S2-Week 2-Class

Semester 2 (Week 2)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 6th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– Interpreting Qualitative Data
– Writing and Presenting your Findings

From Analysis to Interpretation

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data?

It is useful to understand that these are separate but interconnected processes.

Recap – Quantitative Data Analysis

Bar Charts, Pie Charts
Mean, Mode, Median

Be very careful about causal versus correlation.

Recap – Qualitative Data Analysis

The analysis process begins with reading all the data at once and then dividing the data into smaller, more meaningful units.

Become familiar with the data and identifying potential themes
– reading, memoing
Examine the data in depth to provide descriptions of the setting, participant and activity (describing)
Think about granularity:
– code pieces of data and group them into themes?
– look for major themes only

Recap – suggested steps


Strategies used to interpret qualitative data

(1) Identify themes
(2) Code your data
(3) Ask key questions
(4) Do an organisational review
(5) Do concept mapping
(6) Analyse antecedents and consequences
(7) Display findings
(8) Be honest – state what’s missing

Academic Paper

5,000 to 7,000 words.

Note: Make sure you have decided on your journal by 1st May 2018.

Recap: Reliability

Reliability relates to the consistency and trustworthiness of research findings.
– applies to all stages of the research design, not just data analysis
– what checks were employed?
Finished studies: is the work replicable/reproducible by others?
‘One has to ensure the research problem, research methods and statistical analyses are in alignment.’ (Brown & Edmunds, p.13).

Strategies for Data Interpretation

Question your study
Connect findings with personal experiences
Seek advice from “critical friends” if possible
But also contextualise findings in the literature
Turn to theory as a means to: link to broader issues, move away from a purely descriptive account, and providing a rationale for your work.
Know when to offer an interpretation from the data

Note: It is rare for qualitative researchers to use all of their data for the task is to identify important themes or meanings, not necessarily inclusi

N.B. Braun & Clarke: paper on thematic analysis.
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1478-0887


Persuasiveness is strengthened when the investigator’s theoretical claims are supported with evidence from informants’ accounts, negative cases are included, and alternative interpretations considered.
(Riessman cited in Silverman)

Evaluating the credibility of research (Silverman 2006, p.276)

(1) Are the methods of research appropriate to the nature of the question being asked?
(2) Is the connection to an existing body of knowledge or theory clear?
(3) Are their clear accounts of the criteria used for the selection of cases for study, and of the data collection and analysis?
(4) Does the sensitivity of the methods match the needs of the research question?

Writing and presenting your findings

Can you present all your findings?

Do you need to present all your findings?
– if so, how will you do that in an accessible way for your reader
– if not, how will you select which findings to present

What is the purpose of the discussion?
To return to your research question:
– To what extent do your findings address the question?
– Do you have an answer for your question?

Some issues with discussions sections:
– Context: not linking back to literature

Source: patthomson.net

Note: app for transcription.


S2-Week 1-Class

Semester 2 (Week 1)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 6th February 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topic for today’s workshop

– Qualitative Data Analysis

How can you analyse your data?

Get close to your data
Give it time
Keep writing
Choose a method
Be consistent – so you can defend what you have done

Bypass analysis through summarising
Gloss over differences
Jump to conclusions

Rethinking some common issues


Can be from from quantitative to qualitative method or from one quantitative method to another (or one qualitative method to another).

Addresses validity concerns

Work Sequence

Numbering Questionnaires
Data Entry
Totals under each categories, demographics
Exploring the data
Designing queries

Check out Andy Fields YouTube videos on SPSS
Envivo – qualitative data analysis software

Qualitative Data Analysis

Interpretive – no one single result or truth
Getting data into a manageable shape

Read all the data at once
Divide it up into manageable chunks

Steps towards analysis

Become familiar with the data and identify potential themes
– Reading, memoing

Examine the data in depth to provide descriptions of the setting, participant …

Think about granularity

Strategies used to analyse qualitative data
1. Identify the themes
2. Code your data
3. Ask key questions
4. Do an organisational review
5. Do concept mapping

Some distinctions

Content Analysis
– Quantifies the occurrence of words, themes, topics
– Conceptual (occurrence of the concepts) analysis and relational (possible links, meanings and concepts) analysis

Thematic Analysis
– Braun and Clarke, 2006
– see steps on next slides

Grounded Theory
– Strictly speaking – a complete research method
– But many people draw on the constant comparative methods of GT inalalysing qualitative data
– No a priori themes or categories

Thematic Analysis

Thematic analysis shares many of the principles and procedures of content analysis.

Steps in Thematic Analysis – Braun & Clarke (2006, p.16-23 and their Table 1)

1. Familiarise yourself with the data
– immerse yourself, read it a lot, look for patterns, taken
2. Generate initial codes
– Pieces of the data that are interesting to you, they will be organised themes as the units of your analysis
3. Search for themes
– Focus on a broader level of themes and organise codes into potential themes
4. Review the themes
5. Define and name the themes
– say what is important and why.
6. Produce the report/written output

Curating! (Selecting the relevant themes/stories)

Binaries – opposing sides to a similar theme

Using software to help

Word and Excel are both good.

iAnnotate can be used for making notes and adding sound clips to documents.

