06 Oct 2022

Dundalk IT celebrates being shortlisted for Education Awards 2022

Best Use of Educational Technology/ICT

Dundalk IT celebrates being shortlisted for Education Awards 2022

Dundalk IT celebrates being shortlisted for Education Awards 2022

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) teaching staff and management say they are "absolutely delighted" to hear that they made the shortlist for the prestigious Education Awards 2022, in the category Best Use of Educational Technology/ICT.

DkIT's student centric initiative is an online support hub, allowing students to ‘24/7 Click4Support’, this innovative use of technology lives on DkIT’s virtual learning environment ‘Moodle’. The tool allows students to access supports and advice on their learning, employability, health, and general wellbeing. The project was funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the 2018 Innovation and Transformation Fund

Dr. Moira Maguire, Head of Learning and Teaching at DkIT, who lead the team during the development phase said: "We are extremely proud to be shortlisted for this project. This is an excellent example of what our Institute is renowned for, collaboration together to create a welcoming and supportive community for all our learners whether on or off campus.

"When the project began in January 2019, we could not have imagined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would have. The preparatory work on this project facilitated the shift to online activities while the shift online helped the development of digital capacity to provide student support."

This bespoke 24/7 online support hub was designed and created based on students’ needs, inspired by students for students to utilise. It is a blended student support approach that includes both face-to-face and online options. This online facility complements and extends the extensive support available to students on the Institute’s campus. 

The online hub is a one stop shop for support for all Dundalk Institute of Technology students (over 5000 learners), across all programmes and levels of study. In particular this hub supports students who are restricted in their opportunity to engage with on-campus support facilities. 

Student feedback also indicates that they are most likely to access the hub whilst off campus (e.g. at home or on placement) with the evenings and weekend also scoring strongly.

Student feedback on the hub included comments such as, "It is easy to access and find information", "I can easily find what I'm looking for", "The resources are easily accessible and easy to understand", "That it's there whenever we need it in case we may come into any trouble" and "Thank you for creating the hub!"

The platform was created with the following students in mind: 

  • Commuting students (which make up approximately 80% of DkIT full-time undergraduate students) 
  • Students on part-time, online or blended programmes (approximately 16% of the student body)
  • Students who are temporarily studying in isolation due to health issues, family issues or Covid-19 status 

It was a cross-institute collaboration between the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), DkIT Students’ Union (DkITSU), the DeChastelain Library, the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, IT Services and Student Services, involving 35 members of staff and student representatives to date. All partners are represented on the Steering Group which was chaired by Lisa O’Regan from Maynooth University.

In a recent student survey evaluating the impact of the hub for students, DkIT say they were delighted to report:

  • 75% of students agreed that it makes it easier to access support for their studies
  • 63% of students agreed it makes it easier to access support for wellbeing
  • 68% of students agreed it makes them feel more connected to DkIT
  • 61% of students agreed it encourages them to use face to face support

DkIT say that making the short list alone for this prestigious award is an enormous achievement so well done to absolutely everyone involved.

The institute gives special thanks to: Moira Maguire & Gerry Gallagher CELT, Breda Brennan Registrar’s Office/ Department of Agriculture, Food and Animal Health, Michael Denihan IT Services, Fiona Lawless Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, Linda Murphy Student Services, DkIT SU Maria Maguire (2018/19), Taidgh Kavanagh (2019/2020), Caitlin Connor (2020 -), Ann Cleary & Jamie Ward Library, Lisa O’Regan Maynooth University. 

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