Learning Innovation Network Response to theConsultation Document on the National Academy for theEnhancement of Teaching an...
About Learning Innovation Network (LIN)The Learning Innovation Network (LIN) was established in 2007 with the aim of worki...
teaching and learning across the globe exists. LIN has established contact with       organisations such as SEDA in the UK...
Apart from the identification of these activities to complement institutions’ activities it   must be stated that LIN is a...
reflecting the theory on assessment and identifying good practice in assessment.Implementation of the policy is a key issu...
activities continued by the Academy are not being duplicated elsewhere. Highly successfulprojects, such as LIN, should be ...
Appendix 1Flexible Pathway to Postgraduate Diploma Completion                                          7
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LIN response to National Academy Consultation

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LIN response to National Academy Consultation

  1. 1. Learning Innovation Network Response to theConsultation Document on the National Academy for theEnhancement of Teaching and LearningContentsAbout Learning Innovation Network (LIN) .............................................................................................. 2Functions of LIN that overlap with functions of the academy................................................................ 2 To inform policy and practice in teaching and learning at institutional and system levels in Irish higher education ................................................................................................................................. 2 To facilitate the identification and sharing of effective policy and practice ...................................... 2 To provide and facilitate a two-way digital “teaching and learning” gateway between the Irish and global higher education communities, thereby expanding the range and quality of learning resources available on-line across the globe ...................................................................................... 2 To work with higher education institutions and other relevant parties to establish and manage a professional standards framework, which will formally record and recognise the continuing professional development of higher education professionals in academic practice ......................... 3 To inform national and institutional quality assurance initiatives regarding teaching and learning . 3Response to questions on page 12 of consultation document .............................................................. 3 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 6 References .......................................................................................................................................... 6 Appendix 1 .......................................................................................................................................... 7 1
  2. 2. About Learning Innovation Network (LIN)The Learning Innovation Network (LIN) was established in 2007 with the aim of workingcollaboratively to enhance Teaching and Learning in Institutes of Technology. The projectwas a three year collaborative project between the thirteen Irish Institutes of Technologyand Dublin Institute of Technology. Funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund (cycle 1) LINreceived the highest possible rating from the Gordon Davis SIF review. As a result, LIN hassecured further funding to sustain their activities under the auspices of the SIF 2 flexiblelearning project. LIN priority is the provision of Academic Professional Development (APD)within the sector and we recently validated the modular Postgraduate Diploma in LearningTeaching and Assessment. The LIN framework is outlined in Appendix 1. LIN welcomes theopportunity to respond to this proposal on the national academy.The proposed functions are wide-ranging and challenging for one body to fulfil. One of themajor challenges for any National Academy will be to ensure that the outputs ofpredecessor networks for teaching and learning will continue to be available to the highereducation community. The other major challenge will be the maintenance of thecollaboration and networks that have grown within and across sectors of higher education.Functions of LIN that overlap with functions of the academyLIN is active in a number of the functions outlined in the consultation document. Thefunctions, along with our activities within these functions, are summarised below. 1. FUNCTION: To inform policy and practice in teaching and learning at institutional and system levels in Irish higher education LIN ACTIVITY: Annual Conference, dissemination of information through website and newsletter, material presented through modules is informed by current educational research, provide information to institutional management on the LIN framework and how it can be used within each institute. 2. FUNCTION: To facilitate the identification and sharing of effective policy and practice LIN ACTIVITY: LIN APD modules such as the Certificate in Learning and Teaching have facilitated the formation of communities of practice among staff in institutes - this has been a most effective way of sharing best practice, LIN has provided workshops and published information on the construction of the LIN framework and how this can be done in other organisations. 3. FUNCTION: To provide and facilitate a two-way digital “teaching and learning” gateway between the Irish and global higher education communities, thereby expanding the range and quality of learning resources available on-line across the globe LIN ACTIVITY: A number of accredited modules for APD have material that is easily adapted for online access. Therefore the ability to contribute to two-way digital 2