Mind mapping software is useful
– MindManager
– FreeMind
– iMindMap
– Coggle

– You could try Dragon available from http://www.software4students.ie

– available from http://downloads.dit.ie

– http://www.maxqda.com

NVivo and MaxQDA both have 30-day free trials

To consider:
– Technical demand on your computer
– Time demands in setting up your project.

S1-Week 1-Class

Semester 1 (Week 1)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 19th September 2017.  The tutor was Dr Claire McAvinia.

Topics for today’s workshop

– Introduction to Applied eLearning Project
– Project Management
– ePortfolio Support Tutorial for Year 2

Working more independently
Project/Artefact/Resource + Journal Paper (30 ECTS)
e-portfolio (15 ECTS)

Assessment Process

Project – 4th June 2018
Journal Paper and e-portfolio – 2nd July 2018
1st Examiner (External)
2nd Examiner (Your Supervisor)
Your work is blind double-marked
You will receive a result and six marksheets
All sections of the 3 pieces need to be passed by both supervisors

Supervision Process

Guideline of 15 hours supervision time – this is inclusive of online contacts and formative assessment
You must agree how you want to work and how you will use the time – a “learning contract”
The First Examiner can also be involved, if appropriate, in consulting with you about your work and he/she will be invited to attend the works-in-progress presentations
Any contact with the First Examiner should be through your supervisor.


3rd November 2018

Tutorials in Year 2

In Year 2 you will be working more independently than in Year 1
It is not a requirement for you to attend every Tuesday afternoon but the works-in-progress sessions are obligatory
The workshops throughout the year are to support your research and paper writing.
There is flexibility on workshop content: ask if you would like particular copies to be addressed.
Peer learning is also key to these workshops

Before your first meeting

Ethics Meeting (1st) – some date in October (before middle) – online
Ethics Meeting (2nd) – 6 weeks later – possibly end of November – online
Claire will do a screencast of how to do the ethics submission

Supervision Meetings

It is your responsibility to make notes of the meeting and any actions
The notes should be available to your supervisor
Don’t go longer than 5 weeks without contact with your supervisor


Will need to accept submissions of 5,000 to 7,000 words
The librarians can be helpful
You might enjoy a particular journal(s) that you have read last year

Time Management (Year 2)

Where are you at the moment?

– Structure your work for the Year (Mk 1)
– Do a draft of every single piece of work that has to be done for the year (to get the big picture)
– Detailed timetable
– What days of the week will you work
– What blocks are available?
– brain time and non-brain time

Next Steps

Review your Research Proposal
– What kind of timelines had you built in?
– Can you develop these now?
– What questions could you ask your Supervisor to help refine your project plan?

Log your time for a day or two
Calculate the time for a week

Arrange first meeting with Supervisor for Tuesday 3rd October 2017

The e-portfolio in Year 2

Needs to be a record of the implementation of your project
Log of meetings with supervisor
Make parts of e-portfolio correspond with pages 17, 18 of handbook (also see page 10)
Evidence if on-going reflection and development
Final reflection – project (about 1,000 words)
Final reflection – entire MSc (about 1,000 words)

Supporting supervision

Add a logbook section
Keep it private
Log your meetings with
– main points
– agreed stuff

Assessment of e-portfolio

Review module sections
– Storyboards from ID
Ensure links are still active
Link to your project
Final reflective pieces
– Reflection on the implementation of your project as a whole
– Reflection at the end of Year 2

N.B. Look at support site

Where are you now?

Have a look at the checklist
Make sure you can access the WordPress site
Make sure you can access each other’s e-portfolios and try to share feedback.

M4-Week 1-Home

Educational Research Design Module (Week 1)

The following is the homework I carried out on the week immediately after the class that took place on 4th April 2017.

Paper 1 – Introduction
The first paper I used for this week’s homework was written by Professor Vincent Wade (TCD) et al.  I consider it to be a an important paper as it reviewed a number of authoring systems for adaptive learning and personalisation as well as looking at the obstacles to the mainstream adoption of these technologies.

O’Donnell, E., Lawless, S., Sharp, M., & Wade, V. (2015). A review of personalised e-learning: Towards supporting learner diversity.  Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.tara.tcd.ie/bitstream/handle/2262/73933/odonnell_IJDET%2013%281%29%20article.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

The authors define personalisation as the provision of “…each user of a system or the World Wide Web (WWW) with content or an experience which has been tailored to suit their specific needs based on implicit or explicit information about that user…”

This paper is a review of personalised e-learning, with an impressive reference list of 113 books, articles and web sites spanning 15 years from 1999 to 2013.  It examines some of the technological challenges which software developers may encounter in creating authoring tools for personalised e-learning. It also looks at some of the pedagogical challenges which authors face when creating personalised e-learning activities for students.

