E-Learning: delivering third Level education online



E-Learning: delivering third Level education online
delivering third Level education online
Hibernia College presentation to the Joint Committee on
Education and Social Protection
Dr. Sean M. Rowland (President) & Dr. Nicholas Breakwell (Executive Dean)
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Table of Contents
Hibernia College Overview ..........................................................................................3
Company Purpose........................................................................................................5
Vision ............................................................................................................................. 5
Mission .......................................................................................................................... 5
Overview of Programmes and Services .......................................................................6
Main Programmes ......................................................................................................... 6
E-learning at Hibernia College .....................................................................................7
Learning Services ........................................................................................................... 7
Services offered: ............................................................................................................ 7
The Student Experience ................................................................................................. 8
A Day in the Life of a Hibernia College Student .............................................................. 9
Management Team ...................................................................................................12
Board of Management/ International Advisory Board ..............................................13
Partners and Networks ..............................................................................................14
Director Profiles on Hibernia College Faulty ..............................................................15
Digital literacy and e-learning in Ireland....................................................................18
Advantages of e-learning for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) ........................................ 18
E-Learning on a global scale – the Mooc ...................................................................... 18
Appendix 1: Board of Management profiles .....................................................................19
Appendix 2: International Advisory Board profiles...........................................................20
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1. Hibernia College Overview
Established in 2000, Hibernia College is an internationally accredited college offering blended and
online, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in teacher education, health sciences, law,
business, management and computing.
Hibernia College is based on the concept of using web-based technology to make world class
education available to an audience previously excluded due to the constraints of location and time.
The College’s mission is, “to make a significant contribution to the widening of access and the
development of innovation in education”.
The senior management team at Hibernia College realises that in an increasingly competitive market,
quality is the key to success. To ensure this quality, the College has engaged with key stakeholders
and made strategic alliances with organisations that are world leaders in their respective fields.
One such example is the College’s attainment of PharmaTrain IMI Centre of Excellence status in 2011.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is Europe's largest public-private initiative aiming to speed
up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. The College’s Centre of Excellence
designation recognises that students on its M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Medicine receive the highest
quality education available in medicines development.
With students and alumni in over 30 countries, Hibernia College is probably best known for its Higher
Diploma in Arts in Primary Education and its more recently established Professional Diploma in
Education for post primary teachers. Hibernia College is now the largest provider of qualified school
teachers in Ireland at no cost to the exchequer.
The College has also been accredited by the UK government’s Teaching Agency to train Maths,
Physics and Chemistry teachers in England and has developed a network of hub-schools across
England to support its initial teacher training programme, elearnITT.
In terms of teacher education, Hibernia College is now in a unique position on a number of fronts.
Not only is it an online education provider breaking new ground in a predominantly onsite education
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environment, it is also the sole private sector player in what has traditionally been a public sector
However, as the Right Honorable Lord Patten of Barnes CH, Chancellor of the University of Oxford
commented at the launch of Hibernia College’s tenth anniversary celebrations:
“It doesn’t matter who provides, what’s important is the quality of the provision and I think what
you’re demonstrating at Hibernia is that the private sector can do, sometimes, better than the public
sector what had been traditionally regarded as public sector jobs.”
In terms of expansion and programme development, 2012 was another exciting year for Hibernia
College with the launch of its undergraduate programmes taking place in July. Through these
programmes, participants can study for University of London degrees through Hibernia College’s
blend of online learning and regional onsite delivery. Initially, degrees are being offered in Business,
Management, Creative Computing and Computing and Information Systems.
With an increasing student base and an ever growing reputation, both domestically and
internationally, Hibernia College is set to continue its development into the future. As Taoiseach,
Enda Kenny, T.D. observed:
“International demand for the education services of Hibernia College is growing rapidly and it is the
wider world that offers such huge growth opportunities...There currently is a shortage estimated at 16
million teachers around the world so the scope for Hibernia is enormous...If we're not the traditional
island of saints and scholars we can certainly be the island of scholars and export that potential to
places around the globe that may not have heard of Ireland yet, but they should beware because
Hibernia is coming their way.”
