DCU Learning Innovation Fund (LIF) 2009/2010 Project Scheme: Awards
Learning Innovation Unit
DCU Learning Innovation Fund (LIF) 2009/2010 Project Scheme: Awards
The DCU Learning Innovation Fund (LIF) is a special fund designated on an annual basis by the DCU Executive Committee to support strategic innovation and enhancement of the University's Teaching and Learning activities. The awards are administered and approved by members of the Learning Innovation Unit and on the advice of the Learning Innovation Advisory Panel
The maximum available award from the LIF was €10,000 per project. Total project costs may, of course, be in excess of this if the additional funding is being provided from other source(s).
Applications were reviewed by the Learning Innovation Evaluation Panel, according to a detailed evaluation process. Applicants were informed of the outcomes at the end of Feburary 2010.
The award winners and copies of the full original application information are provided below.
- Ellen Breen and the Library Subject Librarian Team: Plagiarism: Online Tutorial and Quiz
- Trudy Corrigan, Education Studies: Intergenerational Learning Project- Teaching and Learning between generations
- Yvonne Crotty, Education Studies: Should I Think Differently at Third Level?
- James Fitzgerald, Law and Government: The Cross-Cultural Teaching of Terrorism in a Collaborative Blended Learning Environment
- Dónal Fitzpatrick, Computing: The Production and Delivery of Audio Tactile Diagrams Using Moodle
- Noelle Higgins and Yvonne Daly, Law and Government: The Role of Moot Courts and Mock Trials in Irish Legal Education
- Greg Hughes, Physical Sciences: Tutoring Course for Common Entry Students
- Alan Kennedy and Lisa Looney, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering: Online Interactive Learning Tools for Mechanics
- Theo Lynn and DCU Business School/ Applied Language & Intercultural Studies colleagues: School Teaching Through Second Life
- Aoife MacCormac, Biomedical Diagnostics Institute: Learning Modules for a Taught MSc In Biomedical Diagnostics
- Shane Martin, Francesco Cavatorta and John Doyle, Law and Government: Developing Research Skills Training at Undergraduate Level
- Derek Molly, Electronic Engineering: Real’ Electronics Experiments that Support and Promote Off-campus Independent-Learning
- Declan Moran NCSR/Physical Sciences: Innovative Laboratory Module Leveraging Research Infrastructure
- Eabhnat Ni Fhloinn, Maths Learning Centre: Head Start Maths
- Brien Nolan and Eabhnat Ni Fhloinn, Mathematical Sciences: Peer assisted Groupwork Tutorials in Mathematics
- David White, Shane Linnane and Stephen Daniels, Electronic Engineering: Educational Renewable Energy Computer Game/Simulator
Principal-applicant: Ellen Breen
Additional-applicants : Library's Subject Librarian Team: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com amanda firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Project-Title: Plagiarism: Online Tutorial and Quiz
Amount-requested: €5, 321.48
Summary: The aim of this project is to develop an online tutorial and quiz on the subject of plagiarism. The tutorial and quiz will be available to all students across all disciplines. The quiz will be compulsory for a class of 200 first-year students on a pilot basis in Semester 1, 2010/2011 (see implementation plan below). The tutorial will be developed within the Library’s existing web tutorial LETS 1. The corresponding quiz will be developed within Moodle using Hot Potatoes. LETS was funded under the LIU project scheme in 2006/2007. LETS already comprises a module called ‘LETS cite’ which touches briefly on plagiarism, however our intention is to considerably expand and enhance this part of the module based on our experience of working with students to develop their information literacy skills (339 hours across all schools last year). Whilst we touch on the ethical use of information in these classes, and the need to cite and reference correctly, many students clearly find it difficult to fully understand the concept of plagiarism and more specifically, how to use information sources to backup and endorse their own ideas. The Library ran 12 workshops just on the subject of plagiarism and citing and referencing in semester 1 this year. These were well attended, however many students were frustrated as they were unable to attend due to timing issues – hence the need for additional online support. 1. LETS (DCU Library e-Tutorial for students) available at: http://www.library.dcu.ie/lets/index.htm Some student comments: "I've just had a quick read through LETS and I've learned more in the last ten minutes than I had previously picked up by trial and error..." "I am not a new student and still learnt something valuable" "Many thanks for this wonderful tutorial, it was especially helpful in searching correctly for articles" "For beginners the LETS will be a godsend"
url: See: LETS at:http://www.library.dcu.ie/lets/index.htm
Stategic-Context: This project will address one of the priority areas of the Enhancement of Learning (EoL) strategic plan: Facilitating the transition to higher education. It is well documented in the literature that students often come to university with little understanding of plagiarism.2 Footnote: 2. See for example: Bowden, D. (2005) Tackling the problems of plagiarism through information literacy. Synergie [Online] 6, Available from: http://www.learningservices.gcal.ac.uk/synergy/06/plagiarism.html Accessed: 4 February 2010. Sivasubramaniam, S.D. (2006) Assisting students to avoid plagiarism: the role of formative workshops. Paper delivered at the 2nd Plagiarism International Conference. Available at: http://www.plagiarismadvice.org/conference/conference-2006.html Accessed: 3 February 2010.
