Explore Projects

    2012 - 2013

    The abundance of grammar guides on the internet contrasts with the scarcity of opportunities for students to practice their writing in a guided manner. This project aims to create a uniquely designed course on academic writing which will be available to students online via Blackboard as part of the services of NUI Galway’s Academic Writing Centre.The course will also be made available to staff members wishing to improve the writing skills of their students. This course will establish a process which will facilitate students to learn from each other. Students will receive clear directions for weekly writing tasks; their entries will be anonymised; each student will then receive an entry for review along with detailed instructions. These reviews will in turn be anonymised and sent back to their authors. Students will then rate the feedback they received. This method of interactive learning and constructive critiquing will make the course both interesting and thought provoking. It is hoped that the course will generate a spirit of debate and a lifelong regard for the written word. The availability of this course will allow teaching staff at NUI Galway to significantly improve their students’ writing without adding to their own workload.
    There is a severe dearth of teaching aids available to teachers in the Irish language, especially in science at Leaving Certificate level. This project will create a video-based teaching aid for Leaving Certificate Ecology through the medium of the Irish language. As part of their training, student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas at NUI Galway go on field trips to beaches, woods and grasslands to see common ecology, and they do all that school students have to do on the Leaving Certificate Ecology course. These field trips will be recorded on video and used to aid exam preparation and assessment. Benefitting secondary school students, student teachers and practising teachers, this new teaching aid will be made available to Irish medium schools around the country via iTunesU, Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta and the website of an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas.
    Very few new types of antibiotics have been discovered in the last 20 years. In addition, high levels of antibiotic prescribing and consumption has increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics. This is known as antibiotic resistance. This means that antibiotics are becoming less effective in treating bacterial infections, so we are in danger of running out of antibiotics. When this happens patients will be faced with infections that are hard to treat, longer illnesses and increased health care costs. This project employs the innovative Collective Intelligence (CI) methodology to get solution-focused input from the primary stakeholders affected by AMR on the NUI Galway campus (for example, GPs, pharmacists, students, staff and hospital staff). The information gathered will inform the development of a health promotion strategy to address the issue of AMR on campus, which will include the use of posters, leaflets, and a video diary in the Student Health Centre and website updates. The findings will also be disseminated to the Discipline of General Practice teaching staff to inform teaching.
    There are very few, if any, postgraduate conferences in Ireland or the UK that focus specifically on the theme of public law. This project involves organising a postgraduate conference on public law in conjunction with the LL.M in Public Law and the School of Law at NUI Galway. Postgraduate students on the LL.M in Public Law will organise the conference in partnership with staff members and will present their research. Final year undergraduate law students on the BCL programme and LL.B programme at NUI Galway also have an opportunity to join the conference organisation committee and gain valuable experience. This experience will introduce the students to research and open them up to the idea of undertaking postgraduate research at NUI Galway. A number of graduates of the LL.M in Public Law work in public law roles throughout the world. This project will issue an invitation to graduates of the LL.M in Public Law to present their work. This will provide an opportunity for graduates to engage with the University and to share ideas on important issues of Public Law with staff and current students. It will also provide current students with ideas for possible career paths. It is also envisaged that the organising committee will invite a keynote speaker. The conference will be free to attend. The conference proceedings will be available online, ensuring a wide dissemination of the content.
    Noise induced hearing loss is the loss of hearing due to prolonged exposure to loud noises; many people suffer from this and only discover the cause when it is too late. Making people aware of the problem early in life may help prevent hearing loss in the future. This project aims to develop an app to read the noise levels in the current area, tell the user how long they can stay without receiving permanent hearing damage, and notify them when they should take a break or when it is time to leave. The app can provide helpful tips to the user to help them understand how to better protect their hearing, also describing what issues can occur from prolonged exposure to noisy environments. The app will incorporate an online database for the user to keep track of how much noise they are being exposed to each day and for how long. It will be freely available to download to mobile devices including smart phones, tablets and laptops.Students nowadays are exposed to more noise than ever, listening to iPods, working in noisy nightclubs and even construction site noise around campus. This app will give them the tools to look after their hearing and not only understand the risks, but also how to prevent them. There is currently no technology available that provides this information and allows the user to analyse their personal situation this easily. If people are provided with scientific facts at their fingertips they are much more likely to listen, and hopefully continue listening for many more years. A website will be created to store and share statistical evidence from the participants to indicate where noisy places are, what times of the day people are subjected to loud noises, and simple ways to avoid some of these situations.
    Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable devices used to treat sudden cardiac arrests. The aim of this project is to create an iOS app (iPhone and iPad) that will show the locations of nearby AEDs in the west of Ireland and potentially beyond. This app will be the first of its kind in Ireland and will be created through a collaborative process with Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation.Enabling first responders to quickly check the location of nearby AEDs, the app will be an invaluable tool in the event of an emergency requiring the use of an AED. As survival rates following cardiac arrest are directly related to time to resuscitation and in particular defibrillation, a tool that can improve response time will result in increased chance of survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. It is hoped that in compiling the locations and data about each AED, it will be possible to develop a constantly updated database of AEDs distributed across Ireland, which will contribute to the sustainability of the project. This information may inform future investment in AEDs and allow further research into distribution and usage.
    The importance of positive youth mental health is increasingly recognised by young people, parents, educators, medical and health promotion professionals, politicians and society as a whole. This project aims to design and develop a resource pack that will aid secondary schools in planning, organising and executing a Youth Mental Health Week. The pack will contain ideas and resources for small and large group activities to directly promote positive mental health. It is anticipated that the Youth Mental Health Week will be coordinated by transition year students. A series of evidence-based online youth mental health resources will be utilised as part of the group activities. Examples of such online interventions include:ReachOut Ireland mental health information websiteReachOut Central mental health promotion online gameMoodGym Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention Over the course of the week, students will also utilise the 'What’s on your mind?' online resource pack that is provided by the ‘‘seeme’ Scotland’ anti-stigma campaign. In addition, the pack will contain posters advertising mental health services and highlighting mental wellbeing issues relevant to the target population. It will include stickers, leaflets with advice on maintaining mental health support and student designed posters to be used to spark and inspire conversation among students. In its pilot phase, the project will recruit 10 schools to take part from from Galway city and county, and from Sligo town and county, via direct contact with principals and guidance counsellors. Participating schools will be offered advice and mentoring on planning for their Mental Health Week. Mental Health Week will run concurrently in all ten schools. The project will impact on the wider Galway community, as it will challenge young people’s perceptions of mental health, as well as empowering them to discuss the factors affecting their own mental health. It will ultimately build healthier, more emotionally fluent citizens, many of them future NUI Galway students.
    Digitised dictionary resources about early generations of university staff and students are currently not available from any Irish university. Suggesting new ways of achieving and strengthening a university memory, this project aims to construct digitised biographies of the first generations of university students and staff in Galway. This will serve as a valuable database of the academic and service foundations of the University. Ultimately, the Digital Memories project aims to add value to the ability of the university to situate itself in the public domain as a place of agency and public interest. Names for inclusion will refer initially to Queen’s College, Galway (i.e. 1849 up to 1908) before proceeding to early University College, Galway (1909-c.1922), and will be selected on the basis of perceived public interest, availability of sources, and diversity. The first phase of the project will develop roughly 30 – 40 biographical entries, which will contain biographical details, references and images. The material will be available as a free University website resource, which is accessible to students, staff and the general public.Digital Memories will be a knowledge resource about the social classes who studied and worked in the university during the first half century or so. It will generate information for new research and suggest starting points of enquiry. It will enable students and staff to draw upon biographies for teaching or in naming prizes, lecture theatres and promotional events. In addition, it will aid analysis of the interaction between Galway and, for instance, Belfast, Cambridge, or the Sorbonne, offering interesting insight into Galway’s status as a place of learning. The wider community will benefit from Digital Memories by being able to find information for family histories, educational projects and public research purposes.
    Galway boasts an abundance of start-up companies, yet there are extremely limited opportunities for introducing young people to the possibilities of creating innovative products and services and starting a business. In response to this, Exponential was created as a social connector for students, creators, innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs in the Galway region. Meeting on the third Tuesday of every month, Exponential brings together Galway's start-up community at casual monthly meet ups to listen to great speakers and share ideas.Exponential provides a casual, no-pressure environment for students, young entrepreneurs and start-up founders to meet, share, be inspired and bring new ideas to fruition. For students, it provides an opportunity to bounce ideas off other students and seek advice from people who have already gone through the process of taking a product or a service from idea to reality. For established entrepreneurs, it’s a chance to join a collaborative community of like-minded people, get to know the next generation of Galway’s entreprenurs, and connect with the latest technology. Exponential is the first meet up of its kind in the West of Ireland and is already proving to be extremely popular with students and business owners alike.
