Learning Innovation Unit, Dublin City University

Learning Innovation Unit

Learning Innovation Fund Awards

Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee (FTLC) - Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Innovation Forum (LIF)

Principal applicant

Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee (FTLC)

School or Unit

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Additional Applicants

Françoise Blin, FHSS, francoise.blin@DCU.ie

Goretti Daughton, FHSS, goretti.daughton@DCU.ie

Iain McMenamin, School of Law and Government, iain.mcmenamin@DCU.ie

Catherine O'Riordan, SALIS, catherine.oriordan@DCU.ie

Helena Sheehan, School of Communications, helena.sheehan@DCU.ie

Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, FIONTAR, ciaran.macanbhaird@DCU.ie

James Norman, School of Education Studies, james.norman@DCU.ie

Amount requested


Amount requested


Summary description

The HSS Learning Innovation Forum aims to support the implementation of the DCU Learning Innovation Strategy Plan by:

• Promoting the establishment of a partnership between academic staff from the five constituent schools, non-academic staff, and students with a view to enhance the learning environment;

• Stimulating and facilitating exchange and individual and collective reflection on best teaching and learning practices within the faculty;

• Supporting students involvement through the funding of student-led initiatives

• Promoting cross-faculty collaboration with regard to the creation and launch of new programmes and educational research projects.

The Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee will initiate, implement and monitor a number of events and initiatives, which will contribute to the creation of a faculty teaching and learning community of practice and provide opportunities for identifying needs and initiating change.

Planned initiatives include:

• The setting up of a series of seminars for both staff and students designed around LI strategic objectives, as defined by the DCU and/or faculty strategic plan;

• The funding of student-led initiatives

• The dissemination of information via the faculty intranet and/or moodle.

Project URL


Strategic Objectives

1. Creating and sustaining a dynamic learning partnership: the Networking University

Strategic Context

The Faculty of HSS is committed to further enhance its reputation, both nationally and internationally, as a dynamic centre for teaching, learning and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In particular, it is committed to actively contribute to the establishment of a partnership involving all students and staff in a unique environment that challenges and informs them, facilitates personal development and equips them to make an outstanding contribution to civic, cultural and economic well-being. The LIF will provide opportunities for staff and students from its five constituent schools to develop existing and to create new partnerships, which are essential for the successful implementation of the DCU Learning Innovation Strategic Plan.

The LIF will draw on the staff expertise and commitment to teaching and learning, and to personal development as demonstrated by the Faculty success in securing funding and recognition for teaching and learning initiatives (see for example the Teaching and Learning awards made in 2005). External expertise will be called upon where appropriate.

Implementation Plan

The Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee will initiate, co-ordinate and monitor a series of initiatives and events contributing to the establishment of the HSS Learning Innovation Forum. Members of the FTLC will actively promote the latter within their respective schools and seek to identify areas of potential collaboration across the faculty. They will also seek representation from students and identify areas of interest to both staff and students from their respective schools.

The launch of the HSS Learning Innovation Forum will be marked by a series of seminars to be held between March and December 2006 and complementing the LIU lecture series by addressing issues specific to the Humanities and Social Sciences and related to the Faculty Learning Innovation guiding principles and strategic objectives (obj. 1, 2, and 5). Students from all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes will be invited to participate and contribute to the seminars with a view to promote student engagement in the creation and management of an innovative learning environment (obj. 1, 2, 3), to maintain a constructive dialogue between staff and students (obj. 1 and 3.2) so that students' learning experience and achievements can be enhanced (obj. 3). Possible topics to be addressed include:

• Embedding and assessing transferable skills (including critical thinking) in Faculty modules and programmes;

• Using educational technology to support and increase students' engagement in HSS learning activities;

• Supporting student learning across the HSS curriculum: purpose, resources and strategies;

• Formative and summative assessment;

• Interface between programme administration, teaching and research for an enhanced learning environment; the role of staff and students.

Some funding will be made available to facilitate student-led projects, which may emerge as a result of their active participation in the Learning Innovation Forum. The allocated funds will be managed by the FTLC.

On-line dissemination of information: a section of the Faculty website will be allocated to the dissemination of information concerning the above activities, and re-designed accordingly (re-design to be completed by June 2006). In addition, moodle-based forums will enable staff and students to continue the discussions and share their experience.


The above initiatives will be closely monitored by the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee. It is expected that the organisation of seminars together with students will facilitate the provision of feedback by students on all aspects concerning their learning experience. It will also consolidate and enhance student involvement at faculty and programme levels.

Feedback from participants seminars will be sought and analysed by the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee. Needs for further initiatives or training will be identified and discussed with LIU and HR.

The extent to which the Learning Innovation Forum impacts on students learning experience will be evaluated in terms of the changes taking place in areas such as the creation and launch of new cross-faculty programmes or modules, the way we review programmes, new assessment techniques being implemented, increased levels of student engagement and control over the learning environment, etc.

Dissemination and Sustainability

The Learning Innovation Forum initiatives and their resulting resources will be made available to the wider DCU community via its website. It is envisaged that the design of the latter will facilitate a cost-free maintenance and up-grade.

After December 2006, additional funding will be sought from various sources to sustain the organisation of staff-student seminars and to further develop emerging recommendations.

Detailed budget

Funding (€12000) is sought to finance the establishment of the HSS Learning Innovation Forum, the organisation and delivery of seminars, and the design and initial implementation of the Learning Innovation Forum website. At present, the Faculty is not in a position to fund such new initiatives. Furthermore, the development of a community of learners within the Faculty will be greatly enhanced by the implementation of initiatives conceived and managed by the students themselves, through the Student Council.

Learning Innovation Forum Seminars: €5000 (guest speakers' expenses, refreshments, materials, venue and equipment, etc.)

HSS Learning Innovation Forum Website: €2000

Student-led projects: €5000

Other Information

It was not possible to insert all the objectives addressed by this project (section 3):

1. Creating and sustaining a dynamic learning partnership: the Networking University

3. Enhance learner achievement, e.g.

3.2 Development of learner communities

3.3 Retention and progression

5. Learning Innovation, e.g.

5.1 Supporting excellence in teaching

5.2 Educational research