Implementation-plan: The project will be carried out by the Library’s Subject Librarian team. They will be supported by an external web developer and students in the School of Communications. The project will begin in April 2010 with a completion date of July 2010. The tutorial and quiz will be launched in Semester 1, 2010/2011. This will coincide with the launch of the Library’s revised and updated ‘Citing and Referencing: A Guide for Students’. We do not foresee any obstacles to meeting this schedule. The main elements of the project are as follows:(Table format) 1. Tutorial Content development Note: Content will be developed in-house. To support different styles of learning, we will work with a web developer to best illustrate key concepts, create quality interactive exercises and visually appealing demonstrations. What is plagiarism: - University’s policy on plagiarism - Max 4 video interviews* with academic staff/student talking about plagiarism etc *Video interviews will be conducted by members of the subject team and filmed by students in the School of Communications. The Library worked with students last year on the production of a library video. 3 Examples of plagiarism: - types of plagiarism - examples / case studies from across the university - examples in the news (e.g. political speeches, music etc) How to avoid plagiarism: - importance of acknowledging sources - how to acknowledge - Resources: links to styles (not just Harvard) writing sources etc (books, online resources etc) Practice Quiz: (before taking more detailed quiz via moodle if compulsory) 2. Quiz The quiz will comprise 10 questions to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of plagiarism and how to avoid it. This quiz (together with the online tutorial) will be available to all teaching staff in support of their in-class discussions and activities relating to plagiarism. Pilot 2010/2011 The quiz will be piloted in 2010/2011 with 200 students taking the compulsory module NS110 as part of the BSc in Nursing programme. The students will all be required to take the quiz and include evidence of success when submitting their final assignment. This module was chosen as information literacy is already well embedded. A similar quiz was developed by library staff in UCD where 120 students were required to submit evidence of 100% success in the quiz as part of their module assignment. The pilot resulted in incidents of plagiarism within the module dropping from 10% to 1% with students taking an average of 3 attempts to gain 100%.4 Footnotes: 3. Here’s a link to the video we worked on with 3 multi-media students: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jo-fDc-ii8 We have spoken to the module co-ordinator about this project and we are confident we will get students to work with us again this year. 4. See poster presentation about the UCD pilot at: http://www.ucd.ie/library/guides/pdf/staff_papers/plagiarism.pdf
Budget: (Table) Item Cost Web Design/Development consultancy work: This will comprise embedding videos; creating ‘flash style movies’ to best illustrate concepts etc (see movie example for our ‘information timeline’ in LETS at: http://www.library.dcu.ie/lets/begin-5-01.htm) We expect to produce 6/7 different scenarios which would require web development/design support at an approximate cost of €400 per scenario (based on LETS project costings). Student honoraria for video recording, editing etc. at €100 per student (max 3). Web Design Development: €2,800.00 (interactive scenarios etc) Student Videos: €300.00 Promotional material (quotes from Snap Printing) - 2 posters to be designed based on our web tutorial (full colour images) - 20 copies of each poster to use within the library and other key locations around the campus (e.g. student advice centre). Cost: €472.00 - A 4 page A5 guide to distribute at orientation 2010 and in classes: 1,500 copies. Cost: €530.00 - 2 Penguin stands with our tutorial details (similar in size etc as the one you did for our express service point). Cost: €586.00 Promotion costs: based on VAT at 21%: €1921.48 Total: 5,021.48 Note: The web development work will be undertaken by Will Devine (Do-it-media). Will is a DCU graduate and he worked with us on the original LETS project.
Impact: How will the project impact on the learning experience for students? The development of the plagiarism online tutorial and quiz will support students and staff by: - providing students with access to a 24/7 self-paced learning support tool - providing staff with a learning tool to use in-class when discussing plagiarism - providing staff with a tool to assess student understanding of plagiarism which can be used to guide in-class discussions, learning activities etc. How will you evaluate the extent to which these improvements have taken place? - This will be mainly be achieved by evaluating the results of the pilot that will be undertaken with students taking module NS110. - Feedback will also be sought from staff across all schools where the tutorial/quiz has been used - It is intended to promote this resource to all relevant students who attend library information literacy classes and feedback will be sought and recorded for future improvements. It will form an active part of the library’s current stand-alone class on plagiarism and citing and referencing Are there opportunities for feedback at all stages of the project and for all stakeholders? Yes, as above and we plan to liaise with teaching staff when we undertake the content development stage.
Dissemination 1: on
Dissemination 2: We would anticipate sharing the results of the pilot with the School of Nursing with colleagues across the university. This could be achieved informally through our liaison with schools; formally by giving a presentation as part of the LIU Seminar series and by writing up our experiences for publication.
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Process-Evaluation: If you would like me to send on the word document which includes tables, please let me know.
Trudy Corrigan, Education Studies: Intergenerational Learning Project- Teaching and Learning between generations
Principal-applicant: Trudy Corrigan
School-Unit-Department: School of Education Studies Dublin City University
Additional-applicants : *Currently no additional applicants but has potential in the future for additional applicants.
Project-Title: Intergenerational Learning Project Dublin City University Teaching and Learning between generations.
Summary: The aim of the Intergenerational Learning Project Dublin City University is to provide a flexible learning opportunity in the format of a learning space or forum on campus whereby older people (aged 60 and over)- who have historically been an under-represented group to third level learning-can meet with and share their teaching and learning potential with third level students. This is in an equitable capacity of teaching and learning shared between the generations. The main learning outcomes is (1) to deepen the range and quality of learning outcomes for both third level students and older people in a social,educational, economic, professional, historical,and cultural context. (2)In particular it is designed so as to enable third level students to use their teaching and learning skills so as to enable older learners to be inclusive in the knowledge society now and in the future. (3)This is in response to the National upskilling agenda and integrates teaching and research in relation to the benefits of intergenerational learning at third level which has the potential to be dessiminated and replicated in other third level institutes. In addition it has the potential to contribute to the betterment of society in Ireland today.