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2. Company Purpose
Hibernia College was founded to enable high quality career-relevant education to be accessed by
anyone, regardless of where they are or when they are available to learn. Twelve years on, this
premise continues to drive our strategic growth as we focus on providing flexible, accredited
programmes which directly impact learners' career opportunities. We focus on providing
programmes where there is a demonstrated career related need and where the market is in need of
innovative solutions to drive change and address supply shortages.
A world where high quality education can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime
We use the full benefits of technology enhanced education to deliver high impact programmes on a
global scale. We achieve this by:
Preparing, developing and supporting engaged professionals who are academically
strong, professionally competent, technology empowered and responsive to the needs of
a diverse global society.
Promoting academic excellence and maintaining the highest standards of academic
rigour while developing and delivering innovative, technology enabled programmes that
are available to all learners regardless of location, work or family commitments.
Working with government agencies, leading University partners, global corporations and
professional bodies to ensure that our programmes meet the needs of our learners, the
market in which they operate and society at large.
Developing and delivering our programmes according to best practice as informed by
evidence based research and in turn we aim to make a significant contribution to this
growing body of knowledge.
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3. Overview of Programmes and Services
We offer post-graduate and undergraduate programmes in education, health science, business and
computing. Hibernia College is accredited by HETAC (Higher Education Training and Awards Council)
now part of QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland), the Teaching Council of Ireland, the Teaching
Agency (UK), Pharmatrain and the University of Plymouth (PGCE).
In the academic year 2011/2012, 2200 students were enrolled on full award bearing programmes,
with an additional 2000 on short courses. Students are located in Ireland, England, China, India and
32 other countries. On average, over 95% of all students enrolled, complete their programme of
Main Programmes
1. ITE (Initial Teacher Education) Ireland - primary and post-primary initial teacher education
programmes accredited by HETAC and the Teaching Council and funded by student fees at no
cost to the exchequer. Two year programmes with up to 24 weeks in a school placement.
Hibernia College is Ireland's largest provider of newly qualified teachers.
2. ITE England - ITE programmes accredited by the Teaching Agency and Plymouth University,
delivered online and in partnership with regionally based, hub schools. Student fees are eligible
for funding through the Student Loans Company and trainees receive generous bursaries from
the Teaching Agency which increase with undergraduate degree class. Provision is subject to
inspection by OFSTED.
3. CPD for Teachers - A range of online programmes from 25 hours courses to a two years Master's
programme, significant Teaching Agency funded provision for qualified teachers in England.
4. Health Science - Master's provision and CPD for the pharmaceutical industry and allied
professions accredited by HETAC and the University of the Western Cape with new provision
being accredited by the Medical University of Vienna. Long standing partnerships with Pfizer and
Novartis assist in student recruitment.
5. Undergraduate - Bachelor and Diploma programmes offered in partnership with the University of
London International Academy. Programmes are under the academic direction of London School
of Economics and Goldsmiths College. Programmes are three years in duration with a one year
Diploma for Graduates in Management also available.
6. Learning Services - corporate e-learning contracts to develop and deliver e-learning programmes.
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3. E-learning at Hibernia College
Learning Services
Hibernia College offers a range of pedagogical services designed to enable clients to provide flexible,
21st century learning solutions. Hibernia’s online courses utilise video, multimedia presentations,
graphics, animation and text to create a truly engaging educational experience designed in
accordance with sound pedagogical principles.
Recognising the importance of social learning,
Hibernia ensures that course designs feature collaborative activities and built-in student interaction
as a core design principle of all group-based programmes. For those activities that require real-time
interaction, we offer live online tutorials using virtual classroom technology, with full training and
support. Our instructional designers can integrate these elements with bespoke or pre-existing
classroom sessions to create a comprehensive solution to meet all education and training needs.
Services offered:
Perform a detailed needs analysis and advise clients on the most cost effective approaches
and designs to meet their requirements.
Collaborate with subject matter experts to plan, design and develop bespoke online and
blended courses that meet designated learning outcomes.
