Job Opportunity – Full Stack Developer

Post: Full Stack Developer
Contract Duration: 4 months full time
Department: Learnovate Centre, School of Computer Science and Statistics
Salary: Researcher Scale at a point commensurate with qualifications and experience
 

Summary

The Learnovate Centre is an industry-led research centre in educational technology. Our multi-disciplinary team works closely with our industry partners to deliver innovative learning technologies in the areas of mobile & collaborative learning, social & informal learning, immersive learning, and metrics & assessment.

We are looking for an experienced full stack developer to help us apply our cutting edge research in the development of innovative EdTech applications. We are looking for someone who will take on new challenges, and grow with our team.

Principal Duties:

  • Build innovative web-based research demonstrators using frontend and backend technologies as well as web services
  • Development for web, mobile and tablet apps
  • Research and integration of open-source and bespoke technology solutions into engaging and innovative applications for next generation EdTech
  • Work as part of a dynamic team with a willingness to take on new tasks and learn new skills
  • Participate actively in a multidisciplinary team to design, build, and deploy novel educational technology demonstrators. You will contribute to software development, user interface design, scalable system architectures, and efficient ways to deploy these new technologies
  • Work in especially close collaboration with the Pedagogy and UX team
  • Meet and liaise with Industry Partners
  • Write and manage technical reports

Key Requirements:

  • Minimum of 2 years software development experience in an academic or industrial R&D setting (essential)
  • Proven track record in development of user facing applications
  • Degree in relevant technical discipline (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, etc.) or equivalent industry experience
  • System development and integration experience with one or more of the following:
    – Web application development
    – Mobile development
  • Experience with technologies including Javascript (Node.js, Angular, Apache Cordova), CSS, HTML, Java, Databases (SQL and NoSQL)
  • Excellent analytical and software design skills
  • Enthusiastic and structured approach to systems development and testing
  • Excellent problem solving abilities
  • Fluent in English with excellent verbal and presentation skills
  • Excellent written skills, experience in technical writing an advantage
  • Proven ability to prioritise own workload and work to exacting deadlines
  • Flexible and adaptable in responding to stakeholder needs
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to be a team player who is able to take responsibility to contribute to the overall success of the multidisciplinary team
  • Desire to learn about new products, technologies and keep abreast of new product and technical developments
  • Work well in both a team environment and independently.

Desirable:

  • Experience developing innovative educational technology solutions would be a significant advantage
  • Experience with development of apps for iOS, Android or Windows
  • Experience with Service Oriented Architectures and Web Service Integration
  • Experience with hybrid app platforms and technologies
  • Cloud hosting providers (AWS, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure)
  • Enthusiasm for the commercialisation of research.
  • Familiarity with agile development methodologies

Background to the Post

The Learnovate Centre is an Enterprise Ireland/IDA funded centre of excellence in learning technologies. The centre brings together state of the art research from our academic partners (Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, and Waterford Institute of Technology) with the real world business problems of our industry partners. Through focussing on the following four research themes the centre aims to develop innovative industry led eLearning solutions to benefit the Irish eLearning industry.

  • Social and informal learning
  • Mobile and collaborative learning
  • Immersive learning
  • Metrics and assessment

Department Summary

The School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin offers a high quality educational experience to undergraduate and postgraduate students along with exceptional research opportunities for professionals in the fields of computer science and statistics. The school is proud of its reputation as an innovative and energetic centre for study and research.

The research interests of the school are wide and varied, ranging from the theoretical to the practical. The schools researchers are at the cutting-edge of their disciplines, working on prestigious research projects with other professionals in their fields, and with access to significant public and private funding and industry support.