Stategic-Context: The Intergenerational Project DCU adhers to the Enhancement of Learning Strategy DCU in that a pilot study has been implemented since February 2008 and was funded by Age and Opportunity and in 2009 by the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources. In this initial pilot study over 100 DCU students have participated in addition to 100 older learners. As part of my doctoral study to evaluate the benefits of this initiative the research to date has highlighted the following learning outcomes for both older learners and DCU students: (1) Enhancement of Learning through the shared experience of meeting with and learning with each other. (2) Research potential for this innovative concept to be replicated in other third level institutes. (3)Knowledge transfer and innovation are the hallmark of this project namely through the learning engaged between the generations in particular the transfer of elearning and other information communication technology skills transferred between the DCU students and older learners. (4)Civic engagement which is inclusive of many older learners who had a lifelong desire to participate in third level learning and now experience this learning desire to be facilitated. (5)The engagement of DCU international students in this project and the lived experience of the older learners who have travelled and spent time working in other countries has contributed to the internationalisation of this project. (6)Internal communications have been fostered between DCU students across different disciplines in the university and has fostered a culture of mentoring support between each other in relation to current and future studies at third level. This is particularly related to DCU students who have met with and learned with each other for the first time on campus through this project.
Implementation-plan: The project requires funding for its sustainability and development in the future in DCU. With adequate funding the project will be carried out by Trudy Corrigan as coordinator from the School of Education Studies. This is in addition to past and current DCU students as the tutors and mentors for this project.Currently there are four student tutors and over 40 DCU students who participate in a voluntary capacity as student mentors. The project currently takes place in the School of Education Studies. The specific objectives of the EoL Strategic Plan which this project will address are demonstrated by the guiding principles and values that underpin this project.For example: Commitment to a learner-centred appraoch which has an emphasis on research informed teaching and learning that works towards the integration of teaching and learning. This is evidenced in the one-to-one mentoring support provided by the DCU students for the older learners in facilitating them to develop their information communication technology skills. An emphasis on lifelong learning for all participants through the design of flexible learning pathways that is responsive to all students needs and circumstances.This has been hugely successful in enabling the older learners to acquire the necessary Information Technlogy Skills. Provision of a welcoming, intercultural campus to students from all ages and backgrounds which has demonstrated that all barriers (including generational division) can be broken down through a high quality teaching and learning environment on a third level campus. Commitment to valuing the expertise of the DCU students by engaging them in their dual role as both teachers and learners (the research demonstrates that this has been very beneficial for many of the DCU students enabling them to focus on their future role as mentors/teachers and learners. The pedagogical basis for the project is evidenced in the commitment to on-going quality improvement in teaching and learning based on active dialogue between the DCU students and older learners. This is also evidenced in the one-to-one mentoring support provided by the DCU students which has contributed enormously to the success of the older learners aquiring information technology skills that they were previously unable to acquire. The engagement in dialogue has enabled the older learners to share their learning with the younger DCU students namely in sharing their past professional experience (for example in teaching) and relating this to the the younger students learning both now and in the future. This transformational learning has been reflected in the literature of Jack Mezirow and the lived experience outlined in the works of Whitehead and McNiff. It contributes to the understanding of education as a beneficial component of social capital as outlined in the work of John Field and Pierre Bourdieu. The development of the project so as to broaden the knowledge base for the older learners so as to developing their understanding of teaching and learning fields in health, science, the social sciences eg and introduction to languages, communications, law and government and intercultural studies (through an 8 week taster modules) will commence in early April 2010 and conclude in September 2010 ie to run for an eight week period. Currently there are no possible obstacles to meeting this schedule.
Budget: Budget Breakdown of Intergenerational Project: April to September 2010 Tutor costs: 4000 euro Overhead costs DCU: 2500 euro Materials for older learners 1500 euro Research costs 1000 euro Additional costs (book tokens DCU students)1000 Total cost 10000 euro As this is an innovative study which is inclusive of the wider DCU community and has the potential to be used as a model and to be replicated in other third level institutes the LIU funding would be greatly beneficial to this study. This project has the potential to be aligned with DCU as opposed to a School of Education Studies venture alone. In addition the innovative nature of this study mirrors the ethos of the School of Education Studies but is more widely aligned to the overall strategic plan of the wider DCU Leading Through Challenge University Strategy 2009-2011. The financial justification of the project is that to date it has been very successful with the funding provided by external funding namely through Age and Opportunity (via Atlantic Philantrophies) and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. However because of current restraints with external funding (namely contributed by the ongoing economic recession),to ensure continued sustainability, development and success, funding from the LIU will ensure its continued development and success.
Impact: The project currently has had a major impact on the learning experience for DCU students namely in the following ways: An emphasis on lifelong learning in engaging older learners in the learning process has enabled DCU students to reflect on the benefits of quality learning opportunities now and in the future. Dialogue with the older learners has opened up a new world of learning for the DCU students namely into shared stories of life experience, travel and work experience. The engagement between older learners and DCU students has overcome age barriers and promoted understanding between the generations. Many DCU students have reflected on the competences they have acquired because of their participation in the project namely developing patience, understanding, self confidence, finding new ways to explain the teaching and learning of information technology skills. Some students have reflected on their love of teaching because of their participation in this study. In addition this project has developed the language skills of the DCU international students and has fostered an understanding of the national and international cultural context of the generations. The evaluation of the extent to which improvements have and will take place are currently been investigated as part of my own research for my doctoral studies in evaluating the benefits of Intergenerational Learning at third level. This is through the use of research tools such as questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. Opportunities for feedback at all stages of the project and for all stakeholders are currently provided and will continue to be provided in the future. To enhance the feedback process, a website has been developed for both DCU students and older learners to submit their blog reflections.