    This project creates a live mentoring programme for current PhD students, in which recent PhD graduates in English offer support for students still working on their studies. It creates and trains a team of volunteer mentors who offer regular informal contact to PhD students, helping with all aspects of research and the PhD process. Importantly, the mentors function outside of the supervisory and Graduate Research Committee framework to provide a regular sounding board to PhD students.An introductory meeting for all participants established each participant’s needs and matched students with suitable mentors. Regular mentor sharing sessions will be held throughout the year and a final invitation lunch will be held to pool the experiences of all participants and build for the following year. As well as encouraging community feeling and career development for both mentors and postgraduate students, this programme will have a significant impact on postgraduate student co-operation, confidence and connectivity. It is important to recognise that this project formalizes and makes visible activity that at an informal level is already being conducted today. It facilitates however an additional sharing of information, ideas, and support networks across the graduate community. The mentors benefit by receiving recognition and formal ALIVE accreditation for their invaluable volunteering efforts; each PhD student benefits enormously by having regular contact with a mentor who has faced similar challenges, enhancing their university experience and encouraging increased well-being and productivity.
    This project aims to develop a bilingual mathematical walk of the NUI Galway campus, culminating in the development of a mobile app available for students, staff and visitors to the campus. Mathematical walks are meaningful, stimulating, challenging, and engaging activities. These walks invite all people, irrespective of mathematical ability, to participate successfully in mathematical problem solving activities. By integrating ‘outside’ mathematics within ‘inside’ classroom mathematics, this projects hopes to sow the seeds for the development of flexible, creative and future-orientated mathematical thinkers and problem solvers.The development of this bilingual mathematical walk will be the first for NUI Galway and the first to be developed on any third level campus in Ireland. This project is being undertaken with 3rd Year BA in Mathematics and Education student teachers. The project will help prepare student teachers for an extended professionalism in a much wider domain than just the classroom; who can function as effective facilitators of their pupils’ learning; who are committed to professional development; and who are able to engage collaboratively with colleagues and external groups and agencies. As a new public engagement project, Gafa le Mata can also be utilised by NUI Galway for educational and promotional activities.
    Gaming is a huge industry worldwide and offers great employment potential as evidenced by the recent announcement by Galway-based gaming giant EA of 300 additional jobs. This project aims to inform and teach students, staff and the public about game design and how to code a game using the XNA framework. The workshop will cover all aspects of the design and development process of a 2D game for the XBOX 360 with the ultimate goal of encouraging participants with some IT experience to branch into gaming. The project will be comprised of two months of weekly tutorials and workshops and it is envisaged that a few groups who make their own games will be entered into the LIT Gamesfleadh XNA challenge. It is hoped that the workshops will result in the creation of a community of independent games developers in Galway, who may continue offering workshops and tutorials after the initial project is completed. The Galway Games Development Workshop is supported by the NUI Galway Computer Society
    There is a huge shortage of innovative educational resources for Irish-speaking secondary school students and teachers. No video teaching aid is currently available to geography teachers in Ireland. As a result, this project aims to develop an instructional video resource to aid student teachers in the preparation and undertaking of the field study module for Leaving Certificate Geography. The video will be used annually as a core resource for the Geography methodology module on both the NUI Galway DGO (Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas) and PDE (Professional Diploma in Education) Programmes. Available in both English and as Gaeilge, the resource will be used by NUI Galway student teachers while on teaching practice placement. It will also be shared with teachers in cooperating placement schools and will be freely accessible online through www.scoilnet.ie, www.cogg.ie and the iBookstore. This resource could also be of value to the School of Geography & Archaeology who also undertake field studies with undergraduate students. As a result of the skills learnt as part of this project, it will hopefully be the beginning of producing many more resources of this kind going forward.
    This project aims to make it easy, cost effective and safe for teachers to demonstrate scientific experiments in primary and secondary school classrooms in an engaging way. The pioneering ‘Kitchen Chemistry’ project was established two years ago at NUI Galway and involved postgraduate Chemistry students designing a series of simple experiments and developing them into an outreach roadshow for schools. The experiments mainly used basic household materials/chemicals with the goal of not just demonstrating the experiments, but also training teachers in the investigative steps themselves.In an era where funding is restricted for facilitating outreach roadshows and where some innovative experiments are impactful, yet beyond the safety scope of the primary level classroom, this EXPLORE project aims to take six experiments/demonstrations from the Kitchen Chemistry collection and convert them into short video snippets. These short videos known as Sci-Hooks are short science movie snippets that engage learners. Trainee science teachers from the NUI Galway Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDE) will each work on one science hook, of no longer than 2 minutes in duration.Student science teachers will develop their skill set both pedagogically and technologically. The final product will be a valuable resource for current PDE students, future PDE students and the network of teachers which the NUI Galway School of Education is building a rapport with nationally. The project team will apply to host the movie snippets on the national resources website for primary schools and for secondary schools in an effort to promote their use. It is envisaged that these resources will go viral.
