Deirdre Horgan

Deirdre Horgan


Teaching interests


My research–led teaching interests have focused on childhood social policy issues including child welfare and protection, policy and practice responses to child migration, children’s rights and participation, and children’s research methods. I teach Social Policy across undergraduate and postgraduate level across a range of programmes within and outside the School of Applied Social Studies, and have extensive experience in lecturing to a range of student groups – Undergraduate and Postgraduate, both small and large, across academic and professional programmes. As such, my teaching roles and responsibilities cross a wide range of programmes and student groups requiring a variety of teaching approaches. I am heavily involved in professional education. I have been Deputy Director of the multi-disciplinary BA (Early Years and Childhood), involving the Schools of Applied Social Studies, Applied Psychology and Education, at UCC since its inception in 1996 and was Director of the BA (EYCS) from 2012-2014. I am currently leading a change process on the Degree to a 4 year programme for Department of Education & Skills ELC Professional Awards purposes. Programmes to which I contribute: Bachelor (Early Years and Childhood Studies) SS1006, SS2401, SS3403 Bachelor of Social Science – SS2006 & SS3031, Bachelor of Social Work – SS2208, Masters Social Policy (Co-ordinator Children and Young People module) SS6316 Masters Public Health Nursing – SS6000 Masters in Criminology – CR6012 Doctorate in Social Science- workshop on child participatory research methodologies I have supervised 3 PhDs and 12 Masters theses to completion and am currently supervising 3 PhD’s and 1 Masters. I have been Internal examiner for 4 PhD theses at UCC. I am also a friendly reader in the School for PhD theses which are nearing submission.

Describe your teaching philosophy


My Teaching and Learning philosophy is underpinned by Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which enshrines children’s right to participate in decisions in their lives. This has hugely influenced my teaching objectives and style which attempts to embed a child rights perspective in the students I teach from across a number of disciplines – social policy, social work, early years and childhood. I have completed the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Teaching and Learning offered by the Office of the Vice-President for Teaching & Learning. Technology has assisted me in developing my teaching and learning practice through enabling a greater variety of ways of engaging with students. It helps to keep lectures which are two hours duration fresh and interesting. It has also allowed me to be more creative in my assessment techniques and facilitated students to demonstrate their learning in ways other than the traditional essay/exam format.

What technology do you use?


Blackboard Email Powerpoint YouTube Online Blogs Online Discussion Boards Padlet

How do you use this technology?


I am a member of the SPEEDS committee in the School and strongly engaged in using digital technologies to support my teaching in the form of: • Blackboard for online group discussions of set topics among students, Blog assignments, and for posting lecture notes, • YouTube resources for classroom teaching, • Padlet as a repository of a wide range of reading and audio visual supports for students, • PollEverywhere to gather live responses to issues, identify gaps in understanding and generate discussion in class. I work with UCC support services, in particular Instructional Designers in the Technology Enhanced Learning team at the Office of the Vice-President for Teaching & Learning. Specific tool used - Online blog assignment I introduced a blog assignment on a second year undergraduate module (SS2401) which had been assessed by exam only previously. Students had been scoring below average on this module despite good engagement in lectures. I decided to introduce a blog assignment early in the Semester to ensure that students were engaging with essential reading and thinking about some key concepts for the module. The assignment comprised the following: Students were asked to listen to a podcast from the BBC Thinking Allowed series. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0717b5n The first 9 minutes examines the issue of Refusing Adulthood: How young people feel about being poor. Having listened to this, read the associated article by Farthing 'What's wrong with being poor?' in Children and Society (2016) which is mentioned in the podcast. The article is posted on Blackboard. Post a 300 word comment on the issues, in particular how young people living in low-income neighbourhoods problematise their own lives. The discussion was live for 2 weeks. Student performance on the module has improved with better marks overall but importantly the blog proved to be a really effective way of engaging the students early on in the module.

What are the advantages to using this technology?


Teaching effectiveness - The modules on which I teach are evaluated highly by participating students both through my own end of Semester evaluations and the CACSSS annual evaluation exercises. I feel the use of technology has greatly enhanced my teaching. Increasingly we are recognising students as visual learners. In the School of Applied Social Studies we have a diverse student group comprising DARE, HEAR, CAO and mature students. Technology has proven to be something which all students are engaging with. My teaching style is participatory and the use of technology has facilitated classroom discussion for example, using YouTube clips in lectures to demonstrate how policies (eg., United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) can be presented in child-friendly ways. This generated lively discussions about how very young children can engage with and influence policy directly impacting on their everyday lives such as care, education, public spaces and places etc. Assessment practices - I introduced a blog assignment on a second year undergraduate module which had been assessed by exam only previously. Students were asked to: 1. listen to a podcast from the BBC Thinking Allowed series. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0717b5n and having listened to this, read an associated article which is mentioned in the podcast. 2. Post a 300 word comment on the issues, in particular how young people living in low-income neighbourhoods problematise their own lives. I would definitely develop the format and weighting of this going forward and look at ways of introducing more online assignments across other modules. Impact on professional relationships with students and colleagues – I have found that technology leads to ease of communication and better and more efficient working practices. With students I use a Frequently Asked Questions format which is updated throughout the year to deal with common issues arising for students eg., how to approach essay writing. With staff and research colleagues I use shared folders on OneDrive as a tool for developing research materials - interview templates, questionnaires, mapping routes for walking tours with children; as a repository for fieldwork data - digital recordings of interviews, photographs, fieldwork notes; and as a place to share findings - developments of conference papers, journal articles etc. I also regularly use Skype for supervision with PhD students who are living quite a distance from UCC I also use Skype for a Horizon 2020 European research project (IMMERSE) on which I am co-investigator involving 6 European partners in Greece, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany. We hold regular Skype meetings with all the partners for planning and evaluation purposes. I have also used Skype for interviewing applicants for a PostDoc position

What are the disadvantages to using this technology?


One disadvantage I encountered was in attempting to use PollEverywhere with a large student group of 100. I found it was not possible to do this without payment. Despite having it set up for use I did not proceed with it this year but will look at ways of developing it for use within lectures – for example asking a cohort within the large student group to take the poll.The SPEEDS training I have engaged with which I have found particularly helpful were: Designing good powerpoint and Prezi presentations, and Recording Basics (tour of the studio and an overview of an editing tool).

Which training resources helped you in this work?


The SPEEDS training I have engaged with which I have found particularly helpful were: Designing good powerpoint and Prezi presentations, and Recording Basics (tour of the studio and an overview of an editing tool).

Funded by


Speeds HEA
Speeds HEA
Speeds HEA