Devise a structured pedagogic approach and assessment plan and work with accrediting
bodies to deliver professional certification and accreditation.
Transform existing classroom course content into dynamic, interactive online programmes.
Carry out rigorous QA reviews to ensure pedagogical robustness and adherence to quality
Plan and design live online tutorial sessions, with full training and support.
Set-up, configure and host the virtual learning environment (VLE) in accordance with client
Provide access to millions of online journals and e-books through the online library.
Offer life-cycle management of students, including
VLE training
Technical and academic support
Study skills, time management and online
learning skills
Exam and assessment administration
Professional certification management
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The Student Experience
Academic programmes are based on a philosophy of education that seeks to combine advanced expertise with the
development of the broader skills that are required for success in the modern marketplace. These skills,
including IT, analytical and research skills, give graduates the ability to search out and exploit information and
enhance their creative and leadership capacities.
Lesson content
A student at Hibernia College interacts with three main forms of content on a weekly basis:
1. On-Demand Content
This fully interactive content represents the main lecture material and can be studied online,
downloaded for viewing offline or downloaded as a podcast. It can consist of text, audio, animations
and video.
2. Live Virtual Classes
Each on-demand lesson will be accompanied by a scheduled live class where students and a tutor can
interact as if in a normal classroom. In the virtual classroom, the tutor is able to pull up material on a
whiteboard and facilitate discussions on this material. All students can communicate (by voice and text)
with the group or privately with the tutor.
3. Learner Communities
Each week, students are asked to reflect on that week's material in the course discussion forum or
through a personal learning diary. Fellow students will comment on each other's experience and post
their own comments. Students are also able to build groups of friends and send messages to their
In addition, the student may also attend on-site sessions to receive face-to-face tuition to complement
the on-demand content and to undertake practical, curricular study, which may not be suitable for
online delivery, for example, physical education. Students are also able to access a world-class online
library offering full-text peer-reviewed journal articles.
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A Day in the Life of a Hibernia College Student
Check email and discussion forum: read the
Discussion Forum
bulk email from Hibernia College admin and
Email client
catch up on forum posts in subject specific
Log on to HELMS and download assignment
document. Print
(My Documents)
Seek help from fellow students in the
discussion forum regarding nature of the
Discussion Forum
E-mail tutor seeking clarification of
requirements for the assignment.
(My Contacts)
E-mail client
Course tutor
Log query in the helpdesk regarding difficulty with
viewing Macromedia flash files.
Log on to HELMS and study lesson in
preparation for the live tutorial.
(My Courses)
Interactive content
Visit the library to access recommended
reading for the assignment
Attend the live online tutorial by clicking on a
link from the calendar
AT&T Connect
(My Calendar)
Load documents to personal secure digital drop
(My Documents)
Course tutor
The following are definitions of the terms displayed in Bold font in the above table:
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Course tutors are the main academic contact point for students studying with Hibernia College and are
chosen for their academic qualifications, interpersonal skills and their ability to relate to students. On
commencement of work with Hibernia College, course tutors receive extensive orientation to ensure that they
become acquainted with the operation of the College and the special character of online learning. As the
deliverers of online tutorials, they also receive an extensive orientation in the use of AT&T Connect software,
which facilitates the delivery of the online synchronous tutorials.
The Higher Education Learning Management System (HELMS) is a learning management system that provides total
secure management of the College's learning resources. Students access all of the content and services that they
require through HELMS.
Hibernia College's HELMS has an intuitive navigation system that is extremely user friendly. Students can navigate
directly to their lesson of choice with a single click of the mouse. A standard menu system and page layout is
used for all courses so that students quickly become familiar with the course presentation and can easily find
the information they are looking for.
Interactive Content
All Hibernia College course programmes include some or all of the following interactive and multimedia
components: audio voiceover, video, self-assessment items, interactive diagrams, web links and interactive
laboratories. Each multimedia experience is built to conform to relevant web technology standards and is
built to run in any Internet browser. All resource file sizes are closely controlled to ensure that students on
standard 56k dial-up connections can still avail of the full learning experience.