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland and one of the older universities of Western Europe. On today’s campus, state-of-the-art libraries, laboratories and IT facilities, stand alongside historic buildings on a city-centre 47-acre campus. Trinity College Dublin is currently ranked 43rd in the top world universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement Global University Rankings 2009 and 13th in Europe. Trinity College Dublin offers a unique educational experience across a range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science and human, social and health sciences. As Ireland’s premier university, the pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education. TCD has an outstanding record of publications in high-impact journals, and a track record in winning research funding which is among the best in the country. TCD has developed significant international strength in its research in eight major themes which include globalisation; cancer; genetics; neuroscience; immunology and infection; communications and intelligent systems; nano and materials science as well as Irish culture and the creative arts. TCD aims to become the world reference point in at least one of these areas of research in the next 10 years

Application Procedure

Candidates are asked to submit a covering letter and a full CV to include the names and contact details of 3 referees (email addresses if possible) to:

Brenda McGuirk, Programme Manager,
Learnovate Centre,
School of Computer Science and Statistics,
Trinity College,
Dublin

Tel: +353-1-896- 4910

Email: brenda.mcguirk@learnovatecentre.org
Please also send a copy to: info@learnovatecentre.org

Welcome! to our 4 new team members.

We are very pleased to welcome four additional team members to Learnovate, The new team members strengthen our team in the areas of software development and UI/UX and is the result of an increase in the amount of innovation projects moving through the centre.

Team4

Left to right James Coll, with over ten years experience, joins us in the role of software developer to work on our H2020 Develop project. Luciana Medeiros, is a talented UI/UX designer and will work with the core team. Fiona McAndrew is also a talented UI/UX designer she will work across the Develop project and Core projects. Arnaud Letondor has recently worked as a software developer in Luxembourg and joins the core research team in the same role.
For more information on our new team members visit our team page at http://www.learnovatecentre.org/about-us/our-team/#/

Improving Performance Improvement (3): What do employees need to strive for improvement?

By Mirjam Neelen

I wrote two previous blogs (1, 2) on improving performance improvement. One of the questions that came out of the second one was:

What do employees need to truly strive to for performance improvement?

I actually regret asking the question in the first place because when I started my quest to find an answer, I felt that I had opened up a can of worms. Someone could write their PhD thesis on this (and that someone won’t be me).

Let’s assume – for now – that we live in a perfect world and that the goals of our organisation and our own individual performance goals are perfectly aligned (please try not to laugh). Then what do we, as employees, need in order to “go for it”?

Looking at studies on performance improvement for individual employees, there seem to be certain performance drivers, such as employee engagement (e.g. Markos and Sridevi., 2010, Gruman and Saks, 2011), intrinsic motivation (Cerasoli, Nicklin, & Ford, 2014), extrinsic incentives (Condly, Clark, & Stolovich., 2003), and recognition (Luthans, 2000).

First, I looked at employee engagement because it became clear to me that we can consider the other drivers of performance improvement to be part of employee engagement. However, I quickly hit a brick wall. There’s a lot of controversy with regards to the definition of employee engagement. Gruman and Saks (2011) say that “there are numerous definitions of the construct, but that they all agree that employee engagement is desirable, has an organisational purpose, and has both psychological and behavioral facets in that it involves energy, enthusiasm, and focussed effort” (p.125). Not really a good definition, let alone an “operationalisable” one. Markos and Sridevi (2010) list various definitions, agree that we need a clear one, but leave it at that. They also state that we need dimensions of employee engagement in order to be able to measure it. As they say: “what you can’t measure, you can’t manage” (p.91).

So, with regards to employee engagement I left feeling quite empty handed. After all, it’s basically impossible to understand the impact of employee engagement if there’s no consensus on what engagement actually is. So let’s move on to some other, hopefully more usable, performance drivers. Perhaps intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives can shine more light on the question on what employees need to strive to improve their performance.

Cerasoli and colleagues (2014) carried out a meta-analysis of 40 years of research on the question of whether providing extrinsic incentives eats away at intrinsic motivation. The authors explain that extrinsic motivation is directed by the prospect of “instrumental gain and loss”. In other words, this type of motivation is driven by external incentives such as promotions, grades, awards, health benefits, praise, recognition, and so forth. In contrast, intrinsic motivation is driven by “internal” rewards. To put in in very simple terms, it means to be engaged for its very own sake because it feels good or right.

