National, inter-institutional, graduate modules – blended learning approaches for PhD education in Ireland

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Cosgrave, Michael
Murphy, Órla
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This paper is a case study that describes the design and delivery of national PhD lectures with 40 PhD candidates in Digital Arts and Humanities in Ireland simultaneously to four remote locations, in Trinity College Dublin, in University College Cork, in NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway. Blended learning approaches were utilized to augment traditional teaching practices combining: face-to-face engagement, video-conferencing to multiple sites, social media lecture delivery support – a live blog and micro blogging, shared, open student web presence online. Techniques for creating an effective, active learning environment were discerned via a range of learning options offered to students through student surveys after semester one. Students rejected the traditional lecture format, even through the novel delivery method via video link to a number of national academic institutions was employed. Students also rejected the use of a moderated forum as a means of creating engagement across the various institutions involved. Students preferred a mix of approaches for this online national engagement. The paper discusses successful methods used to promote interactive teaching and learning. These included Peer to peer learning, Workshop style delivery, Social media. The lecture became a national, synchronous workshop. The paper describes how allowing students to have a voice in the virtual classroom they become animated and engaged in an open culture of shared experience and scholarship, create networks beyond their institutions, and across disciplinary boundaries. We offer an analysis of our experiences to assist other educators in their course design, with a particular emphasis on social media engagement.
Digital humanities , Digital arts , Social media , Blended learning , Blogging , Twitter , On-line learning , E-learning
Murphy, O. and Cosgrave, M. (2012) ‘National, inter-institutional, graduate modules – blended learning approaches for PhD education in Ireland’, ICERI Proceedings: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Madrid, Spain, 19-21 November, pp. 5104-5109. ISBN 978-84-616-0763-1
© 2012, The Authors; IATED