Teaching Enhancement Unit

Projects |Teaching Enhancement Unit


The TEU are involved in a wide vareity of projects across the entire university


The Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in an Erasmus+ funded project where, under the leadership of University College London (UCL), we are working with 12 universities across Europe to further develop the ABC Learning Design method. Starting in September 2018, this project will run over two years with the eventual aim of creating a further developed toolkit that can be used by any institution who wish to use this fast-paced team-based course design approach. Further information about the project, the ABC approach, and the outputs being created, is available in the short video below.


 Academic Integrity

The Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) is currently participating in the INTEGRITY project, funded under the KA2 strand, and aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes that are based on the principles of academic integrity, supported by policies, mechanisms and tools that help prevent and detect cases of plagiarism in higher education institutions in Georgia. INTEGRITY (Academic Integrity for Quality Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions in Georgia) involves collaboration with colleagues in partner institutions in Ilia State University (Georgia), University of Roehampton (UK), Uppsala Universitet (Sweden) and Universitaet Wien (Austria) as well as a range of associated HEIs in Georgia. The aims of the project include, among others, the introduction of plagiarism prevention and detection electronic tools in Georgian HEIs, the design and launch of an information campaign in Georgian HEIs defining academic integrity and promoting best practice principles of academic integrity, as well as faculty development modules in the area of effective assessment, teaching and learning to promote academic integrity. 

The TEU is involved in developing a  resource toolkit for academics which will support them designing assessments which actively encourages academic integrity. The suite of resources currently being advanced for the toolkit includes a literature review publication; a set of twelve principles and related explanations;  interactive glossary; self and team checklists; animated scenarios; VLE instructional resource; and a collection of case studies. Members of the TEU piloted and advanced these resources at  faculty development events in Universitaet Wien (Vienna) in February 2018; Akaki Tsereteli State University (Kutaisi, Georgia) in May 2018; and Shota Meskhia State Teaching University of Zugdidi in September 2018. 

For more information please contact Dr Fiona O'Riordan (fiona.m.oriordan@dcu.ie)

 Academic Success - Supporting students with transition into third level

This suite of three online courses were developed in partnership with Epigeum.  This programme is designed for students who are moving into higher education for the first time. The courses are written by subject experts and will equip, empower and enable students to get the most out of their university or college experience. Epigeum developed the programme in partnership with, DCU and 12 other higher education institutions from across the world.  

  • Charles Sturt University, Australia
  • Dublin City University, Ireland
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland
  • James Cook University, Australia
  • Sheffield Hallam University 
  • Swansea University
  • Ulster University
  • University of Newcastle, Australia
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Sussex 
  • University of Westminster
  • Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

 Developed by experts from each of the insitutions, the Teaching Enhancement Unit  in partnership with Student Support and Development from DCU  have customised this programme to give our students a personalised experience.

 Project Lead: mark.glynn@dcu.ie


DCU were successful in obtaining funding from the National Forum for Teaching & Learning for a project aimed at supporting Heads of School. This project led by NUI Galway is supported in DCU by the Learning and Development unit in HR in collaboration with the Teaching Enhanchement Unit. The project involves establishing a series of workshops and seminar sessions specifically targeted at Heads of School to support Teaching & Learning in addition to creating a selection of resources to support the staff beyond the workshops and seminars. For example this resource focuses specifically on Assessment.

For more information please contact Helena McCanney  (helena.mccanney@dcu.ie) Dr Mark Glynn (Mark.Glynn@dcu.ie

Classroom Coaching

This project seeks to encourage staff at any level of teaching and experience to enhance and extend their practice through the gathering of ‘external feedback’ from supportive coaches. These coaches may be focused on the pedagogical (for example from Teaching Enhancement Unit) or more specifically on the content (as when the coach comes from the same teaching area – usually termed peer observation of teaching).

Peer observation is common, and frequently mandatory, in other universities (see Bell, 2001; Carbone, 2011; York St John resource cited below; RCSI in Dublin) as a recognition that “a collaborative non-judgemental process involving two or more peers [can] mutually benefit from the dialogue that takes place” (YSJ, undated, page 3).

We recognise that having an ‘outsider’ in one’s classroom is not the norm in Irish higher education, and that there is a variety of reasons why this might be the case. Nevertheless, those who have availed of the opportunity to have a coaching session have referred to the experience as “very supportive”; “blew my mind – didn’t realise I knew how to do all those things!”; and “would warmly recommend to others”.

We are promoting classroom coaching and peer observation in a variety of ways. We have spoken with Associate Deans of Teaching; Teaching Convenors; via attendance at Teaching and Learning Committee meetings; via the provision of a ‘flyer’ advertising the session and disseminated at workshops and in departments; and during one-to-one consultations. While it is early days for this project, we have so far engaged in coaching sessions in both actual and virtual classrooms.

We will be measuring the success of this project by monitoring the feedback from those who have chosen to engage in it, and by observation of whether, once one person in a department or faculty has engaged, there is uptake from others in the field.


