Innovation cafés I


The innovation cafés (2 x 30 min.) will provide a platform for the members of the Swiss e-Learning Community to present and share their own innovative ideas and projects and to discuss them with their peers from other institutions.


Designing tomorrow’s learning spaces – Approaches and lessons learned

Heidi Röder, Sabina Brandt, Ursula Schwander, Gudrun Bachmann; UNIBAS

During the last two years, the educational technologies unit at the University of Basel conducted an in-depth research project on questions like: In what respect do modern technologies drive change in learning and how should the university campus accommodate that development? What kind of learning environment can facilitate the modern learners’ diverse needs? And how can a university identify needs and players in this field of campus development – using different approaches, including the Design Thinking ideas?

This innovation café will introduce some projects derived from these earlier studies and discussions. All these projects include participatory ideas and invite development through "early try-out" and user feedback. We will focus on ideas of how to design innovative learning spaces, considering both physical and virtual space.

Depending on the participants’ interest, specific aspects might be explained during each of the two runs of the Innovation Café.


Interactive lecture material

Sarah Frédérickx, ETHZ

The new platform – a result of the innovedum project "interactive lecture material" – enables you to easily produce lecture material (or other material), which can viewed in a browser and/or downloaded as a PDF or EPUB at the push of a button. It’s easy to embed videos, represent LaTeX formulas, generate list of illustrations, etc.

In addition to the simplicity of producing PDF, EPUB/MOBI and all the possibilities that HTML offers, we have developed a "peer annotation" for the web format that lets readers annotate at the word level: Not only can they comment on the page, they may annotate a paragraph, a sentence, or even a word. Naturally, peers (and lecturers) can react to these comments.

Access rights to the material on can be set on many levels (e.g. for editors) and authentication via Shibboleth SWITCHaai login is implemented.

  • Students’ guide to e-annotations
  • Lecturers’ guide, incl. how to open an eskript
  • Already produced lecture material
  • Presentation Excerpt (PDF)


BeAXi e-assessment on iPad – The all-in-one tablet solution for e-assessments

David Böhler, UNIBAS

E-assessments have become increasingly popular lately. A growing number of educational institutions nowadays do e-assessments one way or another. These assessments are mostly conducted in locations that are geared up with the appropriate infrastructure like PC’s dedicated network installations and air-conditioning. The issue with such infrastructure is, that it is very cost-intensive and immobile.

BeAXi revolutionises the way of how you do exams. The application runs on Apple iPads – guaranteeing you the most mobile way of conducting exams. BeAXi further supports you in creating and conducting exams, evaluating them and providing you valuable insights that help you to continuously improve your examination process.

As the event is in Basel the participants may try the software on hands. We can discuss about why on iPads, the pros and cons.


Just flip it! Communication and counseling training based on flipped classroom, video lectures and skills training

Wolfgang Widulle, FHNW

In social work communication and counseling skills are crucial for professional success. At the same time changing human behavior in BA-programs is nontrivial and Bachelor courses suffer from lack of lecture time, student workload, teaching resources and training possibilities. Especially courses in communication, professional negotiation or counseling, which target at social skills of students are under a considerable strain in changing personal attitudes, facilitating knowledge-in-action and training skills.

To ease these dilemmas I propose a blended training-environment on professional communication, negotiation and counseling, based on the ideas of Wahl 2013, combined with a flipped/inverted classroom (Bergmann/Sams 2012, Handke/Sperl 2012). I’d present this learning-environment at the school of social work FHNW. I’ll show some ideas on my online-screencasts (based on screen flow) for knowledge transfer, video examples of counseling interviews for social learning, our OLAT-learning platform for group work and live-training sessions in bigger and smaller classes.

