and Play and Politics: Games, Civic Engagement, and SocialActivism. www.douglasthomas.com 1
    • Workshops - Table of PresentersWorkshop Theme Presenters TitleFirst Year Experience Nuala Harding AIT Learning Enhancement through Peer to Peer Carina Ginty GMIT SupportDiversity of the Learner Ann Heelan AHEAD Inclusive Strategies in Education. College isExperience back, are you ready to include students with disabilities?Staff Development for Jen Harvey DIT Academic Professional Development withinLearning/Innovation in Marion Palmer IADT the LIN framework: Collaborative Planning forTeaching and learning Liam Boyle a shared future. 2
    • Learning Enhancement through Peer to Peer Support 1 Nuala Harding, 2Carina Ginty 1 Athlone Institute of Technology 2 Galway-Mayo Institute of TechnologyThis workshop will introduce participants to the peer assisted learning programme which has beendeveloped in partner institutes, Athlone Institute of Technology and Galway-Mayo Institute ofTechnology. Participants will be introduced to effective strategies by student leaders. There will bean opportunity to consider and engage with active learning strategies used in peer to peer learningwhich assist the development of attributes such as creative thinking, problem-solving and ability towork in teams. Although designed for first years to support their transition to higher education,these strategies can be used in a variety of contexts, both formal and informal. The workshop will beunderpinned by relevant literature relating to promoting a deep approach to learning, activelearning and supporting the first year experience. In addition, the awarding of academic credit forthe leadership role will be outlined, including the development of a fit for purpose assessmentstrategy for the leadership module.Key wordsActive learning strategies, peer to peer learning, first year experience, leadership module.Nuala HardingNuala Harding is Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator in the Athlone Institute ofTechnology (AIT) in Ireland. A graduate of St Angela’s College of Education,Nuala was appointed lecturer in the School of Humanities at Athlone Institute ofTechnology in 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Hons) and was awardeda Postgraduate Diploma in Third Level Learning and Teaching in 2004 and anM.A in Third Level Learning and Teaching in 2007 from the Dublin Institute ofTechnology.Nuala is responsible for the activities of the AIT Learning and Teaching Unit, including theimplementation of the LIN Postgraduate Diploma in Learning Teaching and Assessment. The L&TUnit is dedicated to the support and advancement of learning, teaching and assessment in theinstitute. Nuala has recently been involved in two national research projects funded by the HigherEducation Authority. The Learning innovation project was the development of learning, teaching andassessment practice among academic staff across the institutes of technology sector and has led tothe collaborative design of a postgraduate award in learning teaching and assessment which offersparticipants a flexible development pathway tailored to suit professional needs. The Student LedLearning Project involved the development and implementation of a peer assisted learningprogramme to assist first years in transition which also allows peer leaders gain academic credit fortheir role. This programme has the potential to become a model for use in institutes of highereducation in Ireland.Nuala has published book chapters for the Irish Learning Innovation Network (LIN) and in the AISHE-Jjournal and has presented papers and workshops at national and international conferences. She iscurrently the chair of the Educational Developers of Ireland Network (EDIN). 3
    • Carina GintyDr. Carina Ginty is currently the Schools Liaison Officer at Galway-MayoInstitute of Technology (GMIT) in Ireland. From 2008-2011, Carina managed a€2 million strategic innovation fund, national higher education project forGMIT, titled Student Led Learning, in collaboration with AIT (Athlone Instituteof Technology) and Curriculum Reform in collaboration with NUIG (NationalUniversity of Ireland, Galway). Project outputs included the design andimplementation of a peer assisted learning programme to support thetransition to 3rd level education and a leadership module which enables student leaders to gainacademic credit for their role. Other outputs include a civic engagement module and service learningtraining toolkit; a new learning at 3rd level module to support first years; a student leadershiptraining programme and a range of other initiatives to develop best practice in learning, teachingand assessment at GMIT and partner institutes, AIT and the National University of Ireland, Galway.Prior to her SIF role, Carina lectured on a range of business programmes at GMIT from 2004-2008,and from 1996-2008 Carina held a number of roles in the private sector, as a marketing manager anda business consultant on various change management projects for information communicationtechnology companies. In addition, Carina was responsible for the development of a nationaleducational programme titled the “Ocean Adventure Schools Programme” to support the VolvoWorld Ocean Race 2008-2009. This educational programme was aimed at first and second levelstudents across Ireland (26,000 students took part).Carina Ginty holds a Ph.D. and a BBS (Hons) degree from GMIT, a Postgraduate Diploma in PublicRelations from the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and postgraduate learning and teachingmodule awards in Learning Technologies and Civic Engagement from NUIG. She is currentlyundertaking an MLitt in Education with NUIG. Her research study is titled “Supporting the first yearexperience in higher education; impact on student engagement and on academic practice”.Carina has presented at national and international conferences and written numerous papers in thearea of peer assisted learning and the first year experience; the impact of experiential learningprogrammes; and the socio-economic impact of the marine tourism business sector. 4
    • LIN Workshop: Inclusive Strategies in Education. College is back, are you ready to include students with disabilities? Ann Heelan AHEAD, www.ahead.ieIf you have one student who uses assistive technology or many who use a range of differentaccommodations, you want to be prepared.This workshop will give you the confidence and practical tips to confidently include students withdisabilities on your courses and will cover areas such as taking a universal approach to course design,making your documents accessible and structured group work.It aims to highlight the effective practices that when embedded into mainstream teaching andlearning benefit all students, not just students with disabilities. It is highly inter-active using a rangeof multi-media, case studies, information on inclusive teaching strategies and a demonstration ofassistive technology.Ann HeelanAHEAD the Association of Higher Education Access and Disability, isthe national centre of expertise on inclusive Education.Ann Heelan, BA, H. DIP. Masters in Education, Training andDevelopment, is Executive Director of AHEAD. Originally a teachershe worked in the Dundalk Institute of Technology and in Furthereducation in the UK. She is committed to promoting the rights andabilities of students with disabilities and to facilitate professional staff in becoming more inclusive intheir practice by sharing practical know-how and expertise. AHEAD also works with employers toshare practical information about how flexible recruitment and selection strategies can create adiverse work environment. 5
    • Academic Professional Development within the LIN framework: Collaborative Planning for a shared future 1 Marion Palmer, 2Jen Harvey, Liam Boyle 1 Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology 2 Dublin Institute of TechnologyThe workshop aims to encourage participants to reflect upon their professional role as academicswithin their working context.The group will begin by considering the professional skills and competencies that are required to bea competent lecturer within Irish HE. Using these agreed set of professional competencies,individuals will reflect upon their own professional skills and identify areas for personal professionalgrowth. Linking in to potential learning opportunities that are currently available, participants willthen identify personal goals for their own professional development. As a group we will finish byexploring ways in which we might build upon and share knowledge and expertise within the LINcommunity.Dr Marion Palmer is Head of Department of Learning Sciences at IADT and chair of theTeaching and Learning Committee. Marion is a member of the Council of the HigherEducation and Training Awards Council (HETAC) and was awarded a doctorate ineducation at Queen’s University Belfast on teaching in Institutes of Technology.Marion was a founder member of WITS Women in Technology and Science and waschair of the Educational Developers in Ireland Network (EDIN) 2009-2011 and chair ofthe LIN Co-ordination Group.Dr Jen Harvey is currently the Head of the Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre(LTTC) of the Dublin Institute of Technology. The LTTC provides a range of academicdevelopment and support for staff involved in third level teaching, including a suite ofPostgraduate Programmes. Before moving to Dublin she worked as an ImplementationConsultant for the LTDI, a SHEFC-funded project based in ICBL, Heriot Watt University,Edinburgh. Jen has been involved in a number of local and national collaborativeStrategic Innovation Projects, including the Learning Innovation Network. In additionto her interest in using assessment and feedback to support learning, current research interestsrelate to the use of technology to support learning, student assessment strategies, practitionerbased evaluations and Communities of Practice.Dr Liam Boyle is a Teaching and Learning Specialist based in Galway. He has producedstaff development courses for FAS trainers, industry and community trainers and forteaching staff in the Institutes of Technology. 6
    • Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience – Table of Authors Parallel session 1 (10.30-11.30) Name Institute TitleJeff Taylor Dublin Business School The evolving objectives of (business)Conor Horan Dublin Institute of Technology education demand creativity be championed in first year course designGeraldine McDermott Athlone Institute of Social Media and/in Education- where do Technology you stand?Denis Cullinane Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Shared social video in higher education Design and Technology blended business programmes Parallel session 2 (11.50-12.50) Name Institute TitleFrances Boylan Dublin Institute of Technology Action Accounting: supporting the firstAlice Luby year studentTony KielyRebecca MaughanRebecca Roper Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Reflection on Experiential Learning in Design and Technology Ireland: First Year Case StudyDomhnall Sheridan Dublin Institute of Technology Seeking a New Level – an examination ofMichael Carr the factors that affect Level 7 first yearAnselm Griffin Engineering Students in DIT and the effectLouis Bucciarelli Massachusetts Institute of of two initiatives on their learning Technology experience Parallel session 3 (15.25-16.05) Name Institute TitleLeah Wallace Limerick Institute of Changing Minds: challenging student Regina Kelly Technology attitudes to introductory physicsElizabeth Noonan University College Dublin Integrating theory and practice: enhancingGeraldine O’Neill assessment in the First Year 7
    • Sub-theme 1 – First Year Experience – Abstracts The evolving objectives of (business) education demand creativity be championed in first year course design 1 Jeff Taylor, 2Conor Horan 1 Dublin Business School 2 Dublin Institute of TechnologyThe objective of business education at third level proposes creativity and associated skills such ascuriosity, imagination, discovery, innovation and invention be placed at the forefront of the first yearexperience (Torrance, 1977). As business education is increasingly conducted by authority ratherthan creativity, students new to the college experience need to be challenged and encouraged toengage in harnessing their creative potential.This paper proposes that there is a need for renewed focus on first year course design, allowing forgreater freedom to explore business disciplines in their own self-directed manner.Torrance (1977) lamented that non-examination student assessment tends to be evaluated forcorrectness of methodology rather than in terms of originality, power, and worth of ideas developedand tested. Naturally this assessment mentality indirectly encourages conformity amongst students,a learning style cultivated at second level and continued through college education. This paperproposes the cycle of conformity must be broken in first year in order to enhance the learningexperience by using the model outlined below in conjunction with the Research Skill DevelopmentFramework.This paper will outline a simple three-stage process for encouraging creativity through course design.This three-stage process is before, during and after: Provide Opportunities for Creative Behaviour(before); Develop Skills for Creative Learning (during); and Reward Creative Achievements (after).The paper will show how this template should be considered during programmatic design andreviews, with consideration to continuous assessment design, in order to allow course lecturers thefreedom to both design and reward continuous assessment with creative skills in mind.• “Creativity in the Classroom: What research says to the teacher.” (1977) E. Paul Torrance.National Education Association.• “Commonly known, commonly not known, totally unknown: a framework for studentsbecoming researchers” (2007) Willison, John and O’Regan, Kerry; Higher Education Research &Development;Vol. 26, No. 4, 393–409 Social Media and/in Education- where do you stand? Geraldine McDermott Athlone Institute of TechnologyThe journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step (Lao Tzu)Choosing the most appropriate delivery method for his or her subject is one of the key decisions aneducator must make to maximize engagement and encourage deeper learning. Today, mosteducators are aware of the value of online resources for learning and almost all Irish third-levelinstitutions have embraced the virtual learning environment as an additional portal for theirstudents. Equally, educators are engaging with the VLEs to promote both individual andcollaborative learning. 8
    • However, as different forms of social media continue to become part of our students’ daily lives,should we go beyond our VLEs and engage with these channels? Is there a chance that the studentwho fails to engage in a traditional setting will be more engaged if we use Facebook or Twitter orSecond Life? Do we need to bridge the gap between the digital native and the digital immigrant?As part of the 10-credit module on Technology Enhanced Learning (a LIN APD module delivered inAIT), participants were encouraged to consider what the use of social media channels could bring totheir disciplines. They kept a personal blog for the duration of the module to reflect on theirexperiences, and engaged with online forum discussions and videos. They were exposed to a varietyof social media tools and invited to explore the potential of these tools with their students.The results of a survey carried out amongst first-year students on the use of social media tools willprovide an interesting backdrop to this presentation, which aims to encourage a broader discussionon how the growing sophistication of social media use in society could (and should) impact oneducation. Shared social video in higher education blended business programmes Denis Gerard Cullinane Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyThe term ‘Web 2.0’ was first used by O’Reilly Media as a means of capturing the evolution of theweb to what has also been called the ‘read/write web’ or ‘the social web’. ‘Web 2.0’ is used todescribe web applications and services such as blogs, wikis, social bookmarking/tagging, contentmanagement and collaboration, social networking sites, virtual worlds and digital media sharing sitessuch as Flickr and YouTube.YouTube has been one of the most successful media sharing ‘Web 2.0’ sites since its inception inApril 2005. Although YouTube is primarily perceived as an entertainment video site, it has a growingvolume of educational video content posted by educators, students and professionals from allsectors of business and education. It was this ever growing number of ‘educational videos’ onYouTube and other video sharing sites like Vimeo, TED, and Blip TV that contributed to the impetusfor this study.This paper describes a research study on the student experience of using shared social video contentin blended business programmes in higher education. A wide range of both professional andamateur video content was used to introduce emerging Internet and new media applications andtechnologies to business, enterprise and arts management students. All videos were from socialmedia video sharing sites such as YouTube, BlipTV, and TED. The videos were used extensively in theclassroom and online in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The qualitative research wasconducted by informal in-situ observations, face-to-face interviews and student reflective reviewreports. The results of the study indicate student questioning of the educational value of using suchonline shared video in a blended environment and point to the need for curriculum designconsiderations and instructional strategies to provide ‘scaffolding’ to support the achievement ofstudent learning outcomes. 9
    • Action Accounting: supporting the first year student Frances Boylan, Alice Luby, Tony Kiely, Rebecca Maughan Dublin Institute of TechnologyThe ‘Action Accounting’ project is a DIT cross-faculty collaboration to design, develop anddisseminate learning materials to support first year students who have a module in financialaccounting. However, there is particular reference to students who find numeric content difficult tograsp, and those registered with the disability service, including students with the specific learningdisorder, dyslexia. The project aims to provide an additional resource to help those who are morelikely to fail their examinations and drop out of the course.Research shows that when technology is embedded into the learning and teaching process studentsperform better, have a heightened satisfaction, and a more fulfilling experience, and, whenintroduced as part of the curriculum in accounting studies in particular, has a positive impact onacademic performance. Encouraged by this, the project team decided to focus specifically ondesigning interactive self-paced elearning materials that would reinforce concepts covered duringface-to-face lectures, and provide students with immediate help, feedback, and encouragement. Itwas felt that this innovative and alternative approach would enhance the students’ learningenvironment, increase the variety of learning conduits, accommodate different learning styles, andpotentially improve student retention. In addition to this, the significant increase in numbers ofdisability students and access students have put additional pressure on student support serviceswho will be working in an environment dominated by budget cutbacks in the coming year and suchelearning materials could play a vital role in supporting students who may be facing a reduced levelof support due to budget cut backs. The interest in this project was such that DIT’s Learning Teaching& Technology Centre, Disability Services, Community Links, School of Marketing and School ofAccounting and Finance, along with the National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching andLearning (NAIRTL), have all made funding available to make it happen.Following many prototypes and pilot studies, the team designed software that allowed the creationof a series of interactive real-life accounting scenarios. The software was built bywww.wedowebsites.ie, and the initial phase of the project is now finally complete with the firstround of the elearning materials being rolled out to all DIT’s first year financial accounting studentsin September 2011. Many of these activities will also be available through the National DigitalLearning Resources repository (NDLR) for download.This paper will give further details about this project and will show samples of the types of elearningmaterials in question. It would be of interest to any financial accounting lecturers as well as to thosewho are thinking of a similar project in a different discipline. Reflection on Experiential Learning in Ireland: First Year Case Study Rebecca Roper Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyBased on independent research conducted over a 5-year time period within first year studentsembarking on Business and Arts Management studies, this paper makes the case that byencouraging first year students to share and reflect upon their lived experience within a creative andacademic sphere, educators can monitor the changing complexion of perceived life in Ireland bythese students. In so doing, we can better inform our teaching to a more student-centred model(Edwards, 2001). In keeping with Social Constructivism (Glasersfeld, 1999, Carlile and Jordan 2005) 10
