Bologna Digital – Part 4 of 4: New forms of international exchange and simplifying mobility for all

The internationalisation and mobility of students and staff within the EHEA is seen as a key route to a person’s formation as a global citizen and to improving social cohesion between populations of different nations. The Erasmus programme and various national initiatives have been highly effective in supporting physical movement of students and staff within the European region [see here]. Indeed, there is a Bologna benchmark for more than 20% of graduates of tertiary education within the EHEA region to have experienced foreign studies by 2020. However, this is only one element of internationalisation, especially when one considers that only a fraction of each nation’s students and staff take part in such programmes – and especially non-traditional students are least likely to be internationally mobile during their studies [see research here and here and this short youtube video from Eurostudent on the topic].

Additional initiatives must be implemented to support ‘internationalisation at home’ for all students and staff in higher education. Digital technologies can play a role here in promoting virtual connections between citizens and open curricula can assure that teaching and learning materials are cosmopolitan and include perspectives on society and environmental developments and scientific achievements from across the planet.

Our paper already mentions two significant intiatives:

  • EMREX aims to streamline electronic transfer of student records between higher education institutions in Europe, which would signficantly improve transparency and recognition of students‘ achievements abroad. This project is coordinated in Finland: http://emrex.eu/
  • A cooperation between 8 leading universities in different countries across the globe aims to provide cooperative distance learning programmes – therefore enabling a new type of ‘internationalisation at home’. One of these universities is Delft from the Netherlands http://studenten.tudelft.nl/nl/informatie/onderwijs/credits-for-moocs/

Can you provide us with examples of how digitalisation is being used in different settings to facilitate new forms of credentialization and qualification?

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

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Background: Proposed call to action

“The digital revolution is radically changing teaching and learning processes and associated services in higher education. We call on the BFUG to propose measures and guidelines on how to implement ‘Bologna Digital’ for our learners and how to encourage peer learning between policy-makers and between higher education institutions to improve teaching and learning and further support widening participation for all parts of society.”

Coordinated by Dominic Orr @DominicOrr, Florian Rampelt @FloRa_Education, Ronny Röwert @RonnyRoewert

Purpose of this blog

The premise of this series of 4 short blogs is that the Bologna Process, which is in fact a high-level international working group on reforming higher education in 48 countries from the European continent, is neglecting discussions on how digitalisation can contribute to higher education.

This is a third note of 4. Each one looks at one of the centre action lines of the Bologna Process and sketches where digitalisation is likely to be making an impact. Each one has the following request to the community:

We call on members of higher education institutions, project leaders, policy-makers and activists to name examples of innovative use of digitalisation in order to reach some of the core Bologna objectives.

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

 

 

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Bologna Digital – Part 3 of 4: New forms of degree, credentials and recognition

At the start of the Bologna Process was the agreement to make higher education qualifications more compatible between signatory countries. The objective was to support both mobility during study phases, but also between labour markets post-graduation. In fact, awarding qualifications and facilitating recognition is at the core of higher education.

During the development of the Bologna Process, the common programme has led to agreement on four cycles of study (short-cycles, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programmes) and to the wide use of European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to award credit points for learning progression. It has also made accreditation of prior learning (APL) a common theme in discussions on admission to higher education for people with different backgrounds.

This has broadly been successful. Now, increases in the diversity of provision in and widening access to higher education lead to two questions:

  • Whether qualifications awarded at the end of a study programme should be the main form of credential or should more focus be given to smaller units of learning, which would promote more flexible forms of study progress?
  • Are these qualifications a comprehensive and fair record of what is learnt during higher education study?

Especially, this second issue is related to the question of how higher education outcomes can be better formulated for their use in the labour market, where employers are increasingly interested in the acquisition of transversal soft-skills alongside formal qualifications. Digital badge are one discussed innovation in this area and the popularity of discussions around blockchain is pushing this topic even more into the limelight.

This is not a new discussion:

The latest Horizon report considers this one of the ‘solvable challenges’.[1] However, we believe that practice is already evident and certainly new projects are taking up this challenge. Our paper already notes two examples from Germany.

