DCU has a number of strategic national and international partners in the design, development and delivery of our online courses.
These partnerships provide a key point of difference to DCU Connected as they help to extend the range of study options. We expect to expand the number of these partnerships over the next year or so, although at DCU we are very particular about who we choose to partner with as we will not compromise on our reputation for academic excellence.
Point of Difference
A distinguishing feature of DCU Connected is our commitment to working with other agencies, institutions and organisations around the globe to jointly develop world-class educational solutions for local problems. In this respect, there is a deeper purpose underpinning DCU Connected as our investment in online education aligns with our mission of transforming lives and societies. At DCU promoting access to higher education, wherever you are, and developing human capital is part of who we are and what we do.
We understand the role we can play through DCU Connected in helping to build the capacity and capability of other institutions, countries and regions in designing their own high quality online and blended programmes in areas of need that make a real difference. Although we are proud of the unique Irish perspective infused throughout many of our programmes, we are committed to working with strategic partners to tailor courses and qualifications to address local requirements.
More specifically, we can offer our considerable experience in the National Institute for Digital Learning to assist other institutions and organisations in realising the potential of new transformative models of teaching and learning in their own contexts. The case studies below provide brief examples of how DCU is making an impact in a number of countries and regions on a wider international stage.
We also welcome opportunities to work with other agencies, institutions and organisations from around the world to customise the design and delivery of our degree programmes and short course offerings (either fully or partially online) to support the needs of particular groups from specific work settings and/or geographical locations.
Arizona State University
A unique blended learning approach to explore the science, technology and of diagnostics
DCU has a significant partnership with Arizona State University (ASU). Notably, ASU is the largest university in the United States (US) with around 80,000 students. They also recently announced a strategic partnership with Starbucks where thousands of employees in the US can qualify for subsidised study through ASU online.
Objectives & Impact
DCU and ASU have been collaborating since 2006, developing international cooperation in education, research and economic development, based on their shared values of innovation and entrepreneurship, technology-enhanced learning, and research and discovery.
In 2013, the Transatlantic Higher Education Partnership was signed by the respective Presidents which builds on this existing history and promises to provide students with unique education and research experiences while also growing the economies and positively impacting the communities in Arizona and Ireland.
A productive partnership
An International MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine
In 2014, DCU and ASU joined forces to develop an International M.Sc. in Biomedical Diagnostics. This programme built upon DCU’s award winning M.Sc. in Biomedical Diagnostics which is developed and co-ordinated by the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute. The programme was further developed and relaunched in 2018 as the MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine. It adopts a unique blended learning approach utilising online and face-to-face elements to explore the science, technology, business and applications of diagnostics.
Through the support of DCU Connected, and the integration of new and emerging technologies, students at both institutions are globally connected sharing advanced courses in Diagnostics, Immunology and Bioinformatics. This is a truly unique programme which positions its graduates on the cutting-edge of the innovative biomedical diagnostics field. Importantly this is a field that offers tremendous potential in helping to transform lives and societies.
Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning, reports that we anticipate developing further joint programme initiatives with ASU in the future.
Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University
DCU Business School is participating in a major project in partnership with the College of Business and Administration at Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU), Saudi Arabia. This initiative demonstrates DCU’s ability to customise our course offerings to meet local requirements.
Objectives & Impact
The programme with PNU came about after the President of DCU, Professor Brian McCraith, addressed a major education conference in Riyadh in 2011. During the event he was approached by Saudi education officials who liked what they heard and saw much of what they wanted to do in what DCU had achieved since its foundation as a university in 1989, which has resulted in a ranking in the prestigious QS “Top 50 Under 50” listing of the world's top 50 universities established within the last 50 years.
According to Dr Anne Sinnott, Executive Dean of the DCU Business School” “One of the things they really liked about us was that we are new. DCU is in the Top 50 Under 50 and what they want is to get there as quickly as possible. We were a natural fit and able to explain how we got there and support them along the way.”
A productive partnership
Over the initial four years of the project almost 600 Saudi female students will participate in the programme, which will lead to the award of a Bachelor Degree of Business Studies and International Finance or a Bachelor Degree of Marketing, Innovation and Technology by DCU. At its height, the project will involve a team of over 20 DCU staff teaching for a full semester in Riyadh whilst remaining digitally connected to core learning services. DCU faculty spend a full semester based at PNU’s state of the art campus.
To date, faculty report that the experience is very positive. Dr. Ann Largey was one of the first DCU faculty to teach at PNU and comments: "Initially I signed up teach in PNU for one semester. I had no pre-judgement about the culture in KSA, how the university would operate or the standard of students, so really had formed no expectations before going. The fact that I am returning for next year clearly indicates that my experience there has been very positive. The majority of our students on the two programmes are excellent: bright, questioning, innovative and motivated young women.
They are aware of the changes in the domestic job market and want to be primed to avail of the opportunities opening up for them. Teaching these students over the past year has been a pleasure and, despite the language disadvantage they face, their performance has at least matched that of our home DCU students, with the best of the DCU @ PNU students out-performing our home students.” While the project is generating important resources that help fund the development of the Business School and DCU, its impact goes well beyond that. In a society where the education of women at third level (higher education) is a relatively recent phenomenon, the impact of obtaining a DCU degree on the lives of these young women is likely to be very significant.
More importantly, DCU has committed as part of this project to transfer to PNU staff the capability to deliver programmes of this quality without external support. This will ensure that, long after the initial intervention has been completed, the DCU @ PNU project will continue to make an important contribution to DCU’s mission of transforming lives and societies.
Malawi Nursing Studies
The Community Systems Strengthening for Equitable Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (COSYST-MNCH) Project is funded by Irish Aid/Higher Education Authority (of Ireland). It involves a collaboration between DCU, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the College of Medicine in Malawi, as well as non-governmental (NGO) partners in Malawi to undertake research as well as to develop a blended learning M.Sc in Community Systems Health Research.
About the project
Objectives & Impact
The decision for the RCSI to work with DCU and the College of Medicine on this project was as a result of successful prior partnerships and recognition of the expertise that we could bring to the project. Dr Anne Matthews, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Human Sciences is a key member of the global steering committee for the project and is involved with the teaching of both face to face and online modules. Lisa Donaldson, Learning Technologist has provided the technical direction for the design and delivery of the blended learning programme and ensures the best implementation of educational technologies to achieve a supportive and engaging online environment. Dr Pamela Hussey has also supported and guided the project.
A productive partnership
M.Sc in Community Systems Health Research The blended learning M.Sc seeks to build capacity on the ground in Malawi for NGO employees to understand, commission and interpret health systems research. Additionally, the programme will continue to strengthen the digital competencies of faculty in all collaborating institutions through comprehensive training and hands on experience. A substantial challenge in this international collaborative project is balancing the quality and availability of online resources with the constraints of relatively poor Internet and technology infrastructure in Malawi. The project team has overcome these challenges to offer high quality digital learning which encompasses a range of Web 2.0 tools to help scaffold collaborative activities. The use of these technologies embedded in the programme is helping DCU with our partner to make a real difference in Malawi.