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Dissemination 2: It is anticipated that a Conference will take place in 2010 in DCU to highlight the benefits of the Intergenerational Learning Project to date and to evaluate the impact of this project on the teaching and learning for both DCU students and older learners now and in the future. In addition it is anticipated that this conference will attract other third level institutes in the dissemination of the concept to other intergenerational learning projects on third level campus's in Ireland in the near future. A conference paper has been prepared so as to address teaching and learning conferences both nationally and internationally between 2010 and 2012. It is essential that the project will be sustainable for the future. This will be addressed through EU funding and from groups actively involved in the promotion of learning opportunities for older learners namely Age Action Ireland and Age and Opportunity in addition to Atlantic Philantrophies.
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Other: The success of the project has been through the transfer of knowledge in information communication technology skills. This has the potential to develop research in relation to the benefits of ICT as a tool that breaks down generational divide and enhances the teaching and learning for both generations. In addition historically,transfer of knowledge has been in a downward trend passed on from older to younger generation. ICT enables the transfer of knowledge to be transferred upwards from younger generation to older generation. THis has the potential to create immense teaching and learning opportunities for third level students and in the process it creates the potential for DCU students to acquire competences and skills from the older generation. For example retired academic staff have the opportunity to engage in this teaching and learning forum and to explore fields of learning that they have never experienced in the past. This project also has the capacity to enable older learners to engage in mainstream learning within the university namely to study for degrees both at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the future. The main aim of this teaching and learning forum is to provide a learning space where both older learners and DCU students have an opportunity to meet together as a first initial stage of meeting and learning with each other.This has the potential to be developed into taster modules presented by DCU students both at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the future. The ultimate learning outcome is to develop a Centre for Intergenerational Learning at third level in the future.
Principal-applicant: Yvonne Crotty
School-Unit-Department: School of Education Studies
Project-Title: “Should I think differently at third level ?
Summary: This project concentrates on the importance of promoting reflective practice through journal writing at university level. Although the importance of reflecting on what you are doing, as part of the learning process, has been emphasised by lecturers, there is sometimes a reluctance from students to engage in reflective journal writing. The purpose of this project is to highlight the benefits of using reflective online journals for both lecturers and students alike. - The “Should I think differently at third level ? project aims to record the narratives of learning from undergraduate and postgraduate students (past and present) who kept an online journals throughout the course of their study. The production of a documentary style video will show how learning is an individual process, and how students can be supported to make sense of their own learning while connecting with relevant theory. The use of reflective online journals through Moodle allows the lecturer to engage with students as they grapple with concerns, ideas and new insights. It supports the learning process and enables the student to take responsibility for their own learning.
Stategic-Context: Reports from the extern of the Masters in Education and Training (elearning) has highly commended the use of online reflective journals and the feedback process used to support students learning. . Her feedback links to the following objectives of the Learning Enhancement Programme (EoL) and in particular objective 3 & 4 Objective 3.1 Enhancing The Quality Of Teaching And Learning. The journal writing process allows the lecturer to provide feedback to students on their learning and development over time. The production of the video will enable me to capture and demonstrate this learning process and make it available to other lecturers and students Objective 4. In keeping with this objective of the Eol which ensure the integrating of Teaching and research, I have successfully bid to host the diverse 2011 international conference in visual media in education in DCU. I intend to prepare undergraduate and postgraduate students to submit abstracts to the conference on the theme of their learning and teaching through use of Visual Media. The use of online journals helps is a integral part of the narrative of learning.
Implementation-plan: This project will take place over semester 2 of academic year 2009/2010 and also Semester 1 academic year 2010/11 –and will see my researching, story-boarding and recording narratives for the pre-production, production and post production of a video on the benefits of journaling writing for students and lecturers at third level. I will develop a website/blog to make available resources on reflective journal writing. An accompanying blog will allow students to interact with each other and to share resources. I will carry out the project. I am constantly reflecting on my own practice and I wish to further engage students in the use of online journals. I have incorporated the use of online reflective journals into the assessment process of the modules I teach at undergraduate and post graduate level ( 7 modules) Over the course of the project I will record student narratives and make this textual evidence visual through the use of video. Making use of Sheppard's (2003) model of refection, which looks at incidents that are confusing and makes sense of them, I adopt it for the teacher training students as they ask a series of questions in order to make sense of class content on teaching methodologies 1. How do I feel about these methodologies? 2. What is my thinking on this? 3. What have I learned? 4. How will i teach as a result of my lessons learned? At third level, the use of online journals initially presents problems for students as they are unsure of how to write in a reflective way. Bolton (2005) explains, “People are often nervous about beginning to write, not realising expressive ability in writing is as innate as speech”. It is a learned discipline and one that will benefit any student in their studies The production of a video and interactive website/ will give students clear guidelines on how to engage in the reflective writing process. The project will begin immediately and be completed by the 31st January 2011. I foresee no problem with the implementation of this project as I will shoot picture/footage and I will obtain written permission from all of the students who appear in the video. While implementing my project, I will update from Final Cut Pro Studio 6 which I have to 7 to edit the video As this is a new version of final cut, I will attend training on its’ use to learn about the newest features in this version. To enhance my video and have more engaging interviews, I will use the Chroma keying technique. I will also attend a course on the programme “After effects”. I have a broadcast quality camera but need to obtain portable chroma keying equipment and a lighting kit. I also will need to obtain two high quality lapel mic. I will have a sample of students represented from each of the four programmes I teach on. This project overall will involve over 100 present students and graduates and 8 graduates. The time frame is as follows Record student narratives in Moodle – February 2010 – November 2010 Storyboarding Part 1 interviews with past students: March Shooting interviews April /May Website /Blog - June Training Summer - July 2010 – Filmbase Storyboarding Part 2 Sept – November. Editing November – January 2011
Budget: Datavideo CKL-200 Dual Colour Light Ring & Retro Reflective kit € 1830 Adobe Creative Suite prem €2350 Lighting suites - ARRI 800W LIGHTING KIT 2,275 2,200 required for three training courses in Fiimbase - www.filmbase .ie Final Cut pro studio upgrade €300 8 16GB Camera SDHC cards for recording footage 680 This is the first of many videos which will enhance teaching and learning across the University and not just my own school.