    • this category of observational and reflective work early in higher level education serves to validatelived experience and engage students outside of the largely behaviourist, exam-based secondaryschool focus. In addition and as a direct consequence of the work submitted, educators can create a‘snapshot’ of what students ‘see’ and respond to their life outside the lecture hall.The sample of the case study consists of student work submitted from 2005 - 2010 within the first sixweeks of their third-level embarkation. Largely a creative project, the assessable content consists ofobserved and imagined life of a found character. Shared indicators of subjects, tone and contentpoint at first to the homogeneity of student life. However, the overall observed subjects shiftdramatically from 2005 to 2010, indicating societal changes within lived experience. The work drawsfrom broad theoretical frameworks in learning from Kolb (1975), Robinson (2010), Piaget (1972),Newman (1854), Boud (1993), Rhodes and Bellamy (1999). Seeking a New Level – an examination of the factors that affect Level 7 first year Engineering Students in DIT and the effect of two initiatives on their learning experience 1 Domhnall Sheridan, 1Michael Carr, 1Anselm Griffin, 2Louis Bucciarelli 1 Dublin Institute of Technology 2 Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyThe First year Experience: An analysis of who and where DIT students of Mechanical Engineering(Level 7) are, and an examination of two strategies to develop their key skills in making the transitionfrom Second to Third level.The first part of the paper is an attempt to understand the student body, and the factors whichmake for success in the programme. The paper analyses different metrics, such as Leaving Certificatepoints, attendance, commuting distance, study-hours, paid-work hours, against the end-of-yearresults, to see which had the most influence on the outcomes.The paper then looks on two new innovations in the course. The first, in Semester One, anindividually researched and presented PowerPoint on one of the laboratory sessions undertakenthat semester. The second innovation, in Semester Two, is an open design exercise, originallycreated by Larry Bucicarelli of MIT whilst a visiting professor in the faculty.The paper analyses the student feedback from these two innovations and looks at ways in which thepositives from these can be brought into other modules throughout the programme. Changing Minds: challenging student attitudes to introductory physics Leah Wallace, Regina Kelly, Liam Boyle Limerick Institute of TechnologyFirst year science students’ initial views of having to take a module in introductory physics arefrequently fraught with anxiety believing that physics is not relevant to their chosen course of study;too difficult; too boring; or just all about mathematics.Over the last two years, the Department of Applied Science at the Limerick Institute of Technologyhas implemented a suite of research-based pedagogical techniques aimed at improving studentunderstanding, problem-solving and performance in introductory physics and also to redress the 11
    • issue of negative student attitudes towards the subject. The interventions have their basis in aconstructive theory of learning and include the use of active-engagement techniques, classroomresponse systems, collaborative group-based tutorials, multi-media resources for physics conceptsand laboratory support, and an emphasis on developing student metacognitive skills.Two years of quantitative and qualitative data from a wide range of instruments – attitudinalsurveys, open-ended survey questions, focus groups and examination results - indicate that there isa significant improvement in performance in introductory physics, particularly in mathematicalproblem-solving and conceptual understanding, in comparison with past cohorts. A substantialchange in student attitudes to physics with respect to its relevance to their course and the realworld, as well as improved problem-solving skills is reported.This paper presents the findings of these test instruments, some student commentary and proposesthat the improved performance and attitude observed in our cohorts over the past two years isattributable to the suite of pedagogical techniques used to teach introductory physics. Integrating theory and practice: enhancing assessment in the First Year Elizabeth Noonan, Geraldine O’Neill University College DublinStudent engagement in the first year of university has received considerable attention by highereducation researchers and policymakers internationally (Krauss et al 2005; Nicol, 2009). UCD’scurrent Strategic Plan to 2014 has prioritised fostering early and lasting student engagement.Arising from the plan, the University’s “Focus on First Year” strategic project was initiated and animportant part of this initiative included a focus on assessment in the First Year. The main objectivesof this activity were to evaluate how first year assessment practices were supporting studentengagement and to make recommendations for enhancement.In order to design an institutional framework to enhance assessment in the First Year, theoreticaldata and evidence of current institutional practice were gathered and critically evaluated. Fourspecific methodologies were used: a comprehensive literature review; institutional data analysis ofFirst Year assessment; case-studies of institutional practice and expert practitioner advice. Thesemethodologies integrated evidence from both theory and practice.Based on this evaluation it became evident that a design framework would need to incorporate adual focus to address the design and operational issues at module level whilst also providing a morestrategic design perspective from the vantage point of a School or Programme. Nine designprinciples emerged: 6 module and 3 strategic design principles. These principles were supplementedby an extensive suite of expert resources*, openly accessible, to assist academic staff planningchanges to first year assessment (O’Neill & Noonan, 2011). Issues and challenges arising from earlystage implementation (2011/12) of the framework will be presented. 12
    • Sub-theme 2 – Diversity of the Learner Experience – Table of Authors Parallel session 1 (10.30-11.30) Name Institute TitleBrian M Toolan Athlone Institute of The Importance of Body Language to Technology International StudentsMaeve Scott Institute of Technology Equitable Assessment of the PracticalDavree Downey Tallaght, Dublin Component of Scientific ModulesDenise MooreKevin Furlong Dublin Institute of Technology Enhancing the student learning experience and diversity of learning styles through Project-Based learning and Continuous Assessment Parallel session 2 (11.50-12.50) Name Institute TitleDes Mooney Dublin Institute of Technology ‘Out of the Impact: Adult learners’ perspectives on learningDarragh Coakley Cork Institute of Technology Learner Experience with the MyElvinMaria Murray Social Network for Practicing LanguagesBarry Ryan Dublin Institute of Technology Empowering student learning through knowledge ‘production’ Parallel session 3 (15.25-16.05) Name Institute TitleJulie Lisa Dunne Dublin Institute of Technology Work placement blogs to harness diverse learning experiences and foster a community of practiceJen Harvey Dublin Institute of Technology Taking the LEAD: Reflections on enhancingRachel O’Connor employability skills development?Sinead McNulty 13
    • Sub-theme 2 – Diversity of the Learner Experience – Abstracts The Importance of Body Language to International Students Brian M Toolan Athlone Institute of TechnologyThis paper is designed to prove the ability of body language of an educator to control, motivate andconvey information to students and how this can be done easily to improve the learningenvironment for international students.The first part of the presentation will be delivered entirely without the use of language. Thepresentation will convey the four main elements of body language. These are body stance, hands,facial expression mouth and facial expression eyes. At the end of the first part, participants will beasked to write these four concepts down on paper and hand them up to the speaker. If theexperiment works it will prove the point.The second part will then explain that some international students are not very familiar with Englishand may even be struggling with English characters (letters), by showing a PowerPoint slide withmost words in different languages, to enable the audience empathise with the learner experience.It will then explain how body language can be used to aid learning by using the four elements toelaborate, emphasise, animate and visualise the message that educators wish to deliver. Thesetechniques will be shown to be already used by many, but the paper seeks to reflect and improve onthe importance of their use for international students.The author, Brian M Toolan, is a lecturer at Athlone Institute of Technology, where he hasexperience of teaching over 40 different nationalities from transition year secondary school studentsup to PhD level postgraduates. Brian has lectured in the Business School since 1995. Prior to this, hewas a Merchant Banker for 10 years in London. Equitable Assessment of the Practical Component of Scientific Modules Maeve Scott, Davree Downey, Denise Moore Institute of Technology Tallaght, DublinAssessment of practical work in scientific disciplines frequently makes up more than one third of thetotal mark for a module. This mark should test the achievement of learning outcomes for thepractical element of the module. The assessment methods should also be varied to allow studentswith different learning styles and strengths to have equal opportunities to demonstrate theircompetencies.This study looks at the different assessment methods used in an Institute of Technology in a range ofpractical science modules. Assessment methods include in-class and take-home laboratory reportwriting, oral assessment (both weekly and at the end of a module), practical laboratory exams andoral presentation of laboratory work. They are evaluated to ascertain if the assessment method is afair reflection of the individual achievement of the practical module learning outcomes and that theassessment methods are inclusive for all students. Grades achieved for the different assessmentmethods are compiled and analysed. A statistical approach is used to conclude if the assessmentmethods tend to increase or reduce marks relative to other markers of student performance overallsuch as final exam marks and final degree award. A conclusion is made as to which assessment 14
