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More photographs from the series can be viewed here.


The following are details of the sessions held together with links, where possible, to the relevant resources:



Title & Descriptor

Monday, 7th January 2019

Songs in the Key of Life - Being Good Company on Students’ Developmental Journeys by Embedding Assessment as Learning through Reflective Practice Within Curricula


Presented By: Daniel Blackshields, BComm, MBS (Bus Econ), MA (Teaching & Learning in HE), Lecturer UCC - Department of Economics, CIRTL Teaching Fellow: Reflective Practice


Miles Davis, musical creator extraordinaire, once asserted that sometimes it takes a long time to play like yourself. The 21st century’s complexity and uncertainty requires unprecedented cognitive, affective and operative flexibility, inquiry and creativity. As educators, we are for a short, albeit significant, time company on our students’ developmental journeys. We must be acutely aware of the increasing demands on our students to acquire the competence, capacity and capability to develop authentic life plans – to play like themselves - if our curricula are to support students meet the demands of the curriculum of life (Robert Kegan). The significant challenges for our students are thus challenges of the Self (awareness of values, deepest beliefs and purposes). To be good company on our students’ journeys educators should engage students qua persons; immersing them in teaching and learning environments that challenge and support such Self-development. Accordingly, educators must disrupt ourselves (Randy Bass), embedding an ontological dimension to our curricula so that we cultivate within our students the competence, capacity and capability to live life as inquiry.


Scaffolding such reflective practice requires the cultivation of space for students to explore how (for instance) disciplinary understanding is shaping who they are becoming as they transition through formal education in preparation for transition out to (primarily) professional environments. As educators we hold a key to these existentialist doors through how encounters with curricula are designed. If an overarching purpose of Higher Education is framed as the cultivation of intentional learning capacity embodying ‘assessment as learning’ then educators must scaffold students to unlock these existential doors. This may be psychologically and developmentally difficult, but it is perhaps an imperative if students qua graduates are to successfully engage with the unknown, unknowns and unknown knowns of the 21st century.

In this workshop, the facilitator shared his own experiments embedding reflective practice into his curricula. He sharde his experiences in designing, implementing and assessing student-centred reflective assessment performances (for example Critical Incident Analysis; Immunity to Change Maps; Picturing Your Future Self Diagrams; Transformative Learning Videos and Lived Experience Portfolios) that explicitly integrate knowing, doing and being; an integration of epistemology with ontology.


The aims of this workshop were, to:

  • Justify the concept of reflective practice as a key part of a student-centred curriculum
  • Offer a rationale for reflective practice as a core component of assessment as learning
  • Outline how to embed reflective practice into the curriculum
  • Construct different ways of designing, implementing and assessing student-centred reflective assessment performances

The through line of this workshop was to plant (or re-enforce) the seed that we qua educators ought to privilege our role as mentors enabling our students to sing their own ‘developmental’ songs, giving them the courage, to quote Miles Davis again, to don’t play what is there, play what is not there.


View Slide Deck

Tuesday, 8th January 2019

Effectively supporting study transitions to improve student engagement, wellbeing, progression, attainment and success:

A Seminar Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning


Presented By: Dr Michelle Morgan, Associate Professor & Associate Dean of the Student Experience, Faculty of Media and Communications, Bournemouth University.


Supporting and enhancing the undergraduate and postgraduate student experience throughout the student lifecycle is a critical activity in higher education not only to aid retention and progression but in a highly competitive higher education (HE) market, the quality of the student experience is pivotal in HE institution’s attracting students.


In recent years, research and initiatives have tended to focus on the first-year student experience (i.e. those entering year one of a course with subsequent years being neglected), or learning and teaching, and assessment and feedback. However, although the first year is crucial in helping to embed students into their studies, it is essential to support students in a joined-up approach across academic and non-academic spheres in, through and out of the study journey to aid student engagement, wellbeing, progression, attainment and success.

This seminar looked at the key transitions in the study journey and focused on and suggested ways that institutions can create excellence in their delivery of a high-quality student experience from raising aspirations to entry preparation and throughout each level of study.


Participants who attended this seminar:

  1. Examined the student lifecycle, identified key transition points and their associated challenges
  2. Explored possibilities for enhancing student engagement and better preparing students at each stage from first year induction to ‘outduction’
  3. Were introduced to and explored the ‘Student Experience Transitions Model’ that interlinks the key activities of academic, welfare and support. The model provides a framework for colleagues to organise and map out the various types of support required for different students at particular times throughout their journey at university or college;
  4.  Shared practice with colleagues from other institutions and make connections for collaborative projects
  5.  Had a facilitated discussion on how student engagement might be best enhanced at different stages from Pre-entry to Post-graduation.