Can you provide us with examples of how digitalisation is being used in different settings to facilitate new forms of credentialization and qualification?

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

++++

Background: Proposed call to action

“The digital revolution is radically changing teaching and learning processes and associated services in higher education. We call on the BFUG to propose measures and guidelines on how to implement ‘Bologna Digital’ for our learners and how to encourage peer learning between policy-makers and between higher education institutions to improve teaching and learning and further support widening participation for all parts of society.”

Coordinated by Dominic Orr @DominicOrr, Florian Rampelt @FloRa_Education, Ronny Röwert @RonnyRoewert

Purpose of this blog

The premise of this series of 4 short blogs is that the Bologna Process, which is in fact a high-level international working group on reforming higher education in 48 countries from the European continent, is neglecting discussions on how digitalisation can contribute to higher education.

This is a third note of 4. Each one looks at one of the centre action lines of the Bologna Process and sketches where digitalisation is likely to be making an impact. Each one has the following request to the community:

We call on members of higher education institutions, project leaders, policy-makers and activists to name examples of innovative use of digitalisation in order to reach some of the core Bologna objectives.

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

 

[picture from Open Badges Peeled by Bryan Mathers (Used under CC-BY-ND License). ]

 

 

[1] Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Hall Gieseinger, C., & Ananthanarayanan, V. (2017). NMC Horizon Report Higher Education Edition 2017. https://doi.org/ISBN 978-0-9977215-7-7

Bologna Digital – Part 2 of 4: Teaching and learning and digitalisation

Teaching and learning is at the centre of higher education. Various Ministerial Communiques call for a student-centred approach to learning. This is because it is assumed that this approach assures the motivation of learners and the relevance of learning to learners’ own context (their current life, their future profession, etc.), and it is more reflective of how learning occurs outside of the institutional setting. Therefore, it enables to experiment with and exercise self-determined learning.

Some examples of the discussion can be seen in this EU document:

The call for this type of learning is not new, but it is seen as difficult to offer on a large scale and in an institutional setting. It requires learning materials to be developed which goes beyond knowledge transition and requires new skills of teachers. The first MOOCs promised to solve this problem with the long-held hope of being able to create learning environments not dependent on teachers for dissemination and support. However, good pedagogy and an open environment for supported experimentation is now widely accepted as the foundation to good teaching and learning.

  • In the USA, the Personalized Learning Consortium is supporting HEIs, which want to experiment with adaptive learning environments for  innovative methods of learner support and student success (including proactive advice for students along their learning pathway) – http://www.aplu.org/projects-and-initiatives/personalized-learning-consortium/index.html
  • In England, the University of Derby has been using personalised assessment feedback to support students. This is part of their overall strategy for excellence in teaching and learning, which won them the gold star from the Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017. https://www.derby.ac.uk/about/tef/
  • In Scotland, the University of Edinburgh has just released its new digital strategy. A key element of this is that it has adopted an ‘open by default’ principle and will be working with teachers and learners to develop new forms of teaching and learning based on these resources. The main idea is to harness digitalisation and the principle of open licencing to built  partnerships with other organisations and to encourage sharing and re-use of content from different sources. http://www.teaching-matters-blog.ed.ac.uk/?p=2214

There is also another element to this debate: namely, that whether HEIs are supporting digital learning environments or not – there are being used by students, whose lives are firmly placed in the digital world. As a student from the University of Bristol states:

  • “Where, when and how students carry out their studies is changing as digital devices and online spaces ‘outside’ the university proliferate. However the academic and social potential this offers for under-represented students is not being recognized by the ‘formal ‘university.” Timmis, S., Yee, W. C., & Chereau, B. M. (2015). Widening participation in the digital age : can online networks and technologies support under-represented students in succeeding at university ? (Policy Briefing No. 16). Retrieved from http://bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/policybristol/documents/Briefing 16_widening participation in the digital age.pdf

Can you provide us with examples of how digitalisation is being used in different settings to achieve a more effective teaching and learning?