  3. 3. teaching and learning across the globe exists. LIN has established contact with organisations such as SEDA in the UK. 4. FUNCTION: To work with higher education institutions and other relevant parties to establish and manage a professional standards framework, which will formally record and recognise the continuing professional development of higher education professionals in academic practice LIN ACTIVITY: This activity has been the fundamental practice of LIN since its foundation and very significant achievements have been gained by the network. LIN has a lot of expertise in this regard and as previously stated in our response to the Hunt report, we believe we are a central resource in the execution of this function. 5. FUNCTION: To inform national and institutional quality assurance initiatives regarding teaching and learning LIN ACTIVITY: LIN has succeeded in enhancing the teaching skills of staff and this has had a positive knock-on effect on the quality assurance efforts of institutes as identified in HETAC Institutional reviews. We have a stated position on the national contribution we can make in this regard and through the provision of quality professional development and a framework for such training, LIN informs national quality assurance.Response to questions on page 12 of consultation documentIn accordance to the proposal document published by the HEA please read below ourresponses to the specific questions raised within the proposal.1. Do you agree that the time is opportune for the creation of a National Academy forthe Enhancement of Teaching and Learning?LIN agrees that the creation of a National Academy for the Enhancement of Teaching andLearning is timely and opportune; it would provide an opportunity to review and capitaliseon the best of all the initiatives to date. However, clarification is required about structuresand funding to enable it to carry out its designated functions.2. How can the National Academy best complement each institution’s own work toenhance the quality of teaching and learning?The national academy can engage in a number of activities to complement, not replace,activity at institutional level: Co-ordinate activities across institutes Provide a forum for sharing knowledge and best practice Develop and promote a national teaching and learning agenda and feed information and developments back to individual institutes Encourage institutes to run teaching and learning events and training programmes that are open to staff from all institutes Be a centralised source of information for institutes on all teaching and learning matters 3
  4. 4. Apart from the identification of these activities to complement institutions’ activities it must be stated that LIN is an excellent example of a framework the academy could use to succeed in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning within individual institutions. LIN supports the work within Institutions through its range of APD programmes, annual conference and provides information about workshops and is a means of sharing costs to host international experts. Furthermore it supports local projects by allocating some limited funding? It was noted by the LIN co-ordination group that a significant number of presenters at the 2011 LIN conference had completed either a LIN APD programme or a DIT APD programme. Professor Sally Brown visited four different institutes in January 2011 through an agreement between LIN institutes to share costs and this gave each institute access to an expert workshop at a reasonable cost. At national level the LIN co-ordination group provides a forum to share and develop local initiatives. Through the newsletter and conference it gathers information about initiatives within the institutes and shares the progress of these initiatives. This in turn contributes to informing policy. This might prove a suitable model for any future National Academy.3. How can the National Academy support the continuing professional developmentof academics in Irish higher education? Develop a professional standards framework for teaching in higher education and roll it out to the academic community appropriately. Complement this with a continued professional development (CPD) programme as required by professions in fields such a medicine, law, etc. Utilise the LIN framework that has successfully provided accredited professional development for numerous lecturing staff in the Institute of Technology sector (Rushe and Glynn). LIN has a number of accredited modules in various areas of teaching and learning and the LIN model could be expanded nationally and co- ordinated through the National Academy. The Academy could also support academic professional development by: o Running a regular seminar series on agreed themes and allow attendance at relevant seminars to count towards the achievement of accredited training, i.e. use the learning from a one-off event more constructively as part of CPD o Running an annual international conference on teaching and learning o Assisting and supporting individual institutes to run accredited modules Statistical analysis: the National Academy would need access to the numbers of staff in institutes and universities who engage in accredited professional development so that statistical reports can be produced year on year on the numbers up-skilling in the area of teaching and learning and to what level training is being completed. Provide a centralised portal for collaborative tools, such as a common calendar of events and activities.The proposal for time-bound themes will ensure that different aspects of learning andteaching are given appropriate priority and focus and will assist in identifying,mainstreaming and supporting good practice. The focus on programme and moduleassessment strategies in the HETAC Assessment and Standards 2009 document is welcome, 4
