Screenshot from IUA website with news of Taoiseach’s announcement re close of schools and HEIs
Screenshot from IUA website with news of Taoiseach’s announcement re close of schools and HEIs
From the IUA site, 12 March 2020

Well, things are progressing at an alarming rate here. Just last Friday we had our Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning (EDTL) project team meeting, where we all discussed the #IUADigEd community, webinars and collaboration. We noted an increase in the number of teaching staff expressing an interest in teaching online, due to coronavirus.

On Monday I spent a few hours writing up the notes of that meeting, and hosting a really excellent webinar where team member Morag Munro shared the work she’s been doing in embedding the European digital competence framework for educators (DigCompEdu) into professional development activities at the University of Maynooth. …


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Some of the project team at the launch

Since our project launch last week at the end of #WCOL2019, a number of people have been in touch to ask about accessing the slides from the event. While we are working on a project site to share more information, I thought I’d write a quick post to share some items from the event.

Jim Miley, IUA Director General, was MC during the afternoon, and Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, opened the event.

Pilot Activities

Pilot activities have been ongoing in each of the seven IUA universities since mid-September. …


Women play sport. We know this. We all know women who play sport. Some of them even play professionally. In the last year we’ve had the women’s soccer world cup, women’s rugby, as well as women in athletics, sailing, boxing, golf and tennis. Last weekend the Galway ladies (sic) beat Kilkenny in camogie, and today the Galway ladies (sic) football team meet Dublin in the all-Ireland final. There are plenty of women playing sport.

We also know that men’s sport gets more media attention: on the TV, on the radio, in the news and on social media.

So, if I were to ask, in a typical weekly sports newspaper supplement, for example the Irish Times Sports Weekend, usually about 10 pages of broadsheet, how many images of sports women appear, you would probably suspect that the majority of images are of men. Of course they would. You might say that it depends on what’s happening that week. You might expect more images during the women’s soccer world cup, or on an All Ireland Final weekend. …


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Dear friends and colleagues, I started in my new role in the Irish Universities Association (IUA) on 7th May, as Project Manager of the HEA-funded project called Enhancing Digital Capacity in Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities. It has been an exciting and exhilarating first 10 weeks (I also took 2 weeks holiday) and I feel like I’ve come a long way. Now it’s time that I shared with you a little of what my project is about and what I’ve been thinking about.

Working title

First of all, the full title is quite a mouthful, so we’ve worked on shortening it, without losing the essence. It’s so much easier to say Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning. Prefixed by IUA (in speech or in context), it becomes clear(er) that it refers to the university sector. …


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Clearing out my office

Today is my last day at CELT, for a while.

From next Tuesday I will be working with the Irish Universities Association (IUA) in the role of Project Manager for Enhancing Digital Capacity in Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities. It’s a three year secondment. I am very excited, and quite a bit daunted, to start the new position. But I am very much looking forward to getting started and to work with some amazing people involved in the project.

Over the last (almost) 13 years, I’ve had the huge privilege to work in CELT at NUI Galway. I’ve worked with so many wonderful people, within CELT, across the University and beyond. Before that, I was a lecturer in Information Technology here, so I’ve been working at NUI Galway for more than 23 years. …


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Blackrock, Salthill Promenade, January 2019

I found 2018 quite tough. There were some issues with my family; I had my 50th birthday in September; and I spent quite a lot of the year on crutches, particularly from mid October through almost all the way to Christmas. In the grand scheme of things, and in comparison to other people’s experiences, it wasn’t disastrous. But I reached the end of the year feeling quite low, and relieved that 2018 was finally over.

Something or somebody suggested that I should identify five positive things about 2018, I can’t remember who. But it seemed like a good thing to do, even if my first response was a blank. …


I’ve been asked to take a look at the EduHack Online Course which aims to support University Educators who are interested in developing their digital skills to produce digitally-supported learning experiences. The project is about to enter a pilot phase, and I was asked to try out one of the lessons (my choice) to see how useful it might be for those of us involved in academic staff development.

A lot of the lessons are of interest and I was tempted by their titles. Since time was short, I chose one in the area of Digital Resources, specifically Create digital educational resources. I could easily have chosen one on curation/organisation of digital resources, or applying an open license. That’s one thing that I like about the project, each lesson is short and manageable. …


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“5 minute idling limit” flickr photo by Lorianne DiSabato https://flickr.com/photos/zenmama/9733382126 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Recently I’ve been referring to my email inbox as “the swamp”.

Email has always been a problem, but I’ve managed to keep on top of it. But the last few months have been different. I just can’t seem to manage my inbox anymore. Unless I see and deal with something within the first few minutes of its arrival, it is destined to sink out of view. Using the little flags doesn’t help; they lull me into a false sense of security, then they too sink. I’ve started to have nightmares about all the important things that have slipped.

Yesterday, on my way home, I realised that I had spent the whole day responding to email as I desperately tried to work back over the weekend and late last week. As fast as I dealt with something, two more would arrive in at the top. And nothing on my to-do list was done. I felt guilty about the case study I’m meant to be writing for the #nfpdfpilots. I felt guilty about the slides I’m supposed to be putting together for next week’s Blackboard Roadshow. I felt guilty, and I felt a failure. …


Last year (August 2016) the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education published a National Framework for Professional Development (PDF) for all who teach in Higher Education in Ireland. Earlier this year I had the privilege of working with 2 pilot groups of NUIG staff (20 people in total) to use the framework to engage in meaningful personal and professional development around teaching, learning and assessment. …


Continuing in my series of posts reflecting on my professional development within the National Forum’s Professional Development Framework, this post will consider the second element of domain 2: Professional Identity, Values and Development in Teaching and Learning.

Element 2.2: Evaluation of teaching and impact on student learning, based on self/peer review/peer observation, student feedback and/or other evidence.

Our CELT website has lots of useful advice related to the evaluation of teaching, so it makes sense for me to start there. I’ll consider two aspects to my teaching:

  1. The full module that I teach, CEL263 Learning Technologies. Each year this has a group of students (approx 12–14) who I meet regularly, and incorporates module design, delivery, and review, as well as assessment. …

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