Blogging, texting, playing games: e-Learning in Ireland's third-level colleges?

Dublin 20 June 2005:  The summer school season has started and this week DIT Aungier Street will host a summer school with a difference.  Aimed primarily at third-level academics, the annual DIT e-Learning Summer School will bring together participants from all over Ireland and the UK to engage in a week of hands-on workshops and practical discussion on the educational aspects of e-learning.  The programme includes speakers from DIT, Universityof Ulster, DCU, TipperaryInstitute and Royal College of Surgeons and the issues under consideration range from pedagogy to plagiarism, and from blogging to building a webpage.

Dr. Kevin O'Rourke, head of e-Learning Support at Dublin Institute of Technology, says that this is the third year of the Summer School and it is more popular than ever.  He believes that academic colleagues welcome the opportunity to discuss both the challenges and the opportunities that technology offers education.  "The basis of our programme this year is to examine e-learning from an educational rather than simply from a purely technological viewpoint - why should academics engage with technology at all; how can it really enhance learning and teaching; what difficulties may arise through issues such as plagiarism, for example; and can the dynamic of a classroom really be reproduced through e-learning.  Of course, we will also be talking about practical issues like how to get started, how time-consuming is it, what role does design play, etc."

The Summer School is organized by DIT's Learning Technology Team, headed up by Dr. O'Rourke.  The team was established three years ago to provide support for academic staff in their use of e-learning and to enhance student learning. The team members combine experience from the fields of education, commercial e-learning and publishing, web design, and technology.  Dr. O'Rourke says that although the learning curve has been steep, staff in the Institute have adapted extremely quickly.  "This project has engaged the interest and participation of colleagues across all disciplines, and that is obvious from the range of DIT speakers on this year's Summer School programme - School of Chemistry, Environmental Planning, Hospitality Management, Marketing, Art and Design, the Library Service, Lifelong Learning are all represented..

Dr. O'Rourke is delighted that word about the Summer School has spread among the academic community and this year's event is fully subscribed.  -We will be welcoming not only our own DIT colleagues next week but also participants from universities and institutes all over Ireland, from Englandand Scotland, from the Open University and - for the first time - a number of people from government and public agencies.  And we're looking forward to an exciting week!.

The DIT E-Learning Summer School runs from Monday 20 to Friday 24 June in DIT Aungier Street, Dublin2.  For the full programme please click here:

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