    Instant access to video content on mobile devices and computers has become the norm, and health education by video messaging is an increasingly popular method of communication. This project created a short video showing a couple (a male and a female) discussing the merits of going for a sexual health check-up. The male character then goes for the check-up. This will enable NUI Galway students to see what happens at a sexual health check-up. The aim of the video is to take the ‘mystery’ out of going for a sexual health check-up. The usefulness of video in promoting sexual health awareness among NUI Galway students will then be evaluated via focus groups and a short survey measuring the impact the video would have on students’ propensity to have an STI check-up. The bulk of the research will take place around the time of the Students’ Union SHAG Week (Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week), which begins on 11 February 2013.While this video specifically targets students, the video will be available to the wider community. The availability of the video online will ensure a longer shelf-life than non-video health promotion campaigns and allow the project team to track viewing statistics. This project allows for the evaluation of current sexual health awareness amongst NUI Galway students and it may prompt the Student Unions’, Student Health Unit or the University to create additional videos for other health-related awareness campaigns (e.g. mental health, equality, healthy living, alcohol awareness, road safety etc.). The evidence-based research generated from this project will be presented to national level policymakers.
    Supercomputers are big, expensive and need a lot of electricity. This project aims to develop a small low-energy computing cluster for use by NUI Galway students, which will be created by acquiring used laptops from students who are upgrading and then connecting between 10 and 30 of these laptops together. Computing power is a raw resource that various students throughout NUI Galway can benefit from for running software simulations or computation intensive calculations. Laptops consume less energy than desktops or high performance servers making them ideal for distributed or clustered computing. Due to the short lifespan of laptops, students are constantly upgrading laptops, particularly in computing related courses. The students' old laptops then become electrical waste which is expensive to dispose of and recycle. This project hopes to extend the useful life of student laptops by potentially up to 1 year.The first phase of this project will entail the buying of working and/or only lightly damaged laptops from students who have already upgraded laptops at a price up to €150 per machine. The second phase is the construction and commissioning of this cluster which requires no modification of the laptops or hardware, and does not pose an electrical hazard – new software just needs to be installed. The final phase will include the dissemination of this resource to the student body through a public lecture and tutorial and a website to log into the cluster. The project will also make students aware of the huge role NUI Galway plays in Ireland with its high performance ‘Stoney’ cluster which provides Irish universities with a supercomputer to lease via the ICHEC (Irish Centre for High-End Computing).
    This project will introduce a novel science communication video competition for primary and secondary school students, which will run from September to November 2013 and culminate in an exhibition and prize giving event at the Galway Science and Technology Festival. The project was conceived when Enda O’Connell was awarded €500 (which is being reinvested in the project) as a winner of the inaugural Irish “I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here” outreach competition. By participating in this competition, pupils will: (i) explore and discuss the scientific concept in a classroom setting; (ii) investigate the facts and details necessary to convey the concept; (iii) prepare a storyboard and produce a 1-3 minute video with short written description; and (iv) propose how they would like to spend the prize money on science communication, if successful.The competition will be open to primary and secondary schools from Co. Galway as well as to the secondary schools which took part in “I’m a Scientist…” in 2012. Secondary school students will choose from four Natural Science related concepts (Stem Cells, The Environment, , Astrobiology and Evolution), while primary school students will choose from three concepts (Our Bodies, Habitats and Keeping Healthy). Videos will be assessed based on their scientific accuracy, entertainment level, innovation and accessibility to a wide audience. Submissions will include a brief description and a proposal as to how the prize money would be spent communicating science within the school, and this will also form part of the assessment.Videos will be reviewed by a team of NUI Galway researchers and students. Five shortlisted videos from each level (primary and secondary) will then be judged by a panel of prominent Irish and International scientists. The two winning videos will receive €250 to spend as per their proposal, while second and third placed videos will receive scientific equipment and resources to the value of €150 and €100, respectively.The competition aims to involve school children in Science in a fun way, developing their analytical, creative and communication skills, while enabling NUI Galway researchers and students to engage in outreach in an innovative manner. In the case of secondary school participants undecided about their third level options and careers, it will also enable them to become more familiar with NUI Galway and its research and educational strengths.
