Session "I want to discuss a problem"

Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 13h30-15h00


In this session presenters describe what kind of problem – or in other words – challenge they are facing at their institution in terms of collaboration and networking. The focus in this session is laid on discussion, not on presentation. Participants will rotate after each round (3 x 25 minutes).


Room 2.A05: How can e-learning centres collaborate further?

Host: Hervé Platteaux, UNIFR; chair: Eva Seiler, UZH

As a contribution to the 10th birthday of the eduhub community, we propose a session of discussion-reflection aiming at defining which framework conditions should be set up to support further collaboration between e-learning centres and networks in Switzerland.

In pre-CUS-P2 years, during the AAA and learning infrastructure programmes, the success of our community was built on a multi-dimensional collaboration. Medium-scale inter-university projects were one of its key incentives, because they were oriented toward designing solutions to specific e-learning problems. These shared activities allowed for fruitful explorations of e-learning practices and infrastructure, often conducted by several active members of the eduhub SIGs. Results could then benefit the whole eduhub community, since they were usually presented during the eduhub days. Higher education institutions, as for them, had access to a variety of products, concepts and prototypes and could adapt them to their own needs.

From 2013 on, due to the transformation of founding introduced with the CUS-P2 programme, opportunities for technical collaboration have become scarce. As a matter of fact, the declared objectives of this programme were not aligned with the typical inter-university needs in our domain. From our perspective however, the need to collaborate on projects remains high. Therefore, we would like to get inputs from the community about possible actions and arguments that would convince the higher education authorities to reconsider the founding of such projects. We hope that the statement issued at the end of this workshop will reopen the ground for this much valued collaboration.

We invite you to participate to this session that we organise together.

The e-learning centres of UNIGE, UNIL, UNINE and UNIFR.


Room 2.A07: Collaborating with teachers and teaching assistants

Host: Stefano Tardini, USI; chair: Eva Seiler, UZH

eLab is the e-learning service of USI – Università della Svizzera italiana. Its main goal is to improve the quality of teaching at USI through the integration of information and communication technologies (ICT). To achieve this goal, eLab provides some specific tools (e.g. LMS, anti-plagiarism tool, mind mapping tool, tools for online exams and others), and supports the teaching staff of USI to adopt them, by offering training activities, helpdesk support, newsletters, online support materials and other activities and tools.


Our problem: It is often difficult for eLab to reach teachers and teaching assistants and to involve them. Only a few of them attend workshops, newsletters are not read, and so on... Do you have any ideas, tools, good practices to share about how you collaborate with the teachers in your school?


Room 2.A10: Many wheels are being invented – how to work together to get further

Hosts: Katrin Wolf, PHLU; Sonia Coiro, PHBern; chair: Eva Seiler, UZH

We have an idea for the implementation of a digital model for competency based learning and teaching in higher education. We would like to share and discuss our thoughts with other people to generate synergies and further develop our idea. The network in e-learning and didactics for higher education seems very fragmented. Many groups and channels exist, but how do we find the right one for the right partners to collaborate with? We would like to collect ideas on strengthening the network for real gain through collaboration and synergies between different institutions. Organisational comment: We would like to have one session that is specific to universities of teacher education to spark some collaboration in that specific network, related to the example at hand.


Room 2.B26: Assessment of information literacy competencies

Hosts: Laurent Moccozet & Laure Melifluo, UNIGE; chair: Patrick Roth, UNIGE

Since September 2016, the University of Geneva Library offers an online training platform in information literacy, named InfoTrack. This training is built as a series of 24 video episodes that illustrate student experiences related to information literacy skills needed to successfully complete work required for university studies. It is aimed primarily at bachelor students in all disciplines. InfoTrack is currently used by librarians or teachers to teach information literacy in e-learning or traditional classrooms. It contains quizzes for self-assessment but no system for summative evaluation of competencies.

The challenge is now to assess these transferable skills that students can develop with InfoTrack or other information literacy trainings. The goal is to give value to competencies essential for academic success but still rarely included in bachelor programmes. We would like to find a solution to gather evidence of the students' competencies in this field and to highlight the importance of information literacy in their academic curriculum. The ideal system should be adaptable to each bachelor programme of the University of Geneva (from 15 to 800 students involved), and eventually tailored to each discipline if necessary.