Argument that is presented
One of the arguments presented is that learners retain and understand information better by doing something active with it and that the creation of personalised e-learning activities may facilitate active learning.

What I learned from it
That the usability of authoring tools needs to be improved in order to facilitate personalised e-learning.  An ‘adaptive engine’ adapts or dynamically generates the content so that individual users have different learning pathways.

Weakness of one conclusion
The authors refer to an ‘old’ 2005 paper that states that adaptive technologies have only been tested in lab experiments and not by (many) academics.  

How this paper will influence my research proposal
It has focussed my attention on some of the important issues that needs to be addressed before even attempting to design for adaptive learning.

Paper 2 – Introduction
The second paper I used for this week’s homework was written by Professor Peter Brusilovsky (University of Pittsburgh) and his co-author Eva Millán (University of Malaga).  This is considered to be a seminal paper in the field of user modelling.

Brusilovsky, P., & Millán, E. (2007). User models for adaptive hypermedia and adaptive educational systems. In The adaptive web (pp. 3-53). Springer-Verlag. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5cfe/fc79fb172d79c86c17dd2dc1fb6c18786666.pdf

The user model is a representation of information about an individual user that is essential for an adaptive system to provide the adaptation effect, i.e., to behave differently for different users.

This paper, which has had 788 academic citations to date, examines the modern approach to user model representation which is called feature-based modelling. This approach attempts to model specific features of individual users such as knowledge and goals.  The older stereotype modelling attempted to cluster all possible users of an adaptive system into several groups called stereotypes.

Argument that is presented
Overlays can be used for user features such as knowledge and interests.  The overlay approach to knowledge modelling uses the domain model and the overlay knowledge model.  The domain model breaks down the body of knowledge about the domain into a set of domain knowledge elements. The overlay knowledge model organises that for each domain model concept, the knowledge component of the user model stores some data that is an estimation of the user knowledge level of this concept.

What I learned from it
I became aware of the five most popular and useful features of the user as an individual are: knowledge, interests, goals, background, individual traits.  These features should be considered when designing for adaptive learning.

How this paper will influence my research proposal
An extension of the overlay knowledge model is a layered model that stores several values to represent user knowledge of each concept.  For example, the system may choose to store separately the levels of user knowledge corresponding to different levels of concept mastery such as Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.  I had previously discussed incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy in a meeting with Dr. Ioana Ghergulescu, Head of Research and Adaptive Learning with Adaptemy on 13/04/17.

Research Topic
Currently, there is a lot of interest, both academically and commercially, in the field of adaptive learning.  The Horizon 2020 NEWTON project began on 01/03/16 and one its goals is to perform personalisation and adaptation for content, delivery and presentation in order to increase learner quality of experience and to improve learning process.  Three of the fourteen partners are from Ireland:  DCU, NCI and Adaptemy.

My research proposal will be in the area of adaptive learning and personalisation.  Adaptive learning systems are usually divided into separate components or models including domain model (field knowledge), user model (learner profile) and teaching model (pedagogical rules).  I am considering designing and evaluating multi-layered domain and user models and possibly a teaching model, for a well defined part of the Irish second level school curriculum for Mathematics, e.g. functions at Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level.  The final design would be a multilayered network of nodes (knowledge components) and links (connecting these knowledge components) created using graph visualisation/network diagram software such as Graphviz or Microsoft Visio.

M4-Week 1-Class

Educational Research Design Module (Week 1)

The following is a description of the Tuesday morning class that took place on 4th April 2017 from 10:00 to 13:00.


THIS WEEK:  Role of Research and Role of the Researcher

NOTES:  from today’s class…

Introducing the Module


8 weeks

Research Proposal for Assessment

The Handbook…

Role of Research

What is Research?


– Body of material

– Hypothesis/Thesis

– Noun or Verb

– Literature

– Methodology

– Discovery

– Ethical


…the systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.

Cohen & Mannion (2007)

What does Research Do?

– Asks questions

– Examines Policy/Practice

– Provides Solutions

– Creates Questions

-Tests Hypotheses

What Makes Good Research

– Relevant

– Unbiased

– Clear Objectives

– Ethical

– Theoretical Background

– Verifiable

– Organised

– Concise

– Can be built on

Who Does Research

– Everybody

– In education, undergraduates and postgraduates

– Professional Researchers

What is Educational Research?

…the collection and analysis of information on the world of education so as to understand it and explain it better.

Opine, 2007 p.3

Role of Your Research

What’s my goal?

Ans. To bring about change in my area of teaching.

What can I get from the process?

How can other’s potentially benefit from my research?