Impact: As a fully qualified teacher with 15 yrs teaching experience in secondary school and 5yrs in higher education, I am constantly reflecting on my practice to enhance the learning experience for my students. I seek to engage all students using innovative teaching methods and making use of different forms of assessment for learning. I endeavour to creatively use elearning /technology and in particular video/podcasts to make explicit concepts that are sometimes difficult for students to grasp. The use of online journals students develops reflective skills that reinforce life long learning. As a lecturer on the fulltime B.Sc Physical Education and Biology and the BSc Science Education undergraduate degree programmes, who continually uses journals as a form of assessment for learning, I have seen the impact journal writing has had on the personal and personal development of these students. As a means of documenting learning, as a self analysis and ev aluating progress its value cannot be over-emphasised, especially in these student teacher training programmes where reflection on action is paramount At level in University there is a need for the lecturers to cultivate the capacity of students to reflect on action (Schon 1995). With clear direction and encouragement to write reflectively “Students’ journal entries should indicate movement toward a level of introspection that integrates theory, concepts, and practice into the students’ personal and professional development (Hubbs and Brand 2005)
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Dissemination 2: The video “Should we think differently at higher education?” will be made available on You Tube. The project will also involve the design and development of a website/blog. Design issues such as accessibility and usability will also be addressed. The video will provide narratives of student learning through journal writing. Working from the premise that knowledge is inherently personal and will largely remain tacit unless students are encouraged to make that knowledge explicit, the use of journals supports them in the sharing of ideas to gain new insights which results in the creation of new knowledge. The production of resources will demonstrate how students at third level can maximise their learning and develop their critical thought process.
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Other: I use these journals as an assessment for learning tool and throughout the project it will be possible for me to obtain feedback from all stakeholders. 1.Video participants-past students 2.Present students 3.Lecturers I can also carry out a comparative study between two undergraduate teacher trainer class groups using the video and website as a resource to enhance the learning of one class group and compare the results.
James Fitzgerald, Law and Government: The Cross-Cultural Teaching of Terrorism in a Collaborative Blended Learning Environment
Principal-applicant: James Fitzgerald
School-Unit-Department: Law and Government
Project-Title: LG343: The Cross-Cultrual teaching on Terrorism in a Collaborative Blended Learning Environment
Summary: This proposal is based on an extension of the pilot course LG343 Political Terrorism: A Collaborative Approach (2009) which took place from October 1 to December 17 2009. Although the LG343 Political Terrorism module has been available to final-year undergraduate students since the academic year 2006-2007, the latest iteration brought the course into the e-learning environment via online collaboration with students of the ‘Psychology of Terrorism’ module offered by Professor Anthony Lemieux in Purchase College, State University of New York. As part of this venture, students from both Universities (27 DCU students, 22 Purchase students) were assigned to work together on a collaborative project, whilst weekly discussions were also assigned on an issue of terrorism as related to our synchronised syllabi. The novelty of this approach is multi-faced. Whereas previous iterations of the course allowed for an in-class lecture and discussion session onl y, this collaborative class accentuated the in-class learning opportunities by providing an interactive e-learning space for cross-cultural engagement on the pertinent topic of terrorism. As the only course of its kind, this project proposes to further enhance its potential and scope; both as a means of enhancing student learning, and a means of enhancing DCU’s international reputation.
