Hibernia College won the award for Best Use of Educational Technology/ICT Initiative of the Year Award at the 2022 Education Awards. The College was also shortlisted and received honourable mentions in the following categories:
- Overall Award
- Best Library Team
- Best International Collaboration Project
- Student Engagement and Communications Award
- Excellence in the Provision of Professional Services
The Education Awards recognise, encourage and celebrate excellence in the third level education sector in Ireland across state and privately funded institutions. The awards were announced on 6 April at a black-tie event held in Clontarf Castle. Francis McKeagney, Head of Digital Learning, John Lenehan, Research and Development Lead, and Ann Byrne, Digital Librarian, represented the College at the ceremony.
Best Use of Educational Techonology/ICT Initiative of the Year
The award recognises Hibernia College as the Irish-based third level institution, technical training college or organisation that has made the best use of educational technology or implemented the best ICT initiative. The win importantly highlights the College’s new digital architecture, the cross-College collaboration to bring it to fruition and its benefits to students and their educational experiences.
Next Generation Digital Learning Platform
In late 2019, the College began a process to discover requirements for a Next Generation Digital Learning Platform (NGDLP) that supports current and future teaching, learning and assessment needs in the College. The aim was to find solutions and identify technologies that could make a difference to the quality of staff, faculty and especially students’ experiences of the College’s programmes, with an eye on developments in the broader digital learning landscape. The initial discovery process focused on two core questions: 1. What should teaching and learning look like at Hibernia College in the next 5−10 years? 2. What digital technologies are needed to support this?
The NGDLP project made explicit Hibernia College’s commitment to facilitating the highest standard of technology-enabled collaborative opportunities for students and faculty. It was also the College’s first comprehensive infrastructural update to adopt a specifically user-centred design approach from inception. The virtual learning environment (VLE) was completely redesigned with a learner-centred focus. A student portal with seamless access to all software tools and services required for students to complete their programmes was another outcome of the project.
As part of the NGDLP initiative, the College developed and launched Cohort, a new collaborative platform — the first of its kind in an Irish higher education institution. Cohort’s main aim is to enable students, staff and faculty to work together to complete individual tasks and collaborate on a sustained project or area of focus. Important for blended and online learners, the collaboration platform helps build and sustain communities of learners and communities of practice. Compared with open-source forum software, Cohort has promoted an increase in student engagement.
Hibernia College is delighted to have received recognition of our project to enrich the educational experience for students with state-of-the-art educational technology.