Role of Researcher during the Research Process

– Research Proposal

– Introduction

– Literature Review

– Research Design and Methodology

– Data/Findings

– Conclusions

– Interpreter

– Interviewer

– Listener Proofreader

– Creator

– Administrator

– Decision Maker

– Writer

– Authority

– Reviewer

– Ethics Guardian

– Reflector

– Observer


Paper (Say on effects/supports provided by the artefact)

Artefact (say website for teachers)


Ontology and Epistemology

Ontology – knowledge that’s out there to be known (all the stars)

Epistemology – how we are going to come to know about it (use a telescope)

Ontology – Definition…..

Epistemology – 

O’Leary, 2010, p.5

Ontology – What’s out there to know?

Epistemology – How can we know about it

Methodology – How can we go about acquiring that knowledge?

Methods – Which precise procedures can we use to acquire it

Sources – Which data can we collect?

Figure 1:  The interrelationship between the building blocks of research

Source:  Figure adapted from Hay, 2002, p.64

Subjective-Objective Dimension

A scheme for analysing assumptions about the nature of social science

The Subjectivist

– Nominalism

– Interptretivism-Anti-Positivisn

– Voluntarism

– Idiographic

The Objectivist


Cohen & Mannion quoting Burrell

Four “Worldviews”


– Determination

– Reductionism

– Empirical observation and measurement

– theory verification


– Understanding

– Multiple participant meanings




– Consequences of actions

– Problem- centred

– Pluralistic

Creswell 2014, p.6

Framework for Research

Postpostivist => Quantitative

Constructivist => Qualitative

Research Methods


Data Collection

…plus 2 others?

Paradigms and Paradigm Wars

Qualitative v Quantitative

Quantitative Purists: We can observe objectively, measure, analyse and determine reliable and valid outcomes

Qualitative Purists:  It is not possible nor desirable to research objectively, multiple realities constructed by individuals

Theoretical Perspectives

As an educational researcher you need to be aware of your perspective…

– What assumptions might you be making?

– What is your “home” discipline telling you and is it different to what you are investigating here?

What might be the connections with learning theories?

Researching with people?

Your Research in Practice


Focus shifts from design/disciplinary tradition to the research question

What is the best (mix) of methods we can use to answer that question?

The Research and Writing Process

Research is not necessarily a linear process

Step 1 => Step 2 => Step 3 => Step 4

Ideas, Drafting

Your Approach will Depend on your Preference

– Linear

– Mindmap

– Coming up with an idea, writing, showing it to others, rewriting

– Weaving

M3-Topic 1-Assessment

TELTA Module (Week 1)

The following is the continuous assessment work that I carried out during the week immediately after the Tuesday afternoon webinar that took place on 10th January 2017 from 13:00 to 14:00.

Key Reading 1: What’s the use of a VLE? (Reponse)

Response from Gerard Kilkenny to the following academic paper:

O’Rourke, K.C., Rooney, P. and Boylan, F.  (2015). What’s the Use of a VLE? Irish Journal of Academic Practice, 4(1),11.


The paper refers to the low level of use of collaborative educational technology, both within and outside the VLE, by the DIT lecturers surveyed .  These include messaging tool (26%), discussion boards (19%), wikis (12%), SMS texting (11%), BB mobile app (7%), webinars (5%), and chatrooms (2%).  This does not mean that the students of these lecturers in DIT are not using this collaborative technology independently of the lecturers in whole class groups or sub-groups.  As a second level Maths teacher, I have discovered that students mainly use Facebook as their method of communication.  Currently, I have a class of 30 students in 3rd Year following the Junior Certificate Higher Level Maths course who have their own Facebook group for communication purposes.

The school that I work in does not have an institutional VLE.  In the absence of such a VLE, I set up the Schoology LMS for my 6th Year Higher Level Maths class and for one other teacher in March 2014.  Schoology is very user friendly and cloud based with excellent mobile apps.  However, I discovered a major problem with this LMS is that a student can sign up as an ‘Instructor’ which gives them the administrative rights to set up classes.  Consequently, I reluctantly discontinued using Schoology after one and a half years.  Currently, there are at least two teachers in my school using the Edmodo LMS while others use email and Twitter.  I have tested the installation of the Moodle LMS on my own personal website.

One of the main problems I perceive with Blackboard and Moodle is that they are bloated pieces of software originally designed for client/server (desktop) systems. This has resulted in fragmentation rather than integration of the various pieces of application software that constitute a LMS/VLE.  Students in 2017 appear to use mobile apps much more than their desktop equivalents (when they exist).  In my opinion, the challenge for the two main LMS suppliers in the higher education market (Blackboard 41% and Moodle 23%) is to develop their mobile solutions.  In the meantime, the fragmented app landscape whereby lecturers and students use different proprietary solutions for email, instant messaging (binary), instant messaging (group), file repository, file sending, file sharing, group conferencing, whiteboard sharing, etc. will persist.  The MSc in Applied eLearning course is a case in point, using a mixture of email, Blackboard, Slack and Twitter to communicate.