View Resources

Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Towards Assessment for Learning in Higher Education: engaging students in assessment and feedback processes:

A Workshop Sponsored by Dr Barry O’Connor, President, CIT


Presented By: Professor Kay Sambell, Professor of Higher Education Pedagogy, Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement, Edinburgh Napier University

How can we design assessment tasks, so they inspire our students to learn? How can we use assessment to enthuse our learners, and keep them engaged? What are the processes which underpin effective feedback and what are some of the barriers and challenges we face in helping students’ uptake of feedback? How can we approach feedback so that it is meaningful and useful to students, but manageable for ourselves? How far and in what ways do we involve students in the process of evaluative judgment, so they learn to see how they are going while they are working on tasks? These are some of the questions and issues that were explored and discussed in this interactive seminar on engaging students in assessment and feedback processes.


Participants who attended this:

  • Explored key principles underpinning the design of Assessment for Learning (AfL) in Higher Education (Sambell et al, 2013), which include assessment for and as learning;
  • Discussed the benefits, challenges and strategies colleagues in different disciplines use to engage learners as productively as possible in assessment and feedback processes;
  • Gained access to practical AfL resources, shared ideas with each other and considered pragmatic tactics to develop students’ assessment and feedback literacy.

View Slide Deck

Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Looking after yourself


Presented By: Prof Phil Race, Writer and keynoter on assessment, feedback, teaching and learning in tertiary education, Visiting Professor at Edge Hill University and the University of Plymouth


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” (Aristotle)

According to a recent study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), funded by the Health and Safety Authority, the instances of work-related stress amongst employees in Ireland has doubled between 2010 and 2015.

Work-Related Stress (WRS) is stress caused or made worse by work. It simply refers to when a person perceives the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves feelings of an inability to cope. ‘Stress occurs when an individual perceives an imbalance between the demands placed on them on the one hand, and their ability to cope on the other. It often occurs in situations characterised by low levels of control and support.’ (Professor Tom Cox, I-WHO, University of Nottingham, UK). As we all know, higher education can be a particularly stressful environment for both staff and students due to a variety of competing demands and deadlines at various stages during the academic year, many of which are beyond their control.


Rather than just focusing on students, this workshop was all about staff and helping them survive! It aimed to provide participants with some suggestions to help reduce, or at least manage, some of the causes and effects of stress and hopefully help participants to take control of their workload and stress levels.


Participants who attended this workshop:

  • Identified strategies that could be utilised to better manage their workload
  • Became more aware of the signs and symptoms of stress
  • Identified some useful strategies to help deal with stress
  • Examined the value of feedback on lectures and the importance of reflecting on one’s teaching for one’s own professional development
  • Discussed some of the shared challenges faced in higher education today and potential solutions

View Resources

Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Applying to be a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)


Presented By: Prof Sally Brown, Emerita Professor of Higher Education Diversity in Teaching and Learning at Leeds Metropolitan University, Visiting Professor at University of Plymouth, Adjunct Professor at University of the Sunshine Coast, and James Cook University


AdvanceHE is the new name for the UK Higher Education Academy, formed by its merger with the Leadership Foundation and the Equalities Challenge Unit, and this session was aimed at helping participants considering submitting an application to AdvanceHE for Associate Fellowship, Fellowship, Senior Fellowship or Principal Fellowship, depending on role, experience and the participants personal track record.


This participative workshop was designed to:

  • Explain the application process;
  • Help participants decide which category was best for them;
  • Explain what is meant by Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge and Professional Values, all of which participants would need to evidence in their submission;
  • Help participants start drafting at least part of their application;
  • Clarify where the UK scheme fits alongside the emergent Irish National Professional Development Framework.

View Resources

Thursday, 10th January 2019

Peer Mentoring in Higher Education – a key to better staff induction:

A Seminar Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning


Presented By:

  •  Ms. Shelley Crawford, European Mentoring and Coaching Council
  •  Mr. Ruairí Ó Ceilleachair, Edelia Coaching and TLU, CIT

Peer coaching is a staff development model which can be used to develop and try new strategies and determine what does and does not work by critically evaluating beliefs about teaching and learning. Peer coaching is built upon trusting relationships that develop between lecturers.


