Aligning Teaching and Learning Across the Technological Sector (ATLAS)

Researchers from 5 collaborating institutions: Nuala Harding (Athlone I.T); Dr. Moira Maguire (Dundalk I.T.); Gina Noonan (I.T. Carlow) ; Dr Deirdre McClay  (Letterkenny I.T.) and Dr Mary Fenton (Waterford I.T.).

Funding: €75,000 from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2016 (Driving Enhancement through Capacity Building in Irish Higher Education) of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. This funding was divided among 5 collaborating institutions: Athlone I.T. (lead partner), Dundalk I.T., I.T. Carlow, Letterkenny I.T. and Waterford I.T. The project ran for 18 months from January 2017 to June  2018.

Project Aim

ATLAS aimed to interpret the National Professional Development Framework (click here for NPDF document) within the context of existing accredited provision across technological higher education institutions in Ireland.  This was undertaken with a view to examining and addressing specific professional development needs in the technological sector using a reflective and evidence-based approach.

Since the introduction of the HEA Strategic Initiatives Funding (SIF), accredited teaching and learning modules and programmes were developed and offered across the higher education sector. Within the technological sector, the Learning Innovation Network (LIN) group collaboratively designed the ‘LIN Flexible Pathway’ to a postgraduate diploma. In addition, other LIN members developed programmes in response to their own specific requirements. Building on this work, the collaborators in ATLAS sought to: (i) map existing accredited T&L provision against the NPDF; (ii) interpret existing provision using the NPDF domains; (iii) identify opportunities to align provision to the Digital Capacity Framework; and (iv) explore the development of a framework/tool to support colleagues in using the framework to guide and inform ongoing professional development.

Method

The project involved 5 partner organisations (Athlone I.T. (lead partner), Dundalk I.T., I.T. Carlow, Letterkenny I.T. and Waterford I.T.) and 3 supporting institutions (Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Galway, Mayo Institute of Technology and I.T. Sligo). A steering group was set up comprising representatives from the 8 collaborating institutions and a student union representative. All accredited professional development modules and programmes in teaching and learning within 7 of the collaborating institutions were mapped  to the NPDF. This involved 6 major awards (including the MA in Learning and Teaching at LYIT) and 49 modules/special purpose awards. The process included consultations with programme staff and graduates. Using an iterative approach, the partners mapped and interpreted existing provision using the NPDF.     

Engagement Activity

ATLAS involved extensive engagement activity with both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders with which the project engaged comprised: partner representatives for the various accredited programmes and modules, student union representatives, current and graduate students, academic staff and management, programme boards, institute committees and academic council. External stakeholder engagement included: THEA,  LIN and the National Forum (including other project teams from the 2016 funding call). The outputs of ATLAS were discussed and critiqued at a variety of National Forum seminars and national and international conferences:

  1. “ATLAS – Exploring the sharing of Accredited Academic Professional Development Collaboratively for the Technological Sector”. National Forum Seminar Series 2017/18, March 2018,  Athlone I.T.
  2. “ATLAS –a seminar for HR managers, educational developers and learning technologists.’ National Forum Seminar Series 2018/19, March 2019 TU Dublin. THEA.
  3. The Weakest Link? Digital Identity and Wellbeing in Accredited Continuing Professional Development in Teaching and Learning’ paper presented at EdTech 2018, 31st May-01st June 2018,  I.T. Carlow.
  4. ‘ATLAS – A Model for Mapping to the Professional Development Framework,’ paper presented at AILTA 2018, 30th October 2018, Marino Institute of Education.
  5. ‘ATLAS: A Model for Mapping to a Professional Development Framework in Ireland,’ 90 minute workshop at SEDA 23rd Annual Conference, 15-16 November 2018, Birmingham.

Impact

The key output was a bespoke mapping tool and consultation pack developed to support educational developers in using the NPDF to review and develop programmes. The project also helped in terms of impact to: raise awareness  of the NPDF in partner organisations; develop relationships and deepen collaborations between T&L staff in partner organisations; interpret the NPDF within the context of each mapped  programme and module; identify areas of development for mapped  programmes and modules; and, identify opportunities for sectoral collaboration. For more details and output from the ATLAS project see https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/?s=atlas

Street Law at LYIT

Researchers: Brónagh Heverin, Law Lecturer and Siobhan Cullen, Head of Department of Law and Humanities

Funding: €150,000 from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2015 (Building Digital Capacity) for the development of ‘Street Law – a module to enhance the transferable skills of law students through a digitally resourced and digitally supported module in community legal education (undergraduate law students teaching second level students)’; followed by seed funding for a masters by research student; and followed by a further successful application for funding in the sum of €150,000 from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund Phase 4 2018 Driving Enhancement through Capacity Building in Irish Higher Education for the development of ‘THE REAL PROJECT (Reimagining Experiential Academic Learning)’.

Project Aim

Street Law at LYIT is a student led form of Public Legal Education where undergraduate law students create and deliver workshops with a variety of audiences ranging from second level students to community groups. The workshops use interactive teaching methodologies to provide legal education to members of the public, many of whom have legal issues but no access to lawyers, and so provide an invaluable free or pro bono service in addressing unmet legal need.