Bell, M. (2001).Supported reflective practice: a programme of peer observation and feedback for academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 6 (1) 29-39

Carbone, A. (2011) Building peer assistance capacity in faculties to improve student satisfaction with unitsResearch and Development in Higher Education Volume 34: 83 - 94

York St John University (undated). A Guide to Peer Observation of Teaching and Learning.

DCU & Arizona State University -Online MSc in Precision Mediicine

Dublin City University (DCU) and Arizona State University (ASU) have been collaborating since 2006, developing international cooperation in teaching and research based on shared values of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-enhanced learning. In November 2014, both universities celebrated the launch of the world’s first International School of Biomedical Diagnostics. A key feature of the new School is a unique International Master of Science in Biomedical Diagnostics, a blended learning collaboration giving students at both universities the opportunity to work with their transatlantic counterparts.

This project was initiated as a result of a strategic collaboration between DCU and ASU under the umbrella of the wider Transatlantic Higher Education Partnership. It involved the development of two highly innovative modules on the topics of Immunology and Biomedical Informatics, which form the foundation of the new online programme. As part of this initiative, both universities shared their Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and developed online learning resources to be shared by each institution. To date, two modules/courses have been developed and delivered: DCU has developed their first fully online module ‘Principles of Diagnostic Technology: Immunology’ while ASU has developed ‘Introduction to Biomedical Informatics’.  

This project  has now resulted in further collaboration with the development of a new masters programme in Precision Medicine. This programme will consist of six online modules developed by both ASU and DCU. The aim is to start the first set of students on this module in September 2018.

Project Lead: mark.glynn@dcu.ie

DCU & Univeristy of Stavanger - Anti bullying Programme 

The Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) was founded in 1996 by Professor Mona O’Moore. In 2014, ABC was relaunched by the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and the Minister for Education and Skills as the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre in the School of Education Studies, DCU. Researchers at the Centre were the first in Ireland to undertake research on school bullying, workplace bullying, homophobic bullying and cyeberbullying. The Centre is a strategic partner with the Norwegian Centre for Learning Environment and Behavioural Research in Education. Through this partnership with the University of Stavanger the ABC and the Teaching Enhanccement Unit have developed a level 9 module that is delivered primarily online to students from both Ireland and Norway. Following completion of this pilot project additional online modules will be developed in conjunction with universities in the United States. The final goal of this project is to create a suite of stand alone modules that can be underrtaken as stand alone mouldes or integrated into one of DCU's existing programmes.

Project Lead: mark.glynn@dcu.ie


The Erasmus funded project eCoNNECT - Enhanced Communication iN Nursing through Exchange of Clinical Teaching Experiences was launched on 1st October 2017 with the aim of developing, testing and evaluating a blended learning module for practical apprenticeship training and continuing education for teachers and learners in scholastic, high school and practical learning places.

This project will run for two years. Within the project four building blocks will be developed: curriculum, teaching materials, video scenarios and a handbook for implementing the module in other institutions and settings.

DCU will assist in the pedagogical design of the learning material and the creation of the video based content. Furthermore DCU will provide the learning management system and virtual classroom through which the training will be provided to all project partners.

Partners of the project:

The Hanse lnstitute Oldenburg - Education and Health, (project coordinator)

Dublin City University,

The Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen,

The University Medical Center Groningen and

The School and Study Center at the Klum kum Neumarkt i.d.OPf.

 Associated partners

Beaumont Hospital,

Carl von Ossietzki University of Oldenburg,

National (German) Association for Teachers for Health- and Social Care (Bundesverband Lehrende Gesundheits- und Sozialberufe)

DCU Contact: Dr Daniela Lehwaldt

Measuring Blended Learning through VLE usage 

Blended learning is where a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media. By that defintion it we can confidently say that close to 100% of our courses are provided using blended learning. However there are different variations of blended learning. This project involves the design and testing of reports that gathers data from Moodle to measure the extent of the "blend" within courses.

Project Lead: mark.glynn@dcu.ie

MOOC - Irish Language 

The Irish Language 101 MOOC is part of a trio of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) being developed by DCU as part of Ireland’s 1916 centenary commemorative programme.  The Irish (or Gaeilge) 101 MOOC is being developed to give learners the opportunity to engage with Irish language and culture. Designed for complete beginners, it aims to encourage the Irish diaspora to engage with the language at a basic level and potentially visit Ireland. The MOOC is expected to be delivered during Spring 2016.

Pedagogical Basis

The learning outcomes of the MOOC are aligned with a subset of the learning outcomes of an A1 language learner as defined by the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). After taking this MOOC, learners should able to comprehend the meaning of basic spoken words and phrases, express basic greetings and information, and compose simple messages using set phrases.  Learners will also be asked to consider the socio-linguistic position of Irish in Ireland and abroad, and also describe some aspects of the link between the language and contemporary culture and society.

