To envolve teachers and faculty, we work to create spaces for co-reflection amongst staff. It is also important to have arenas where students and staff can co-reflect.
To acthieve this, we do events, seminars and also a local research conference. We work to support and encourage teachers and faculty to continue working on developing a better study environment.
Support and studies on the Covid-19 pandemic impact on university studies
In the late winter of 2020 almost every university worldwide suddenly ended up in a situation where neither students nor teachers were allowed to stay on campus.
This, and the following study year places new demands on all of us. Excited, already collaborated with teachers who have been given / undertaken the task of changing their subjects from being a subject that is only offered at one educational institution to subjects that are offered to students at across educational institutions. This through core project “Sharing and diversity”
In these projects, we have gained experiences that we saw as useful for all teachers - and thus also for all our students – in the situation. We also immediately started a study of the impact of the digitalization for both teachers and students. Here you will find the experiences, takeaways and results from our survey of the first two fully digital weeks.
Mini Projects - Seed funding to inspire and engage
To engage the staff and faculty at the host departments at Nord and NTNU, Excited regularly send out calls for seed funding through Mini projects. They are an opportunity to get extra resources for improvement measures in subjects or study programs that go beyond normal operation or management of teaching. The target group is employees involved in education at the Nord University and at NTNU (primarily IDI plus computer science at IIR). Though mostly appealing to teachers, the scheme has also been open for administrative staff, e.g., to pilot new approaches for student wellbeing.
This has proved a great way for staff to take part in the SFU, and to get that little extra motivation to do research on one own education practice . This far, we have had over 40 mini projects receiving funding. Funding stretching from simply getting hours from our student assistant pool, and upwards to 100 000 NOK, based on the scope of the project.
Read more on the mini projects here
Communities of Practice (CoP)
In Excited we believe that Defining and maintaining a network (CoP) with teachers and researchers within the same field is an important tool to make an environment for changing and developing new practice and culture in teaching. We also considers the CoP as an important means to achieve dissemination for action. The CoP gives the teaching staff an arena for sharing information and experiences among themselves and to learn from each other.
Excited is working on building several different communities of practice - and on encouraging staff to participate in such communities. We are collaborating with the department head and staff to organize department seminars in ways that facilitates the creation of active communities within the department. Excited is also organizing communities for computer science educators where staff from other departments in NTNU and NORD are invited.
Local dissemination on IT education and IT education research
Local dissemination has two dimensions: (i) spreading findings and increasing engagement in Excited within the university departments of Excited staff, and (ii) dissemination of results to other departments and the central level of the involved universities Nord and NTNU. Within our departments we are involved in quality assurance and improvement in various ways, such as serving on educational boards and discussing with study program leaders.
Excited has given presentations in several department seminars, and we have also started a lunch seminar series where educational topics are presented – sometimes by people from within Excited, sometimes by invited guests. So far, all these seminars have been held in Trondheim, but streamed to Gjøvik and Ålesund, with good turnout (20-40 persons on site, plus the remote audience).
National dissemination on IT education and IT education research
A key peer-reviewed arena for IT education research in Norway is the annual Norwegian Conference on Didactics in IT Education (UDIT). Excited contributes strongly to the organization of this conference, with P5 leader Birgit Krogstie as chair (since 2017), several PC members, and by submitting papers and participating in the conference. The conference is a key national venue for networking among university level IT educators, thus an important arena for disseminating our own research and get impulses from colleagues at other Norwegian learning institutions. Excited also sponsored the UDIT keynote, bringing an internationally acclaimed scientist in the area of IT education to the conference. This creates visibility among IT teaching staff in Norwegian universities and adds to our international network.
There are also other national conferences for disseminating new teaching practices, on a somewhat less formal level (e.g., not having a strict peer-review process, allowing more popular presentations). The most important ones are NKUL (annually, on pre-university education), Læringsfestivalen (annually, higher education in general), and MNT-konferansen (bi-annually, STEM education). We have participated with several contributions in each of these, and were especially strongly represented at MNT-konferansen, with papers by senior personnel, PhD students, and some where students were co-authors and presenters. We have also been involved in several informal and popular dissemination activities, such as seminar talks and media interviews (see attached list). Of particular notice is the NOKUT podcast interview of P4 leader Rune Hjelsvold and assoc.prof. Harald Øverby about challenges with cross-campus teaching. This generated a lot of interest on the national level, and Hjelsvold has since been invited to several other universities / departments to tell about his experiences in more detail.
We had students at a maker fair in Trondheim, as part of P2, and Excited student assistants have made notable contributions at SFU student network meetings. Excited is also supporting student-driven dissemination, e.g. how-to-courses about useful IT tools. For P1, dissemination has also targeted teachers and pupils as main stakeholders. Dissemination activities towards schools are integrated in Excited summer schools and activities, with the aim to increase awareness of IT as a career path. For teachers, Excited's results have been disseminated through conferences and courses targeting in-service teachers.
As for external quality assurance roles in other Norwegian learning institutions, Trond Aalberg is external advisor for the Bachelor and Master study programs in Informatics: Programming and System Architecture, University of Oslo, and Guttorm Sindre has a similar role for the Bachelor and Master programs in Information Science, University of Bergen, thus giving advice on course and program improvement. Monica Divitini was member of the committee for IT in the 2019 revision of the national curriculum in IT for upper secondary education in Norway.
On the international level
Excited has published a good number of international peer reviewed papers, see publication list in appendix. Through participation at international conferences, we get to disseminate our own results and participate in interesting sessions with IT education researchers from other countries, some of which are stronger in IT education research than Norway, thus hearing about the latest in innovative pedagogy within our discipline. In addition to conference paper presentations, P5 leader Birgit Krogstie was participated in a working group at ITiCSE’19 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
One of our PhD candidates has participated in an Erasmus+ project, and students have represented Excited in competitions and events internationally, for instance Nord students at a conference for Games-Based Learning in Sweden. As for educational quality assurance work internationally, Trond Aalberg is external advisor for all ICT study programs at the University of Malawi, and Excited has joined all-digital.org to make impact on the European level, with Monica Divitini speaking at the All Digital Summit in Bologna, October 2019.
Our 1st International Summer School in IT Education Research, held in Trondheim, June 2019, had participation both from our own PhD candidates, from other university departments in Norway, and from abroad. It was a good arena for the PhD students to experience interesting lecture and discussion sessions with well-known international researchers in the field, and to meet PhD students from elsewhere who were interested in similar topics. Given the success of this event, we were planning to run the 2nd International Summer School already in June 2020, but this has been postponed until 2021 at the earliest. An even bigger event for June 2020 was our hosting of the ACM ITiCSE conference in Trondheim, expecting several hundred participants from abroad. This conference ended up an all digital conference, with high quality and high participation.