    Galway is teeming with geological features – in buildings within the city or a little further out at the beaches and cliffs, and also boasts an abundance of zoological and botanical life. This project aims to create one or more field trips that Natural Science students can carry out themselves in and around Galway city. A handbook or webpage will guide the students on this accessible and exciting trip, which will help bring theoretical lecture material to life. The field trip will combine three disciplines of natural science, namely Geology, Zoology and Botany, providing a unique opportunity to see how the disciplines influence each other. Geology will form the backbone of the trip. Depending on the season, the student can add a Zoology and a Botany part to it, which will feature important algae species and certain types of barnacles, crabs etc. Due to high student numbers, field trips can mostly just be carried out for denominated students, and even then it is a hard task to plan the trip and coordinate the whole group. This self-guided field trip makes it possible for every student to get practical experience at a time that suits them. The project group will create a webpage that will contain a mini discussion blog in which students can post additional information, upload pictures they took on their field trip, or correct things which might change over time. Members of the general public who wish to learn more about the geology and biology of the Galway area are also welcome to access the website and go on the field trip.
    There are limited opportunities for students to come together to think critically about issues in social justice and gain awareness about important issues that affect us all, much less generate possible solutions. ‘Students for Health Equality’ is a student-led think tank that engages students in discussing global health and social justice issues and linking with other networks. Regular events will be organised to include keynote speakers delivering information about global health and social justice, as well as interactive round-table discussions led by students. Health and medical students will gain an understanding of their role beyond acting solely as clinicians and the importance of being an advocate in the global community. It is hoped that the sessions will empower students by enabling them to understand and consider issues in a broader scope and through a lens different from their own. ‘Students for Health Equality’ will help connect existing initiatives at NUI Galway and give students and faculty an opportunity to link with others in relevant fields. The project will have an outreach component that may appeal to local secondary school students, interested health professionals including faculty, as well as the general public.
    This project developed a fun, hands-on cellular and molecular biology activity called the Cell Explorers Show for children aged six and up. The show was run on the final day of the Galway Science and Technology Festival and was a great success with 200 children and their parents taking part. The event was structured as an interactive workshop with five work stations. Participants discovered the structure of human cells, observed their own cells under microscopes, built a DNA double helix and extracted DNA from cells.The project built on the success of the initial EXPLORE-funded Cell Explorers project, which carried out molecular and cellular biology outreach activities with a local primary school in summer 2012. These primary school students took part in the Galway Science and Technology Festival as part of this initial project and went on to win the General Science Award for school exhibits.The Cell Explorers Show was designed and implemented by NUI Galway Biochemistry undergraduate and postgraduate students and is a sustainable activity that can be easily replicated. The project team is continuing its outreach work with local primary school students through school visits and the NUI Galway Youth Academy. The Cell EXPLORERS programme is also being funded by grants from the Biochemical Society and the Royal Dublin Society.
    The rapidly growing Irish energy industry offers promising employment prospects and is a key player in the roll out of renewable energy sources in this country. Now in its third year, NUI Galway Energy Night 2013 is the only student-run energy forum in Ireland and one of the first in Europe, with the previous two events each attracting 300 attendees. The Great Energy Debate will be the focal point of NUIG Energy Night 2013. This will see leaders from the energy industry go head to head with their visions for the future of energy in Ireland in this lively debate, which will be opened to questions from the floor. This is the first time that energy industry leaders will participate in an unscripted face-to-face public debate on Ireland's energy future. It is expected that the addition of this debate will further increase student enthusiasm for this popular event.NUI Galway Energy Night 2013 will take place on Thursday, 28 February in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway and will also include a Career and Industry Fair, which was supported by EXPLORE in 2012, and a Research Showcase. The aim of this project is to: - Bring together students from diverse backgrounds from all over Ireland with a shared passion for energy - Give students the opportunity to directly question and interact with Ireland's energy decision makers - Confirm NUI Galway Energy Night's place as Ireland's premier fact-based energy forum - Give students experience of organising large interdisciplinary events - Improve students’ career prospects through contact with industry - Engender understanding among students and the public of the multi-faceted energy sector and their role within it
    Few universities have college or community blogs specifically for their PhD students. Thesis Talk is a dedicated NUI Galway blog aimed at all research students and written by PhD candidates from the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies (CASSCS). Chronicling the varying experiences of the College’s research students, Thesis Talk aims to build a community among various disciplines on campus, and with other relevant parties online. Thesis Talk provides a platform for research students to describe their PhD experience to date, share examples about/from their own projects, provide feedback from conferences they’ve attended, share resources, and ask the community questions or give tips and advice. Thesis talk will provide the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies with more web presence. It is an opportunity for NUI Galway to join the few universities making a presence on the web in this way and to be at the forefront of how a university blog can present itself and participate in an online community.