Finally, I have written an annotated bibliography of this academic paper that can be found at http://gerardkilkenny.ie/index.php/2017/01/10/m3-week-1-home/

Key Reading 1: What’s the use of a VLE? (Annotated Bibliography)

O’Rourke, K.C., Rooney, P. and Boylan, F.  (2015). What’s the Use of a VLE? Irish Journal of Academic Practice, 4(1),11.


This 2015 paper by O’Rourke et al (who work in the LTTC based in DIT Aungier Street) is based on research carried out by them between February and April 2013.  This research was conducted via a phone call survey of 200 randomly selected staff working in DIT followed by an additional three-question anonymous online survey.

The study sought to

(a) find out how our academic staff was using the VLE as part of their teaching practice
(b) find out if academics were aware of emerging eLearning tools outside of the VLE
(c) gain an insight into factors inhibiting or preventing staff from engaging with eLearning technologies.

The paper begins by providing evidence that when it comes to actual teaching, learning and assessment practices, very little has changed as a consequence of the introduction of VLEs such as Blackboard and Moodle. (Zemsky and Massy, 2004; Weller, 2007).  The authors note that eLearning progress has been cautious in publicly funded third-level institutions with an opt-in rather than mandatory approach for staff members who wish to use technology in their teaching practices.  “In the main, however, it is clear from the emergent patterns that VLE usage is best categorised as supplemental to traditional, didactic teaching methods as evidenced by the relatively low usage of tools which foster and promote interactivity.” (O’Rourke et al, 2015, p.11).

It was interesting to me that the paper traced the history of the VLE in DIT from the introduction of WebCT in 2001 to its replacement by Blackboard in 2012.  I wasn’t aware of how the Learning, Teaching & Technology Centre (LTTC) in DIT came into being.  It was informative to read that it was created from an amalgamation of the Learning & Teaching Centre and the five-member team who were employed for an initial three-year period with a remit to embed eLearning practice in DIT with a focus on mainstreaming the use of WebCT.

The answers to the survey question seeking to elicit how Blackboard is used by lecturers in DIT is consistent with a longitudinal survey conducted among students across several third-level Irish institutions which discovered that students mostly experienced the VLE as a content distribution platform. (Risquez et al., 2013, p.103).  The DIT survey established that that the top five tools used by lecturers in Blackboard were:  file sharing (93%), email tool (71%), announcements (70%), learning module (59%) and YouTube (52%).  The use of other Blackboard tools dipped below 50% for each of the other nineteen tools.  O’Rourke et al 2015, p.11 conclude that “…it is clear from the emergent patterns that VLE usage is best categorised as supplemental to traditional, didactic teaching methods as evidenced by the relatively low usage of tools which foster and promote interactivity.”  The level of usage of collaborative learning tools was discussion boards (19%), Wikis (12%), Webinars (5%) and chatrooms (2%).  Google Docs (now Google Apps) had a 25% rate of usage among lecturers but its Microsoft equivalent (Office 365) is not listed which appears to be an important omission.

The additional three-question anonymous online survey was designed to discover why lecturers in DIT generally didn’t use personal websites or tools such as twitter, audience response systems (clickers), mobile apps, open educational resources, ePortfolios, online games, lecture capture and social bookmarking.  Lack of time to explore and become confident in the use of such tools was cited regularly by the DIT lecturers surveyed as a reason for not using these technologies, both within and outside the VLE.  One lecturer said staff should get timetable reductions for engaging in distance learning over and above their face-to-face lectures.

In my opinion, a weakness in this piece of research is that the students of the lecturers involved in the survey were not also surveyed.  Just because these DIT lecturers have a low use of collaborative technologies, this does not mean that their students are not independently using these technologies in whole class groups or sub-groups especially outside of the VLE.  As a second level Maths teacher, I have discovered that students mainly use Facebook as their method of communication.

The paper concludes that a move away from the individual opt-in approach towards a system of planning and incentivisation at programme, school and institutional level may be what is required for lecturers to use the more interactive and collaborative tools within the VLE.

Survey Result 1 – Tool usage in Blackboard/Webcourses

The telephone survey included a section whereby participants were asked how they used Blackboard with their students by listing out the individual tools available within the VLE and asking them to indicate whether or not they have used or were aware of each one.  Figure 1 gives an overview of the responses.

(1) Sharing files (Word, PDF, etc.) (93%)
(2) Email tool (71%)
(3) Announcements (70%)
(4) Learning Modules (59%)
(5) Weblinks (54%)
(6) YouTube / other video (52%)
(7) Surveys / polls (incl. online Q6) (47%)
(8) SafeAssign (47%)
(9) Assignment dropbox (41%)
(10) Calendar (33%)
(11) Quizzes (26%)
(12) Messaging Tool (26%)
(13) Discussion Boards (19%)
(14) Wikis (12%)
(15) SMS Texting (11%)
(16) BB Mobile app (7%)
(17) Slideshare (7%)
(18) Private journals / Blogs (6%)
(19) Webinars (Wimba / Collaborate) (5%)
(20) Publisher Content (5%)
(21) Wimba Voice Tools (4%)
(22) Campus Pack (4%)
(23) Chatrooms (2%)
(24) Lockdown Browser (2%)

Survey Result 2 – Other Technologies Used

The telephone survey included a section about tools available to lecturers via the DIT applications suite but also extended to social networking and other tools available online: which ones are they aware of and/or how do lecturers use non-VLE tools in their teaching? Figure 2 gives an overview of the responses.