The Street Law method is internationally accredited as being mutually beneficial for both the trainers (our third level students) and the participants (their audiences). Popular practical law topics covered include awareness of human rights/civil rights, democratic principles, conflict resolution, criminal justice, practice and procedure, sports law, employment law and civil liberties. Typically, the target audience choose the areas of law that they would like to learn about.

Introduction of the Street Law module in LYIT represented a new departure in undergraduate legal pedagogy in Ireland and simultaneously created the space for collaboration between third level institutions, second level schools and their communities.

Method

LYIT law students are trained in the use of an interactive teaching methodology which they then use to deliver Street Law workshops using activities such as simulation, role-play and debate. The primary audiences are transition year students in several secondary schools across County Donegal. In addition, each cohort of LYIT Street Law students also deliver classes to other audiences which has included early school leavers from a variety of schools, DeafHear in Letterkenny and Youth Reach groups from across County Donegal.

Engagement Activity

Engagement with external bodies is fundamental to Street Law. The initiation of each Street Law programme requires engagement and collaboration with the partnering institution, whether it be a second level school or a community organisation. This engagement identifies an unmet legal need which is followed by collaboration to develop a series of Street Law workshops deliverable by LYIT students to address the need. The engagement continues throughout delivery by the LYIT students where the law is introduced in an accessible, engaging, interactive and responsive manner to ensure its continued relevance to the audience.

Impact

Street Law at LYIT has a positive impact at several levels. The LYIT students are given an opportunity to take their learning to a new level by creating interactive workshops to teach legal concepts which in turn develops their professional and transferable skills as required by the Hunt Report. Research has shown that participation in Street Law at LYIT has specifically enhanced the communication and critical thinking capacities of students.

Street Law at LYIT also impacts the primary audience of Transition Year School students in the Partner Secondary Schools on many levels, ranging from provision of basic legal education to potentially fostering ambitions towards a legal career. Additional audiences receive similar benefits but also the practical benefit of personalised legal information otherwise inaccessible to them.

The LYIT Street Law programme was first delivered in the academic year 2016/17 and was shortlisted for the Irish Education Awards 2018 in two categories, Best Student Engagement and Best Outreach Programme.

Restart+ Sustainable investment, performance and efficiency (2018–2020)

Funder: Eramus+ (€250,000)

Researchers: European Partners + Dr Padraig Gallagher, Karen McCormick, Dr Isobel Cunningham and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

In Restart+ we will work together to create innovative learning tools and resources which equip leaders of community groups, public authorities and educational institutions with the knowledge and skills needed to adopt a transformative approach to community reactivation.

I-Step International Student Entrepreneurs Programme (2016–18)

Funder: Eramus+ (€250,000)

Researchers: European Partners + Dr Padraig Gallagher, Karen McCormick, Dr Isobel Cunningham and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

I-STEP aims to enhance international entrepreneurial skills and the attitude of teachers and students in Vocational Education and Training (VET). I-STEP provides an international dimension to entrepreneurship programmes and strengthens the local and European network of VET schools. I-STEP achieves this by sharing knowledge; experiences; and practises in the field of (international) entrepreneurship; and ensuring cooperation between VET, regional business, government and research institutes. Participants are VET (teachers, managers, coordinators) and students in all fields of education.

RAISE Support for SMEs engaging in apprenticeships (2016–18)

Funder: Eramus+ (€250,000)

Researchers: European Partners + Dr Padraig Gallagher, Karen McCormick, Dr Isobel Cunningham and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

The continued expansion of European higher education has increased substantially the supply of graduates entering the labour market. Authors such as (Rae, 2007; Pool and Sewell, 2007) have studied the implications of mass higher education for employability. Stewart and Knowles (1999) studied the implications for career development and Love et al. (2001) studied the implications from the employers’ viewpoint. Reforms to apprenticeship systems have generated an excess supply of apprenticeship seekers compared to employer demand. In particular, many Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) feel they can’t afford the staff hours to get involved in apprenticeship programs. Today when SMEs face problems related to start up, innovation and growth, they find help in an ever-evolving, well financed and proactive ecosystem of intermediary organisations: chambers of commerce, enterprise support offices in local authorities, regional economic development agencies, etc. Yet the vast majority of these organisations do not currently provide guidance and/or training to SMEs on the subject of apprenticeships. RAISE seeks to address this situation by building the capacity of intermediary bodies to develop and operate support structures which will facilitate SMEs, especially small and micro enterprises, to become apprentice employers.

eConsultation Project (2004–2006)

Funder: HEA (€250,000)

Researchers: Prof. David R. Newman (QUB); Prof. G. Honor Fagan (NUI Maynooth); Dr Michael Murray (NUI Maynooth); Mr Paul McCusker (LYIT); and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

This project explored the reality of consultation as a form of citizen participation in policy development in Ireland, North and South. It investigated processes of consultation, the only form of participation that is a legal requirement of policy making, with a view to assessing their value as supporting tools of citizen centric governance. In addition a key objective of the research was to support the development of citizen driven government by identifying how Information Communication Technologies could support, develop or deepen the participation of citizens in policy development through that same consultation requirement. In particular, it was hoped to identify e-consultation processes and technologies that are most appropriate to the needs of diverse local communities and to find the best ways to apply these to support citizen driven democracy.

