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Teaching Fellowships Reports 2011 - 2012

Teaching Fellows 2011-2012

College of Arts & Tourism


Kate Shanahan

School of Media

Development of a pilot course on media entrepreneurship for the BA Journalism at DIT 

The objective is to develop a fully sustainable model for media entrepreneurship teaching on the BA Journalism programs in DIT, with a pilot module being launched for the final year journalism students in September 2012. The research will involve designing a course with accompanying materials, and learning outcomes which would enable final year students to obtain a skill set not currently available in their degree curriculum. Methods such as group mentoring, ideas incubation, liaison with industry, as well as case studies of new media start-ups will be looked at in order to help students develop sustainable news and information services. Students on the pilot project will be surveyed both before and after the course to ascertain whether the required learning outcomes have been met. DIT has been at the forefront when it comes to creating links between industry and academe in Ireland. This project aims to ensure that the School of Media at DIT remains at the forefront of Irish media education by teaching students how to develop new media strategies and start-ups.

Tim Stott, Mary Ann Bolger, Niamh Ann Kelly & Noel Fitzpatrick

School of Art Design & Printing

Critical Thinking, Critical Theory: Cross-College First Year Module in Critical Analysis

 The objectives of the projects are

  •      To propose a first-year module entitled ‘Developing Critical Skills’, to be available across the Institute;
  •      To promote, through the analysis of cultural artefacts, the analytical and rhetorical skills of students across different disciplines;
  •      To test and evaluate appropriate assessment procedures for such a module;
  •      To explore innovative methods of curriculum design process for interdisclinary practice.
The anticipated benefits will be the development of students who possess critical competences with broad application, who are reflective and analytical, and who are aware of the public responsibilities of knowledge; A greater understanding among students of the value and complexity of culture; The encouragement of cross-discipline cooperation among staff; To consolidate the benefits of the modular system within the DIT.

College of Engineering & Built Environment


Eimear Fallon, Terry Prendergast & Stephen Walsh

School of Real Estate & Construction Economics

An activity-based approach to the learning and teaching of research   methods. Measuring student engagement & learning.

The aim of this project is to continue the development of a new module in Research Methods which will be learned through an activity based learning approach.  The development focuses on two main areas:

  • improved student participation – some initial areas of research include real life tasks,  small group sizes (3/4)  together with increased number of presentations, hand ups and assessment of feedback to staff and
  • increased rigour and equity in assessment of individuals within groups – some initial areas of research include peer and self assessment, peer critiquing of tasks, developing a method of assessing engagement.

Ruairi Hayden & Fiacra McDonnell

School of Construction

Developing a collaborative virtual learning environment between students in cross disciplines to meet the new college structure

This is a collaborative project between the department of Construction Management and Technology and the department of Construction Economics. The term “collaborative learning” refers to an instruction method in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. The students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own.
The objectives of this collaborative project is to

  • Promote interaction between students from different but related courses. (eg. Construction Management and Quantity Surveying Students)
  • Enhance student’s ability to think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions as a team.
  • Evaluate the benefits of using web as a virtual learning environment.
  • Examine the benefits of modern technology as a tool in feedback.


College of Business


Rosie Hand
School of Marketing
Exploring Social Media as a means of fostering student engagement and retention

The overall aim of this proposed research project is to explore the use of social media as a key component in fostering student engagement and retention. The specific objectives are:

  • To assess the potential uses of social media as a means to foster student engagement and retention.
  • To assist programme directors and lecturers in identifying opportunities where social media may be utilised to enhance module and programme delivery.
  • To explore creative methods of leveraging existing and new social media technologies to enhance the overall student experience.
It is anticipated that this project will create an  awareness among lecturers and programme directors as to the potential for using social media as a means of student engagement and retention. This project will also provide insights as how social media can be leveraged to improve the quality of the student experience for both traditional and non traditional students.

Dan Shanahan
School of Accounting & Finance
Establishing the levels of oral communication apprehension among the accounting and business students and to explore any correlation with academic grades The objectives of the project are to establish the levels of oral communication apprehension (OCA) among accounting and business students, certificate, undergraduate and post-graduate, in the School of Accounting and Finance
b.to explore any correlation between OCA levels and academic grade.

The benefits of the project work and the rationale for this study are to raise awareness of OCA with a view to introducing a module to help students with high levels of OCA to overcome this debilitating phenomenon.

College of Science and Health


Blathnaid Sheridan

School of Mathematical Sciences

What maths DO our first year students know?

The mathematical under-preparedness of first year students’ entry into DIT has become a concern for many DIT Colleges. A huge number of modules on many different programmes in the institution have mathematical content or involve quantitative analysis. As the school of mathematical Sciences is heavily involved in service teaching, staff now encounter more and more students who are unable to deal with basic mathematical skills and thus are unable to understand the more high-end mathematical content for their programmes. This is having a knock-on effect on grades and ultimately on retention rates. The aim of the project is develop a diagnostic test which will help to profile the mathematical strengths and weaknesses of incoming first years. In conjunction with this, a peer-assisted learning network in mathematics will be established with the aim of improving achievement in first year mathematics through provision of student centred mentoring programmes


Claire McDonnell, Christine O'Connor & Sarah Rawe

School of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

Scaffolding for Cognitive Overload using Pre-lecture E-resources (SCOPE) for First Year Chemistry Undergraduates

The aims of this project are to develop additional online pre-lecture resources for first year chemistry undergraduates and to evaluate the effect of implementing these resources by analysing quantitative (test and exam results) and qualitative (pre- and post-implementation  surveys and focus group interviews) data.

The E-resources are designed to;

 reduce cognitive load by introducing some new terms and threshold concepts before the lecture
  •  incorporate worked examples to scaffold students’ learning
 provide short test questions with immediate and targeted feedback so that students can identify areas of difficulty.

The anticipated benefit is that that the gap in performance observed in first year between learners who have and have not studied chemistry at Leaving Cert will be removed. This was shown to occur last year in the module that Dr Seery teaches and we anticipate that we can extend this positive effect to our first year teaching.

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