url: http://moodle.purchase.edu/moodle/course/view.php?id=39 (Access is Password Protected but available on request)
Stategic-Context: This project neatly intersects a number of priority aspects as held within the EoL Strategic Plan. Its emphasis on e-learning dictates the operationalisation of information technology, whilst similarly facilitating Internationalisation as held within the general DCU academic themes. It holds a strong focus on the general evolution of effective Education and Learning as a progression of DCU’s international reputation in this regard. In direct relation to the goals of Interculturlaism and Social Development, our collaborative class strongly embraces these aspects on two fronts. The LG343 DCU class was comprised of a number of exchange students from the United States, and the intercultural dynamic between American and Irish students both in the class and on-line learning environments considerably added to the overall experience of the class. This class bears direct relation to the long-established goal of enhancing teaching excellence wit hin DCU. Its innovation as the only course of its kind on terrorism insures that the prospective enhancement of this course will further benefit the students of DCU as well as the University itself. (Please see section 4 for more details on meeting specific objectives)
Implementation-plan: This class will take place during Semester 1 2010/2011. It will follow the same basic format insofar as I (James Fitzgerald) will deliver the in-class lectures in the School of Law and Government, whilst Professor Anthony Lemieux will deliver the in-class lectures at Purchase College, New York. As such, we do not foresee any obstacles to meeting our schedule. Based on our experiences and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the students, the class will follow the same primary format (see section 1); teaching within a blended learning environment. As Osguthorpe and Graham note, a well managed ‘blended learning’ environment maximises the potential of in-class and e-learning without the necessity of having to sacrifice either aspect (2003). As further noted by Bonk et al. (2006), delicate attention must be paid to supplementing online interaction with physical interaction. Given that our course takes on the added interactive dimen sion of cross-cultural engagement (see, Banks 2009) both Professor Lemieux and I exchanged trips to the respective Universities in October and November 2009 to deliver a specialist lecture on our specific area of expertise. This exposed students to expert knowledge (from unique epistemological approaches) on important research areas that were marginalised in previous iterations of the respective course, whilst more importantly, it provided a key physical presence to further ‘reify’ the interactive elements of the course as held within the e-learning environment (see Singh, 2003). Student feedback on this aspect of the course was extremely positive (see section 9), and these trips were essential to the overall success of the course. The foundation of this proposal is borne of two key aspects: 1) The successful implementation of a pilot course during semester 1 2009/2010; 2) its alignment with core objectives as held within the EoL Strategic Plan: Objective 1: As the only course of its kind on the teaching of terrorism, this project puts DCU students at the cutting edge of contemporary learning. Cross-cultural engagement between students of politics and psychology promotes interdisciplinary studies and collaborative learning, whilst also promoting a strong foundational relationship between DCU and Purchase College towards further university-wide collaborative opportunities. Objective 2: The heavy online component that exists outside of the in-class environment allows for prime opportunities towards flexible learning, which may also facilitate students who may miss some in-class time due to disability or inflexible personal situations. Objective 3: Mechanisms for student feedback are in-built and essential to the course. Feedback has been very positive and constructive, and some suggestions will be incorporated into the 2010/2011 version. Objective 4: Students of this course are collaboratively engaged in research appro priate to the subject area. As a part-time lecturer and PhD student of the School of Law and Government, it promotes excellent teaching experience on my part. It is hoped that key figures in Terrorism Studies will travel to DCU (again) as part of the course experience; whilst both Professor Lemieux and I are in the process submitting four co-authored research papers on our experiences of the collaborative class 2009/2010.
Budget: The funding request herein is based on facilitating a visit from Professor Anthony Lemieux to DCU to deliver a lecture to students of the LG343 Political Terrorism: A Collaborative Approach, whilst facilitating a corresponding trip for me (James Fitzgerald) to deliver a lecture to the students at Purchase College, State University of New York. During his visit to DCU in October 2009, Professor Lemieux delivered a very-well received lecture to our LG343 students. He also delivered a research seminar to the staff and PhD students of the School of Law and Government, as well as a guest lecture to the MA students. Professor Lemieux is world renowned expert on Psychology, AIDS research and Terrorism, and his continued presence at DCU represents a considerable boon on the part of the University. As such, flights, accommodation and expenses are requested to the value of €1,500; as roughly approximated to last year’s visit. As corresponding to our experience in 2009, I delivered a lecture to the students of our collaborative course at Purchase College, State University of New York. I also plan to deliver a research seminar to Purchase College faculty during any prospective iteration of this course in Semester 1 2010/2011. As an expert in a relatively specialised aspect of Terrorism Studies (Critical Terrorism Studies) I am in a unique position to deliver knowledge on this aspect of the literature to an audience that is not typically addressed—scholars of the United States have not been typically exposed to the approach of Critical Terrorism Studies, thus further accentuating the novel worth of my visit. As such, I am also seeking flights, accommodation and expenses costs to State University of New York to the value of €1,500, as roughly approximated to last year’s visit. As part of a circulated call among Critical Terrorism Studies scholars, submissions have been encouraged for a Joint Meeting on ‘Teaching and Researching Terrorism’ as scheduled to take place from 15th -16th September 2010 at the University of Manchester (England). Both Professor Lemieux and I are in the process of writing a paper for submission before the 1 March deadline, and if accepted, this paper will be published in a special edition of the renowned academic journal Critical Studies On Terrorism. Publication in one of the top-three journals on terrorism will ensure extremely positive exposure to our course among an international audience, towards prospective applications to our MA programmes. As such, I am requesting funding of €500 to account for flights, accommodation and expenses cost for the prospective attendance of this Joint Meeting. Total value of request €3,500* *Please note that these figures are approximations only, and in correspondence with receipts, any under-expenditure will be promptly refunded to the LIF fund. Although the School was approached for funding during 2009, it was intimated to me that whilst it was very positive about this venture, it was not in a position to fund anything beyond a €300 contribution to Professor Lemieux’s visit to DCU. Upon recent discussion, I have been told that budget cut-backs dictate that the financial position for this year will be even more severe. In this respect, I have not been allocated any monies from the school towards this venture. Last year’s corresponding trips were financed by the Collaborative Online Innovation Learning (COIL--see https://digihum.blogs.purchase.edu/) initiative based at State University of New York. However, their funding has been significantly cut, and as a result are (regretfully, on their part) not in a position to fund prospective trips. Overall, it is our hope that the novelty of our collaborative approach will enhance student learning, whilst also enhancing the international research reputations of both institutions. Although the relationship between Purchase College and DCU is in its relevant infancy (as a result of our course in Semester 1 2009/2010) both faculties are positively inclined towards a strengthening and broadening of this relationship towards other aspects of collective learning and interaction in the future—including possible student exchange and the provision of this approach to other core courses; both at BA and MA levels.