    NUI Galway students currently have limited options available to them if they wish to advertise used products/services for sale on campus. This project aims to change this by developing ‘UniDeal’, an online classified ads website that is specifically targeted at NUI Galway students. UniDeal will help improve the exchange and reuse of resources among students, which will lower their cost of living and improve their overall wellbeing. The site will be designed to meet students’ needs and contain relevant categories of products/services. Capitalising on the high internet and mobile device usage on campus, UniDeal will make it much more effective for students to communicate with one another when buying and selling. After an initial trial period at NUI Galway, it is hoped that UniDeal will be rolled out to other third level institutions.
    Unemployment, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and dependence on fossil fuels are three key issues that threaten the sustainability, progress, and health of Western countries. Spurred on by these issues, this project aims to investigate and produce a prototype of a human powered vehicle for use by individuals and commercial entities in urban areas. Our bodies could never generate enough power to drive our power plants, yet there are still ways that our energy can be put to great use. Interest in cycling as a mode of transport continues to grow, however the mainstream bicycle is not the most efficient design for converting human mechanical energy into motion. The project team will first investigate average human power output and the evolution of human powered vehicles, and then a prototype will be designed and constructed. This prototype must be capable of meeting certain parameters including ease of use, ability to carry a payload efficiently, weather protection and others yet to be determined. A community outreach exhibition will be arranged at the end of the project to provide members of the public, local delivery service businesses, as well as students and staff, with hard data concerning the costs and efficiencies of replacing fossil-fuelled vehicles with human powered vehicles (including the possibility of electric assist).
    The case method requires law students to analyse how judges have applied the law to particular people with particular legal issues. In most law schools, this is a didactic process with lecturers as the experts at the centre of the learning process. This project aimed to disrupt this process by facilitating and encouraging undergraduate students at the NUI Galway School of Law to teach each other about their favourite seminal cases in law. Utilising the latest technology, this project has re-invigorated the case method and piloted a new learning model by placing students at the centre of the learning process.Staff-student workshops were organised to enable students to discuss the leading legal cases they find most interesting and significant. Interactive learning was stimulated at these workshops by staff who posed discursive questions and then helped students to thrash out key issues in a supportive environment. This format allowed for unstructured learning so that unplanned topics could be raised and discussed. Informed by this discussion and armed with ideas, students then used video cameras and an iPad to record short pithy case-notes. The videos were shared by the students in class and they will be uploaded to the electronic learning environment Blackboard as a teaching aid for other students.

    2012

    Spanning 250 acres, NUI Galway’s extensive campus can often present navigation challenges for new and visiting students and staff, particularly when construction projects are underway. This EXPLORE project aims to develop a mobile and a web application for showing students and staff around the NUI Galway campus. The user will enter their position (e.g. CT102) and destination (e.g. Cairnes Theatre) and the application will calculate the most efficient path. It is anticipated that along the path users can tap on the map and a picture of the closest landmark/room number will be shown to help them find their way. Ultimately, students can enter their timetable and it will automatically direct them from lecture to lecture. Information about current and upcoming events will also ultimately be available on the map.
    Primary school students often have a limited understanding of biological science and lack role models of real people with careers in science. This EXPLORE project has created a pilot model for outreach activity in cellular biology and biotechnology for primary school children in 4th-6th class. Designed and delivered by 1st, 2nd and 4th year NUI Galway biotechnology and biomedical students, the initiative stimulated civic engagement among students towards schools. It comprised four one-hour sessions and was run in collaboration with the Galway Educate Together National School. The NUI Galway students involved benefited from peer learning and gained valuable experience, which will be particularly relevant to those interested in a career in teaching or a career involving the development of scientific outreach activities. The outreach activities will be refined and extended next year, and possibly expanded to include a secondary school format at a later date. The outreach programme was jointly presented by the school children and the outreach team at the Galway Science and Technology School Exhibition in November 2012.
