The European Learning & Teaching Forum provides a platform for vice-rectors for academic affairs, deans, programme directors, academic staff and researchers interested in learning and teaching. The Forum also welcomes the participation of students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in higher education.
University education has changed significantly in recent decades, and continues to do so, as the expectations of students, stakeholders and society towards universities evolve. This process is further influenced by universities’ diverse historical, disciplinary and regional backgrounds. The 2020 European Learning & Teaching Forum entitled ‘Balancing tradition and change’ explores how institutions balance tried and trusted practices and innovative approaches to learning and teaching in a dynamic and increasingly digital and international environment.
Through a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, the Forum provides a platform for discussion on how universities enhance learning and teaching, while also presenting the work of the 2019 EUA Learning & Teaching Thematic Peer Groups. The Forum is an ideal event for vice-rectors for academic affairs, deans, and management involved in learning and teaching. It also welcomes students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in higher education.
For updates, look out for #EUALearnTeach on Twitter and/or join the LinkedIn group ‘Learning & Teaching in European Higher Education’.
Hacking Education with Digital Pedagogies
EduHack is a capacity-building programme for university educators who wish to learn how to produce digitally-supported learning experiences, experimenting with innovative approaches and tools
It seems safe to state that there are challenges in learning design that almost all institutions face: limited staff time, a modular focus, and a tendency towards ‘lone ranger’ thinking to name just some of the potential barriers to successful course design. These types of challenges have significantly influenced the team-based ABC methodology developed originally by Clive Young and Nataša Perović of University College London (UCL) which continues to grow in popular use worldwide as a model for blended learning design.
Dublin City University’s (DCU) Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in the ABC to VLE Erasmus+ funded project to further develop the ABC Learning Design methodology. As relative newcomers to ABC (DCU first experienced it in 2017), this project has been a great opportunity to apply the approach and benefit from the experience of UCL and the 11 other European partners involved. For those not familiar with the format, ABC offers a rapid-fire, hands-on workshop approach where in just 90 minutes academic teams work together to design or redesign modules and programmes.
European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators: DigCompEdu
DCU Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) is currently participating in the INTEGRITY project, funded under the KA2 strand, and aimed at enhancing the quality of teaching and learning processes that are based on the principles of academic integrity, supported by policies, mechanisms and tools that help prevent and detect cases of plagiarism in higher education institutions in Georgia. INTEGRITY (Academic Integrity for Quality Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions in Georgia) involves collaboration with colleagues in partner institutions in Ilia State University (Georgia), University of Roehampton (UK), Uppsala Universitet (Sweden) and Universitaet Wien (Austria) as well as a range of associated HEIs in Georgia.
The TEU is involved in developing a resource toolkit for academics which will support them in designing assessments which actively encourages academic integrity. The suite of resources currently being advanced for the toolkit includes a literature review publication; a set of twelve principles and related explanations; interactive glossary; self and team checklists; animated scenarios; VLE instructional resource; and a collection of case studies.
Padlet wall “Recognition of open online learning – the story so far” by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019
by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019
“Recognition of open online learning: the story so far” Presentation by Gabi Witthaus. Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019
Presentation slides by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019
On 28th March I was honoured to give the opening address at the e-Valuate work conference for nuffic in Den Haag. The e-Valuate project (Evaluating e-learning for academic recognition) aims to develop toolkits and guidelines to enhance policy for the recognition of new forms of online learning in the European Higher Education Area.
by Gabi Witthaus
Attending the work conference tomorrow w/ @AngLaude1 in 📍The Hague. #recognition of #open #onlinelearning in #highered
@QQI_connect @IUAofficial @ENICNARIC_NL @CPEUL
This blog post will provide a brief introduction and overview of the European e-VALUATE project as it currently stands and will provide a snapshot of its primary aim to further the recognition, validation and accreditation of new forms of open online learning.
Tomorrow, as part of the European e-VALUATE project, I attend the e-VALUATE Work Conference in Humanity House, The Hague, Netherlands, where I represent my university, the University of Limerick, as the Irish higher education institution (HEI) resonance group representative, along with Quality & Qualifications (QQI) NARIC Ireland, the Irish project team member led by Angela Lambkin.
One of the great hopes for online learning lies in its capability to open up new learning possibilities to those who traditionally have had little access to higher education. For this to be realised, certificates etc. awarded to students for undertaking online learning on whatever platform, will need to become greater recognised as a means to progress onto further study (via RPL, exemptions, and other methods) and to employment.
