The vision of the Centre for Digital Education is to empower staff to improve student learning through the best practice application of technology.
We will achieve this by Advising Staff, Training, Informing Policy Development, Evaluating of Emerging Educational Technology, Outreach and National and International Collaboration.
What is Digital Education?
Digital Education refers to both the delivery of education through digital technologies and also the education of those who teach to use digital tools effectively.
The subject of digital skills within UCC is a complex one. Consider, for example, some of the common IT tools and platforms used daily by UCC staff and students - MS Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Agresso, DMIS, Terminal 4, SharePoint, QuickMinutes, Google Drive, One Drive, Canvas, Panopto, MS Teams, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, to name just a few of those currently in operation. The breadth of purpose of these tools is staggering as is the level of comfort people have with their operation.
Part of the vision of the Office of Vice President for Learning and Teaching is ‘of a university where effective and innovative teaching and learning approaches are fostered and supported’. Supporting staff to increase their digital skills is a key strategy in achieving this vision.
Similar challenges exist with undergraduate students, who often do not get the opportunity to increase their digital skills during their formal schooling. As digital natives, it is often assumed they bring with them to college a proficiency in the use of technology. Unfortunately, research consistently shows that the digital skills they have do not often match the demands placed upon them for studying at third level.
It is also incumbent on a modern third level institute to view education in a wider global context and to equip its graduates to continue learning as they progress into work and find their way in the world. Empowering them with the base digital and learning skills to continue this journey must form part of UCC’s vision for developing Independent Thinkers.
Supporting UCC's Strategic Ambitions
Digital Education has never been more important to the strategic goals of UCC than it is today.
The pivot to online learning enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic placed the CDE in the front line of training and support for staff. The successful move to a new Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, during 2019 meant UCC was well placed to engage quickly with the new reality it faced during 2020. The Strategic Pivot document specifically calls out the need for more support in order to sustain quality of online provision:
Action 1.3.1 Enhance the digital learning experience for on-campus and off-campus learners, by upskilling including via micro-credentials, through investment in simulations, virtual resources and felxible learning and assessment using technology.
Action 1.3.2 Further enable remote learning trhough unique online programmes.
Action 1.3.3 Priotise investment in digital education through expanding our range of infrastructural resources to staff, deploy Instructional Design expertise in Colleges and Schools.
Goal One of UCC’s Independent Thinking Shared Ambition Strategic Plan requires the university to
…implement an academic strategy to deliver an outstanding, student-centred teaching and learning experience with a renewed, responsive and research-led curriculum at its core. Specifically, the team addresses Action 4 (improving the teaching and learning experience) of this goal.
In addition, the CDE are tasked with delivering on the four priorities of the Office of Vice President for Learning and Teaching’s 2017 – 2022 Strategic Plan, namely to:
- deliver student-centred, research-based learning;
- expand lifelong and life-wide learning opportunities;
- enhance staff development, and
- unlock the potential of technology.
The CDE’s work directly supports the Connected University Academic Strategy through the digital transformation project to implement and support a modern, intuitive and world-class virtual learning environment, Canvas:
- UCC’s current Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be replaced with a modern, intuitive system offering a significant uplift in how we support our students’ learning. The VLE will become the main online platform to support our teaching and learning, giving our academic staff the tools to teach in innovative ways, and offering the flexibility to deliver a Connected Curriculum.
In addition, the CDE's wider work in supporting staff to better use educational technology speaks to the connections of Employablility, Sustainability, Trans and Interdisciplinarity and Global Reach.
About the Centre
The Centre for Digital Education (CDE) formerly known as Instructional Design was established on February 25th 2019. The CDE comprises of the Instructional Design team, a Senior Executive Assitant, a Digital Education Officer and is led by the Head of Digital Education. The CDE sits with the Office of Vice President for Learning and Teaching.