The EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2013 was held this year at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona 26-27 September 2013. The conference theme Refocusing Quality of e-learning attracted more participants than ever and from many continents. The conference was a great success and being in the programme committe it was a nice and busy time both in the planning process and during the conference. I was also happy to be elected to the board of EFQUEL and I am looking forward to be even more involved. I also did some disseminatiion on social media during the conference.
Just during the conference, on the 25th September EC launched Opening up education to boost innovation and digital skills in schools and universities. It was pretty good timing as the aim of the conference was refocusing quality, not jsut for e-learning, as the e in e-learning is more and more fading out, but instead to focus on quality issues on open education as such, and what openenness really mean, such as open educatinoal practice and culture (OEP) and MOOCs.
Refocusing Quality of E-Learning
Refocusing Quality of E-Learning attracted more participants than ever. The theme of the conference
- The major European higher education organisations, like ENQA, EUA, EURASHE and ESU were all strong contributors and emphasized the importance of openness in education, and thus new quality approaches are needed, likewise new business models not at least for higher education are required. They also stressed the fact that how open is open and what does it really mean to be open and to offer open education for all. Furthermore they emphasized that it is not just a question to develop technology and pedagogy. Now it is time to develop organisaions at all levels and likewise not just focus on academics but rather on mid and senior management level and rectors level. Now when there are new actors in the market, who gives new influences for education, as MOOC, quality, collaboration and competiton gives new roles and doesn´t fit into old business models. It waas also agreed that the e in e-learning more and more is faded out and we need to look at learning as such and qualitative learning environments and to look at quality more prospective and internatlly, with peer to pee, self-evalutaion, benchmarking etc than to look for quality assurance mechanism and retrospective quality.
- Ranking, an issue which is very important for higher education both regarding education and research. As students today can apply to which university they want around the globe, ranking is important to recruit students, more over ranking play an important role for university collaborataton and competion as such. Now more comprenhensive ranking systems has been highlighted such as the U-Multirank. Multirank is a new university ranking for higher education institutions of all types, from all parts of Europe and the world. It is user-driven, and examines instituions´ performance across a wide range of higher education missions. First results from over 500 institutions will be published in 2014. U-Multrank compares not only research perfomance but also teaching, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional development, and will now also look at "openness" in a wider meaning.
- MOOCs was widely discussed during the conference, not at least as MOOCs are seen as driver for changes, not just for all on-line learning, but also in so called traditional educational arenas. During the last 6 months me and my board colleagues Ulf Ehlers, (President EFQUEL), and Alastair Creelman (Linneus Univeristy, SE) run the MOOQ Quality project. 12 interntational experts where asked to write a blog post on 1500 words with theire views on MOOC and quality. The blogpsots where published each week during 12 weeks. During the Conference we run a three session MOOCathon. The first session was a briefing about the MOOC Quality project, followed by a learning cafe with 5 selected projects and where participants were asked to write keylearnings, The second session was on the recommendations from the blogposts. The third session was a presentation by Yves Puin, IPTS and on EC Opening up edcuation. Most people where at the MOOCathon for the entire time, some opt in and out as in a MOOC:) There will be follow ups from this session, first a final blogpost from us and hopefully an article as well.
- Another intersting presenation was on the POERUP project. POERUP (Policy OER Uptake) aims to study the end-user–producer communities behind OER initiatives. By comparing in-depth European case-studies to selected non-European ones we will refine and elaborate recommendations to formulate a set of action points that can be applied to ensuring the realisation of successful, lively and sustainable OER communities.
There is a ScoopIt site from EIF2013where many of the presentations can be found.