Border Midland and Western Region – Social Accounting Matrix (2002–2004)

Funder: INTEREGG (€350,000)

Researchers: Prof. Thomas Gordon Johnson (University of Missouri); Prof. James Matthew Fannin (University of Missouri); Prof. Michael J. Keane (NUI Galway); Mr Paul McCusker (LYIT); and Dr Simon Stephens (LYIT).

A Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) is an economic database that collects the flow of resources associated with all transactions between economic agents in an economy during a period of time. A SAM is a square matrix which provides a comprehensive, complete and consistent picture of the economic transactions. The BMW SAM initially consisted of one agricultural sector, through the use of CSO and NFS data the agricultural sector within the BMW SAM was disaggregated into seven agricultural sectors (dairy, cattle, sheep, forage crops, cereal crops, other agriculture and agricultural contracting), this new version of the BMW SAM was then used to examine the impact of differing GHG emissions policies on the wider BMW region.

Dr. Simon Stephens

Areas of Expertise

Entrepreneurial & Innovative Futures, Social Change Futures

PhD, MSc, BA.

Contact

simon.stephens@lyit.ie

LinkedIn
Google Scholar
Research Gate

ORCID

Irish Academy of Management

Bryden Centre

IRISH JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT

Bio

Simon is a Senior Lecturer at the LYIT School of Business. His main teaching interests are in Applied Economics. Simon has extensive experience of research supervision at Masters and PhD level. His research explores the economics of entrepreneurship and small business. Simon has worked on numerous funded projects (valued at over €1million). He is an award winning researcher and author. In 2011 he was awarded an Emerald Literati award for excellence. In 2018 Simon received a special recognition award from Lancaster University for publications from his post-doctorate research. His research has been widely published including in: the: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development; Education + Work; Journal of Global Mobility; and the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Simon is Chair of the Entrepreneurship and Small Business track for the Irish Academy of Management annual conference.

Research, Innovation & Engagement

Award winning publications:

  • Faherty, U. and Stephens, S. (2016), Innovation in micro enterprises: reality or fiction?, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 239-362.
  • Stephens, S. (2015), The Global Financial Crisis and migration the experience of Irish graduates, Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 83-99.
  • McAteer, B. and Stephens, S. (2011) Town Centre Management: a solution to the current challenges facing urban centres in Ireland, Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 264-271.

Dr. Meadbh Ruane

Areas of Expertise

Social Change, Learning & Skills, Leadership Development & Organisational Learning

Contact

meadbh.ruane@lyit.ie

Linkedin

Bio

Meadbh Ruane has lectured in the Department of Business Studies since 2002. She lectures on both under and post-graduate programmes in the areas of digital business, managing change and strategy. Meadbh has been facilitating Action Learning Sets at LYIT since 2008 as part of an executive MBS Innovation and Leadership programme. Additionally, she has extensive experience supervising participants in the completion of their dissertations on Master’s programme in the Department of Business Studies.

In her role as a lecturer and facilitator, Meadbh has a strong belief in practice-based education and continuing professional development where student-participants are at the centre of their own learning. She incorporates pedagogy that links real-world and practitioner experience to academic theory.

Before joining LYIT Meadbh worked both nationally and internationally as a project manager and business analyst facilitating teams in developing software solution that addressed business challenges.

Meadbh was awarded her Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Studies from NUI Galway in 1990 and 1991 respectively and in 2018 was awarded her Professional Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Northumbria.

Research, Innovation & Engagement

Meadbh’s key area of research interest is in further developing understanding of the process of learning towards developing frameworks that can support organisational and individual transformation. Her doctoral thesis inquired into participant learning on an accredited post-graduate programme and is titled “A story of participants’ learning experiences: Illuminating the complexity and multi-dimensional process of learning”.

She is currently the course co-ordinator on the executive MBS in Innovation and Leadership at LYIT where she delivers modules on Managing Change, Managing People and Action Learning Research.

Suzanne Roarty

Areas of Expertise

Learning & Skills Futures

Contact

Suzanne.Roarty@lyit.ie

Linkedin

Bio

Suzi has lectured in the Department of Business Studies since 2003. Whilst initially lecturing in the area of accounting, in recent years she has also been involved in developing and delivering modules in the area of study skills for accounting and other business students, and also is lead lecturer on the Student Centred Learning module as part of the MALT programme. She has a keen interest in teaching and learning and has supervised research in that area as part of the MALT programme.

After graduating from University of Birmingham in 1989 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Russian Studies), Suzi joined Touche Ross, Birmingham and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1992. She worked in various finance roles in UK and internationally from 1989 to 2002, when she moved to Donegal and started lecturing at LYIT.

Research, Innovation & Engagement

Suzi’s key area of research interest is in the area of student engagement and student learning, with particular focus on the first year experience and transition for students from second to third level. She has been involved in developing the Firstly programme in the department of Business Studies, which helps students with the transition from second to third level education, and has presented in this area at the European First Year experience conference.