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A brief showcase of existing MTU Crawford initiatives that nurture wellness within teaching and learning, followed by an online talk and Q&A, delivered by Rhonda Schaller (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn). Rhonda is a Fulbright Specialist in contemplative and wellbeing pedagogy.

The aim of TEACH CoLab is to increase staff competency to engage in collaborative online learning across disciplines and beyond institutional and national boundaries to address societal challenges. The time has never been more opportune to examine the place of health in the lives of humanity and examine it from multiple perspectives, enabled by online technologies. Perhaps for the first time, health and people are at the heart of politics and at the centre of global debate in our COVID19 world and the landscape has changed forever, particularly in relation to the power of online learning. TEACH CoLab builds the capacity of staff in digital pedagogies to examine themes related to health, community, determinants of health, and human rights. It enables sharing within the School of Health Sciences, across the Institute and with community and academic partners in Ireland and the US.

The TU Dublin IMPACT initiative transformed teaching and learning (T&L) through:

1. A repository that collates new and existing quality open access educational resources (OER) was established, supported by a bespoke peer review model that encourages an evidence-based approach to T&L OER creation.
2, A teaching team culture within a University-wide engaged learning community was launched, recognising and encouraging best practice in programme design to enhance the student experience. Staff who teach were supported through continuous professional development (CPD) through an associated CDPD framework.
3. A rigorous ‘As Is’ review captured the breadth of University T&L projects (past, present and pipeline projects), explored areas of alignment to, and identified gaps within, the TU Dublin T&L strategy and the student experience.
4. A model to drive sustainable awareness of, and interest and enthusiasm in, T&L was established and included a communication strategy that showcases learning enhancement project findings across TU Dublin.
5. An operating model that supports the sustainable integration of ongoing T&L project outcomes into T&L policy, process and practice, was developed through consultation and collaboration across the initiative.
Ultimately the initiative galvanised our innovative T&L practice for student success through widening our community, enhancing our capacity and changing culture.

Bookended by puberty and culturally defined adult roles, it is now established that adolescence extends from age 10 to age 24. Funded by the National Forum SATLE2019 scheme, and launched during VIT&L 2021 week, the new Canvas course Brainpower developed by Dr. Eithne Hunt (Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy / Graduate Attributes Programme, UCC); Dr. Samantha Dockray (Applied Psychology, UCC); and Professor Yvonne Nolan (Anatomy & Neuroscience, UCC) with input from students and higher education staff explores the ramifications of this research and gives participants an opportunity to reflect on what this information may mean for them within their work or role in higher education.

The inner workings of the adolescent brain and how these workings develop and are expressed in behaviours and engagement with the external world have been the focus of an explosion of research inquiry. Seated in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, cognitive abilities such as decision-making, planning, self-control, social interaction and self-awareness are only fully developed by the mid-twenties. In addition, the brain regions governing risk-taking and reward are intensely active in adolescence, and so influence behaviour, which is also shaped by context and expectations of others.

To realise student success, higher education (HE) institutions must take into account that the majority of their students are still adolescents, without fully developed cognitive, social, emotional and self-regulatory capacities, living and learning in a socio-cultural environment that offers less external regulation than ever before. The knowledge that many students in higher education are in developmental transition spotlights opportunities to construct academic and campus contexts that supports this transition.

Brainpower is a free, online, self-paced course, focusing on harnessing the power and potential of adolescent brain and behaviour for enhanced learning, wellbeing and student success in higher education. Within each of the six modules (each approximately 60 minutes duration) there is a variety of instructive media, including recorded Panopto lectures, videos and short readings. Supplemental information in the form of suggested reading lists, podcasts, and videos is provided. The Brainpower modules are provided in a predefined sequence with content unlocked step by step. Modules will be unlocked once the previous module is completed. 

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