    • methods are the most reliable indicators of a student’s ability to meet the practical componentlearning outcomes and which accommodate all learners. Enhancing the student learning experience and diversity of learning styles through Project-Based learning and Continuous Assessment Kevin Furlong Dublin Institute of TechnologyAcross Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) there is strong research evidence of theview that assessment has a strong link with learning and a key factor in this link is formativeassessment (FA). FA is generally referred to as those activities that take place during a programme ormodule with the express purpose of improving and enhancing student learning and accommodatingdiverse learner experiences through identifying the gaps in student learning. Using an ActionResearch methodology, this study was based in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and conductedwith the cooperation of three groups of level 6 Building Services students over a ten-month period(three cycles). The main aim of the research project was to establish if a deeper understanding andapplication of Building Services Applied Calculations could be achieved through the implementationof Project-Based Learning (PBL) and continuous formative assessment within the programme ofstudy. The research question was examined through the design, implementation and evaluation ofreal world building services, mathematical tasks and problems applied within a building project.The qualitative data gathered and analysed from questionnaires, focus group interviews,observational and reflective diaries culminated in findings to show that this learning paradigmsignificantly improved the mathematical competence, understanding, motivation and confidence ofthose participating in the research. Noticeable improvements in other key skills such as groupparticipation, reflective learning, and self-assessment also emerged through this pedagogicalimplementation.The main recommendations arising from the study were that a form of student-centred pedagogy,such as project-based learning aligned to continuous and formative assessments, could be used tobetter reflect projects and problems typical of those found in real-life industry situations. This allowsstudents to work on, understand and experience, meaningful issues and topics where they find realsolutions to real problems, unlike current summative assessment practices. ‘Out of the Impact: Adult learners’ perspectives on learning Des Brendan Mooney Dublin Institute of TechnologyThis article is intended for students and teachers alike. For students it may shed some answers toquestions about identity and change brought about by participation in adult education. Foreducators the article might encourage greater sharing of resources and involvement of the students.Using a qualitative case study method this researcher studied a group of students completing achildcare course. Methods used included focus groups, a questionnaire and observations. After usinga holistic analysis approach (Yin 2003) of the entire case the researcher then focused on a number ofkey issues. From this analysis the themes of motivation, identity, education as a facilitator of positiverisk taking, education and perspective transformation, and, connectedness emerged.The results show the students did undergo identity shift although some were reluctant to admit this.Others appeared happy with their new identity having been unhappy with the ‘old’ one for long 15
    • enough. For others access to education gave them the confidence to change other areas in theirlives. The theme of connectedness and belonging emerged strongly with almost the entire groupspeaking on this subject in a positive manner. For many of the students in the study the thing thatunnerved them most was that adult education would resemble school in some way. Some of thestudents embraced the notion of their involvement in their learning while others were troubled bythis difference from previous experiences of learning.This study has shown that there is a need for a wider study of this area. The implications of such astudy could greatly enhance teaching methods and student involvement in the classes.Learner Experience with the MyElvin Social Network for Practicing Languages Darragh Coakley, Maria Murray Cork Institute of TechnologyAs the use of social networking continues to grow, a select number of social networking platforms,now counting users in the hundreds of millions, have changed the way in which a generationinteracts with the World Wide Web. An important question for many now is whether theseinnovative technologies can be leveraged to specific purposes. This paper examines the learnerexperience with the ELVIN (European Languages Virtual Network) project, a European Union KA2Lifelong Learning Programme Project aimed at creating an informal social network, "MyElvin", tosupport and facilitate language practice. As the MyElvin social networking platform connectslanguage learners for language practice, based on their own professional, academic and personalneeds and abilities, the ELVIN project aims to research and develop the connection between socialnetworks and language practice in an informal educational environment. In this paper, the authorsreport on the development of the MyElvin platform based on the open-source social networkplatform "Elgg" and the customization of this platform to achieve the project aims of supporting andfacilitating language practicing. This is followed by an examination of the initial piloting of theplatform and the experiences of the 200-plus learners who took part in the first Elvin Pilot Actionbetween November 4th, 2010 and December 10th, 2010. Subsequent to this, a description andanalysis is provided of the usability results gleaned from the experiences of these learners and of therevisions made to the system aimed at improving learner experience. The learner experience for thesecond Elvin Pilot Action involving 800 plus learners is also appraised, detailing the pedagogical andtechnical rationale for the pilot structure. Finally, a number of observations are offered with regardto the development and piloting of social network platforms for the purpose of researching theirpotential as vehicles for providing learning experiences. Empowering student learning through knowledge ‘production’ Barry Ryan Dublin Institute of TechnologyIn this presentation the effects of an altered teaching methodology, in which the ‘student asproducer’ approach was adopted, are outlined. Currently, many students exist as knowledgeconsumers. However, Neary and Winn (2009) have suggested the positive effect on studentslearning through the inclusion of research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum;the students act as ‘producers’ of knowledge.In this presentation a third year pharmaceutical technology class were the case study group for thisteaching approach, and the module focussed on pharmaceutical manufacture quality systems.Group work formed an integral part of lecture time as part of the altered teaching methodology. 16
    • This presentation will describe the engaging and creative activities which allowed reduction in classnotes and minimal didactic teaching. Students investigated individual learning styles andindividualised their learning experience based on suggested techniques suitable to their style. Theepistemic process of wondering, critiquing, collaboration, visualisation and connection in both classactivities and the aligned continual assessments will be discussed. Finally, examples of terminalexam questions focussing on the higher order skills of analysis, evaluation and creation, whichreflected the teaching methodology followed through the module, will be explored.Pedagogic evaluation took the form of written student reflection and a student discussion forum.Students commented that the pedagogical change effectively improved their interaction,engagement and participation both in and outside class; however the initial period was difficult asthey students struggled with the concept. This approach is, however, applicable to any modulewhich currently applies a didactic teaching model.Neary, M. and Winn, J. (2009). The student as producer: reinventing the student experience in highereducation. In: The future of higher education: policy, pedagogy and the student experience.Continuum, London, pp. 192-210. Work placement blogs to harness diverse learning experiences and foster a community of practice Julie Lisa Dunne Dublin Institute of TechnologyStudents on work placement will have very different experiences from each other. However, theyare generally not connected to their peers, but working with professionals under the guidance of acollege tutor. Therefore during placement they are not formally supported by peers and cannotlearn from the diverse range of activities their peers will experience. An active learning communityand a sense of connectedness to others are critical to real learning (LaPointe, 2008), while learningthrough participation in a community of practice involves sharing experiences and discovering howto improve by regularly interacting with peers (Wenger, 2002). The aim of this project was tointroduce a blog assessment for pharmacy technician students to encourage reflection onperformance and the development of a community of practice which, together, are important stepstowards lifelong learning. Benefits of embedding online discussion forums include engaging studentsin collaborative learning, encouraging deeper analysis and critical thinking (McNamara, 2009) andrecently the use of blogs as reflective tools for students on placement has been utilised (Wolfa,2010).This presentation describes the implementation of online work placement blogs to allow workplacement experiences to be shared with the whole class. Feedback mechanisms are discussed,along with assessment strategies which actively promoted student interaction with their peers. Thisensured that all students had the potential to learn from each other’s experiences, from tutorfeedback on peer blogs and from the process of peer review.Pedagogical evaluation was through an anonymous multiple choice questionnaire (N=33) and resultssuggest a very positive response to blogs for learning generally, and particularly for learning throughsharing diverse experiences.LaPointe, L. a. R., M. (2008). ‘Belonging Online: Students Perceptions of the Value and Efficacy of anOnline Learning Community’. International Journal on ELearning, 7, 641-665.McNamara, J. a. B., K. (2009). Assessment of Online Discussion Forums for Law Students. Journal ofUniversity Teaching & Learning Practice, 6(6). 17