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

++++

Background: Proposed call to action

“The digital revolution is radically changing teaching and learning processes and associated services in higher education. We call on the BFUG to propose measures and guidelines on how to implement ‘Bologna Digital’ for our learners and how to encourage peer learning between policy-makers and between higher education institutions to improve teaching and learning and further support widening participation for all parts of society.”

Coordinated by Dominic Orr @DominicOrr, Florian Rampelt @FloRa_Education, Ronny Röwert @RonnyRoewert

Purpose of this blog

The premise of this series of 4 short blogs is that the Bologna Process, which is in fact a high-level international working group on reforming higher education in 48 countries from the European continent, is neglecting discussions on how digitalisation can contribute to higher education.

This is a second note of 4. Each one looks at one of the centre action lines of the Bologna Process and sketches where digitalisation is likely to be making an impact. Each one has the following request to the community:

We call on members of higher education institutions, project leaders, policy-makers and activists to name examples of innovative use of digitalisation in order to reach some of the core Bologna objectives.

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

 

[picture from Flickr Tim Herrick CC BY]

]

Bologna Digital – Part 1 of 4: The social dimension and digitalisation

Proposed call to action

“The digital revolution is radically changing teaching and learning processes and associated services in higher education. We call on the BFUG to propose measures and guidelines on how to implement ‘Bologna Digital’ for our learners and how to encourage peer learning between policy-makers and between higher education institutions to improve teaching and learning and further support widening participation for all parts of society.”

Coordinated by Dominic Orr @DominicOrr, Florian Rampelt @FloRa_Education, Ronny Röwert @RonnyRoewert

Purpose of this blog

The premise of this series of 4 short blogs is that the Bologna Process, which is in fact a high-level international working group on reforming higher education in 48 countries from the European continent, is neglecting discussions on how digitalisation can contribute to higher education.

This is a first note of 4. Each one looks at one of the centre action lines of the Bologna Process and sketches where digitalisation is likely to be making an impact. Each one has the following request to the community:

We call on members of higher education institutions, project leaders, policy-makers and activists to name examples of innovative use of digitalisation in order to reach some of the core Bologna objectives.

To see the full document – and to add your examples of practice from across the European Higher Education Area and beyond – please visit the google-doc here.

Opening up higher education to a diverse population

The Ministers Responsible for Higher Education have made various collective commitments to making higher education more inclusive and more representative of national populations. There are also many institutional initiatives and projects, which have followed this specific aim.

The problem of inclusion is frequently discussed within the context of the Bologna Process as the social dimension. It is about raising aspirations of potential students, facilitating second chance routes into higher education and providing specific support to students in order to assure student success. This involves finding effective forms of information, advice and guidance for learners and offering special bridging courses to take account of a diversity of educational routes into higher education (Is a study on admission systems to higher education relevant to #edtech?).

Two of the key problems of this type of support is that it is difficult to reach those learners, who need the support most, and it is difficult to scale-up support in the context of limited resources.

Digitalisation in the sense of communication through social networks may be one way in which these constraints can be overcome. However, it is also clear that without personalised support effective support to these learners will be limited.

There are examples from other countries:

  • this USA study concludes: “Social media can be part of the solution to the challenge of connecting older students to their two-year institutions. It can be both an engagement tool and a research tool.” Brenden, S., Deil-Amen, R., & Rios-Aguilar, C. (2015). “Anyone like me?” – Identity and social media among nontraditional-age community college students. Retrieved from https://www.coe.arizona.edu/sites/coe/files/HED/AnyoneGCrev081916.pdf

Your part

Can you provide us with examples of how digitalisation is being used in different settings to achieve a more inclusive higher education system?

Tell us about:

  • the specific problem, which the initiative / project addresses
  • how digitalisation is being harnessed to help solve this problem
  • the location of this initiative
  • contact details

by visiting this google-doc and entering your details.

 

Next phase: OOFAT strategies for higher education

We are currently entering the last phase of our OOFAT study for ICDE, which looks at how digitalisation is being harnessed in teaching and learning by higher education providers across the world.

