Introduce Academy from DCU

This article acts as the first log entry of my 22-day stay in Dublin City University for my PhD thesis and possible research and project collaboration with the host research unit – National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) of DCU.

The first interesting conversation happened between Dr James Brunton and me today and I would like to share with you below the meeting.



NIDL building, DCU


15:00 – 17:15, Feb 1, 2017

DCU staff:

Dr James Brunton



James presented two projects under his job: Student Success Toolbox, and a MOOC called Head Start Online 2017, hosted on DCU’s MOOC platform Academy (


Some notes:


TOOL 1: student readiness tool

Instant feedback on each question you answer. institution and student perspective’s feedback under each category

Seven tabs: 6 thematic categories, and one summary category

In the summary category, a spider diagram is displayed to show strength and weakness

TOOL 2: Do I have enough time TOOL

To calculate the time that you spent on each life category and find out how much time you have for learning?

TOOL 3: who can I ask?

Family, employee, friends, classmates, university

TOOL 4: my computer skills

Very simple test

TOOL 5: my first assignment

It is like pre-learning orientation to prepare learners, for example,

stories of a certain student, how he finished his first assignment

TOOL 6: study tip for me

Tumblr tool, as a social tool, to provide study tips for their peers

This is to share, but not interactive, for example, cannot reply to



  • Time allocation tool to help understand and manage learners’ time before starting learning process (Tool 2)
  • Tumblr tool used in MOOC (Tool 6)



  • To be officially online next June
  • Aim to be an orientation course for any adult learners who are planning to learn part-time or full-time, either online or in class.
  • The course is built based on the Student Success Toolbox and utilizes several important tools included in that Toolbox.
  • The motivations are both to help learners get more ready and prepared for upcoming learning, and to do some researches.


Some possible collaboration

  • NIDL and eLab (
  • Introduce Student Success Toolbox to USI and build something similar like Head Start Online 2017 to help new learners to get ready for upcoming study life.
  • Introduce SST to USI’s MOOCs, starting from eTourism MOOC, for example, to provide the learner some tools to self-evaluate the readiness to learn online and prepare better before going on board to official learning experience.


Some useful links:

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