Minister Simon Harris Announces new upskilling courses for staff in Higher Education

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 20 December, 2023

open courses

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, in conjunction with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Higher Education Authority, has today announced a new selection of Open Courses for professional development.

These courses will be developed in partnership with institutions across Ireland.

Minister Harris highlighted the importance of this initiative, stating “These Open Courses reflect our commitment to elevating the standard of teaching and learning in Ireland’s higher education sector, ensuring that our educators are at the forefront of global best practices and that the student experience is second to none.

“These courses will assist in future-proofing the educational landscape in Ireland. By embracing such innovative and forward-thinking initiatives in areas such as artificial intelligence, recognition of prior learning and the circular economy, we are paving the way for a more dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable higher education system.

“By empowering staff with the right skills, our higher education institutions can enhance their productivity, foster innovation, and ensure we continue to produce high quality graduates.”

Ten new Open Courses are being announced spanning a range of areas such as: the use of technologies to support learner inclusion; recognition of prior learning; cyber-security awareness; artificial intelligence; circular economy and sustainable development

This selection of Open Courses is a strategic response to elevate the professional development landscape for academic staff across Ireland, providing them with the tools and insights necessary to excel in a rapidly evolving educational environment. These Open Courses, aligned with the National Professional Development Framework for all Staff who Teach in Higher Education, continue to build on the success of previous years, supporting over 5,000 professional development digital badges and training more than 600 facilitators since 2017.

CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall, said “The HEA is committed to empowering educators through these innovative Open Courses. Each course is a step forward in enhancing the pedagogical skills of our educators and maintaining Ireland’s reputation for high-quality education.”

Professor Marie Clarke, chairperson of the National Forum, added “These Open Courses represent the forefront of educational innovation, and we are excited to see how they will contribute to the ongoing enhancement of teaching and learning within the sector.”

Set to launch from January 2024, with rollouts scheduled for the spring and autumn of the same year, these courses represent a significant step towards fostering a culture of professional growth and pedagogical advancement in higher education teaching. For more information on the Open Courses and future enrolment, please visit

Notes to Editor:

The Open Courses being announced today are as follows:


Institution Open Course
Dublin City University. Inclusive Technology to Enable and Include All Learners on the Education Journey
National RPL in Higher Education Project Recognition of Prior Learning
MTU & Cyber Skills Cybersecurity Awareness for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Munster Technological University Advancing Excellence in Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship Education
Trinity College Dublin GenAI for Teaching and Learning: How to do it right!
Trinity College Dublin Supporting a Whole Campus Approach to a Health Promoting University
ATU Embedding the SDGs across the Curriculum
University College Cork Online Teaching: A Flipped Classroom Approach
Atlantic Technological University An Introduction to Education for a Circular Built Environment
University College Dublin & AHEAD Universal Design in Teaching & Learning



More: Minister for Further and Higher Education, minister simon harris, staff, upskilling

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