A significant goal of this MOOC is to encourage discussion between learners and promote language learning through an experiential ‘learning by doing’ approach. According to Musumeci (2009), oral proficiency is best developed through meaningful communication using semi-authentic materials and a task-based approach.  The MOOC also reflects Ortega’s (2009) view that guided instruction has a positive effect on the rate of development and level of ultimate attainment.  In view of the fact that adult language learners typically have more difficulty with grammatical/procedural learning than they do with lexical/declarative knowledge (Ullman, 2001, 2005),grammatical guidance is provided throughout. Furthermore, as Ellis (2009) states, there is no substitute for usage and appropriate usage so multiple opportunities for speaking and writing Irish are provided.

The MOOC will run over three weeks, it’s completely free, and we warmly invite you to sign up, take part, and tell us what you think.


Ellis, R. (2009). Task-based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstandings. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19(3), 221–246.

Musumeci, D. (2009). History of Language Teaching. In Long, M.H. & Doughty , C.J. (Eds.) The handbook of language teaching, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 42-62.

Ortega, L. (2009). Sequences and processes in language learning. In Long, M.H. & Doughty , C.J. (Eds.) The handbook of language teaching, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 81-105.

Ullman, M. T. (2001). A neurocognitive perspective on language: The declarative/procedural model. Nature reviews neuroscience, 2(10), 717-726.

Ullman, M. T. (2005). A cognitive neuroscience perspective on second language acquisition: The declarative/procedural model.  In Sanz, C. Mind and Context in adult second language acquisition, Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 141-178.

PredictEd - Learning Analytics 

The work described in this project uses data generated from students’ online behaviour, in order to improve their learning experience and specifically, their performance in end-of-semester written examinations. Using log data from the University’s online virtual learning environment, Moodle, combined with past exam performance data we are able to build a software predictor which accurately classifies whether a student in the current cohort of students is likely to pass or fail the module.

This classifier leverages online behaviour and examination outcomes from past students, in order to inform current students as to how they are progressing. We target University students in their first semester when they are most vulnerable and often feel lost or overwhelmed by what is for most, a sudden change to University life. We use past, and present, log data to predict likely outcomes on a weekly basis and naturally the accuracy of our predictions is likely to get more accurate as the module progresses. As a form of alerting, students receive emails each week that advises them to study more, that they really need to study more, or that they seem to be doing OK, whatever is appropriate.

Automated, weekly, personalised emails to students is an excellent adjunct to support from the Lecturer, tutors, lab supervisors or other student supports, but even with these in place, it is inevitable that some students will slip through the cracks because of the sheer numbers of students on some modules. For further information on this project please visit https://predictedanalytics.wordpress.com/

 Project Lead: mark.glynn@dcu.ie

Professional Learning Programme on Digital Assessment  

Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning (EDTL) is a three-year academic staff professional learning programme co-ordinated by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The project aims to support university teachers to develop their digital skills so that students’ learning experiences can be enhanced with technology. In turn, the development of digital skills for teachers will expose students to technology for teaching and learning and support them to develop their own digital skills.

DCU has chosen to focus on the theme of digital assessment for its professional learning programme. The TEU co-ordinates DCU’s EDTL professional development programme. The TEU searches for and invites groups of academic staff to participate and also welcomes unprompted expressions of interest.

The programme takes the form of workshops, webinars and consultancies for school, programme or discipline-based teams of academic staff. Participants decide the specific digital assessment topics they wish to explore and are supported by the TEU to plan enhancements to the assessments on their modules.

Contact: Suzanne Stone and Rob Lowney

Universal Design for Learning

The Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) is delighted to partner with colleagues in Student Support & Development (SS&D) to implement an initiative focused on staff development in the principles and practices of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This new initiative aimed at promoting and implementing an inclusive teaching and learning environment is enabled thanks to a recent successful application to the Quality Improvement and Development (QUID) fund from the Quality Promotions Office, DCU. The 2017/18 funding call was focused on the theme of ‘Internal Communications’ and sought proposals for projects which aimed to enhance how we share and interact with our internal community in DCU.

The joint TEU/SS&D initiative intends to engage staff and students in dialogue about UDL, from which an agreed definition will emerge followed by a series of initiatives to raise and develop staff awareness. The initiative will provide guidance and support to enhance communication with learners across all of DCU’s campuses. This task will be underpinned by research to document existing levels of expertise and engagement with the principles of UDL, followed by a series of events which will develop staff awareness and provide guidance and support to ultimately enhance communication with students. Through consultation and engagement, we seek through this project to develop an inclusive DCU community, underpinned by the principles and practices of UDL.

For more information please click here.

What Works & Why

Recognising that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the effective use of new digital technologies for teaching and learning, the What Works & Why project aims to build digital literacy and engagement for students and teachers by exploring the question: “What works and why?”

Focusing on supporting innovative pedagogy through learning technologies in discipline specific contexts, the project team seeks to identify what What Works and Why. Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, the project partners of will offer a range of workshops, technology exploration sessions, formation of teaching groups and funding for TEL Innovation initiatives. Teachers will be supported in redesigning teaching and learning activities  through technology integration leading to more rewarding learning experiences for students.

For more information on the project contact  visit the project website or  our Twitter feed


 Project Lead: lisa.donaldson@dcu.ie