Recent reports have highlighted the importance of innovation in programme delivery – requiring interdisciplinary approaches and encouraging greater inter-institutional collaboration (Hennessy 2013; Mc Aleese 2013). However, this isn’t always easy and persuading institutions, staff and students to work together on new teaching and learning approaches can be challenging.
This session describes the transition from traditional lecture-based teaching to a blended programme and the lessons learned in dissolving institutional, disciplinary and technological boundaries. The programme in question is a structured PhD programme in Population Health and Health Services Research (PHHSR) funded by the Health Research Board. The programme is taught across three institutions, with scholars placed in seven higher education institutions (HEIs) nationally. Modules are taught by inter-institutional teams and delivered to a multidisciplinary group of scholars – with backgrounds ranging from medicine and pharmacy to economics and politics.
The re-design of the programme was undertaken on a module-by-module basis, with two modules “blended” as a pilot study. Module teams were heavily involved from the very beginning through a series of group workshops and one-on-one consultations with the project learning technologist.
By analysing the reflections of scholars and staff involved, as well analytics from the VLE, this session aims to describe the process of getting all stakeholders on board with the plan, the pedagogy and the technology and highlight some of the opportunities presented and challenges faced when dealing with inter-institutional collaboration at PhD level. How can we encourage established lecturers to get “stuck in” with blended learning? How can student feedback inform the design process and shape the learning experience? And how can we ease the transition for everyone involved – on institutional, organisational and individual levels?
Hennessy, J., 2013. Report to the Minister for Education and Skills on system reconfiguration, inter-institutional collaboration and system governance in Irish Higher Education. Available at: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/HEA-Report-to-the-Minister-for-Education-and-Skills-on-Irish-higher-education.pdf.
Mc Aleese, M., 2013. Report to the European Commission Improving the quality of teaching and learning in Europe’s higher education institutions. Available at: http://9thlevel.ie/wp-content/uploads/modernisation_en.pdf.