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Education Committee to consider online learning potential

Representatives from Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and the Open University will appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection tomorrow afternoon for a discussion on the role and contribution of online courses in the third level sector in Ireland and how online learning can be further developed.

2 December 2014

The meeting will have a particular focus on harnessing the potential of so-called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which are generally aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.

Chair of the Committee Joanna Tuffy TD says: “Tomorrow’s meeting will be a valuable opportunity to hear from three institutions with a significant involvement in online learning in Ireland. Distance learning is not a particularly new concept, but the advances of digital technology have led to the emergence of interactive Massive Open Online Courses in recent years. These courses, often compising videos, readings and interactive user forums, offer enriching educational experiences to anyone in the world with an internet connection.

“A world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale, the Open University in Ireland has seen 17,000 graduates since 1971, with over 2,500 students currently studying online courses.  Meanwhile, DCU have been at the forefront of online learning for the last decade and has almost one thousand off-campus, part-time, online students. And earlier this year, Trinity’s first MOOC Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923, saw almost 14,000 students sign up for the six week history course. Committee Members look forward to considering what policy steps might further support these exciting developments in the delivery of third level education.”

The meeting takes place at 1pm tomorrow Wednesday 3 December 2014 in Committee Room 3, LH 2000. The meeting can be viewed online here.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Media enquiries to:
Paul Hand,
Communications Unit,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
P: +3531 618 4484
M: +353 87 694 9926

Committee Membership
Deputy Joanna Tuffy - Chair
Deputies James Bannon, Ray Butler, Joan Collins, Michael Conaghan, Clare Daly, Brendan Griffin , Jim Daly, Derek Keating, Charlie McConalogue, Jonathan O’Brien, Willie O’Dea, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Brendan Ryan
Senators Jim D'Arcy, Marie Moloney, Mary Moran, Hildegarde Naughten, Marie-Louise O’Donnell, Averil Power