2010 Finalists

Certificate in Music and Dance
Julie Tiernan, UL

Developed by the Nomad project, the Certificate in Music and Dance commenced in September 2009. Lengthy research and pilot projects were carried out in order to map most appropriate delivery for non-tradtional learners. A blended learning approach has been adopted, meaning that the Certificate can be accessed off-campus, offering opportunities of learning to those who for whatever reason are not in a position to access 3rd level education.

Innovative, student centred, open-minded educational and shared learning experiences are all key elements in community music practice and the results speak for themselves. Sustainability of ‘outreach’ and access projects is imperative if they are to succeed in making notable impact socially, musically or educationally.  Understanding the mechanisms and processes by which such projects succeed is crucial to ongoing effectiveness. The need for a middle ground between academia and community work has been an ongoing theme in Nomad’s work – we recognise the importance of marrying theory and reality in a coherent, constructive, innovative and accessible manner.

Web 2.0 technologies
Siobhán O’Sullivan, CIT

Building on strong academic teaching and learning qualifications, Dr Siobhán O’Sullivan has enthusiastically pioneered Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis,newsletters, e-portfolios, podcasts) in flagship CIT courses encouraging a student-centred learning paradigm.

What works best for student learning must be fundamental to our teaching styles, since teaching and learning can never be divorced from each other.

Educational needs of learners have changed since Web 2.0. Lecture classes are no longer simply scripted delivery of information (no matter how well done) but must exploit active learning technologies to truly engage students on their own terms.

Siobhán’s module Creativity, Innovation and Teamwork delivered to Biomedical Science students has established a sound pedagogical framework and elicited overwhelmingly positive feedback. Her distinctive contribution to e-learning has attracted national and international recognition. It is recognised at the highest level of our college that Siobhán is a leader and innovator in teaching and learning at CIT.

Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?
John O’Connor, DIT

One of the key issues for art & design in eLearning is the lack of an effective set of tools to support real-time visual interaction. Most successful eLearning material is text based, with additional visual images and sound. But, so far there has been limited success in creating Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) that can support the learning paradigm common to art & design, ie, studio-located, project-centred and crit/tutorial-based.

A thorough knowledge of online social networking opportunities in virtual environments is becoming increasingly essential for anyone working in the creative and cultural industries.

The elective module “Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?” is designed to encourage Art & Design students to explore the creation of their own virtual presence. Delivered entirely in Second Life, an online virtual environment manifested as a visual world and accessed through a personalised avatar, students learn how to establish and maintain virtual relationships and reflect critically on the process through a personal blog and posting to facebook, twitter, linkedin etc.

Practical experience is gained through the creation, management and exploitation of the content created blogs, online social networking sites, virtual worlds, video and picture hosting sites etc.

Skills Wheel of Life
Greg Kelly and Peter Nicholl, UU

The Skills Wheel of Life is an innovative online interactive tool designed to help students chart their perceived performance, and their satisfaction with that level of performance, in relation to their basic academic skills. It presents these skills as spokes covering topics:

  • communication,
  • working with others,
  • application of number,
  • improving own learning and performance, and
  • problem solving.

It allows students to quickly and easily rate their perceived performance and satisfaction.  This can then be printed and/or emailed to share with a studies advisor to identify any dissonance between the student’s perception and that of the studies advisor.  This creates an opportunity for focused discussion of any personal development issues. The Wheel has been tested on 185 undergraduate students and feedback from both staff and students suggests that more than 62% would continue to use it to audit their skills in preference to other available mechanisms.

Intergenerational Learning
Trudy Corrigan, DCU

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has achieved but at what he aspires to.” These words of Kahlil Gibran represent the philosophical values that underpins the DCU Intergenerational Learning Project (ILP).

This is an innovative new model of teaching and learning at third level which values the inclusion of the past ,the present and the future lived experiences of older people aged 60 years and over. This is created through the simultaneous role of older people as both tutor and learner meeting with and learning with younger third level students on a third level campus.

This shared space creates an opportunity for both generations to use learning technologies and social media as a tool that fosters unity and respect between generations and in the process breaks down barriers of stereotyping and ageism.

It is to create a learning space that is represented in the words of Maya Angelou as “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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