Help Desk
The College provides registered students with many forms of support during their course of study. Academic
queries relating to course content, reading lists, assessments and examinations are addressed to the course
tutor. For all other queries, the students may access the College helpdesk, which can be accessed via a link on
HELMS. A query is submitted online and a member of the College's support staff will respond to the query
within a few hours. Support staffs are available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. on Fridays. Each query is given a unique ID number, which students can use to track the query and
which can be used in all correspondence regarding that query.
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Discussion Forum
HELMS uses an advanced discussion forum that allows students and tutors to post messages and respond to others'
posts. Message threads can be tracked so that the user receives an e-mail when a message is added. Users can also
see who else is online. The College provides a number of general discussion forums, private tutor group discussion
forums and subject-specific forums.
AT&T Connect
AT&T Connect provides a virtual classroom environment. A virtual classroom delivers classroom teaching
activities outside the traditional setting with the help of computing resources. Hibernia College uses a
synchronous virtual classroom, which enables real-time teaching with full audio (and video) capability for
students and teachers. This allows tutorials, special lectures and even one-to- one tutoring to take place when
the student and teacher are geographically separated.
Online libraries provide students with instant access to newspapers, periodicals, journals and e-books. Hibernia
College has partnered with two online library providers to give students access to relevant online material,
depending on the content of their course. The College has also developed its own database of online resources
for students and supplements these with physical access to reading resources where required. The library is
supported by an experienced librarian with specific expertise in e-resources.
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4. Management Team
The Senior Management Team (SMT) is a highly experienced and dedicated team with long standing
commitment to Hibernia College. The team boasts extensive experience in developing and delivering
high quality online education programming in the Unites States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France
and Africa. Team members bring deep experience from world class academic institutions including
Harvard, Boston College and Trinity College Dublin, from leading global e-learning companies
including Skillssoft and Laureate and from government.
Dr. Sean Rowland (from 2000)
• President and Founder (Director IE and UK)
• Company leader, business development, govt, & corporate relations,
Teaching Council member
Sara McDonnell (from 2000)
• Executive Vice President and Founder (Director IE)
• Operations, Human Resources, Branding, Chairperson HECA
Dr. Nicholas Breakwell (from 2000)
• Executive Dean (Director, HCUK)
• Chief Academic Officer, New Business , Finance, I.T., UK
Naomi Jackson (from 2007)
• Registrar
• Q.A., Programme Validation, Improvement Planning, Assessment
Jeremy Coninx (from 2010)
• Director of UK Operations
• New Business, UK Govt relations, Heads UK office
Lars Smith (from 2010)
• Vice President New Business Development
• New Business, Online Sales and Marketing
Dara Cassidy (from 2003)
• Director of Online Learning
• Strategic Product Development, Online Programme Delivery
Ciara O’Toole (from 2004)
• Director of Student Experience
• Academic Administration and Operations
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5. Board of Management/ International Advisory Board
The Board of Management
The College Board of Directors and the International Advisory Board will provide the general policy,
direction and guidance to the College’s executives who implement the College’s strategic plan. Both
boards play a different role and have different responsibilities. The Board of Directors has fiduciary
and legal duties as established in corporate law. The role of the Board of Directors is also to set
broad goals and strategic policy objectives for the company which will benefit and protect the
interests of the shareholders. It is incumbent upon the executives to develop and implement plans
to meet these goals and objectives.