Impact: Prospective impact for this project is based on an accentuation of the existing impact of the previous iteration of this course. In this unique collaborative environment, students were ‘exposed’ to differing perspectives on terrorism from across cultures. This is especially pertinent in the context of terrorism, given the oft held intellectual and popular divide between citizens of the US and the EU on the subject of terrorism (Soage 2006; Loveless, 2003). Collaboration in a peer-learning environment was especially important given its advantages in the teaching of sensitive topics such as terrorism (Nicol and Boyle 2003). Feedback is ingrained within the course, and feedback is communicated in monthly flash meetings with other COIL members. Students are encouraged to provide feedback throughout the course, whilst submitting end of term qualitative assessment of the course. This feedback was extremely constructive, and indicates the positive impa ct of our unique approach: "This course was my favourite throughout all 3 years in DCU so far. It was really challenging, interactive, and certainly valuable" (DCU Student) "It was great that we were encouraged to have our own views no matter what they were and also communicate with eachother [sic] about these views and question eachother [sic]. I thoroughly [sic] enjoyed this course and would love to engage in further [sic] study." (DCU Student)
Dissemination 1: on
Dissemination 2: Disseminating the outcomes of this specific project has already begun with regard to the 2009/2010 class. A co-authored paper from Professor Lemieux and I (the primary author) has been submitted for review for the online journal Enhanced Learning in the Social Sciences, whilst we are planning to submit three follow up papers for different audiences (see secrtion 5, also). This will ensure widespread exposure of this course to an international audience, with the corresponding exposure of any LIF funding. As regards the longer term sustainability of this project, both institutions are positive that further mutual relationships can be provided at a university-wide level. This funding request does not directly take this into account, thus any costs incurred will be strictly limited to the afore mentioned budget for the year end Dece,ber 2010.
Head approval: on
Other: Other Selected Student Feedback: Working with American students definitely added to my experience. It was an invaluable resource and allowed the class to engage in a productive discussion about terrorism and its implications. It was fundamental to the success of the course. The opportunity to converse with a different culture and the sheer diversity of opinions that we were able to access was a fantastic resource. “Collaborating with the students in Ireland enhanced the course. It allowed for me to see terrorism through the eyes of my peers living in another country and experiencing a different culture. The media shapes the way people think whether they want it to or not, the cross cultural aspect of the course allowed us to better analyze terrorism objectively.” Overall I really enjoyed this course, I thought it was something completly different and a whole new way of learning which I really enjoyed. It was great that we were encouraged to have our own views no matter what they were and also communicate with eachother about these views and question eachother. I throughly enjoyed this course and would love to engage in furthur study. )It has added to my experience, as to see another cultures experience was very interestng and working on a project together was something very different. I don't think the fact that the other students were American made a difference I think it was just the general online forum that added to the experience. I found this course extremely interesting. I found that it really challenged me and forced me to think about truly different things than almost any other class that I have thus far encountered in college. It really forced em view things from all sides because in dealing with issues of terrorism and those surrounding terrorism there are very few simple, black and white moral truths. Through the actual group project I believe that I only worked with American students so I didn't get much different exposure through that but in terms of being in class I believe that I heard a lot of important viewpoints that really, I feel made me more aware of things, giving me outside perspectives on matters, something which in America you often don't hear to the fullest extent. Especially when it came to discussing EU policies and US policies in class the Irish students' opinions I found very interesting. IN MY opinion, next year you should collaborate with students from different backgrounds. Certainly continue this 20% for online discussion because it is extremely encouraging! I lovet the fact that there were video+audio notes too! I think that if more group projects had been assigned, we definitely would have benefited from the cross-cultural aspect of this course I found the perspüectives more diverse because the students from both countries had been affected in different ways, & the IRA on one hand & september 11 on another were raised by students from each´country & in some cases led to different ideas on a issue that would have seemed cut & dry. I also fewlt tha because there were these close experiences with terrorism on the part of people in the class room I thought about twhat I had to say more than I would back home. I think that the forum posts are an invaluable way to gain an insight into another country’s perspective. It also promotes cross-cultural learning, and since reading a number of posts on the forum by American students, I have been encouraged to gain further knowledge on a great deal of subjects I would never have even considered before. I think that had this class been carried out 10 years ago, the views on terrorism between the Irish and Americans would have been far less convergent on terrorists than they are now. In the wake of the intenationalisation of terrorism and the advent of new terrorism, I feel that it was interesting to see the remarkable agreement between Irish and American posters.
Principal-applicant: Dr Donal Fitzpatrick
School-Unit-Department: School of Computing
Project-Title: The Production and Delivery of Audio Tactile Diagrams Using Moodle
Summary: Audio tactile diagrams are the most modern way of delivering graphical content to blind learners. This involves placing a diagram, which a learner can explore with their finger, on top of a touch sensitive screen connected to a computer. When the learner presses on a region of the diagram, audio information is played back relating to that region. Current systems are not capable of online delivery which denies blind learners the autonomy of learning that has become commonplace in the modern e-learning climate. This project will build upon PhD research in the School of Computing, ATCDF(1), which has produced a new approach for the production and delivery of audio tactile diagrams. The approach harnesses techniques from mainstream e-learning such as content repositories, reusability and standardisation and applies them within the domain of audio tactile diagrams. Repositories of suitable diagrams and content objects have been made available via web service technologies thus providing audio tactile producers around the world with the ability to search for, reuse and repurpose existing content. The aim of this project will be to implement Moodle plug-ins that will allow lecturers to author and deliver audio tactile diagrams using the Moodle platform and the ATCDF framework. 1. Audio Tactile Construction and Delivery Framework
Stategic-Context: This research addresses various priority aspects of the Enhancement of Learning strategic plan. As the work will be embedded in an e-learning platform, it will provide blind learners with the ability to learn independently in a time and place that suits them. This ability complies with Objective 2.2 “Achieving Flexible Learning”. In addition, Objective 2.3, “Targeting Greater Access and Participation of Under Represented Groups”, states that the DCU would like to increase the participation rates of students with disabilities to 5%. This project would provide blind and visually impaired students with a resource that would enable their participation in third level education, especially in relation to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses where diagrammatical content is widely used. The sciences are an area where blind learners have been particularly under represented to date. Finally Objective 4.2, “Integrating Research on Teaching and Learning”, is particularly relevant to this project. Audio tactile diagrams have been shown to benefit learners in primary and second level classroom scenarios. The extension of this technology into third level education would provide lecturers with the ability to make their content accessible to blind students and therefore enhance their learning.
