DCU has revealed its five-year education roadmap that will see 80pc of all its education programmes be available in blended or online formats by 2015. The university will also be the first in Europe to adopt Google Chromebooks for Education, equipping first years on specific courses with Chromebooks.
The university, which already is the largest university provider of online education in Ireland, has confirmed an additional 15 new undergraduate and post-graduate programmes will be available either online or blended (combination of online and face-to-face) during the academic year 2012/2013.
The addition of the new programmes, one from each of the university’s academic departments, combined with DCU’s existing online offering, will bring the total number of online programmes to more than 30.
“It is very clear that the future of all education, and higher education in particular, will have a significant online dimension,” president of Dublin City University Prof Brian MacCraith explained.
“This future is all about ‘blended learning’, and this means a flexible combination of online interactions and face-to-face learning. This approach will enhance not only choices and flexibility but also the quality of the learning experience.
“The way students learn and the way we teach is changing rapidly and we need to develop solutions that take into account how people access information today and how they share knowledge. Everyone should be offered every opportunity for a good education and location and time should no longer be inhibiting factors. This online approach will facilitate learning at any time and any place,” MacCraith added.
By 2012, more than 100 staff will have taken part in specialised training in online teaching with a further 200 expected to complete the training by 2015. Plans are also under way to collaborate more on teaching and learning initiatives with universities in India, China and the US, through online tutorials, virtual classrooms and shared best practice between students and academics.
DCU’s Chromebook agreement with Google
As part of this online strategy, DCU also announced a new agreement with Google to purchase Chromebooks for Education, becoming the first higher-education institution in Europe to adopt the devices. DCU will be providing the Chromebooks to students on a small number of selected programmes at no charge.
Chromebooks, built and optimised for the web, offer a faster, simpler and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers. With built-in Wi-Fi or 3G, switching on or rebooting in only eight seconds, they can save precious lecture time and allow students to get connected anytime and anywhere, accessing information and documents quickly and easily.
“At Google, we believe most innovation will happen on the web and technology should be an enabler rather than a burden to students or IT teams,” William Florance, head of Google Education for EMEA, explained.
“Today, most young people work and interact online. What they need is a simple, fast and secure way to access the web, wherever they want and whenever they want. Our commitment to this 100pc web philosophy has led us to develop a product that is built and optimised for online. We are delighted to see DCU sharing this vision and deploying Chromebooks for their students, fully realising the benefits cloud services bring to education.”