Board members include:
Dr. Don Thornhill (Chairman), Professor Thomas Mitchell (Academic Chairman), Dr. Sean Rowland,
Sara McDonnell, Dr. Nicholas Breakwell (please see appendix for expanded profiles)
The International Advisory (IA) Board
The Advisory Board was establishment in 2012. Members will not have fiduciary responsibilities to
shareholders or obligations under company law. The Advisory Board was convened for general
growth purposes with a specific focus on expanding the College in established and emerging
Board members include:
Lord David Triesman, Dean Kathleen McCartney, Dr. Don Thornhill (Chairman), Professor Thomas
Mitchell (Academic Chairman), Dr. Sean Rowland, Sara McDonnell, Dr. Nicholas Breakwell
From left to right: Dr. Sean M Rowland, Sara McDonnell, Dr. Don Thornhill, Lord David Triesman, Professor Tom Mitchell,
Dean Kathleen McCartney, Dr. Nicholas Breakwell
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6. Partners and Networks
Hibernia College is a high quality educational brand. The founders deliberately and successfully
sought to empower the brand through partnerships and collaborations with established prestigious
brands. The College has successfully leveraged many of these networks to establish world class
7. Director Profiles on Hibernia College Faulty
Hibernia College’s programmes are led by a strong team of directors with a wealth of experience in
academia, research and management. Below are their profiles:
Dr. Siobhán Cahillane-McGovern
Hibernia College, HDAPE Programme Director
Siobhán is a graduate of MICE, Limerick and also holds an M.A. in Education from the
Open University and a Ph.D. from Leeds Met. University. Having started her career as a
primary teacher, she then worked with the Primary Curriculum Support Programme
(PCSP) in the initial phase of the Revised Curriculum. Subsequently, she lectured at St
Patrick’s College, Drumcondra where she had particular responsibility for literacy on the
undergraduate and graduate programmes. She also taught on the Current Issues, Teacher
Identity and Qualitative Research Methods modules of the online M.Ed. programme. Her
research interests are in the areas of Literacy, Assessment and Teacher Identities; she has
presented papers at national and international research conferences and is a member of
the Reading Association of Ireland (RAI), the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA),
Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) and American Education Research
Association (AERA).
Melanie Ní Dhuinn
Hibernia College, HDAPPE Programme Director
Melanie is a graduate of the University of Limerick where she qualified as a post-primary
teacher of Gaeilge and Physical Education. She taught Gaeilge and Physical Education for
12 years during which time she acted as an assistant written examiner and oral examiner
in Gaeilge at Junior and Leaving Certificate level. She worked as a Junior Certificate
Schools Programme Co-ordinator and as a School Completion Co-ordinator before being
seconded into the role of Education Co-ordinator (DES) at Wexford Area Partnership and
subsequently Wexford Local Development.
Malanie holds a Masters in Health Education Promotion from Waterford Institute of
Technology and she is currently completing her PhD in Education in Trinity College Dublin.
Her doctoral research work is a sociological study focusing on the impact of family cultures
on educational attainment in post-primary education.
Her research interests are in the areas of family and school cultural capital and life
chances, learning styles and online educational provision. She has presented papers at
national and international research conferences and has a number of publications in
various education and physical activity journals.
Lori Johnston
Hibernia College, Undergraduate Programmes Director
Lori Johnston has a BA in Natural Sciences (Physics with Astrophysics) from Trinity College
Dublin (1998), and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management with
the Open University (2007). She worked for the Institute of Physics Publishing (1999–2000)
before joining the Open University as a Technology Editor (2000–2005), preparing
teaching and learning materials for distance education students on a range of programmes
across the Technology, Science and Social Sciences Faculties. She subsequently worked for
Dublin City University ('05–6) developing and running an access course for adult learners
in IT, maths &study skills.
She moved to Hibernia College in 2006 and has worked in various areas in the college,
including as Project Director for the UK Initial Teacher Training programme, Course
Development Manager and Learning Technologies Manager, before taking up the post of
Head of Undergraduate Programmes in 2012. She is currently studying for a Doctorate in
Education with the University of Glasgow.
Director Profiles continued….
Michael Hallissy
Hibernia College, MATL Programme Director
Michael graduated from Coláiste Mhuire Marino with a BEd Degree (1986) and he
subsequently completed his honours degree in TCD in 1987. His research project
focused on managing the microcomputer in the primary school. He subsequently
enrolled as a graduate student in the Boston College School of Education (1989) where
he obtained his MEd (1992). His work here focused on the use of education
technology. On returning to Ireland (1994) he was seconded by the Department of
Educationas a researcher to work on developing their first ICT in schools policy, Schools
IT 2000 (1997). He later worked (1998) in the newly constituted National Centre for
Technology in Education (NCTE) as a National Coordinator for Interactive Software in
the Curriculum from 1998 to 2002. On leaving the NCTE he and his colleague John
Hurley established H2 Learning to focus on ICT in education initiatives. During that time
he has worked with a range of organisations such as The Digital Hub Development
Agency, TeachNet, Discover Science and Engineering, The World Bank, Microsoft, Intel
and others on ICT initiatives.
