Position paper: Bologna Digital

Today we are doing a ‘soft-launch’ of our position paper on digitalisation in higher education on various websites. This paper argues for a cool-headed, but expansive discussion on digitalisation within the context of the Bologna Process. We put forward the claim that digitalisation is not an additional challenge, but a powerful means to meet existing challenges for higher education.

In this, we recognise the work of countless universities and colleges within the European Higher Education Area, but also policymakers who are already working from this perspective. It is our aim that the Paris Communiqué, which Bologna Ministers from 48 states will sign in May 2018, and the work programme which comes after it, should pay even more attention to the benefits and the challenges related to the increasing digitalisation of our lives.

We are convinced that this perspective on digitalisation has two main benefits in contrast to approaches starting out from the question of what new technology offers us (‘technology-first’). Firstly, the new processes and procedures can be more easily integrated into mainstream discussions on challenges such as how to assure inclusive higher education and how to ensure high quality learning environments. Secondly, this perspective is less likely to ignore any new barriers, for instance, obstacles to accessing higher quality learning for all through digital networks, discussed in many reports as the risk of creating a new ‘digital divide’.

The paper was a collective piece of work initiated in December 2017 by the coordinating authors Florian Rampelt, Ronny Röwert, Peter van der Hijden, Renata Suter and myself. It was an iterative process and this version we now release into the wild is our eighth internal version. It has already been endorsed and supported by five organisations and we are hoping to get more endorsements in the coming weeks.

Please view the paper here.

We hope to kick-start debates, new practical initiatives and new research with this paper. You are welcome to contact us directly on any of these points or join the debates on twitter at #BolognaDigital and we have started a padlet here to collect more examples of practice from across the globe.

[picture credits: europeana.eu, id: lnb-zl-12542, 1980, National Library of Latvia: Elektroniskās skaitļošanas tehnika Rīgas Politehniskajā institūtā | Salcēvičs, Romvalds, 1949-]




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