Teaching Fellowships 2014-15

On Tuesday, October 21st 2014, Dr Muiris O’Connor of the HEA, launched the 2014-15 DIT Teaching Fellowships. This year, colleagues were joined by five new ITTD Teaching Fellowship recipients. Dr Brian O’Neill, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services, welcomed attendees on behalf of DIT. John Vickery, Registrar at ITTD, provided an outline of the Tallaght Teaching Fellowship process.

A report of the 2013-14 Fellowships was also launched. Past teaching fellowship reports are available through http://arrow.dit.ie/

College of Arts and Tourism

Jennifer Hamilton, Conservatory of Music and Drama

Elevator Pitch

Acting for Opera Singers: As the majority of classically trained singers will earn a significant part of their living in the opera profession, it is vital that DIT is able to provide fit-for-purpose education for these trainee artists. With the increase in popularity of live cinematic opera relays along with the expectation that all live theatre needs to be as dynamic and visually compelling as TV and Cinema, there has, over the last thirty years, been an increase in the expectation that opera singers should be equally skilled actors. Previously, that expectation was not a priority. Therefore, the objective of my Teaching Fellowship project would be to identify and clarify the range and detail of acting and performance skills required of opera singers today, in order to be able to compete successfully in the international opera industry. The purpose of the prime research will be to interview Directors, Performers, Conductors, Teachers and other members of the profession working internationally and in Ireland. This is in order to identify any possible curriculum gap and also to arrive at a summary of what skills and resources are expected of singers in this field both at audition level and in performance. This conclusions of the research will inform the content and delivery of my own teaching of these subjects and also form the basis for a future publication.

Teresa Ryan, Ziene Mottiar, School of Hospitality and Tourism

Students in Action Initiative: The Students in Action Initiative is a student focused tourist destination project which seeks to establish deep and meaningful engagement between destinations, industry, community and DIT (staff and student) partners. It is run by a team of lecturers in the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism in DIT. The key objectives of this project are to offer support to a tourism destination and its related organizations over the course of an academic year in the form of focused project work and research, and in so doing to provide students with ‘real life’ experience which enhances their educational experience and skills development. As part of this project approximately 200 students, from six different modules, will be visiting Wexford during this academic year and addressing project work on issues such as the tourism product in the town, evaluating the heritage of Wexford as a tourist attractor, investigating the whole area of events in Wexford, collecting the views of tourists in Wexford, coming up with ideas of how Wexford could engage in e-tourism, and developing new business ideas. The best of this work will be presented back to Wexford to help them in their future plans for the area. In addition to the positive outcomes in terms of student experience, and the data and perspectives that the destination gains, the project also involves the submission of a book chapter and conference paper on this topic. Thus this project has multiple benefits and outcomes in terms of teaching and learning, engaging with industry and community, and research outputs.

College of Engineering and the Built Environment

Niall Holmes, Una Beagon, School of Civil Engineering

Elevator Pitch

Introducing PBL into Civil and Structural Engineering: The objective of this project is to introduce Problem Based Learning (PBL) into two second year modules on the DT004 and DT024 degree programmes. The benefits of PBL are a deeper understanding of lecture material by students which will greatly enhance their educational experience in DIT to develop problem solving and collaboration skills. This approach has been successful in other Irish Civil Engineering courses as it departs from the traditional ‘what I am told I need to know’ to ‘what I need to know to solve the problem’ promoting self-directed learning. Lecturers in turn transition from the giver of information to the facilitator of learning through support, guidance and monitoring. The applicants have met with Professor Tom Cosgrove from the University of Limerick who uses PBL in almost all of their Civil Engineering Undergraduate programmes. It is therefore proposed to introduce an active learning element into two Concrete Technology modules by replacing traditional laboratory exercises with a project requiring students to design, test and report on a series of concrete mixes and aggregate samples in the context of a real life assignment. Previously the concrete mix, what tests to perform and the methodology were all supplied. This project, carried out in groups, will require students to apply the theoretical knowledge from lectures thereby increasing their understanding of the material, developing their learning and teamwork skills and appreciating the context which engineers work. Both applicants currently deliver these modules which will be sustained in future years after this project is complete.