(1) Google Docs (25%)
(2) Ebooks (25%)
(3) Skype (16%)
(4) Digital Simulations (15%)
(5) Screencasts (12%)
(6) Twitter (10%)
(7) Clickers (10%)
(8) Personal Website (10%)
(9) Smart Board (7%)
(10) NDLR Materials (7%)
(11) Mobile Apps (7%)
(12) Flickr (6%)
(13) iPad / tablet (6%)
(14) ePortfolios (5%)
(15) Online games (5%)
(16) Echo360 (5%)
(17) Social Bookmarking (5%)
(18) Google+ / Hangouts (3%)
(19) Moocs (2%)
(20) Second life (1%)


Risquez, A., McAvinia, C., Raftery, D., O’Riordan, F., Harding, N., Cosgrave, R., Logan-Phelan, T., & Farrelly, T. (2013). An Investigation of Students’ Experiences of using Virtual Learning Environments: implications for academic professional development. In C. O’Farrell & A. Farrell (Eds.), Emerging Issues III in Higher Education: from capacity building to sustainability. Dublin: EDIN. Retrieved: 12, June 2015 from http://www.edin.ie/pubs/ei3-chapters/ei3-ch8.pdf

Weller, M. (2007). The VLE/LMS is dead. The Ed Techie, Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/no_good_reason/2007/11/the-vlelms-is-d.html.

Zemsky, R., & Massy, W.F. (2004). Thwarted Innovation: What happened to e-learning and why. USA: The Learning Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved June 12, 2015.

KEY WATCHING – Daphne Koller’s Ted Talk: What we’re learning from online education (Response to Response)

Response from Gerard Kilkenny to Anne Mulvihill’s Response:

Anne, I think that this is a well-considered response to Daphne Koller’s 2013 TED talk.  Your response is logical, well-structured and succinctly identifies the two main reasons affecting course completion:  lack of instructor interaction and perceived effectiveness of content.  I have looked at what has happened to the MOOC since that 2013 TED talk and it appears that by the end of 2013, the media’s infatuation with MOOCs receded.

Since Daphne Koller’s 2013 TED talk, attempts have been made to deal with the two factors affecting course completion:  lack of instructor interaction and perceived effectiveness of content.  Picciano (2014) refers to the four waves of online learning and opines that the latest (4th wave) began in 2014 and is a mixture of blended learning (2nd wave) and the MOOC (3rd wave). In December 2013, Sebastian Thrun (founder of Udacity) was quoted as saying that he was giving up on MOOCs and that Udacity have a “lousy product”. (Chafkin, 2013).  In November 2013, Daphne Koller commented at Sloan Consortium’s Annual Conference that students who lack the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic would probably be better served by face-to-face instruction.  Koller went on to say that MOOC companies should consider the development of more pedagogically sound course materials that can be used in blended online formats rather than fully online formats.  (Koller, 2013).

Koller’s evangelical delivery in the TED talk reminded me of a similar delivery I witnessed from Mike Feerick during his keynote speech to the EdTech 2016 conference in Dublin.  Feerick is the Galway based founder & CEO of ALISON, which was launched in April 2007 and is widely credited as the world’s first MOOC (despite the claims of Stephen Downes and George Siemens!).  During this keynote, I remember Feerick telling his audience that his mission was to deliver free education to the (educationally) dispossessed and how ALISON does not charge for its courses.  This is untrue – ALISON does not have a subscription model of payment but it does rely on Internet advertising.  (Feerick, 2016).


Chafkin, M. (2013). Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, godfather of free online education, changes course. Fast Company. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://www.fastcompany.com/3021473/udacity-sebastian-thrun-uphill-climb

Feerick, M. (2016).  Keynote presentation to Edtech 2016.  Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://ilta.ie/edtech/edtech-2016/keynote-presenters/

Koller, D. (2013). Online learning: Learning without limits. Keynote presentation at the 19th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference on Online Learning. Orlando, FL.

Picciano, A. (2014).  A critical reflection of the current research in online and blended learning.  Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://www.elmmagazine.eu/articles/a-critical-reflection-of-the-current-research-in-online-and-blended-learning


M3-Week 1-Home

TELTA Module (Week 1)

The following is a selection of my contributions to the group chat on Slack from from Wednesday 11th January to Tuesday 17th January 2017.  The Slack ‘Chat Channel’ was set up by Dr. Frances Boylan on 10th January 2017 and I joined the channel on 11th January 2017.