    • Wenger, E., McDermott, R. and Snyder, W. . (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: a guide tomanaging knowledge. . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.Wolfa, K. (2010). Bridging the distance: the use of blogs as reflective learning tools for placementstudents Higher Education Research & Development, 29 (5), 589 - 602.Taking the LEAD: Reflections on enhancing employability skills development? Jen Harvey, Rachel O’Connor, Sinead McNulty Dublin Institute of TechnologyThe HEA Hunt report1 (2011) emphasises the importance of undergraduate education providingstudents with the generic skills needed for effective engagement in society and in the workplace. In2011, DIT established the Lead, Engage, Achieve, Develop (LEAD) module to encourage, promote andsupport student’s development of a range of employability skills through engagement in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities such as volunteering, mentoring, and involvement in sports,clubs and societies.The LEAD Module aims to recognise and award academic credit to the important learning that takesplace outside the confines of formal academic study, which also contributes to an enhanced overallstudent experience. For the module pilot run, 21 students were selected from across the Institute,following an application and shortlisting process. Groups of 3-4 students were each assigned amodule tutor and negotiated a personal action plan related to the development of their selectedemployability skills. Students were also asked to maintain an online personal reflective blog. Themodule was assessed through the completion of a 2000 word Portfolio and associated evidence oftheir engagement in activities.An extensive evaluation was conducted as part of the module pilot. The Module was felt by studentsto be both rewarding and challenging. Several students reported difficulties in maintaining theirreflective blog while others felt this aspect of the module had been the more useful to them. Thispresentation will report back on the evaluation study data and make recommendations from thiswork that are likely to be of interest to any staff exploring strategies to better support employabilityskills development across a diverse student cohort, and develop in students the skill of reflectivelearning.1 HEA (2011). Hunt Report - National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030. Dublin, Ireland:Department of Education and Skills. 18
    • Sub-theme 3 – Staff development for Learning/Innovation in Teachingand Learning – Table of Authors Parallel session 1 (10.30-11.30) Name Institute TitleCatherine Bates Dublin Institute of Technology Engaging and preparing students for future roles – community-based learning in DITJen Harvey Dublin Institute of Technology Managing a time effective assessmentMarion Palmer Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, process to maximise a quality learning Design and Technology experienceCatherine Lowry Waterford Institute of A simple seminar series or a significantO’Neill Technology source of professional development: anLaura Widger Institute of Technology perspective Parallel session 2 (11.50-12.50) Name Institute TitlePauline Anne Collins Galway-Mayo Institute of The NEST Project: An Innovative ApproachKate Dunne Technology to Teacher TrainingAngelika RauchMiriam McSweeney, Galway-Mayo Institute of Lecturers are doin it for themselves - TheNicolas Canny, Technology MUGS experience in GMITPatricia McCannValerie Mannix Waterford Institute of “Different ways of knowing” - Fostering Technology Learners engagement in the creation and dissemination of knowledge via motivational self systems and life-wide learning experiences Parallel session 3 (15.25-16.05) Name Institute TitleMichael Joseph Athlone Institute of Evaluation of impact of professionalMcMahon Technology development training in the area of technology enhanced learningFiona O’Riordan Griffith College Dublin Lecturers have their say: what informsKevin Casey Institute of Technology pedagogy?Larry McNutt BlanchardstownSue Bergin National University of Ireland, Maynooth 19
    • Sub-theme 3 – Staff development for Learning/Innovation in Teaching andLearning – AbstractsEngaging and preparing students for future roles – community-based learning in DIT Catherine Bates Dublin Institute of TechnologyThis paper will introduce the principles of Community-Based Learning (CBL), showing how thispedagogy allows students to use a range of learning methods on real-life projects, preparing themfor a changing professional environment and social context, and enhancing their college experience.Lecturers and underserved community partners collaboratively design projects to meet the learningneeds of students and to work towards community goals. Through these curriculum-based projects,students develop greater awareness of themselves as learners, and of the role of their discipline insociety, as well as building a range of transferable professional skills. In this paper we will give 2 clearcase studies on how modules have been adapted to include this pedagogy in DIT, drawing on ourexperience of co-ordinating the Programme for Students Learning With Communities in DublinInstitute of Technology since 2008. Participants will leave with a clear sense of what is involved inusing this approach to learning and teaching, and the benefits for their students, as well as to theparticipating community partners. Community-based learning (or service-learning) is recommendedin the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030.Managing a time effective assessment process to maximise a quality learning experience 1 Jen Harvey, 2Marion Palmer 1 Dublin Institute of Technology, 2Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyLecturer time spent around the assessment process is a significant cost to HE. But is this time used aseffectively as it might be? The amount of time spent at different stages of this process is very muchdependent upon the assessment method selected. Some methods are resource intensive in theirplanning while others are time consuming in their implementation. How students decide to allottheir time is largely determined by what they see as being important (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004).Working in groups through a structured case study, a recent workshop followed the assessmentprocess through from the planning and design stages to assessment marking and evaluation.Participants were encouraged to reflect how they might make best use of both their time and that oftheir students in order that they might combine quality with efficiency in their own assessmentpractice. The initial outcomes of the exercise are reported as the value of the exercise is evaluated. 20
    • A simple seminar series or a significant source of professional development: an Institute of Technology perspective Catherine Lowry O’Neill, Laura Widger Waterford Institute of TechnologyEnhancing the learning experience is unarguably an underpinning value in higher education and wasat the heart of a novel co-operative venture between the School of Education and ProfessionalDevelopment and the eLearning Support Unit in Waterford Institute of Technology. The initiative -to jointly host a series of lunch-time seminars for all staff on topics related to teaching and learning,and integrating technology-enhanced learning - was the first such endeavour in the Institute.The Series was seen by its two facilitators as an opportunity to co-create a space whereinprofessionals might share their experiences, explore, discuss, question and reflect on principles andpractices of teaching and learning across the disciplines. It was hoped that such a space wouldfacilitate professional development and be conducive to the emergence of new ideas, forms andpractices in education, thereby enhancing the learning experience.This paper examines the aims and the impact of the initiative within an Institute of Technologycontext. It provides an analysis of data gathered by means of a survey, and of interviews held with aselection of presenters and participants, as well as the facilitators. It presents an assessment of theinnovation in relation to the extent to which these aims were met, and seeks to identify if otherpotentially significant unintended outcomes may have been promoted.A discussion of the results, with particular reference to the creative-interpretive model ofprofessionals (Lester, 2007), and emergence theory (Seel, 2003, 2005) suggests that the process andimpact of co-creating a space to faciliate sharing across disciplines are multi-faceted and complex.Whilst it is clear that there are challenges that need to be addressed, the research signals that theLunch-time Seminar Series represents a valuable space for the professional development of staff anda rich potential for emergence. The NEST Project: An Innovative Approach to Teacher Training Pauline Anne Collins, Kate Dunne, Angelika Rauch Galway-Mayo Institute of TechnologyThis paper presents a critical analysis of the NEST Project (GMIT, Letterfrack) as an innovation inteaching and learning within the context of staff development. A central objective of the GMITLetterfrack teacher-training programme, Design & Technology Education Programme (DTE), is todevelop highly professional mentors and reflective practitioners. To this end, a pilot project calledNEST (Nurturing Excellence in Student Teachers) was launched in 2010. This twelve-week voluntaryprogramme involved training fourth year students (NEST leaders) to peer mentor third year students(NEST participants) in the context of Teaching Practice. Both parties were required to engage inreflective practice using the traditional medium of a personal diary journal. This unique element ofGMIT teacher-training espoused a co-learning and dialogical approach based upon a socialconstructivist model of education. The aim of the research was to ascertain the effectiveness andthe viability of the NEST project. A number of research methodologies were employed during theacademic year 2010-2011, including: individual questionnaires; qualitative interviews; focus groups;digital forum discussions and a critical evaluation of relevant digital media. With respect to peermentoring, a critical analysis revealed that, in the majority of cases, both leaders and participants 21