College of Business

Maeve O'Connell, School of Accounting and Finance
Dr Lorraine Sweeney, School of Retail and Services Management

An Action Plan for Implementing the Principles for Responsible Management Education in College of Business Programme Learning Outcomes: As part of its mission, the College of Business at DIT is committed to being recognised for “contributing to the wellbeing of the community through the education of outstanding responsible managers and corporate leaders”. In support of this commitment the project will seek to develop an understanding of the range of options available to the College of Business to embed principles for responsible management across all aspects of the College’s education portfolio. Related to this the project will develop a set of criterion by which programmes can be assessed and by which learning outcomes can be developed with evidence of mission achievement relating to responsible management education capable of being measured and assured. The project will review best practice identified under the Principles for Responsible Management (PRME), which were developed in 2007 by an international task force under the coordination of the UN Global Compact. This task force developed a set of six principles which lay the foundation for the global platform for responsible management education and supports shared learning between PRME signatories.


College of Sciences and Health

Aidan Meade, School of Physics

Exploring technology enhanced instruction and assessment in the advanced physics laboratory: Laboratory instruction is a hugely important component of teaching and learning in the experimental sciences, particularly so in physics. The structure of the senior laboratory has not changed drastically over a number of years and is not reacting to the changing workplace. We propose to remodel the senior physics laboratories to adapt to the new skillset required in the workplace and to instil the graduate attributes necessary for our students to successfully progress after graduation. One issue we find in our current senior laboratories is of students follow ‘lab-instruction’ without much engagement and/or reflection. We propose to renew the lab experience to foster an enquiry-based model which has been shown to help engage the students with their subject and to foster expertise in their subject area. Furthermore, peer-cooperative learning has been demonstrated to increase learning gains, retention of knowledge, and engagement. This fellowship application will use e-assessment methods to foster and incentivise the collaboration between students in a senior laboratory environment, while allowing individualised development of laboratory experimentation skills. The project will implement electronic documentation of student work, collaboration and reflection within an online environment. This form of electronic data recording further complements the skillset required in the workplace and in further study. A number of evaluation techniques are proposed to measure the impact of these changes.

Sara Boyd, School of Food Science and Environmental Health

DIT International: Development of an International Study Abroad Ireland Public Health Module:
The overall aim of this project involves the research and development of an International Study Abroad Module in Pubic Health in the College of Sciences and Health. It is envisaged that this module will be validated as and be available on the international educational market. The first project objective includes the research and development of the module content. The module will be structured into three core areas. These include cultural, heritage and public health. It is hoped that this module template could be utilised and applied across DIT. The cultural and heritage aspects of the module would remain constant whilst the third area could be developed by each School or Department in accordance with the expertise in their chosen area. For the Teaching Fellowship the module will focus on International Public Health Issues. The second project objective includes the compilation of a business plan for the module to include the costing, delivery and promotion of the validated module. The development of such an International SA Module will further enhance the international identity of DIT and should appeal to a wider educational audience with regards to development of their understanding of Public Health issues along with the gaining a positive international experience in Ireland.


Catherine Barry-Ryan, School of Food Science and Environmental Health

Elevator Pitch

TrackEngage: Tracking student engagement in learning resources and its correlation to their performance: Student attendance has a minimum requirement in a number of Science based modules, both in DIT and ITB. This has led to staff developing their own laborious recording methods for student attendance. Student numbers have grown substantially, and a number of modules are co-taught with other courses (90+ in some modules). Also there has been a large evolution in teaching & learning methods employed in recent years such as Problem Based Learning & group work etc which all require student attendance. Most of the modules delivered use Webcourses (DIT) or Moodle (ITB) as a teaching support tool with staff investing a lot of time & effort. This project plans to investigate student engagement in these teaching resources through monitoring there attendance at lectures, practicals and tutorials and their use of Webcourses. It will also survey their self-directed learning activities. This engagement will be correlated to module performance. To complete this project we will develop an efficient and robust recording system of student attendance (easy to use, cost effective and rapid) based on their student cards. Develop a protocol to capture student interaction with Web based teaching and learning resources. These tracking tools will be piloted on lab based modules in DIT and ITB. Reliable data on correlation of engagement against student performance will be analysed and interrupted. This system would allow for reflection and review of course delivery and interaction. Students ‘at risk’ due to low or lack of engagement could be highlighted early in the Semester.