The problem is technical (how to ensure that the students master these transferable skills online or in classrooms?), logistic (how to manage the assessment of so many students?) and political (how to be well integrated in bachelor programmes?).


Room 2.B27: Can distance learning foster professionals? In search for persuasive arguments to potential employers

Host: Karin Nordström, UNILU; chair: Patrick Roth, UNIGE

Employability is a crucial feature of any university programme. While various practices of e-learning and blended learning increasingly influence higher education, entire distance learning programmes are still rare. They face the challenge of being questioned for not fulfilling the standards of traditional programmes in higher education.

From its very start (2013), the distance learning programme in theology at the University of Lucerne was in need of good arguments. Efforts of persuasion had to be made by its founders. At first, the teaching staff had to be convinced of the potential, the advantages and the feasability of the programme. While doubts among the teaching staff have largely given way to good experiences and a growing conviction that it was a good step to engage in this new programme, today we rather face the challenge, that potential employers of our students question the quality of a programme that is based entirely on distance learning. Can students acquire sufficient specialist knowledge, as well as transferable skills, such as social skills and other professional skills by distance learning?

In this sesison, we want to discuss with you the challenge of safeguarding good quality in distance learning and convincing potential employers of the employability of distance learning students. Which didactic features and digital tools facilitate personally engaging, contextualised and deep learning, resulting in professional skills of both theoretic, practical and social kind? In the presentation, the experience and observations of one of our students is at focus. She describes the distance learning programme in theology as "its own lab" and stresses especially media competence as an essential learning task and a key to professional skills.


Room 2.B28: Collaboration in a multilingual, multicultural and multidisciplinary project

Host: Anna Picco-Schwendener, USI; chair: Hanspeter Erni, PHLU

Being involved in a Swiss national project can be a particularly stimulating but at the same time challenging experience with regard to collaboration. Let's take the example of CCdigitallaw, a national project aiming at the creation of a national competence centre in digital law. Members of four universities collaborate towards a common goal. At first sight, this does not seem to be particularly challenging, but if you consider that the universities are located in three different language areas and distance several hundred kilometers from each other, it becomes clear that collaboration and communication are not that straightforward. If you then add the fact that there is no language which is shared by all partners and consider that people from four different disciplines (legal experts, e-elearning specialists, computer engineers and experts in business development), each with their own technical jargon, have to interrelate, it becomes clear that efficient and fruitful collaboration becomes a real challenge, a challenge that can make the difference between the success and the failure of a project. Technology provides many interesting solutions to overcome the mentioned problems. Google drive allows working collaboratively on the same document while other platforms make it possible to share documents or manage project activities. Video conferencing tools like Skype or Adobe Connect allow meeting virtually and e-mails serve to exchange information. However, not all difficulties can be overcome with the help of technologies. Often, in person meetings are so much more fruitful than online meetings and lead to less misunderstanding. What methods are there to overcome cultural, linguistic and disciplinary differences in teams, in which geographical distances do not allow for regular in-person meetings? How can these characteristics be turned into strengths? How can team building occur? In this session, we would like to discuss your experiences and hear about solutions you have successfully implemented.


Room 2.B29: The future of collaboration in higher education: What will be the biggest challenges we will face in the year 2020?

Host: Urs Schmid, SWITCH; chair: Hanspeter Erni, PHLU

A few years ago, collaboration as a method was rather unknown and there were hardly any true collaboration tools available, maybe a wiki here, a toolbox there or a Skype meeting once in a while. Now collaboration has established itself in our digital workplace, we meet with people on premises and with virtual ones without any hesitation and we easily collaborate with them in other institutions, countries or time-zones. There is also a great variety of software tools to choose from which allow us to even collaborate better and faster with one another. So everything is just fine? For sure, collaboration is here to stay because our performance has much increased and we do not want to miss the good practices anymore. But what will be the future trends in collaboration? Will we have just more video conferences, more text messaging services, more cloud applications in an even more flexible workplace with some more powerful digital devices than today? Or are there key collaboration components that still need to evolve to further improve our performance? Which are the tools that you expect to play a dominant role in the year 2020, and how do we integrate them into our workplace? I am curious of your future collaboration ideas and look forward to an interesting discussion.