Outcomes of these ‘alternative’ learning experiences aren’t always captured and can go unnoticed within current HEI recognition practices which focus primarily on assessing prospective student’s qualifications obtained through formal or more ‘traditional’ forms of education. In tandem with improved recognition practice comes a need to quality assure the online learning being recognised so that evaluators and institutions can safely stand over the certificates being awarded as a means for awardees to gain entry onto their institutional programmes of study. The e-VALUATE project is looking to expand upon this to provide further clarity and guidance in the area of recognition of non-standard standalone e-learning.
e-VALUATE is an Erasmus+ project co-funded by the European Commission. The project consortium comprises representatives from the ENIC-NARIC network (ENIC = European Network of Information Centres, NARIC = National Academic Recognition Information Centres):
NARIC The Netherlands (Project Coordinator), NARIC Denmark, NARIC Lithuania, NARIC Norway, NARIC Ireland, and UK NARIC. Other partners involved are the Vice-President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee, the European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education (ECA) and Kiron, the non-governmental organisation enabling access to higher education and learning for refugees through digital solutions.
To ensure that the representative views and experiences of European HEIs are taken on board, a resonance group was formed comprising HEI representatives from each of the project team nations involved. My University received correspondence from QQI NARIC Ireland via the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and I was fortunate to be invited to be the representative Irish HEI resonance group member, which I accepted.
Aims and Outputs
e-VALUATE aims to offer evaluators handling applications some practical, accessible information and guidance on academic recognition, validation and accreditation of new forms of open online learning – MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), SPOCs (Small Personal/Private Online Courses), and other forms of standalone online learning, etc. The target groups for the project are HEIs, ENIC-NARIC centres, students, online education providers, policymakers, and refugee organisations such as Kiron.
The project proposes to produce two main outputs: a Position paper and an Online Learning Information Tool for HEIs.
The position paper will aim to provide clarity and raise awareness about what is needed to ensure online learning is recognised for admission to a HEI or for exemption from parts of a formal programme of study. It’s aimed at policy makers and educational staff involved in online learning provision at HEIs, online learning platforms (MOOCs etc.), and other stakeholders such as government bodies, quality assurance organisations and university umbrella organisations.
The Online Learning Information Tool will offer practical and easily accessible information for the purpose of academic recognition of MOOCs, SPOCs, and other forms of standalone online learning. The tool will be geared towards use by practitioners in the field of recognition. Depending on the context and purpose of its use, this tool will be useful to a diverse range of stakeholders including:
- University admissions office staff
- University access office staff
- Faculty course directors
- Boards of examiners
- Credential evaluators at ENIC-NARIC’s
Quality assurance of open online learning
In a previous publication entitled ‘Oops a MOOC!‘ – a paper produced as part of the New Paradigms in Recognition (PARADIGMS) project – the e-VALUATE project coordinator, NARIC Netherlands, led a project aimed at developing minimum standards that MOOCs and in-company training programmes should meet for the purpose of recognition. The findings presented in the paper are also relevant for HEIs.
The paper proposed 7 Criteria for assessment, including descriptions and indicators, against which open online learning could be recognised by a credential evaluator:
1. Quality of the study programme
2. Verification of the certificate
3. Level of the study programme
4. Learning outcomes
6. The way study results are tested
7. Identification of the participant
As a subsequent second step, the paper proposed use of the traffic light model as described in the JRC Science for Policy Report (p.6). Each of the 7 criteria above can be strongly present (green), present to some extent (orange) or not present at all (red). It’s also possible that no information is available on specific criteria (no info). Therefore, by using this traffic light model in conjunction with the 7 criteria for assessment, it’s possible to begin to evaluate whether a particular form of standalone e-learning is more or less suitable for recognition.
If HEIs begin to openly adhere to these criteria for acceptance onto their study programmes then it further becomes beholden on e-learning providers who are interested in ensuring that students who receive further academic recognition from their e-learning courses, HEIs themselves included, to bear in mind these criteria and the presence of them when designing and developing their offerings so that they can ensure adequate and appropriate academic recognition for the awardees of their certificates.
I understand that the Online Learning Information Tool aims to build upon this previous work to be a practical, easy-to-use, interactive object, helping practitioners in the field of recognition to assess all forms of open online learning that they might encounter during applications admissions processes.
I’m looking forward to delving a little deeper into this at tomorrow’s work conference.