The effects of this educational setup are higher attendance, better motivation, highly visible learning activities and a high acceptance of video-based knowledge transfer even in learning matters with highly personalised attributes, like developing a client-centered, systemic and resource-based attitude for social work professionals. For lecturers I see less pressure in teaching subject matters and more time for skills training and student feedback. Regarding a course with 230 students in four main classes/12 training classes I see a rising consistency of subject matters by screencasts and more relief for assistant lecturers in training classes. Some problems remain – like channel hopping in video lectures or experienced lecturers, who prefer more educational self-fulfillment.

But overall – just flip it – it works.


Automated graders for coding assignments

Flitman, EPFL

At EPFL we have several MOOCs on programming languages that have coding assignments for students. For example, for one session of a course, we can receive 250'000 different submissions to online exercises. We grade such student submissions through an automated grader that integrates with Coursera and edX platforms, as well as with potentially others.

This innovation café will give a brief tour of how our grader works from the student point of view as well as describing in detail the suite of grading routines currently available to each assignment.


From learning object to e-book

Carola Brunnbauer, Caspar Noetzli; PHZH

The Zurich University of Teacher Education (PHZH) offers a wide range of multimedia learning content for self-directed learning. Meanwhile there are about 120 so called learning objects online accessible via the learning management system ILIAS. In 2015 some carefully selected learning objects should either become permanently publicly available as Open Educational Resources (OER) or at least for PH Zurich alumni. Moreover, there is a need to complement those existing learning objects with more flexible formats such as PDFs offering the opportunity of annotation or e-books in order to enable mobile or offline learning. While there are university-wide efforts to develop a general e-book strategy including a repository, the Digital Learning Center (DLC) has already produced a first e-book directly converted from an ILIAS learning module. In the Innovation Café we will discuss your requirements regarding an e-book as digital teaching or learning material. Furthermore, we provide you with a first impression of the prototype, share our experience of the production process and part of the results gained from the evaluation. Thus, participants will get an insight in some highlights and benefits as well as pitfalls or constraints.


Tourney – A content independent game framework for education

Janine Jäger, Safak Korkut; FHNW

In today’s digital era the use of e-learning and technology in (higher) education is continuously on the rise. Gamification can be used as a motivational trigger to engage users in online learning environments. A further benefit of gamified learning tools is the immediate feedback on the user performance.

The expectations and requirements for games in the context of teaching are highly diverse and depend on the different needs of teachers and learners as well as on discipline. The experts on the educational content are the teachers. Therefore, a research team at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW initialised a long-term, progressive research project to support the variety of content by providing an online game framework for individual game creation, called "Tourney". This game framework provides all necessary modules for a digital learning game without predetermining the content, so the game designers (i.e. teachers) can create game stages with their own structured contents.

The goal of the innovation café is to present Tourney and its underlying concept in order to use this as a basis for discussing its application in practice as well as reflecting on game-based learning for (higher) education. For this purpose, different levels will be played in "Tourney" by the participants and afterwards be evaluated and discussed with the help of visualised feedback forms.


Paperless studies

Daniela Lozza, ZHAW

In autumn 2013, a class of 30 students and lecturers of the Institute of Biotechnology commenced participation in an experiment and committed to working paperless. They received a tablet device, and study materials were provided electronically via Moodle.

The concept of paperless studies has gained broad acceptance among the students and lecturers and has been expanded to the whole study program in biotechnology. Students are using the tablet devices for note taking and reading during lectures and self-study. They are taking advantage of the new possibilities by looking up additional information during lectures, taking pictures, videos and using educational apps to support their learning. Furthermore, paperless students are taking more notes than their colleagues, and although note taking is mainly done with the keyboard, the ability to take hand written notes on the tablet is seen as one of the main advantages.

Expanding the paperless studies requires a shift to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). What does it mean for learning scenarios if students come equipped with individual technologies and Personal Learning Environments? Teachers will be facing technology-enabled, networked learners. This opens new opportunities to connect learning within and beyond the classroom in higher education. You are welcome to develop some of these learning scenarios with us at the eduhub innovation café.