    Undergraduate students often have limited opportunities to attend conferences relating to their area of study. This project piloted a model where an undergraduate student and an academic attended Europe’s largest general science conference, Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF), as a collaborative team and shared the conference highlights with the NUI Galway undergraduate, academic and research communities.The student provided daily conference updates via social media, provided a description of her first experience of attending a large scientific conference and wrote a report on the knowledge and ideas presented at the conference. The report has been made available via a number of websites and publications, and will also be distributed to 1st and 2nd year biotechnology students by staff. The staff member mentored the student and disseminated the conference updates among the relevant scientific community at NUI Galway. Importantly, the conference highlights are also being used to update the staff partner’s lecture content for the Biotechnology degree.Ultimately, it is hoped that one final-year Biochemistry/Biotechnology student will be sent to the Euroscience Open Forum every two years as a prize in a new competition. This approach will help stimulate the involvement of 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in keeping up to date with scientific questions relevant to our society and engage them in academic writing.About Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) is the largest, general science conference in Europe. In 2012, ESOF took place in Dublin from 11-15 July, within the framework of the Dublin City of Science Festival.Held in a leading European city every two years, ESOF aims to: - Showcase the latest advances in science and technology - Promote a dialogue on the role of science and technology in society and public policy - Stimulate and provoke public interest, excitement and debate about science and technology.ESOF incorporates a wide range of seminars, workshops and debates on the latest science and technology, a media programme, a careers programme, a Science-2-Business programme, a research showcase and many other activities.
    In order to address the issues facing Postgraduate students at NUI Galway in the most effective way, this project underscored the areas and facilities in which Postgraduate students felt were most lacking and provided a strategy document to inspire change. Primarily an investigation of student health and well being, the project concluded with a strategy document that was presented to the Student Union and to Graduate Studies. Through constructing a thorough survey instrument including a generic instrument for psychometric testing, delivering the survey face to face and analysing the data to a publishable standard, this project highlighted a new and innovative strategy to underscore issues and provide pragmatic and deliverable solutions. The ultimate aim was that the study’s recommendations will be implemented. It is hoped that the same survey will be carried out annually to chart the changes in Postgraduate student’s attitudes relative to the successful implementation of the recommendations.
    Approximately 30% of NUI Galway staff and students currently drive to campus and this level of driving is damaging to the environment, public health and personal finances. In order to encourage a reduction in the numbers of drivers at NUI Galway, this project developed a user-friendly printed and online map of sustainable transport options for getting to campus, including: (i)On-campus facilities: bicycle parking, cycle paths, footpaths, showering facilities (ii)Off-campus facilities: cycle lanes, bus routes (iii)Park and ride facilities. A wide-ranging survey on travel habits to NUI Galway was also carried out as part of this project to enable optimisation of the sustainable transport map and provide recommendations for the University.
    A considerable amount of research is currently being undertaken at NUI Galway in the field of American Studies. This project established the Galway American Studies Forum (GASF) to bring together NUI Galway researchers in the field of American Studies for the first time, in a regular forum, to discuss emerging research and promote inter-disciplinarity. Through regular meetings, presentations, guest speakers and an annual conference, the GASF provides an outlet for researchers in this field to learn from others, network, and explore new avenues of research. The forum also regularly hosts practical information sessions of relevance on topics ranging from Fulbright Scholarships to research trips in the US.The forum is informal, collaborative and supportive. The emphasis is on encouraging post-graduate researchers to interact with established academics. Meetings are peer-led, thematic, and encourage informal debate and full participation. The GASF will help post-graduate students build the required confidence to disseminate their research further afield, and enable the promotion of NUI Galway as a centre of excellence for the field.
    Ireland’s vibrant energy sector offers a myriad of opportunities to boost the economy through job creation. With the aim of bringing renowned energy experts together under one roof, NUI Galway students and researchers from a variety of disciplines organised an on-campus Energy Night event on 6 March 2012. Providing an invaluable opportunity for students, academics and business people to network and collaborate, the event comprised a career and industry fair featuring prominent energy employers, a research showcase, a panel discussion and a networking reception. NUIG Energy Night 2012 was a huge success with over 300 delegates in attendance, and the organisers’ hope is that it will become the premier recruiting and networking event in the Irish energy sector.