Cerasoli et al’s analysis shows that people perform relatively well when they’re enjoying something. They also found that if extrinsic incentives are present but only indirectly relate to performance (e.g., one’s base salary), intrinsic motivation better predicts performance than extrinsic incentives. So, to what extent you like a task better predicts your performance than your monthly salary. However, and now it gets interesting, when incentives are directly related to your performance, for example sales commission, intrinsic motivation is a poorer predictor of performance. So, you don’t necessarily need to like to sell the stuff that you’re selling. You can do fine, as long as you’re getting your commission. Last but not least, everyone seems to like incentives because they always boost the link between intrinsic motivation and performance. This effect was again stronger when incentives were directly related to performance.

We’re not there yet. It gets more complicated (but hey, we’re a complicated species). The researchers also found that “intrinsic motivation mattered more for quality than extrinsic incentives and extrinsic incentives explained more of the variance in quantity performance criteria than did intrinsic motivation” (p. 17). This basically means that, if we get a bonus of some sort we’ll deliver more but not necessarily better stuff.

While Cerasoli et al looked at individual performance, Condly, Clark, and Stolovich (2003) looked at teams. They evaluated 45 studies on the use of financial incentives specifically to improve performance.  Their analysis shows that team-focussed incentives, where the team is rewarded for increased performance, had way more impact on performance than individual-focussed incentives. The authors explain this phenomenon through Bandura’s research on social loafing. Bandura basically says that some individuals will put in less effort into team performance when they know they will be assessed as individuals. The idea is that this social loafing can be eliminated almost completely by giving incentives to the team instead of the individual, while still assessing the individual on their own performance. I like that idea somehow.

After looking at employee engagement, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives, what’s left is recognition. Luthans (2000) states that employees experience a pat on the back as a meaningful incentive. Some “pat on the back” examples are a manager:

  1. personally congratulating an employee for a job well done.
  2. writing a personal note for good performance.
  3. publicly recognising an employee for good performance.
  4. holding morale-building meetings to celebrate successes.

The first three, à la, the fourth one, really? Are there people out there who feel sincerely recognised through these events? I know I don’t. Honestly, I usually find them to be one big charade. But my prickly character might play a role in that.

So? Where are we?

Employee engagement is out for now. Not well defined, not sure what it means, no idea how to measure it. The other thing – no surprise really – is that we can conclude that highly intrinsically motivated people perform quite well. Forgive me for wondering what causes these people to be so highly intrinsically motivated? Could it be their strong performance perhaps? The fact that they experience success? Just asking.

Also, we all seem to like extrinsic incentives because they generally strengthen the link between intrinsic motivation and performance. This is especially the case if that extrinsic incentive is directly related to performance (sales commission type of stuff). Keep in mind that extrinsic incentives only predict performance better than intrinsic motivation if the extrinsic incentive is directly related to performance. Team-focussed financial incentives outperform individual ones (I actually love this one. Long live team work!). And, last but not least keep patting those backs to boost that performance (morale events where CEOs perform their favourite Michael Jackson act not required if you ask me)!

References

Cerasoli, C.P., Nicklin, J.M., Ford, M.T., (2014). Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives Jointly Predict Performance: A 40-Year Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035661. Retrieved from http://unotes.hartford.edu/announcements/images/2014_03_04_Cerasoli_and_Nicklin_publish_in_Psychological_Bulletin_.pdf.

Condly, S.J., Clark, R.E., & Stolovitch, H.D., (2003). The Effects of Incentives on Workplace Performance: A Meta-analytic Review of Research Studies. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 16(3) p. 46-63. Retrieved from http://snowfly.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Vol16_03_46condly.pdf.

Gruman, J.A., & Saks., A.M., (2011). Performance management and employee engagement. Human Resource Management Review, 21, p. 123-136. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?url=http://www.academia.edu/download/44319646/1-s2.0-S1053482210000409-main.pdf&hl=en&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm39sUOlOY05ugUiPcuPO-lVDcECMQ&nossl=1&oi=scholarr.