Michael is currently enrolled as a doctoral student in Institute of Education (IOE) in
London where his research is focusing on the professionalism issues associated with
online tutors.
Jeremy Whitty
Hibernia College, Pharmaticeutical Medcine Director
Jeremy has a M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Technology from Trinity College Dublin, an MBA
from IE Business School and is conducting his doctoral research at Trinity College
Dublin. Hibernia College which is the first college or university to be designated a
“Centre of Excellence” by the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative,
Pharmatrain programme. Jeremy is also Professor of Operations and Quality in the Life
Sciences at IE Business School, Madrid.
He has 17 years industry experience working in both Operations and Development and
is currently working on projects with Novartis, Pfizer, ECPM, the European Center of
Pharmaceutical Medicine in Basel, the Innovative Medicines Initiative and EFPIA, the
European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations . He is currently
researching developments in Regulatory Sciences, Pharmaceutical business
management, Ethics and the application of Operations Management to drug
development, especially from Proof of Concept to the end of Phase IIb.
Anna Davitt
Hibernia College, Ceann na Gaeilge/ Director of Irish
Is céimí í Anna de chuid Choláiste Ollscoile Baile Átha Cliath, áit ar bhain sí MA amach
sa Nua-Ghaeilge. Chaith sí sé bliana ag comhordú chúrsaí Gaeilge i Roinn na NuaGhaeilge mar Chúntóir Teanglainne agus mar Stiúrthóir na Teanglainne. In 2007
ceapadh Anna mar Stiúrthóir ar Chomhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge, an eagraíocht a
fheidhmíonn mar thaca do mhúinteoirí atá ag múineadh Gaeilge nó atá ag múineadh trí
mheán na Gaeilge.
Le linn a tréimhse mar Stiúrthóir ar Chomhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge d’fhorbair sí
seirbhísí éagsúla do mhúinteoirí Gaeilge – cúrsaí cruinnis, seimineáir, foilseacháin agus
tograí trí mheán na Gaeilge sna scoileanna. Le linn na tréimhse sin, rinne Anna
comhordú ar shuirbhé náisiúnta, trí Ipsos MRBI, a léirigh meon an phobail i leith na
Gaeilge mar ábhar scoile ag leibhéal na bunscoile agus na meánscoile. Tá suim ar leith
ag Anna i bhforbairt agus stiúradh cúrsaí i gceantair Ghaeltachta ar fud na tíre. Léirigh sí
acmhainní teagaisc éagsúla agus d’oibrigh sí ar thionscadail liteartha agus sna meáin trí
Ghaeilge. Faoi láthair, tá Anna ar Bhord Stiúrtha Comhar, iris litríochta na Gaeilge.
Director Profiles continued….
Dara Cassidy
Hibernia College, Director of Online Learning
Dara holds a BSocSc (Hons) from University College Dublin and an MA (Film and
Television studies) from Dublin City University. She is currently studying for a Doctor of
Education (EdD) in Queen’s University, Belfast. She has previously worked as a writer
and instructional designer for e-learning company Knowledgewell (1999-2001), where
she collaborated with a team at the University of Kansas to develop an innovative pilot
programme to create one of the first computer-based business degree courses. She
was later engaged as an instructional designer in an R&D initiative at Smartforce (20012002) focused on maximising engagement in the delivery of online IT and business
skills courses.
Since joining Hibernia College in 2002, she has dramatically expanded the online
development capacity of the college. As Director of Online Learning, she has
established a cross-functional R&D team to ensure that Hibernia College is at the
leading edge of e-learning provision and that student engagement is at the heart of the
development and delivery of all the College’s courses.
