Maynooth University Researchers Win Funding for Digital Projects to Enhance the Student Learning Experience

National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning announces results of funding round

Researchers at Maynooth University, a thought leader in the field of education, will spearhead a number of newly funded projects aimed at strengthening digital capacity within Irish higher education institutions.

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning’s recent funding round directed €2 million from its Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund for the initiative. Maynooth University is leading two of the 10 funded projects, and is a partner on another initiative. Maynooth University is the only Irish university offering the full spectrum of teacher education on campus–from early childhood and primary, through to secondary, adult and community education.

Discussing the funding, Professor Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University, said: “It’s a strong endorsement for Maynooth University to be part of three research projects to receive funding and we’re very proud of the teams involved. Technology has an increasingly important role to play in higher education and I am confident these projects will make a significant impact in terms of innovation within our sector.”

The projects are:

‘Supporting Transition: Enhancing Feedback in First Year Using Digital Technologies.’ This project sets out to improve and develop feedback dialogue in first-year undergraduate programmes by using digital technologies to support student transition and retention. The project will focus on feedback dialogue in first year; specifically teacher feed-forward supporting task completion, feedback after the task and peer review. A key output will be a Digital Feedback Guide on how third-level institutions can implement technology enhanced feedback approaches within their first-year curricula.

Project Leader: Lisa O’Regan, Maynooth University Centre for Teaching and Learning

Project partners: Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Award: €264,000

‘Assessment for Learning: Resources for First-Year Undergraduate Mathematics Modules.’ This project will develop interactive formative assessment techniques in order to improve the teaching and learning experience of first-year undergraduates taking mathematics modules.  By designing interactive tasks which can be used by students to monitor their own progress, lecturers will be able to support students’ progress with the identification of relevant e-learning material and the provision of new online resources. The project also will develop an audience response system which will allow lecturers to ask questions in class and gather responses from students through their smart-phones or tablets.

Project Leader: Ann O’Shea, Maynooth University Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr Seamus McLoone, Department of Electronic Engineering and Dr Ciaran Mac an Bhaird, Department of Mathematics and Statistics involved also.

Project partners include Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Award €274,000

Maynooth University is a partner on Student Success Toolbox for Flexible Learners: Supporting Transitions from Thinking About Study to the First Weeks,’ which was awarded funding of €255,000.  The DCU-led project will examine the problem of effective transitions and the foundations for student success during the initial stages of the study lifecycle, with a specific focus on flexible learners. The project will develop a toolbox of digital tools, along with an associated digital guide, which any institution will be able to (re)purpose to deploy for use with their flexible learners.