  5. 5. reflecting the theory on assessment and identifying good practice in assessment.Implementation of the policy is a key issue within the institutes of technology and policiessuch as this will need continued support and focus in order to be fully implemented in thesector and across higher education.4. How can the National Academy assist in closing the loop between the identificationof good practice and the mainstreaming of this practice across the broader academiccommunity? Audit the existing linkages and partnerships in all the teaching and learning initiatives since 2000 and map these onto the work of the Academy. Managing and developing existing relationships is the way forward and using the people already in the field is essential. One of the major outcomes of the teaching and learning initiatives has been the level of contact and collaboration across the higher education institutions. Strive to ensure that one-off events such as workshops and seminars are used within the broader context of training and professional development so that the information presented at these events is taken by the participants, reflected upon and ultimately used to inform their professional practice. Such activity is already being used by participants of LIN modules and the value of such one-off events has therefore been enhanced. The themes for seminars and workshops need to be strategically selected to inform staff on the frontline of HE on matters of priority as identified by the Academy and national strategy. Strategies such as Erasmus – staff exchanges, cross institutional projects as well as a contact and shared expertise databases are all valuable.5. How can the National Academy further the existing linkages and partnerships withinternational practitioners in this field, and facilitate new partnerships with equivalententities in neighbouring and other jurisdictions, to contribute to and benefit from thedevelopment of a “global interdisciplinary perspective on teaching and learning”?There are a number of activities that the National Academy can facilitate to furtherpartnerships and linkages: Fund educational research with international partners as an incentive to begin fostering new academic partnerships Invite international academics and experts to run seminars and workshops in Ireland. Showcase Irish achievements in teaching and learning nationally and internationally6. Should the National Academy continue all activities of the existing teaching andlearning networks and projects, funding permitting, or should it review all existingactivities and start afresh following the review?There are a number of successful projects that are currently working within the nationalacademy functions, as outlined in the consultation document and this work could becontinued on a different scale within the Academy. Some reviewing is necessary to ensure 5
  6. 6. activities continued by the Academy are not being duplicated elsewhere. Highly successfulprojects, such as LIN, should be continued but more than that – these activities need to beexpanded in line with the functions of the academy and in the implementation of therecommendations in the Hunt report (DES, 2011).7. Should the National Academy be a virtual platform with a physical base in anexisting HEI, or does it need a physical presence of its own that is independent of anyindividual institution?Undoubtedly, the National Academy needs a physical presence of its own and it needs to beindependent of any individual institution. This is the only way that the organisation cancredibly represent all institutions across the HE sector.ConclusionThrough SIF, tremendous success has been achieved by establishing Learning and Teaching units inseveral of the institutes. Every effort should be made to establish and maintain a strong relationshipbetween the proposed Academy and Learning and Teaching units at a local level. The establishmentof the Academy should complement successful SIF initiatives like Learning and Teaching units. LINhas achieved its outcomes to date through working with such local units. LIN welcomes the proposalfor a National Academy for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and looks forward to workingwith the Academy in the future.ReferencesDavies, G. K. (2010) Report of the SIF Evaluation. Dublin: Higher Education Authority. Available online at http://www.hea.ie/files/files/file/FINAL%2025%20Jan.pdf.Department of Education and Skills. (2010) National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 Report of the Strategy Group Summary (Hunt Report). Dublin: Department for Education and Skills. Available online at http://www.hea.ie/files/files/DES_Higher_Ed_Main_Report.pdf.Fitzpatrick, N. and Harvey, J. (Eds) (2011) Designing together: effective strategies for creating a collaborative curriculum to support academic professional development. Dublin: Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin. Available online at http://www.linireland.com/images/linpublication.pdf.Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). (2009) Assessment and Standards. Dublin: HETAC. Available online at http://www.linireland.com/images/linpublication.pdf.Learning Innovation Network (2011). Position paper on the Hunt report. Unpublished LIN document.Rushe, N. And Glynn, M. (2011) Accredited, modular professional development across 14 differentinstitutions – could that work? Paper presented at ICERI 2011, November 2011 ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4 6
  7. 7. Appendix 1Flexible Pathway to Postgraduate Diploma Completion 7

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