A DCU Connected Experience, Wherever You Are

This morning over 130 DCU staff and external guests from around Ireland attended the launch of a major new brand called “DCU Connected”. Today’s launch by the President of Dublin City University, Professor Brian MacCraith, marks a very significant milestone for both DCU and the National Institute for Digital Learning. The NIDL has played a key role in the development of the brand, although importantly ‘DCU Connected’ is inclusive of teaching and learning activities throughout the University and Linked Colleges.

Launch Photo1

Of particular significance is the way ‘DCU Connected’ places the focus on the way learners can be connected in today’s digital world, wherever they are, rather than promoting a particular delivery mode or technology platform. While ‘DCU Connected’ includes a growing suite of online degree programmes it also encompasses flexible short course options (including MOOCs) and a number of major transnational initiatives with strategic partners. Most importantly, “DCU Connected” is not merely another term for delivering online courses to people living throughout the world. The initiative is grounded in DCU’s mission of ‘transforming lives and societies’ and a philosophy of working with partners around the globe to develop local educational experiences for local requirements.

During today’s launch DCU’s new overarching brand for its digital learning environment (Loop) was also announced but more information about this initiative will be available over the next few weeks. The intention is that all DCU students will be in the loop, part of the loop and will play a key role in making and maintaining the loop!

A copy of today’s formal press release issued by DCU appears below.

Press Release

Thursday August 7th 2014

DCU launches a new Online Education brand

 A DCU Connected experience, wherever you are in the world

Dublin City University today announced the launch of an exciting new online, flexible learning brand, DCU Connected.

This overarching brand encompasses a growing suite of online degree programmes for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as flexible short course options and major transnational initiatives in many countries where DCU has already established strategic partnerships.

At the launch today, President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith said, “Today’s announcement is much more than a brand launch – rather it is a public commitment by DCU to embrace the best of digital technologies to enhance the learning experience of students, both nationally and globally. Whether you live in Sligo, Seville or Shanghai, DCU Connected provides access to world-class online education, with international expertise and locally-relevant courses designed to meet your needs.”

DCU Connected “…perfectly describes our off-campus, flexible study options and courses available either directly from DCU or in partnership with one of our strategic global partners, such as Arizona State University.”

These strategic partnerships around the globe will provide a key point of difference for DCU Connected, as they greatly extend the range of study options available to students. They also reflect DCU’s mission of ‘transforming lives and societies’ by working with other organisations around the globe to jointly develop the most appropriate world class educational solutions for addressing local problems.

Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at DCU, noted that “DCU has over 30 years experience offering what was traditionally known as ‘distance education’. DCU Connected is the evolution of our commitment to flexible learning but with a more contemporary and clearly international focus”. Importantly, DCU Connected “is not just about online learning but a deeper philosophy about the connected nature of learning in the 21st Century — wherever you are”.

At today’s launch, the guest speaker was Professor Gráinne Conole, an internationally-renowned expert on digital learning and open education resources, based at the University of Leicester. Professor Conole, who is also a Visiting Professor at DCU, commended the university on its vision and leadership, noting that the brand was future-focused and that “online learning at DCU is no longer at the edge of the university experience; it’s at the very heart of it”.

The new DCU Connected website www.dcu.ie/connected will be available from Monday 11th August to coincide with an extensive marketing campaign to support the launch.


Media Contacts:

Teresa Murray

DCU Communications & Marketing

T:  01 700 5217

M:  085 174 4279

E: teresa.murray@dcu.ie


Michelle Smyth

DCU Open Education

T: 01 700 5327

M: 08

E: michelle.smyth@dcu.ie


Meet our Staff

Welcome to the core team of staff within the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University. The National Institute brings together staff previously in Oscail and the Learning Innovation Unit under a new organisational structure, which includes the Open Education Unit, Teaching Enhancement Unit and Digital Learning Research Network. The new Institute aims to build strong community of practices and a distributed leadership network by harnessing the significant expertise that already exists within the University and linked Colleges. Our staff welcome your ideas and any feedback as we endeavour to establish the NIDL as a driving force in helping to transform lives and societies through the powerful combination of 21st century pedagogies and new digital technologies. We are currently working on the full website for the NIDL and this should be ready to launch in the next month or so.


Staff Having Morning Tea

Launch of new National Institute

Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD has launched the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University.  This new centre of excellence will pioneer major developments in online, blended and distance learning, exploiting the full range of digital technologies to provide students with the best possible learning experience, whether on or off campus.


The Institute will advance digital learning in Ireland in four key areas:

  • Continuing Professional Development for academic staff (at DCU and nationally) in digital teaching and learning methods
  • Support in developing content and modules for delivery in online, blended and distance learning modes
  • Coordinating and supporting the delivery of modules and programmes remotely
  • Conducting cutting-edge research and policy development in the area of digital learning, technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics.

Launching the new Institute today at DCU, Minister Quinn said,

“The area of Digital Learning is one which is exploding with potential at the moment. In truth, from primary school to third-level, Ireland has been caught behind the curve of the digital revolution which is transforming society.  Over the last 10 years, significant resources have been invested in trying to change this reality, but we must question how successful those efforts have been… I hope that the creation of the National Institute of Digital Learning in DCU will begin to change this landscape.  Through research and policy development, through CPD for teachers and academics in DCU and across the country, and through the development of online, blended and distance learning opportunities, I believe this Institute can make a genuinely important contribution.”

DCU also announced the appointment of Professor Mark Brown as Director of NIDL and as Ireland’s first Chair in Digital Learning.  He is recognised globally as a pioneer in the area of Digital Learning and is currently Director of the National Centre for Teaching & Learning at Massey University, New Zealand. He will take up his new post in DCU in February 2014.

Another leading figure in online learning, Professor Grainne Conole of the University of Leicester, has also been appointed as an Adjunct Professor to the Institute.

DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, outlined the university’s vision for the new institute:

“The launch of NIDL underscores DCU’s commitment to optimising the learning experience of our students, whether they be on campus or studying in distance mode. Developments in online learning require in-depth analysis through academic research and we are happy to provide this both for DCU and for Ireland generally. We are proud to be at the forefront in embracing the potential of digital technology to enhance learning, and truly democratise and internationalise the learning experience.”