All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2008: Encouraging Student Engagement

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An Emerging Community of Learner Teachers within the Institutes of Technology
Noel Fitzpatrick

Last modified: 2008-05-16


The Learning Innovation Network is a SIF funded sector project from 2007-2009, this project has three objectives to develop and enhance learning and teaching within the 13 institutes of technology and the Dublin Institute of Technology. The first objective is to provide a centrally coordinated repository and portal for learning and teaching within the IoTs, and third objective is to develop a model for a National Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards. The focus of this paper will be on the second objective which is to scope the parameters of an agreed Academic Development Programme. The development of academic development programmes across the 13 IoTs and the Dublin Institute of Technology has involved the integration of technology enhanced learning at all levels of programme development. The principal philosophy underpinning the use of technology-enhanced learning on the programmes is that Academic educational development is promoted through a community of practice/practitioners.

The academic development programmes include stand alone workshops, Short Courses and a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. The Dublin Institute of Technology has developed within the framework of the Learning Innovation Network a model for CPD courses in academic development. In this paper we intend to look how the development of the CPD in Learning and Teaching has necessitated the use of technology enhanced learning. Technology-enhanced learning on the courses ranges from the use of virtual learning environments for the delivery of course material to the use of streaming technologies to capture work practices (microteaching). One of the aims of the use of the technology-enhanced learning was a conscious move away from the use of the edistribution (e.g the distribution of content electronically) to the development of content online. Instead of using the VLE to distribute electronically the content of the workshops we were convinced that a more social constructivist approach would be of benefit, allowing the participants to engage with online content in such a way as to promote the effective use of computer supported collaborative learning. An essential element to the development of an emerging community of practice in learning and teaching has been the use of discussion fora, online chat facilities, case studies and the use of bloggs. This paper will focus on the development of a community of learners in learning and teaching across the IoT sector and will examine in detail how the use a VLE aided in the development of this emerging community.


community of practice