Online Learning Standards:

Steps to Introduce a Distributed Leadership Approach to Training Teachers for Online Teaching and Learning.




Since the introduction of online learning platforms in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), there has long been a difficulty in encouraging a broad and even adoption of those platforms by all teaching staff. The creation of templates, modelled baselines, and standards has helped enormously to make teaching staff feel more comfortable in the online space, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Standards, however, need to be adapted for the specific context where they are being used. In one innovative Engineering programme in a university in Ireland, staffed largely by subject matter experts from the Engineering industry, where adherence to standards is an established practice, we are trialling the communication of best practice on online learning and teaching through specifically created standards, to mirror their industry experience. To allow this cohort to become comfortable with the standards, they have been introduced through the lens of heutagogy, as asynchronous, access any-time, self-directed resources. Once familiar to the team, we will develop a community of practice around extending knowledge of the standards, thereby leading the teaching staff via a distributed leadership approach where we influence teaching practice, rather than presenting ourselves as the sole authority. This paper gives an account of the initiative as we introduce these standards.

Author Biographies

Fiona Boyle, MTU, Kerry

Dr. Fiona Boyle is Head of Department- Flexible and Work Based Learning (Director of REEdI- Rethinking Engineering Education in Ireland) within the School of STEM at MTU- Kerry Campus. Fiona has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology from NUI Galway, a M.Sc. in Biomedical Science from University of Ulster Coleraine, and a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from NUI Galway. Fiona’s recent experience focuses on agility and innovation in development and delivery of education to ensure the talent pipeline can meet the future skills needs of Industry in the region and beyond. This involves the use of VR/AR technologies, eLearning, and the inclusion of significant work-based project centric learning in undergraduate programmes. Fiona’s early research centred on the topic of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial pathogens in the environment, nosocomial and agriculture settings, with a focus on the genetic mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella. Fiona’s Industry experience spans over 14 years in the MedTech and Pharma sectors, holding key roles in the areas of Terminal Sterilization (across Ethylene Oxide, Gamma, E-Beam and Gas Plasma modalities), Microbiological quality and Biocompatibility of medical devices and pharmaceutical products.  

Michael Noctor, MTU, Kerry

Michael Noctor is a Learning Experience Designer for the REEdI Project at  MTU, Kerry.

Michael holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Education and Biological Sciences from the  University of Limerick as well as a specialist Diploma in Quality Management  and a Lean Black Belt. He is registered with the Irish Teaching Council and is  an associate member of the Irish Institute of Training and Development.

Michael has extensive experience in designing and developing innovative  curricula, for delivery on digital platforms. He is also an accomplished ICT  Business systems trainer and has delivered in person ICT training to  administrative and manufacturing workers across the globe.

Michael is passionate about the advancement of educational technologies and  how they can be applied to improve learning in both academic and industrial  settings. He is currently studying part-time for a Masters in Teaching and  Learning in Higher Education at MTU Cork.






Reflections, Journeys and Case Studies