CIRCLET was an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project. The projects aims were to strengthen capacity among higher education lecturers to improve learning outcomes for students by rethinking curricula to incorporate CERL, with an online dimension. TU Dublin was a partner, along with Queen’s University Belfast (lead), Corvinus University of Budapest, Open University of Catalonia, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
The CIRCLET project developed two new professional development initiatives supporting community engaged learning and research. The CIRCLET international learning community had two dimensions - a Learning Circle and an Online Professional Development Module. Both initiatives were focused on rethinking teaching to include community engaged research and learning (CERL), enhanced by educational technology. Both offered the opportunity to work with colleagues in other countries. Integrating CERL into your teaching can be mutually beneficial for students, for communities and for you. A Handbook for Lecturers wanting to implement CERL projects was developed. This handbook includes exemplars for working with community partners and students on CERL projects, alongside reflective questions and advice on using technology to support CERL projects.
Our local and international learning circles involved small peer groups of lecturers coming together on a regular basis to share learning, and explore issues and solutions – face-to-face where possible, otherwise online, or a mix. International learning circles were developed across the 5 universities, made up of interested local participants. A Guide for Facilitators to run learning circles was developed and includes practical information on everything from preparing to run a Learning Circle, Themes for Learning Circle Sessions and Activities for Exploring CERL in Learning Circles.
TU Dublin led on the development of an innovative online postgraduate module for lecturers. It can be taken as a stand-alone module or as part of the TU Dublin LTTC suite of MSc Education programmes, and is also validated for PhD credits by Corvinus University of Budapest. The entire contents of the 5 credit module are online on the CIRCLET website, including reading lists, assignments, marking rubrics, powerpoint slides, and webinar plans. If you’re interested, you can:
Download the module handbook (pdf version)
Many of the lecturers who participated in the CIRCLET programmes produced inspirational case studies (videos and documents) to share their learning and experiences as they ran Community Engaged Research and Learning (CERL) projects on their modules, and these are available on the CIRCLET website.
Participants on both initiatives were supported by the TU Dublin Programme for Students Learning With Communities to identify and make connections with suitable community partners for CERL projects. The costs of both initiatives are fully covered by Erasmus+ project funding.
To find out more about the CIRCLET project, and read testimonials from participants visit CIRCLET.
You can contact Dr Catherine Bates and Dr Sinead McCann, who coordinated TU Dublin’s involvement in this project, at the Programme for Students Learning With Communities: firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 1262 848 or 087 211 9089.
Lively discussion and focus at a TU Dublin 2020/1 CIRCLET learning circle online meeting