Teresa Whitaker
Hibernia College, Masters in Teaching and Learning Director
Teresa Whitaker is Programme Director of the Masters in Teaching and Learning in
Hibernia College (MATL). She has worked as a sociologist for the past twenty years,
either teaching sociology in higher level institutions (Hibernia College, UCD, DCU, TCD,
SNMCI, CMI) or conducting research (UCD, NACD).
Teresa has worked for Hibernia College for the past three years, teaching and assessing
modules (Interculturalism and Research Methods) and is involved in programme and
curriculum development. She has been lead tutor in the module on the Sociology of
Education and Research Methods for the Professional Development in Education (PDE
– Higher Diploma in Post Primary Education). Her work involves supervising students
who are conducting their Masters Degrees. She has presented papers at national and
international conferences and has published widely.
Mary Kelly
Hibernia College, Deputy HDAPE Programme Director
Mary graduated from St Patrick’s College Drumcondra in 1989 and received a first-class
Master’s Degree from UCD in 2003. She worked as a primary school teacher before
being seconded by the Department of Education and Science in 2001 to provide
professional development in the area of Learning Support. She then went on to work as
Deputy National Co-ordinator of the Primary Curriculum Support Programme, with
responsibility for implementing the numeracy and literacy programmes under DEIS.
Her research interests are in the area of Literacy and Early Childhood Education. She
has worked as a literacy consultant for the past four years with the Childhood
Development Initiative (CDI) on their intervention programme, Doodle Den; a literacy
programme targeted at children in disadvantaged communities. A recent evaluation of
the programme showed strong evidence of the effectiveness of the Doodle Den
programme in improving children’s literacy outcomes.
In the past year she has presented at national conferences including the INTO
Education Conference, the Reading Association of Ireland Conference and at a
conference for School Completion Co-ordinators on the area of early literacy
interventions. Most recently she has been invited to speak at the United Kingdom
Literacy Association International Conference on approaches in teaching literacy.
8. Digital literacy and e-learning in Ireland
Advantages of e-learning for Initial Teacher Education (ITE)
Hibernia College attracts a diverse, highly skilled and experienced cohort of students from a wide
variety of backgrounds, who without Hibernia College’s accessible, flexible and innovative approach,
would otherwise be unable to return to third level education. Our students are encouraged to draw
from their experiences in order to create a rich and unique learning environment in their classrooms.
They can draw from previous experience in areas such as languages, sports and science which are a
huge advantage for them and for schools in terms of teaching and learning.
Blended learning contributes to the development of an innovative, adaptive and ICT literate teacher
who combines traditional learning techniques with innovative ways of learning. These graduates can
respond to the changing face of education as technology permeates children’s lives. Having used
forums, blogs, podcast, virtual learning classrooms as everyday tools in their own learning they
should be able to present learning that is innovative and exciting for children.
With all Hibernia College class sizes averaging a 25:1 student: tutor ratio student teachers receiving
far greater access to their tutors than in the traditional settings. They are also encouraged to
develop their relationships with the tutors through email and on the online forums. All our online
tutorials are recorded and made available on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) system so
student teachers can return to them to assist their learning and to aid them when writing an
assignment or preparing for exams and research.
E-Learning on a global scale – the Mooc
MOOCs (massive open online course) are a recent development in distance education. 2012 became
"the year of the MOOC" as several providers, associated with leading universities, emerged,
including Coursera, Udacity, and edX. Stampedes of universities and educational institutions from
across the globe have joined in the provision. The MOOC model is built on the concept of free
education for little or no cost. The first MOOC out of Stanford University signed up 160,000 people.
Hibernia College has been leading the way in e-learning in Ireland for the past 13 years and intend to
launch Irelands first Mooc on Exploring Irish Identity in March 2013.
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Appendix 1: Board of Management profiles
Dr. Don Thornhill
Chairman, Hibernia College
A former top civil servant, Dr. Don Thornhill is now a consultant and adviser on strategy and policy to
a number of leading Irish organisations.
Dr. Thornhill is former chairperson of the US/Ireland Fulbright Commission, the Irish Payments
Services Organisation and of the INSPIRE interuniversity nanoscience consortium. Also he is a former
Board member of the Irish Management Institute, the Irish Taxation Institute, Science Foundation
Ireland and of the Digital Hub Agency.He played the key role in the development and roll out of the
Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI).