Luthans, K., (2000). Recognition: A Powerful but often Overlooked Leadership Tool to Improve Employee Performance. The Journal of Leadership Studies, 7, p. 31-39. Retrieved from http://jlo.sagepub.com/content/7/1/31.full.pdf.

Markos, S., & Sridevi, M.S., (2010). Employee Engagement: The Key to Improving Performance. International Journal of Business and Management, (5) 12, p. 89-96. Retrieved from http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijbm/article/viewFile/6745/6332.

Job Opportunity – Learning Design Expert

Post: Learning Design Expert
Department: Learnovate Centre, School of Computer Science and Statistics
Salary: Researcher Scale at a point commensurate with qualifications and experience
Closing Date: 19th October 2016

 

Summary

Candidates are invited to apply for the position of Learning Design Expert in the Learnovate Centre. This is a senior role, working in a multi-disciplinary team in a dynamic environment. Projects range across sectors and types including developing innovative next-generation learning technology demonstrators and consultative funded projects working directly with industry.

Principal Duties:

  • Leading the learning design/instructional design components of projects
  • Working with industry partners to provide detailed specifications and requirements
  • Designing evidence-based learning strategies and approaches
  • Creating relevant use cases
  • Creating learning models and supporting implementation
  • Conducting evaluations/trials to support research projects
  • Communicating and transforming project outputs for industry partners
  • Presenting/reviewing projects with industry partners
  • Preparing and writing research publications to support the work of the Learnovate Centre

Key Requirements:

  • At least 3 years industrial experience in Instructional Design/Learning Design
  • Qualification to at least Masters level in the field
  • Experience in informal, social, mobile and game-based learning
  • Track record of successful delivery of Ed Tech learning solutions
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Ability to demonstrate creative problem solving approach to project challenges
  • Proven ability to prioritise own workload and work to exacting deadlines
  • Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong team player with a desire to succeed

Desirable:

  • Experience reporting to multiple stakeholders
  • Experience of conducting end user trials
  • Experience in designing technology-enhanced learning environments
  • Experience working in a research driven working environment

Background to the Post

The Learnovate Centre is an Enterprise Ireland/IDA funded centre of excellence in learning technologies. The centre brings together state of the art research from our academic partners (Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, and Waterford Institute of Technology) with the real world business problems of our industry partners. Through focussing on the following four research themes the centre aims to develop innovative industry led eLearning solutions to benefit the Irish eLearning industry.

  • Social and informal learning
  • Mobile and collaborative learning
  • Immersive learning
  • Metrics and assessment

Department Summary

The School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin offers a high quality educational experience to undergraduate and postgraduate students along with exceptional research opportunities for professionals in the fields of computer science and statistics. The school is proud of its reputation as an innovative and energetic centre for study and research.

The research interests of the school are wide and varied, ranging from the theoretical to the practical. The schools researchers are at the cutting-edge of their disciplines, working on prestigious research projects with other professionals in their fields, and with access to significant public and private funding and industry support.

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland and one of the older universities of Western Europe. On today’s campus, state-of-the-art libraries, laboratories and IT facilities, stand alongside historic buildings on a city-centre 47-acre campus. Trinity College Dublin is currently ranked 43rd in the top world universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement Global University Rankings 2009 and 13th in Europe. Trinity College Dublin offers a unique educational experience across a range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science and human, social and health sciences. As Ireland’s premier university, the pursuit of excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of a Trinity education. TCD has an outstanding record of publications in high-impact journals, and a track record in winning research funding which is among the best in the country. TCD has developed significant international strength in its research in eight major themes which include globalisation; cancer; genetics; neuroscience; immunology and infection; communications and intelligent systems; nano and materials science as well as Irish culture and the creative arts. TCD aims to become the world reference point in at least one of these areas of research in the next 10 years

Application Procedure

Candidates are asked to submit a covering letter and a full CV to include the names and contact details of 3 referees (email addresses if possible) to:

Mirjam Neelen

Email: mirjam.neelen@learnovatecentre.org