    • benefited significantly from NEST, and recommended its continuance. In regard to reflectivepractice, the response was more ambiguous. Both parties indicated clear dissatisfaction with thetraditional diary-based methodology. However, an unexpected development was that a number ofstudents independently adopted a more technological approach, and effectively employedtechnologies such as Skype and Email for both communication and reflection purposes. Out ofsubsequent focus groups emerged the overwhelming consensus that future NEST projects wouldoffer participants the option of traditional and/or digital tools for use in reflection. A furthersignificant outcome of this student-led paradigm shift towards a prioritisation of the use oftechnology in the NEST project was that the module leaders/researchers opted to engage in staffdevelopment in the area of technology and education, with a view to more effectively advancingNEST goals. Lecturers are doin it for themselves - The MUGS experience in GMIT Miriam McSweeney, Nicolas Canny, Patricia McCann Galway-Mayo Institute of TechnologyMany third level lecturers recognise the need to enhance their teaching and learning with moderntechnologies. For individual lecturers the question can be "how do I go about engaging with thetechnology in my subject discipline?" Since lecturers can operate in largely autonomus roles, achange from traditional teaching methods may require a change in our school environment.This paper presents the results of a recent study carried out in the Business School at the Galway-Mayo Instititute of Technology (GMIT). It discusses the barriers to engagement with new teachingand learning technologies, and the experience of the lecturers in their search for a suitable solution.It demonstrates how a team of lecturers formed a small group, a Moodle Users Group or MUGS, toenhance their proficiency in the use of new teaching and learning technologies. Moodle is a freeopen source learning management system that has been formally adopted by GMIT.The structure of the paper is as follows:Theoretical underpinnings of the research; i. Creating an awareness of the current use of technology in the Business School; ii. Identifying the factors that inhibit the adoption of new technologies in the Business School; iii. Methodology: the process of finding a suitable solution for the lecturers involved iv. MUGS in action - the practical experience of using new technologies in Economics and Accounting v. Lessons learned and key recommendations.“Different ways of knowing” - Fostering Learners engagement in the creation and dissemination of knowledge via motivational self systems and life-wide learning experiences Valerie Mannix Waterford Institute of TechnologyThe paper focuses on the concept and characteristic elements of both motivational self systems, life-wide learning and the vital importance thereof for educators in regard to the facilitation of learnersin becoming “co-creators of knowledge”. In more recent times students do want a more active rolein regard to knowledge creation in the undergraduate classroom (Mannix, 2008). 22
    • In this paper, it is advocated that engaging with the knowledge, interests and life situations oflearners contributes not only to a collaborative teaching/learning process, but also facilitateslearners in the reconstruction of how they perceive knowledge, and of their own identities (possibleand ideal selves). Furthermore, it is viewed that the further and deeper students are willing to thinkabout and draw on their knowledge and own experiences (different learning spaces in whichstudents reside), the more creative and metacognitive they can become.Educational goals of collaboration and empowerment of learners stand in contrast to teachingapproaches, which place more emphasis on behavioural control and the attainment only of specifiedlearning outcomes. Focusing education reform effort on high academic standards does have itsmerits, but this approach often puts content, curriculum, and assessment, not students, at thecenter.Finally, in order to facilitate learners in becoming “co-creators of knowledge” and in thereconstruction of identities (possible and ideal selves), is a domain of practice that creates positiverelationships between learners and facilitators of learning. Such domains of practice require learningfacilitators firstly to know and reflect on what they know about learners and learning both inside andoutside formal educational settings; secondly to have the capacity to identify beliefs anddiscrepancies between their own perspectives and student perspectives on practices; and thirdly toidentify staff development needs. Developing self-assessment and reflection tools for facilitators oflearning may be useful in that regard. Evaluation of impact of professional development training in the area of technology enhanced learning Michael Joseph McMahon Athlone Institute of TechnologyIn the UK, dyslexia occurs in about 4% of the population (The National Working Party on Dyslexia inHigher Education, 1999). In Higher Education, its incidence is between 1.2% and 1.5%. The purposeof the study is to design and evaluate a fully online resource for lecturers which will help themenhance the delivery of courses by mitigating the effects of visual stress on students.The project will be a case study of a group of lecturers (n=20) taking the online module for theirprofessional development. A framework for the evaluation of presentations will be derived and atthe commencement of the course a typical presentation provided by the student/lecturer will beassessed within the context of that framework. To enable a quantitative assessment, a scoringsystem based on the framework will be developed. At the conclusion of the course a furtherpresentation which has been developed will be self assessed by the student/lecturer.The project involves the construction of a fully online academic training module which will beproduced using various learning technologies such as Camtasia, Articulate studio, Prezzi, etc. Theintegration of these technologies will be achieved through the use of devices such as online tutorialspresentations and quizzes as well as PowerPoint, screencasts and other presentations.This is a work in progress and it is hoped that at the time of the conference there will be somepreliminary results. It is hoped that this will be a pilot for a full suite of online professionaldevelopment modules which will aid lecturers in structuring their teaching It is hoped that, havingcompleted the course, the accessibility of an individual lecturer’s presentations and resources willhave improved and that therefore this will result in overall improved accessibility for dyslexicstudents. 23
    • Lecturers have their say: what informs pedagogy? 1 Fiona O’Riordan, 1Kevin Casey, 2Larry McNutt, 3Sue Bergin 1 Griffith College Dublin 2 Institute of Technology Blanchardstown 3 National University of Ireland, MaynoothIntroductionThe International Conference for Engaging Pedagogy (ICEP) was in its third year and being hosted byNUIM in December 2010 when the organising committee felt the conference needed a new focus, ora clearer direction. In an effort to differentiate the conference from many other successful teachingand learning conferences (e.g. AISHE, LIN, ILTA) the committee felt it would be helpful to seek theviews of ICEP 2010 delegates regarding the future direction for the conference. In order to afforddelegates an opportunity to have their voices heard, the organising committee incorporated fourarmchair sessions to close the ICEP 2010 conference. Participants taking part in the armchair sessionwere divided into four groups based on colour coded name tags they received during registration.The armchair groups were: • Novel and Engaging Teaching Methods • Assessment and Student Participation • Student Diversity (to include cultural, ability, maturity, commitment etc) • Module and Curriculum Design for a New DecadeThis paper will offer a collective voice in sharing the findings of inquiry during the armchair sessionon novel and engaging teaching methods.ObjectivesThis paper aims to present the groups motivations and beliefs around why they teach they way theydo. This included exploring what informed their pedagogy. One of the main objectives of thesessions was to offer a forum for lecturers to collectively discuss the challenges of engaging learnerstoday. Among the key issues to emerge from this piece of research was the need to understandwhere the learner was coming from, understand their learning needs based on their own lifeexperiences; and the relevance and role of technology to enable (and not replace) learning.MethodologyThe research methodology used was one of evaluate inquiry using a grounded theory approach. Thethinking being that the priority was to allow the theory to become apparent as a result of analyzingqualitative data in the form of audio and transcripts. 24
    • Posters – Table of Authors Name Institute TitleCatherine Patricia Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Why are they here? The factorsRossiter Design and Technology motivating the class of 2010 first year entrepreneurial students to go to collegeIrene Connolly Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Step inside the world of Dyslexia Design and TechnologyAidan O’Dwyer Dublin Institute of Technology A study on the learning styles of engineering students at Dublin Institute of TechnologyAidan O’Dwyer Dublin Institute of Technology Surveying first-year students prior conceptual understanding of direct current resistive electric circuitsJohn Keary Galway-Mayo Institute of Virtual Crime Scene using a Moodle lesson Technology planDarvree Downey Institute of Technology Is copying always cheating? : A study on Tallaght, Dublin how academic cultural differences inform students’ understanding of plagiarismBrid Delahunt Dundalk Institute of Academic writing and the First YearAnn Everitt-Reynolds Technology Experience: An initiative to help studentsMoira Maguire find their academic voicesBridget Geraldine University College Dublin Communication and outreach training forKelly science and technology postgraduate studentsNiall McIntyre Dublin Institute of Technology Percentage Know HowGer O’Sullivan Fairyhouse TrainingMuireann O’Keefe Dublin Institute of Technology Recommendations for the integration of clickers into learning and teaching to enhance student engagement and feedback at DITMichael McMahon Waterford Institute of Impact of Mayers Multimedia Learning Technology Theory on Learning in Sports Domain 25