Implementation-plan: The project will be carried out by a software developer hired to develop the Moodle plug-ins. The first phase of the work will involve the developer becoming familiar with the creation of Moodle plug-ins. They will also need to become familiar with the techniques required to interface Moodle with ATCDF’s content repositories. Phase 2 will involve the implementation of the audio tactile authoring plug-in. The plug-in should provide lecturers with the ability to import image files of tactile diagrams, add audio content to them and upload the diagram components to the ATCDF repositories. Additionally, the plug-in should provide functionality to search for and reuse pre existing content from the ATCDF repositories. Lecturers will be involved in a formative evaluation at this stage to ensure the plug-in meets their needs. Phase 3 will involve the implementation of the audio tactile delivery plug-in. The plug-in should allow lecturers to add audio tactile content to their lessons and courses in Moodle. When a student selects the tactile, the delivery plug-in should load and render the audio tactile material correctly. The audio tactile material in ATCDF is based on the DAISY  standard for digital talking books. This ensures that material produced in this project will be interoperable with other systems and therefore scalable to future technologies. The plug-in should be able to interact with the touchscreen hardware that is available from the previous research. Students will be involved in a formative evaluation at this stage to ensure the plug-in is user friendly. Once the work has been completed and individual components evaluated, a summative evaluation will take place involving both lecturers and students. Lecturers will use the authoring plug-in to add audio tactile content to their lessons. Students will then be asked to visit those lessons and interact with the audio tactile material. The results of this evaluation will provide answers as to the effectiveness of the approach. A detailed discussion of how this project addresses the objectives in the EoLStrategic Plan was provided previously in Section 3. However, the specific objectives targeted by the implementation are; 2.2, 2.3 and 4.2. The work is based on the use of audio tactile diagrams in the education of blind learners. The project builds on systems such as T3  by Touch Graphics, IVEO  by VIEWPLUS and the AHVITED [5,6] project. The technology has proven to be beneficial for students in a classroom setting and is particularly useful when teaching scientific subjects containing diagrammatical material. The use of repositories, content objects and standards for authoring and delivery of audio tactile diagrams, builds on the approach of tools such as RELOAD. Learning objects from repositories such as the NDLR, can be used to create lessons that can be packaged and delivered using SCORM. The work will take place over a five month period from 01/04/10 to the 01/09/10. No obstacles are foreseen which preclude meeting these targets.  Declan McMullen and Donal Fitzpatrick. Service based approach to the construction and delivery of audio tactile diagrams. California State University Northridge, Center On Disabilities Technology And Persons With Disabilities Conference, 2010.  DAISY. http://www.daisy.org/about_us/dtbooks.asp.  Steven Landau and Karen Gourgey. A new approach to interactive audio/tactile computing: The talking tactile tablet. California State University Northridge, Center On Disabilities Technology And Persons With Disabilities Conference, 2004. . John A. Gardner and Vladimir Bulatov. Scientific diagrams made easy with iveo. In International Conference  AHVITED. http://www.ahvited.org.  Donal Fitzpatrick and Declan McMullen. Distance learning of graphically intensive material for visually impaired students. In International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs, volume 5105, pages 219–225. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2008.  RELOAD. http://www.reload.ac.uk/.  NDLR. http://www.ndlr.ie/.  SCORM. http://www.adlnet.gov/Technologies/scorm/default.aspx.
Budget: The budgetary requirements for this project are as follows: 1. A budget of €8,000 is being requested to fund a software developer. The developer will be tasked with implementing access to the ATCDF repositories in Moodle. They will also implement audio tactile authoring and audio tactile delivery plug-ins for the Moodle environment. 2. €500 is being requested to cover the cost of obtaining blind students to take part in project evaluations. 3. €1000 is being requested to cover the cost of software and hardware relevant for the implementation of the system. The costs do not fall under the remit of the School of Computing as they are all specifically related to this project, and not in any way School related. The cost of the project would be significantly higher if the repositories and web services that interact with them needed to be developed. These systems have been developed using previous funding and are being made available to this project at no cost. The budget is funding a developer to provide an online facility for the existing framework. Therefore, the capabilities provided by the outcome of this project will be far greater than the budget would have covered. Taking this into account and the possibility of deploying the outcomes of the project internationally, there is justification for the figures being requested.
Impact: The impact of this project would be significant. Lecturers would have the ability to provide diagrams to their blind students in an accessible format. The current practice has been to either ignore a diagram or attempt a verbal description. This work would provide blind students with the independent learning capability enjoyed by their sighted peers. DCU would be the first institution in the world to offer repositories of accessible diagrams and their components, the equivalent of the NDLR for mainstream learning objects. It would also be the first institution to provide an online mechanism for the authoring and delivery of audio tactile diagrams. The tools produced by this project ha