In January 2005 Don completed a seven year term as Executive Chairman of the Higher Education
Authority (HEA). Prior to his appointment to the HEA he was Secretary General of the Department of
Education and Science from 1993 to 1998. He also worked in the Irish Revenue Commissioners, the
Departments of Foreign Affairs and Finance and in the Unilever group of companies.
Don is a graduate of University College Dublin (B.Sc. and Ph.D. (Chemistry)) and Trinity College
Dublin (M.Sc. (Econ)). He has been awarded an honorary doctorate of education by the National
University of Ireland. During 1987 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Brookings Institution in
Washington DC.
Dr. Thornhill is an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Irish Academy of
Engineering. He was conferred with honorary life membership of the Royal Dublin Society for his
services to Ireland.
Professor Thomas Mitchell
Hibernia College, Academic Chairman
As an academic and educator of international stature, Professor Mitchell brings a wide range of
experience and abilities to the work of Hibernia College. He had a distinguished academic career in
the United States at Cornell and Swarthmore, before being appointed to the Chair of Latin at Trinity
College Dublin (TCD) in 1979. In 1991 he was elected Provost of TCD and led the college through an
eventful period of large-scale expansion and development throughout the 1990s. Professor Mitchell
has won wide recognition for his scholarly achievements as well as his academic leadership and has
written extensively on many aspects of third-level education.
Professor Mitchell holds a B.A. and M.A., both with first class honours, from University College
Galway and has two doctorates, from the University of Dublin and Cornell University, Ithaca, New
York. He has also been awarded eight honorary doctorates by universities around the world.
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Appendix 2: International Advisory Board profiles
Lord David Triesman
Hibernia College, Chairman, International Advisory Board
Lord David Triesman has been involved with education, employment, regulations, treasury, security,
business and innovation, trade and industry, transport and football over the span of his career.
Triesman first became a full-time union official at NATFHE in 1984. He was General Secretary of the
Association of University Teachers trade union from 1993 to 2001 and the General Secretary of the
Labour Party 2001 to 2003.
Over the last decade, Lord Triesman was a member of the Better Regulations Task Force and the HM
Treasury Public Services Productivity Panel. In addition, he was the Government Minister for
Education and Skills, Trade and Industry, Transport and International Development. Between 2005
and 2007, he held the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Foreign Commonwealth
Office) and Under-Secretary of State (Intellectual Property and Quality).
He was a Government Spokesperson for: Education and Skills 2004-05, Trade and Industry 2004-05,
Transport 2004, International Development 2004-05; Government Whip 2004-05; Foreign and
Commonwealth Office: Government Spokesperson 2004-07, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
2005-07; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Intellectual Property and Quality) and
Government Spokesperson, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills 2007-08; Opposition
Spokesperson for: Business, Innovation and Skills 2010-11, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2011present.
Dean Kathleen McCartney
Hibernia College, IA board member
Kathleen McCartney, the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development, was named
Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2006. In collaboration with a dedicated faculty
and administrative team, she has implemented a strategic plan that has resulted in the creation of
two new degree programs, the doctorate in education leadership (Ed.L.D.), and a new interfaculty
Ph.D. in education; a 25 percent growth in core faculty; a doubling of financial aid for Ed.M.
students; a dramatic increase in fellowship support for doctoral students; and the establishment of a
partner network with over 30 districts and non-profit organizations.
McCartney’s she has published more than 150 articles and chapters on child care, early childhood
education, and poverty. She is a member of the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, which
summarized the results of their longitudinal study in Child Care and Child Development. She also co-
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edited Experience and Development, The Blackwell Handbook of Early Childhood Development, and
Best Practices in Developmental Research Methods.
McCartney received her B.S. in psychology summa cum laude from Tufts University, where she now
serves as a trustee, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale University. In
2012 she was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 2009 she
received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Society for Research in Child Development.
McCartney is also a Fellow of the American Education Research Association, the American
Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society.
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