    Business is changing. For seasoned entrepreneurs to GenY entrepreneurs, also referred to as ‘millennials’, the paradigm is constantly shifting and evolving. There is much the business community, student community and budding entrepreneurs can learn from the attitudes and perspectives of successful and emerging leaders. How do they differentiate, achieve or deal with failure? With a primary focus on the psychology of the disruptor, innovator or thought leader, The New Businessman / The New Businesswoman website explores their decision making processes and attitudes about the key decisions they make to drive innovation and change. In a series of video interviews, this project aligns itself with schools of psychology, business and industry and online audience participation to maximise learning potential and share insight.Website: www.thenewbusinessman.com
    Frequently, 1st year students attend their lab sessions without any preparation – with the result that they struggle to successfully complete the practical and they can miss important concepts. This project provided Science, Medicine and Engineering students with three short videos to strengthen their understanding of molecular sciences, improve the first year experience and help students progress to 2nd year, and ultimately further the creation of a prosperous scientific community within NUI Galway. The videos tied together the theory and practical aspects of lab work in easy-to-follow demonstrations, conducted by Alison, a fellow 1st year student. In addition to helping students become comfortable with the practical before their lab session, the videos acted as a useful revision guide for both the practical and theory exams.
    Many students are interested in becoming involved in natural history documentary making and wildlife photography on completing their Zoology degrees, yet the opportunity to gain experience in film making is rare. This project created a series of video podcasts (or vodcasts) that were made available to Zoology students on Blackboard.The first videos concentrated on rodent handling (wood mouse and squirrel), mammal identification and mammal tracking. Each vodcast was designed, written, directed, filmed and edited by the EXPLORE team. As well as developing students’ film making skills, this project brought important field techniques, which are often difficult to impart to large groups outdoors, to a broad audience of undergraduates.
    Video as a communications tool is becoming more and more important. With a little training, graduates can easily use video to help them stand out when applying for a job or for funding. Working in conjunction with NUI Galway’s Film Soc; the School of Education; the College of Business, Public Policy & Law; the AV Department and local media consultants Staunton Media, this EXPLORE project developed a hands-on one-day course in the art of video production for the web for NUIG students and staff.The course was run twice in March 2012 and was facilitated by an NUI Galway student and Staunton Media. Participants were taught how to shoot, edit and upload video for the web using free and readily available software in order to get messages across more effectively, promote ideas, products or causes, and make job applications stand out. All participants left the course having made a short video and feedback from the course has been very positive.The School of Education at NUI Galway kindly provided the Apple Macintosh computers and video editing software (iMovie) used in this course, which are located in the School of Education's ‘Apple iPedagogy Learning Environment/Apple Regional Training Centre’ room on campus.
    With employability being a hot topic and video growing in popularity as a communications tool, this project developed an engaging video to showcase NUI Galway’s LLM (Master of Laws) in Public Law to potential students and employers.Via focus groups, current students talked about what they believed to be the most advantageous aspects of the course, while past students provided details of how skills garnered from the course helped them secure employment. Students also interviewed staff briefly about their individual modules. In addition to promoting the LLM programme, the Law School and NUI Galway, the video provided staff with up-to-date input to ensure their courses contained the ideal balance between learning objectives and employability. The video also helped maintain links with graduates and ensured that their role as key stakeholders is recognised.
    The NUI Galway campus is home to a wide variety of trees that contribute greatly to the university’s attractive environment and provide an untapped resource for research and learning. This project aims to create an online interactive map of the trees on the main NUI Galway campus. A basic mobile app will also be created to enable students, staff and the public to identify trees while walking through campus.Building on the university’s existing basic tree inventory, this project will provide detailed information on each tree including GPS coordinates, a photograph, height and diameter estimates, species identification and a description. Where possible, the date of planting / age of the tree will be also included.The map is expected to form an invaluable learning tool for environmental science and other environmental courses, and may help further research into the carbon syncing potential of trees on campus. It will also aid environmental protection at NUI Galway by recognising the importance of protecting trees on campus.
    Exploring the role of language in an increasingly visual culture, this project staged a visual exhibition at NUI Galway’s Academic Writing Centre in the James Hardiman Library about the changing meanings of commonly used words. Artists provided a visual commentary on these changes, drawing attention to the importance of words and to the fact that their meanings are historically and culturally conditioned. Words such as ‘excellence’, ‘catastrophe’, or ‘glamour’, to give a few examples, have a rich and surprising history which is recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary. The word ‘glamour’, now associated primarily with pop culture, used to mean enchantment. Tennyson defined glamour as a ‘species of witchcraft’. At its source, moreover, ‘glamour’ is a corrupt form of ‘grammar’.

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