14th January 2017

Gerard Kilkenny [12:23 PM]
A couple of pertinent technical points:
(1) If you search for “Bb Student” using the App Store app on an iPad, you will not find it. You need to filter from (the default), ‘iPad Only’ filter to ‘iPhone Only’ filter. This is because Blackboard have not bothered to write an iPad specific app. So, the app is an iPhone app that runs in portrait mode only on an iPad. This is not an uncommon practice, Aer Lingus is another example of a company who don’t have an iPad app. In contrast, Google Maps and Geogebra are good app examples from software houses who write separate apps to take account of the different form factors/screen sizes of the iPhone versus the iPad. Incidentally, searching for “Bb Student” using an iPad browser (certainly with the native Safari app) will find the iPad app.

Gerard Kilkenny [12:36 PM]
(2) The ‘Bb Student’ iPhone app works on both the iPad 3 and iPhone 4s both running the latest versions of iOS that run on these two devices 9.3.5). These two devices were introduced by Apple circa 2012. However, when you reach ‘Access all webinars here…’, followed by the message ‘Joining the session using ‘Bb Student’, the app aborts after about 7 seconds. So, the app is not retrospectively robust enough (nor have the software developers trapped the error that causes the app to abort) to run on these devices.

Gerard Kilkenny [12:46 PM]
(3) Notwithstanding all of this ‘bad news’, I can see myself using the app to receive alerts/notifications of DIT Webcourses postings rather than logging in occasionally via the web on a desktop device (PC or Mac) to find a number of postings that are a few days old. In case you think I am a complete Blackboard basher!
(4) I have tested my Windows 10 laptop and I successfully conducted a test access to the Webinar room using WiFi with a reasonably good broadband supply. (Thank you Frances for facilitating this testing). Therefore, I can access the Tuesday webinars without being tied to a fixed location PC or Mac. I think that it’s great to see various technologies being tested out on this TELTA module. There is so much more to be gained than just reading about what’s available. Looking forward to engaging with the TELTA module.:smiley:

Frances Boylan [1:03 PM]
Thanks a million for those posts Gerard & all of the work that went into testing the various options available. Appreciate it. It’s of great help.

Gerard Kilkenny [2:42 PM]
Pasted image at 2017-01-14, 2:42 PM

You’re welcome Frances. Above, the app informing me that I have nothing to do!! 😉

Dave Culliton [8:14 PM]
If it makes you feel any better, Gerard, Bb Student works great on android. :nerd_face:

Gerard Kilkenny [8:25 PM]
I feel better already Dave. Very noble of you to drag yourself away from key sporting events for a spot of testing. I amy

I may drift towards euphoria if I learn that it works on all versions – Cupcake to Marshmallow with Ice Cream Sandwiched in between. I may become ecstatic if I find out that it works on all hardware devices including all of the models made by HTC, Samsung, blah, blah, blah…

17th January 2017

Gerard Kilkenny [10:40 AM]
added an integration to this channel: gerardkilkenny

Note:  The text in the line above appears when you add your Twitter handle to Slack.  My Twitter handle is  @gerardkilkenny.

M2-Week 1-Home

Instructional Design & eAuthoring Module (Week 1)

The following is a reflection on the week immediately after the class that took place on Tuesday 25th October 2016 using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.


I set up a group on WhatsApp for The Compostivists and invited Allesio Gemma, Michael McKeever and Rachel Maguire to join the group.  I think that it is important to use instant messaging if we want our group to be efficient and effective in its work over the coming weeks.

On Saturday 29th October 2016, our group had its first meeting (F2F) in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin 2.


It was a productive and happy meeting as can be seen from this photograph:

The Compostivists: Allesio Gemma, Gerard Kilkenny, Mick McKeever, Rachel Maguire.


Here are the minutes of the first meeting of The Compostivists:

Group Members:            Allesio Gemma, Gerard Kilkenny, Michael McKeever, Rachel Maguire

Group Project:                Composting

Meeting 1 (Date):            Saturday 29th October 2016

Meeting 1 (Location):    Westbury Hotel, Dublin 2

The following areas of composting will be considered in developing the group’s Instructional Design / eAuthoring project:

  • Why compost
  • What to compost
  • How to compost
  • Where to compost (school, house, apartment, etc)
  • Science of composting
  • Economics of composting
  • Best practice composting
  • Duration of composting
  • Composting versus ‘Black Bin’
  • How composting influences retail purchasing choices for the consumer

The group made the following decisions:

  1. The group name will be ‘The Compostivists’
  2. Allesio will email the group with a photo of the group taken at this meeting using Allesio’s camera phone.
  3. Communication methods will include email, Whats App, face to face meetings.
  4. Mick McKeever will ask Dolores McManus to set up a virtual class for the group in DIT’s Blackboad LMS so that the group can use file sharing, chat, etc.

