The third in our series of four guest posts by Professor Paul Mc Kevitt, Chair in Digital MultiMedia, University of Ulster, Magee & The Imagineering Quarter who shares his ideas for learning. Learn more about Professor Mc Kevitt here: Homepage, Facebook, LinkedIn
Ideas for Universities
Over 95% of our undergraduate and postgraduate students in Computing at Magee are studying Computer Science (Computing, ICT) or Digital Creativity (Multimedia, games, creative technologies).
I have taught at Magee for over ten years delivering modules such as Intelligent MultiMedia and Artificial Intelligence/Knowledge Based Systems in undergraduate degrees in Computer Science, MultiMedia, Digital Creativity and Computer Games and at postgraduate level on MultiMedia, Computing and Design and Creative Technologies.
In these modules students have an opportunity to critically evaluate and present cutting edge research papers in Multimodal Systems and Interfaces, Digital Creativity and Artificial Intelligence.
Supervision of final-year and MSc projects and PhD students is also an important component of my teaching.
There are also international education projects and meetings involved in developing education strategies and curricula. These include EU Socrates projects in the areas of Language and Speech and Advanced Computing in the Humanities (ACO*HUM) and EU Tempus projects to cooperate with Eastern Europe (eg Romania), in which I have participated.
I also sit on the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) Consultative Committee for Humanities Serving Irish Society (HSIS) of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and the Digital Action Team (DAT) for Digital Derry.
I believe that teaching is vitally important in the work of any academic since interaction and dialogue with students gives one ideas and keeps academics on their toes.
I use knowledge gained from the Master’s in Education (MEd) degree at the University of Sheffield and implement key principles on groupwork, active learning and problem-based/project-centred learning as discussed in my Master’s thesis, Ideas for Universities.
Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH)
Of particular relevance is a new innovative project on Digital Humanities funded by the Irish Government’s Higher Education Authority (HEA).
The project entitled, Digital Arts and Humanities structured PhD programme (DAH), is funded with a total budget of €6.8 million 5 years (2011-2015) under the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Cycle V (PRTLI-V) and coordinated by The Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).
This project builds upon the Texts, Contexts and Cultures structured PhD programme within the Humanities Serving Irish Society (HSIS) initiative (coordinated by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Humanities, Technology and Innovation structured PhD programme (coordinated by An Foras Feasa, NUI Maynooth), both of which were funded by the previous PRTLI-IV (2008 – 2011) initiative.
Digital Arts and Humanities collaborating partners include Trinity College Dublin (co-ordinator), NUI Maynooth, University College Cork, NUI Galway, The University of Ulster, Queen’s University, Belfast, The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft.
The University of Ulster brigade involves a collaboration trinity between three Ulster academics (Prof. Bertie O Corrain, Prof. Paul Mc Kevitt and Dr. Billy Kelly) across three research institutes (Irish and Celtic Studies, Computer Science and Arts and Humanities) and two faculties (Arts plus Computing and Engineering).
For example, one planned component of the City of Culture programme is an outdoor water based spectacular multimedia pageant entitled ‘The Return of Colmcille (The Peace Maker)’ with the 6th century legendary monk, St. Colmcille, returning up the River Foyle on a 21st century Curragh from the Isle of Iona to the city where he founded Doire monastery ca. 500 AD.
Apropos, there is a large body of work on Colmcille at NUI Galway which will be tapped into.
The DAH project focus is to develop a new fourth-level structured Ph.D. programme on the island of Ireland in the area of Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) where 46 PhD students will receive 4 year scholarships, conduct research and receive PhD training in interdisciplinary subject domains which bring computing and humanities together.
Examples of such research and training include digitisation and digital document processing of historical manuscripts, automatic visualisation of text, automated digital semantic representation of multimedia documents and speech, language and image processing information retrieval and machine translation.
Philosophy of education
Many of my research projects and ideas for publications have come from dialogue with students in teaching and supervising their projects.
I try to move away from spoon feeding students and regurgitation of facts in a one-way monologue and involve students more in their ownership of their education through project-centred learning and student presentations which helps to stimulate creativity.
In my classes, students also become lecturers and I become a student - we all learn more.
Also, I believe that bringing more computing and Digital Culture into schools is important.
I have participated in a three year EU Tempus project with Romania, which involved developing curricula for computer science and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within second level schools in Romania — we could readily see the benefits of developing such education in schools.
This will provide a basis for digital multimedia technology creativity and entrepreneurship innovation. I will investigate innovation further in my next Learning Pool blog post.
First post: Imagineering Future e-learning pools by Professor Paul Mc Kevitt
Second post: The Imagineering Quarter, Digital Derry and Emotional Games e-learning by Profesor Paul Mc Kevitt