Brainpower – Harnessing the Power and Potential of Adolescent Brain and Behaviour for Enhanced Learning, Wellbeing and Student Success in Higher Education

Creator(s)

Eithne Hunt, Samantha Dockray, Yvonne Nolan

Organisation(s)

University College Cork

Discipline(s)

Teaching & Learning

Topic(s)

Digital Learning, Professional Development, T&L Practice

License

CC BY

Media Format

Video, Webpage

Keywords

Submitted by

Description

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. 

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

Although targeted mainly at academic and academic support staff in higher education, Brainpower is likely to be of interest to staff across further and higher education, nationally and internationally, as well as parents, school teachers, coaches and all those who contribute to the lives of young people. It is publicly available to all under Creative Commons License: https://ucc.instructure.com/courses/34672

UCC staff can choose to take Brainpower as a digital badge micro-credential by completing the required assessments as evidence of learning. You can enrol here if you are UCC staff and wish to explore this option.

Watch a short intro video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOpmISaMvPo

UCC VIT&L Week 2021 Launch of Brainpower Digital Badge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEiNdV7VIP4

A student version called Your Brainpower, funded by the National Forum SATLE 2020 scheme will be available in 2022.

An additional link here to the UCC webpage details the online course: Digital Badge: Brainpower – Harnessing the Power and Potential of Adolescent Brain and Behaviour for Enhanced Learning, Wellbeing and Student Success (instructure.com)

Related OER

The Irish Journal of Academic Practice (IJAP) is published online once annually at Technological University Dublin. IJAP is a peer-reviewed journal that welcomes scholarly and practice-based articles, case studies, opinion & reflective pieces and reviews relating to learning, teaching, assessment and technology within higher education.

Through the inclusion of insightful provenances and case histories, students are taken on a journey back in time to learn not only from the original donors, but also from the physicians and anatomists who treated and prepared the specimen, offering fascinating insights into the healthcare systems and the education values of the time. Careful consideration was given to which specimens were to be showcased. Specifically, those over a hundred years old, without identifying features or sensitive features such as developmental anomalies.

This resource has been created by an interdisciplinary project team at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin and was funded through the Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund 2020.

Throughout this workbook students are asked to engage with the PCs Graduate Attribute & Mindsets Framework via a suite of activities or exercises. This engagement will provide students with the language of skills and attributes best suited to job application and success.

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URL: https://ucc.instructure.com/courses/34672