The seminar outlined the nature of a coaching conversation and gave participants an opportunity to develop their listening, questioning and feedback skills. The seminar was designed to develop professional communication and dialogue one of the four domains underpinned by the National Professional Development framework’s values.


Collegial coaching, technical coaching, challenge coaching and team coaching were examined and their use in third level explored. The four types of peer coaching are all very different, but they are built upon effective communication that is honest and open and based on an unbiased attitude and a willingness to help others grow professionally. This involves trust building. Effective peer coaches must be dedicated to working in a trusting relationship with a partner to continually improve his or her teaching skills. They must also be open to new ideas and willingly share classroom experiences with their partners. Effective communication means more than just teachers talking with each other. It involves:

  • conversation skills
  • listening skills
  • nonverbal language
  • giving constructive feedback
  • developing trusting relationships

The seminar/workshop employed a blended learning approach involving experiential learning techniques complimented by facilitated debriefs, group discussions and short presentations.


Participants who attended this workshop:

  1. Deepened their understanding of the nature and benefits of peer coaching in enhancing CPD commitment and impact.
  2. Gained a heightened awareness of their capacity to listen with unconditional positive regard
  3. Increased their knowledge and expertise in the use of questioning to raise awareness
  4. Developed their skills in offering impactful feedback
  5. Constructed an action plan to utilise the workshop content to improve their own communication skills so they can better support their peers and engage in purposeful conversations regarding professional development, development of learning communities and communities of practice.

View Slide Deck

Friday, 11th January 2019

MiC DROP @CIT –: Mathematics in Context Developing Relevancy-Orientated Problems @CIT:

A Seminar funded by the Teaching and Learning Unit Development Fund


Presented By:

  • Department of Mathematics, CIT
  • Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Within CIT, mathematics and statistics play a key role in almost every programme and most students will encounter mathematics/statistics related modules at some point in their studies. Some programmes, especially those in the Faculty of Engineering & Science, are highly mathematical in nature and will contain many mathematics and statistics modules integrated from the start to end of the programme of study, whilst others have slightly less mathematical content, but any mathematics and statistics modules taken are continually relied upon over the duration of the programme.

Frequently, however, mathematics lecturers find that students struggle with understanding when and where the mathematics that they are being asked to learn will be used in their chosen programme and in their future profession. In addition, because a lot of mathematics modules are taught to diverse groups of students there is little chance to show students problems applied to their own specific field of study. Therefore, mathematics can appear to them to be an abstract subject, separate from other topics encountered during their programme of study.

In an effort to address this problem, members of a learning community established in CIT’s Department of Mathematics and Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, applied for funding from the Teaching and Learning Development Fund to develop relevance-orientated problems for students from different disciplines so as to support students to understand the importance of mathematics in their chosen field at an early stage of their degree and career.

As a starting point for this project, the Department of Mathematics and Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering have initiated a pilot project to develop a bank of contextual materials for their students to enable them to better understand the role of mathematics in their chosen programme.

This seminar was considered primarily to be of interest to staff in the Department of Mathematics and Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering as theirs is the first cohort of students for whom such resources are being developed. However, it was thought that it should also be of general interest to all staff so that they can see the type of work being done, the benefits of developing these types of resources and perhaps initiate their own department’s future collaboration with the Department of Mathematics.

This seminar consisted of the following:

• Talks:

o Maths in Structural Engineering

Seán Carroll, Chartered Structural Engineer, Assistant Lecturer Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, CIT

o Contexts & Concepts: A Case Study of Mathematics Assessment for Civil & Environmental Engineering

Dr J.P. McCarthy, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics, CIT

o Maths in Engineering: Perspectives of a Bridge Engineer

Michael Minehane, Chartered Senior Engineer at RPS Europe, where he works on the design, inspection assessment and rehabilitation of bridges and large civil structures. He graduated from Cork Institute of Technology in 2010 with a BEng (Hons) in Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, and in 2011 with an MEng in Advanced Structural Engineering. He is a part-time lecturer at Cork Institute of Technology since 2015 where he delivers a module on BIM for Infrastructure.

• Contributions from several speakers, including:

o Dr Clodagh Carroll, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics, CIT

o Dr Violeta Morari, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics, CIT

• Some short videos emphasising the centrality of mathematics within Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering which have been developed will be presented

View Resources

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