    • Posters – Abstracts Why are they here? The factors motivating the class of 2010 first year entrepreneurial students to go to college Catherine Patricia Rossiter Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyPurpose: The purpose of this research is to discover whether intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is moreinfluential on first year entrepreneurial students. This information will be used to revise and deviseteaching methods and assessment strategies on level 7 and level 8 Entrepreneurial coursesMethod: An online survey was the method used to gather primary data from the first year students.The questions were closed and attitudinal rating in format.Results: Students were motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors but the intrinsic factor ofwanting to obtain a college degree was more dominant than other factors. However, many studentsshowed low level of motivation regarding their transition from second level to third level and manyare struggling to cope with this change.Conclusions: The majority of first year students were goal oriented and intrinsically motivated tocomplete their degree. Extrinsic motivational factors did play a role and the recession waspredominantly a demotivator for students. However, true to their entrepreneurial nature manystudents saw the recession as a great opportunity to start a business. Step inside the world of Dyslexia Irene Connolly Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and TechnologyFollowing a lecture on dyslexia, Educational Psychology students attempted to step into the world ofdyslexia by carrying out tasks. The first was “Describe your hobby without using any words with S orE.” Feedback compared with real life difficulties encountered by students with dyslexia when tryingto express themselves verbally. The second was to transcribe a piece of text from the data projectorinto their notepads with a strict limit of five minutes. The text was in Greek! Transcribing from theboard can be very difficult for a student with dyslexia, particularly if only given limited time. Studentfeedback given on task. The third task involved reading Act 1 Scene 4 of Macbeth. Based on lectureand tasks on dyslexia, students had to draw up a method to assist students with dyslexia tounderstand such a difficult text. Creative and innovative methods were supplied. 26
    • A study on the learning styles of engineering students at Dublin Institute of Technology Aidan O’Dwyer Dublin Institute of TechnologyThis contribution reports on a study, carried out over four academic years, into the learning styles ofa number of engineering student cohorts at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) using the index oflearning styles survey as developed by Felder and Soloman (1991). A previous contribution hasreported on the learning styles of Level 7, year 1 students, in one academic year. This work is nowexpanded to consider learning styles from a wider student cohort over a longer time; students on anumber of programmes at Levels 7, 8 and 9 are surveyed.The contribution will explore the results obtained in detail, placing them fully in their national andinternational contexts. Among the findings of the research is that the majority of students surveyedshow no strong preference for active learning. This challenges the prevailing disciplinary assumption(at least in Ireland) that engineering students are predominantly active learners, reflected in thetraditional stress on such learning in laboratories and workshops. The research results also show astronger visual learning preference among the DIT student cohort, at all levels, than appears in otherpublished results.The contribution will propose that the index of learning styles survey is a useful tool to identify themost preferred student learning mode for both student and lecturer. It provides rapid feedback andallows the lecturer to tailor, to some extent, both teaching techniques and assessments to (forexample) the clear visual learning preference that is evident from the survey results.ReferenceFelder, R.M. and Soloman, B.A. (1991). Index of learning styles questionnaire. Available athttp://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html [accessed 24 June 2011].Surveying first-year students prior conceptual understanding of direct current resistive electric circuits Aidan O’Dwyer Dublin Institute of TechnologyThere is an increasing diversity of educational background of students entering Level 7 and Level 8programmes in engineering. As a result, students’ reasoning regarding basic electricity conceptsoften differs from accepted explanations. This contribution reports, analyses and reflects on theresults of a multiple-choice diagnostic test to assess such understanding (developed by Engelhardtand Beichner [1] for U.S. high school and college students), taken by a number of cohorts of firstyear engineering students at Dublin Institute of Technology over three academic years. The test wastaken by the students at the start of instruction in the electrical systems subject, so that the authorcould identify the nature of student misconceptions (in particular), allowing them to be addressed.In this contribution, the author will: • Detail some of the literature regarding the assessment of students’ understanding of basic electrical concepts; • Show the misconceptions that the test used can uncover; 27
    • • Evaluate if there are significant differences between the responses of students with different educational backgrounds; in particular, if there are noticeable differences between the responses of students who have taken Physics for the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent), compared to those whose relevant prior education has finished with the Science subject at the Junior Certificate (or equivalent); • Compare data gathered in this study with that given by Engelhardt and Beichner [1] for a similar cohort of U.S. students. 1. Engelhardt, P.V. and Beichner, R.J. (2004). Am. J. Phys., 2004, 72(1), 98-115. Virtual Crime Scene using a Moodle lesson plan John Keary Galway-Mayo Institute of TechnologyThis poster shows how a virtual crime scene can be processed using the lesson plan feature inMoodle. Pictures of evidence found at a crime scene are viewed by the student in the lesson plan.The student is then asked a number of questions relating to the evidence/photo. The following fourtypes were used in the construction of this lesson:1. Multiple choice2. True/false3. Matching4. NumericalThe lesson plan also incorporates the uses of decision trees analysis. This is a very useful feature ofthe lesson as it allows the student make decisions which will take them through a series of pathwaysthrough the lesson. The use of the decision tree structure will also allow the students see theconsequences of selecting the incorrect option within a question.Lessons can be used for summative assessment purposes as lessons can be graded as the studentworks through the lesson. They can be used as a pre-laboratory exercise to prepare the students fora real life crime scene. They could also be used for a post-laboratory exercise as a formativeassessment for students.Other advantages include:• All students can take the assignment at the same time - rather than the limited numbers inreal life• The scene is exactly the same for each group of students• No lengthy set up times• Crime scene preserved from year to yearThis lesson plan will be undertaken by students in September and provisional results will bepresented as part of the poster. It was produced as part of the assessment portfolio for the LITModule in Technology Enhanced learning. 28
    • Is copying always cheating? : A study on how academic cultural differences inform students’ understanding of plagiarism Darvree Downey Institute of Technology Tallaght, DublinThe development of joint teaching programmes with Chinese third level institutes has resulted in agrowing need for Irish-based academics to understand cultural differences that impact Chinese-educated student learning. Differences in cultural definitions of plagiarism necessitate a criticalevaluation of current assessment methods and how assessment requirements are explained tostudents. The first step in this process is to explore student understanding of what constitutesplagiarism.The Chinese-educated students (CESs) in the study spend the first three years of their science degreeprogramme in a Chinese university and their final year in Ireland. The Irish-educated students (IESs)take many of the same course modules as their Chinese counterparts but have an industrialplacement as part of their third year.Exam scripts have indicated a high degree of rote learning of lecture notes by the CESs compared totheir Irish-educated counterparts. This is indicative of differences in how the CES and IES cohortsstudy for the purposes of summative assessment, some of which may relate to language issues.However, verbatim repetition of lecture notes also reflects the Confucian Heritage Culturalperspective on teacher as sage. It is this cultural belief system that has the potential to createplagiarism issues. The initial objective of this study is to examine what the students understandconstitutes plagiarism in a Westernised learning context. Recommendations will be made for helpingChinese-educated students adjust to a different learning culture prior to their arrival in Ireland. It isalso envisaged that the study may indicate how Irish-based academics involved in delivering jointprogrammes with Chinese universities can adjust assessment design and communication to help allstudents from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds minimise incidences of plagiarism.Academic writing and the First Year Experience: An initiative to help students find their academic voices Brid Delahunt, Ann Everitt-Reynolds, Moira Maguire Dundalk Institute of TechnologyThis presentation will discuss the development and implementation of an initiative to improve theacademic writing experiences of first-year undergraduate students in the Department of Nursing,Midwifery and Health Studies in DkIT. The role of academic writing in academic integration andidentity development is recognised (Krause, 2001) yet developing ‘an academic ‘voice’ can be achallenging aspect of the transition to Higher Education and beyond. This initiative is grounded infindings from studies with our students (Delahunt, Everitt-Reynolds, Maguire & Sheridan, 2010)suggesting that many are fixated with the ‘nuts and bolts’ and ‘rules’ of writing at the expense offinding their own academic voice.Given this, the aim is to support and engage students in the process of beginning to develop theirown academic voices. We focus explicitly on the ‘why’ of academic writing and not the ‘how’ usingthe Academic Literacies Model (Lea & Street, 1998; 2006) as the guiding framework as it emphasisesthe dynamic and contextual nature of academic writing. 29