The group decided to assign the following roles to group members and to organise the group’s work as follows:

Subject Matter Expert (SME):   Michael McKeever
Storyboarder:                              Allesio Gemma
Storyboarder:                              Rachel Maguire
Authoring Tools Specialist:       Gerard Kilkenny

See the following links in relation to the make-up of an eLearning team:


All members of the group will also have an instructional design role. Articulate Storyline will be used for storyboarding and Adobe Captivate will be used for authoring.

The next group meeting will be in DIT, Kevin Street at 11 am on Saturday 12th November 2016.


This was a good first meeting for our group.  We decided how the group’s work would be shared out and what roles individuals within the group would have.  It is good that we now have a list of areas to be considered for the composting lesson.


The group decided to wait for two weeks to meet again as it will take at least that amount of time for Allesio and Rachel to create the first iteration of the storyboard.

Personal Action Plans

  • Now that I have located user guides and video tutorials for Adobe Captivate 9, begin the process of learning to use the different features of this tool.
  • Read the following book chapter with a view to writing an annotated bibliography of it.  This chapter will also inform the development of the eLearning resource using Adobe Captivate 9.

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011) Applying the Contiguity Principle. In Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E., E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.


M2-Week 1-Class

Instructional Design & eAuthoring Module (Week 1)

The following is a reflection on the Tuesday morning class that took place on 25th October 2016 from 10:00 to 13:00 using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.


The aim of the module is for the students to gain competence in planning, designing and developing eLearning resources/activities. The assessment consists of four items as follows:

(1) Storyboard (Group)
(2) The e-learning resource/activity ) (Group)
(3) Annotated bibliography (Individual)
(4) 1000 word reflection (Individual)

Later in the class, we were divided into three groups.  My group consists of four students as follows:  Allessio Gemma, Michael McKeever, Rachel Maguire and myself (Gerard Kilkenny).  We decided that the eLearning resource we will develop will be based on composting.  We decided to adopt the name The Compostivists for our group.


It wasn’t too dramatic a change to move to a computer room (Room 2069) on the second floor of DIT Aungier Street.  For the first five weeks of the course (the Learning Theories module), the MSc and MA students were together in the LTTC Teaching Rooms on the fifth floor.  Now that the MSc and MA groups are separated for Module 2, it has now become apparent that there are 11 students following the MSc Applied eLearning degree course.   My group The Compostivists have already schedule its first meeting for this Saturday 29th October 2016 in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin 2.  I volunteered to carry out the development work for the eLearning resource (using Adobe Captivate) and Allesio signalled an interest in taking the lead on creating a storyboard for the resource.  I have a feeling that our group will work well together.


It was helpful that the lecturers on this module (Damian Gordon and Pauline Rooney) outlined how the module is to be assessed, and what is expected of the students, from the outset.  I discovered that I already have one of the books on the Essential Reading List:

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011).  E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

I began reading this book about a year ago before I applied for the MSc Applied eLearning course.

Damian showed the class how useful the Cite button in Google Scholar can be.  I hadn’t used Google Scholar before now but I hope to make good use of it in the weeks ahead.


My initial analysis was that the assessment for Module 2 (Instructional Design) is much more demanding than for Module 1 (Learning Theories).  Module 2 has four assessment tasks compared to one assessment task for Module 1.  Moreover, Module 2 takes place over eight weeks with 10 ECTS to be gained whereas Module 1 took place over five weeks and had only 5 ECTS attached to it.  However, on closer analysis the four assessment items appear to be very integrated.  The storyboard precedes the development of the eLearning resource and the annotated bibliographies inform both of these items.  The 1000 word reflection is a meta-reflection of all of the individual reflections and this is something to be carried out at the end of the module.


I think that I am going to very much enjoy this module as I am very interested in, and have prior experience of, developing eLearning resources.   It will be important to carefully schedule the work required for this module in order to meet the deadlines for the assessment tasks.  In relation to the annotated bibliographies (5 to 7 to be done), Damian advised us to properly critique our annotations and to say if they were useful for our group project.  There should be three parts to each annotation:  summary, critique, evaluation.

Personal Action Plans

  • Locate user guides and video tutorials for Adobe Captivate 9
  • Source some of the eleven books on the Essential Reading list.


M1-Week 1-Home

The following is a reflection on Week 1 (Home) of the Learning Theories module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.


The homework activity for the week was as follows:

“Write 2 – 3 paragraphs considering to what extent have the learning principles highlighted in class today been applied in your professional context?  How have you experienced them?  The focus can be on you as a learner or as a teacher / trainer / consultant.
There is background reading provided here to help you think more fully about the principles.  This is in the web link (below) to Carlile and Jordan’s 2005 paper:

This [paper] will provide a grounding for further exploration of theories in your professional context.





(1) What are the key aspects of the theory I am interested in?
(2) What are the implications of the theory for my practice in higher education/industry?
(3) Going forward, how will this insight into theory influence my own professional practice/discipline for the future?

(4) How did the authors explain their choice of theory?(5) What did they do to investigate from that theoretical stance?
(6) Did they convince yoin their argument?
(7) If so, why?  If not, why not?


Personal Action Plans