This study has had a focus on teaching and learning and has defined key processes as content development, delivery of learning and recognition of learning. It has further assumed that the changes emerging from digitalisation will especially bring improvements to the organisational flexibility and the procedural openness of these key processes. Harnessing these opportunities for change will make teaching and learning more accessible and more inclusive for all.

In order to help HEIs place themselves in the landscape of possible strategies for change, the study provides two typologies – one for the model of higher education provision, which is called the OOFAT model, and one for the type of strategy, where Defender and Prospector approaches are distinguished. HEIs might use these either to determine their current position or to decide which type of model they aspire to have.

See our presentation at ICDE’s world conference here.

The results suggest that the majority of HEIs are in the process of experimenting with digitalisation and applying new technologies to certain parts of their operation. The next phase of this development lies in the formulation and effective implementation of comprehensive institutional strategies, which provide clear focal points for where a university or college has chosen to integrate digitalisation into its key processes.

Although we have cases from across the world, we would like to recruit more higher education institutions to participate in our survey – especially from Africa and the Oceania and Pacific region – in order to assure that we have a good geographic spread of cases.

We therefore encourage university leaders and management personnel to take part in the survey. Once the study is completed, each higher education provider will receive a short report showing where they are in the comparative landscape and also which other universities, colleges and other providers appear to have similar goals.

Our survey is available here.

You can also contact me, Dominic Orr, directly, for any support in completing the survey: on @dominicorr or d.orr@fibs.eu

Thank you for your support and wishing you a festive holiday season

Dominic

 

 

[image taken from Flickr CC BY Samuel Mann ]

Is a study on admission systems to higher education relevant to #edtech?

Yesterday a comparative study written in co-authorship between Alex Usher, Cezar Haj, Graeme Atherton, Irina Geanta and myself was published by the European Comission. It looks at the shape and consequences of higher education admission systems across Europe – comparing key information on 36 countries with in-depth studies in 8 of them. A network of people from these countries helped us compile the necessary information and carrying out the case studies vital to this enterprise.

In 21st century society, the ability to access and succeed in higher education is central to social mobility and economic security for European countries. The question of who goes on to higher education and who does not, who is steered towards it and who is steered away from it, is thus a major issue in forming dynamic and progressive societies. Whilst admission systems have the task of selecting those who have the potential to succeed in higher education, they can also limit such opportunities for certain social groups. Therefore, admission systems can be assessed on their capability to provide an efficient and effective route to study success, but also on the inclusiveness of this process.

The central idea on which the study is built is that an admission system is both technically and socially constructed around the answers to the following three questions:

  1. How do schools choose people who can become students?
  2. How do universities and colleges choose the students they enrol?
  3. How do students choose higher education institutions?

The study closes with 9 direct recommendations for improving the equity and efficiency of higher education admission.

If we are focussed on #edtech, probably the 3rd question is most relevant. We carried out focus groups with young people making decisions on where to go. One of the more extreme complaints was that access information (and I quote directly): “was as boring as the bible”. Information and advice systems are vital and perhaps we can have some hope that recommendation systems might be able to simplify this challenge a little.

It is imperative to improve the information, advice and guidance available to young people on their options for higher education. In particular, students require contextual information and advice which is personalised and goes beyond their social-proximity network (i.e. their parents, relations and friends), which is where they otherwise tend to receive this information.

This is a major challenge for the future, which requires ‘joined up thinking’ between the various layers in the higher education admission system (between schools, advice services, parents and higher education institutions). It could be an area for thoughts on solutions using open data and recommendation systems too.

See study here:

Comparative report (including executive summary): https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/9cfdd9c1-98f9-11e7-b92d-01aa75ed71a1

National case studies: https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/6e61b676-98fb-11e7-b92d-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

 

#edtech in higher education – beyond the slogans

One of the main topics of my presentations and the ensuing conversations this week at the University of Mainz and the Teacher Training Institute Berlin/Brandenburg was getting beyond the rhetoric of #edtech and the digital agenda. We had a lot of fun with a one-armed bandit which produces #edtech slogans on the fly – some of these are ridiculous, some quite familiar (unfortunately it is only available in German).