    • The initiative consists of 3 x 2 hour workshops to be delivered during an induction week for incomingstudents. It is designed to complement existing provision (including a Learning to Learn module) thatis more skills focused. The interactive workshops address the nature and purpose of academicwriting; academic sources; recognising good writing; recognising, understanding and using feedback.Students will work in small groups on a range of activities, for example comparing texts and a mockgrading/feedback exercise. These are designed to enable students to explore the nature of academicwriting and open up dialogue about their expectations, experiences, and our expectations. Thestudent voice will then feed-forward to inform our existing provision. Students will also receive alearning pack to be used throughout the year. The initiative will run in September 2011 and we willpresent findings from the initial evaluation. It is hoped that by embedding the ‘why’ early on, wecan better support students in moving from novice to competent writers. Communication and outreach training for science and technology postgraduate students Bridget Geraldine Kelly University College DublinNowadays, research scientists are expected to be able to convey their research to a wide variety ofaudiences. This poster will describe a postgraduate module on communication and outreach forstudents of science and technology which was developed as a pilot module in University CollegeDublin. This module aims to train postgraduates in a variety of skills which ultimately can betransferable to any working environment as well as other areas of life. The overarching rationalethat was used in developing such a module is the premise that if a scientific concept can be brokendown in such a way as to be explained to a 10-year old child, then the scientific concept can beexplained to anyone. With this in mind, a dynamic course was developed which guided participatingstudents in the skills necessary to present various scientific topics to a variety of audiences, usingprimary school pupils as the starting point. The course was delivered through seminars, workshopsand tutorials. Students were given two opportunities to perform science outreach activities withprimary school students from senior primary school classes. Eight postgraduate studentsparticipated in this pilot which took place in autumn 2010. During this module, the eight participantswere encouraged to be creative and to put their own slant on existing outreach activity as well asdevelop their own outreach activities based on their PhD research. Participants directed 30% of themodule content by choosing areas of interest to cover during workshops and seminars. Feedbackfrom the students was very positive, with one student commenting how the module “helpedimprove” communication skills. The primary school students really enjoyed the outreach sessions,one student stating that he “would give up a Saturday or Sunday to go”. Future iterations of thiscourse will be improved through comments given in the student final reports. 30
    • Percentage Know How 1 Niall McIntyre, 2Ger O’Sullivan 1 Dublin Institute of Technology 2 Fairyhouse Training"Percentage Know How" is an e-learning resource developed by a group of five people, all withdifferent backgrounds but with one common focus. That focus was to create a template by which toaddress the educational needs of students in the area of mathematics. Anecdotal evidence gatheredby the group suggested strongly that the transition from second to third level education could beproblematic for many students. However, it seemed that those who studied Ordinary LevelMathematics for the Leaving Certificate were experiencing particular difficulties with regards to themathematical elements of third level courses. The starting point for many mathematical moduleswhich form part of university and college undergraduate courses is quite often beyond the ability orunderstanding of many first year students, thus creating an immediate barrier to new learning. Thisin turn is linked to poor performance, which is associated with student retention rates on courses.The Group decided to narrow its focus to one particular area of mathematics - percentages. Again,the evidence from discussion within the Group suggested that this was one area in which studentsappeared to have significant difficulty. The decision was made to create a "Percentage Website"that could be used to scaffold students to the level required on a first year accountancy course. Ifthis website proves successful other topics will be included in the same format in the future.In building this web resource the linear models used extensively in the past were developed into aninteractive design, one which would allow the learner as much control as possible over the choice ofelements to learn and the method by which they wish to be taught. At the same time, the studentwill gain immediate and positive feedback without having to follow a pre-defined path. Manydifferent technologies are incorporated into the resource such as video, screen capture, Geogebraand Articulate. During the development of the resource, accessibility was considered and thus audioand video are extensively used to ensure full accessibility across students with a variety of learningstyles. This learning aid is to be piloted during Semester One of the academic year of 2011-2012 inDIT, AIT and IADT with the feedback element of the resource being used to assist with theevaluation. Recommendations for the integration of clickers into learning and teaching to enhance student engagement and feedback at DIT Muireann O’Keefe Dublin Institute of TechnologyProject RationaleLarge group teaching presents a set of unique issues within higher education. In order to providevaluable learning experiences for students and to support lecturers with large group teaching, issuesof student engagement and feedback need to be addressed. The Learning Teaching and TechnologyCentre (LTTC) at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) investigated the implementation of personalresponse systems or clickers as a potential solution for encouraging interaction, feedback,questioning and peer-learning within large groups at the Institute. The ‘Clickers in the Classroom’project at DIT seeks to make recommendations on how clickers could be used within learning andteaching practice at DIT by lecturers into the future. 31
    • Project ImplementationThe project Spring semester 2011 was organised in 5 stages (See figure 1).Figure 1 Stages of DIT clickers project 2011The LTTC made a call for proposals from lecturers wishing to integrate clickers into their teaching.LTTC consultancy and support was provided for lecturers integrating them into teaching. It becameapparent over the semester that a community of practice, providing peer-support, naturallydeveloped among academics. Lecturers documented their ongoing work with clickers andcontributed to a regular blog sharing experiences of DIT lecturers as they used clickers in teaching.Notably this blog has already attracted audiences from National University of Ireland, Galway andfrom renowned clicker evangelist, Derek Bruff, from Vanderbilt University.Outcomes to DateLecturers have generally found clickers to contribute towards a satisfying learning experience.“For my part, I have found the students to be much more engaged. Students who I don’t recall everspeaking out in class are now asking questions – there is more permission to speak out as there ismuch more informal chatting about each of the questions”. For others, questions have emergedrelating to assessment and clicker’s usage.Case studiesEach lecturer compiled a final report on their experience and work with clickers. Students werepolled and asked to give feedback on how clickers impacted on student engagement and classroominteraction. The clicker’s blog and final report led to a series of case studies on clicker usage andexperience at DIT. These case studies now provide recommendations for the future usage of clickersin teaching practice to support engagement and feedback in various subject disciplines at DIT.ReferencesBruff, D. (2009) Teaching with classroom response systems: creating active learning environments.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Caldwell, J.E. (2007). Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips. CBELife Science Education, 6, 9–20. 32
    • Mazur, E. (1997) Peer instruction: a users manual. Upper Saddle River, N.J., [etc.] : Prentice Hall.Sharples, M., Taylor, J. & Vavoula, G. (2010). A Theory of Learning for the Mobile Age. MediaEducation in the NewSkiba, D., & Barton, A. (2006). Adapting your teaching to accommodate the net generation oflearners. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11, 4.Weerts, S.E., Miller, D. & Altice, A. (2009). “Clicker” Technology Promotes Interactivity in anUndergraduate Nutrition Course. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, 41, 227-228.DIT Clickers in the classroom (2011). Accessed on 26/05/2011 http://ditclickers.wordpress.com/.Impact of Mayers Multimedia Learning Theory on Learning in Sports Domain Michael McMahon Waterford Institute of TechnologyA review of a study carried out to analyse the effects of Richard Mayers Cognitive Theory ofMultimedia Learning and associated Concepts in a Sports Domain. Specifically the learning ofbasketball plays which can be defined as complex, strategic and spatial specific problems. The studytested the impact of custom multimedia learning content podcasts designed on the basis of MayersMultimedia Learning Theory on a range of low and high domain knowledge groups. The content wasdelivered using the Apple iTunes and iPod platform. Background topics influencing design alsoincludes Pavios Dual Coding Theory, Gardners Multiple Intelligences and Frawleys Mental Imageryfor Sport. Three of Mayers seven design principles were tested; Multimedia, Modality and IndividualDifferences. Testing followed Mayers model of "Deep Learning" analysis, where both Retention andTransfer tests are applied to groups. The test results offer significant insight into the impact ofMultimedia Learning Theory on learning in the chosen domain, particularly with respect to Transfertests. The work was completed in association with the Irish u18 ladies basketball squad andcompetent second level student groups between 2009-2011. Topics include Mayers MultimediaLearning theory, Cognitive load theory, Multiple intelligences, Dual coding and Mental imagery. 33
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