So what is the practice at the present? Our OOFAT study for ICDE looks to capture established uses of technology in higher education. We have been looking to the flexibility and openness of three core processes in higher education – (i) delivery of content and student support, (ii) development of content and assessments and (iii) recognition of learning. A first look at the interim results is sobering, but not surprising.

The cases in the current data set – but we need more – show a high level of flexibility in providing access to content and student support. We also see that many respondents state that much of their content is being developed collaboratively in partnership with external partners. But we see much less openness in terms of use of learner-produced content, and relatively fixed assessment and recognition practices.

But… we would like more participation from higher education leaders, who describe their innovations using our standardised survey. Please contribute so we can get beyond the slogans!

See our survey here (also available on the first page as pdf to download and send by email): https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/OOFATGENERAL

 

 

Business models of universities adopting digital solutions

(updated 20.6.2017)

One element of the OOFAT study commissioned by ICDE and being carried out by FiBS Germany (Dominic Orr, Lene Wrobel) and IET from the Open University UK (Martin Weller, Rob Farrow) is looking at the business models being adopted by universities across the world in their implementation of technology-enhanced content development, delivery and learning recognition.

For this element of the study, we have adopted a framework for our survey from Taran, Boer & Lindgren (2015)* which looks at 7 elements of a business model and contrasts for each an approach to extending market position with one developing a new market position. Currently we have data from 37 higher education institutions from across the world (25 countries), which can be used to provide a first insight. Since the categories have been formulated dichotomously, it is interesting to see where more than half of the institutions have set their focus.

The chart above shows that HEIs tell us they are using digital technologies for new communication channels to develop new relationships with their target audiences (learners), whilst using their existing (traditional) institutional structures and networks for provision. They also tell us that they are exploring new approaches to their value chain and looking for new ways to cover their costs or maintain profitability. Around 40% of the HEIs say that they are using new technologies to offer new products or services to new markets.

Although our survey already covers HEIs from across the globe (the results above cover institutions from 23 countries), this is not enough for a fully developed investigation.

We would therefore like to ask you again to consider taking our survey or suggesting survey participation to other HEIs leaders across the world. The survey will close and the end of June 2017. Thank you.

Survey link: here

By the way: the results can be nicely compared to what came out of the McKinsey Global Survey. Asked which digital activities they see as top priority, the largest group of CEOs stated “digital engagement of customers”**. It will be interesting to see whether our results concur at the end of the survey.

*Taran, Y; Boer, H.; Lindgren, P. (2015). A business model innovation typology. In: Decision Sciences, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 301-331.

**http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/cracking-the-digital-code

New global survey on digital, open provision of higher education

According to a new statistical tool from the Worldbank using open data, countries tend to spend around 20% of government spending on tertiary education – and this rate has stayed relatively constant since the start of the time series in 2004. Parallel to this, the gross enrolment rate has climbed from 10% in 1970 to 35% in 2014, although there are huge enrolment rate differences worldwide.

This context presents a challenging framework in which both policy-makers and institutional leaders work to provide sustainable, affordable and high quality higher education. The International Council for Open and Distance Education believes that reviewing the practices of distance, technology-enhanced higher education provision worldwide can point to pathways of innovation which work and can provide the basis for global peer learning in higher education.

To this aim, ICDE have commissioned a study systematically collating global cases of open and distance education provision and distilling typical practice models. This study is being carried out in cooperation between FiBS- Research Institute for the Economics of Education and Social Affairs (Germany) and the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University (UK).

We are focussing on three core processes in higher education: content, delivery and recognition and looking at how flexibly these processes are offered to the learner and how open and inclusive each of these processes is. Naturally we want to know how this provision is embedded in an overall business model to make it sustainable over time.

Our main method of collation is through a global survey, which we are launching this week.

  • Please follow the link to our survey here
  • Please also see the blogpost from the colleagues from the Open Education Research Hub here

We would be very grateful if the international community could help us spread the word so that we can capture the great examples of sustainable, technology-enhanced higher education provision form across the world. We need your input! We are hoping to collate at least 70 examples, which will then act as a basis for our work on typologies towards sustainable models for affordable, high quality higher education provision.

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