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Vive la Différence!
Reclaiming the uniqueness of open universities in Europe
António Moreira Teixeira
• Multiple variations and modalities of digital education either in a singular
or blended approach
(Distance Education, Open Education, Networked Education, Technology-
enhanced Learning...)
• Digital transformation of HEI’s organizational model and culture
(disaggregated universities, networked universities, my University, public-private
partnerships, pear HEIs...)
• Change of the HEI’s operation models
(international joint degrees, patchwork degrees – student mobility, formal and non
formal learning integration, nano-degrees...)
A Rapidly Changing Landscape as HE Goes Digital:
Are OUs keeping pace with the transformation?
•Re-centering on students and widening their participation in the educational
process
(learning co-design, peer learning, peer assessment, personalization...)
•Evolution of the assessment and certification models
(eAssessment, real/authentic context-based assessment, innovative new forms of
assessing and certifying competences as digital certificates and open badges...)
• Learning flexibility
(focus on asynchronous communication, learning for future skills...)
•Transformation of the teaching and learning ecosystem
(OEPs, PLEs, learning analytics, AI, diverse tutoring models – focus on scientific,
pedagogical or technological roles...)
• What still differentiates OUs from
other Universities delivering DE?
Dedicated infrastructure? Scalability?
The pedagogical model/approach?
Flexibility? Staff training, expertise and
experience?
• How are OUs managing to widen
participation and not only access?
Personalisation? Peer assessment?
Learning co-design?
• How are OUs bridging Formal with
Non Formal and Informal learning?
Competences/skills recognition? Non
Formal certificates and badges? Credit
Transfer? Micro credentialing?
ePortfolios?
OUs are not obsolete and have still an important role to play, even if different from
the past and with major variations according to each context.
OUs are especially designed institutions which use an open network
organisational framework. They dedicate/commit themselves to advanced
research and innovation in technology-enhanced learning, to preserve and
share their DE legacy, as well as to widen access and participation in higher
education for all, independently of context, condition and barriers. Their prior
mission is to assure every social group at risk can have access to quality HE.
Because of their modular and scalable design, OUs are prepared to swiftly and
organically adjust to continuously changing societal challenges and needs.
A (possible) vision for the future(s) of DE universities
PT NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR DE – AN HOLISTIC APPROACH
The Portuguese Government set a systemic goal – to reach 50.000 students
enrolled in DE formal programmes delivered by public HEIs by 2030. Currently they
reach less than 10.000. To meet that goal, the legislator reorganises the system,
generating interdependencies by imposing the following conditions:
• Universidade Aberta (UAb) should be the national competence centre for
DE, assuring the national advanced research and innovation capability in the
field, which should be shared with all the other public HEIs.
• UAb assures the support to all other public HEIs, by providing them with
infrastructure (when needed), learning design and teacher training.
• All other HEIs willing to be receive public funding for providing DE are
encouraged to establish consortia or work in partnership with UAb.
• However, UAb will have to assure most of its educational provision will be
delivered in partnership/consortia with other public HEIs.
LEGAL FRAMEWORKS – OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS FOR DE
The new PT legislation follows most of the international best practices in DE. For
example, it sets as mandatory that programmes should be inclusive and designed
for high flexibility. In addition, it allows for eAssessment to replace F2F exams.
However, regulation may impose standards and criteria which are not flexible
enough to accommodate technological change and pedagogical innovation,
thus hindering institutional capability to experiment, which is a critical feature
of this education modality.
The national Quality Assurance Agency (A3ES) is called to play an important role.
As QA agencies recognise the unique features of DE, it’s important that they are
prepared to tackle this challenge. The work being conducted by ENQA and some
agencies is very much encouraging. However, this has to be followed up by all QA
agencies. Moreover, DE experts must be mandatorily involved in evaluation panels.
Antonio.Teixeira@uab.pt
Thank You!

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Vive la Différence! Reclaiming the uniqueness of open universities in Europe #edlw2019

  • 1. Vive la Différence! Reclaiming the uniqueness of open universities in Europe António Moreira Teixeira
  • 2.
  • 3. • Multiple variations and modalities of digital education either in a singular or blended approach (Distance Education, Open Education, Networked Education, Technology- enhanced Learning...) • Digital transformation of HEI’s organizational model and culture (disaggregated universities, networked universities, my University, public-private partnerships, pear HEIs...) • Change of the HEI’s operation models (international joint degrees, patchwork degrees – student mobility, formal and non formal learning integration, nano-degrees...) A Rapidly Changing Landscape as HE Goes Digital: Are OUs keeping pace with the transformation?
  • 4. •Re-centering on students and widening their participation in the educational process (learning co-design, peer learning, peer assessment, personalization...) •Evolution of the assessment and certification models (eAssessment, real/authentic context-based assessment, innovative new forms of assessing and certifying competences as digital certificates and open badges...) • Learning flexibility (focus on asynchronous communication, learning for future skills...) •Transformation of the teaching and learning ecosystem (OEPs, PLEs, learning analytics, AI, diverse tutoring models – focus on scientific, pedagogical or technological roles...)
  • 5. • What still differentiates OUs from other Universities delivering DE? Dedicated infrastructure? Scalability? The pedagogical model/approach? Flexibility? Staff training, expertise and experience? • How are OUs managing to widen participation and not only access? Personalisation? Peer assessment? Learning co-design? • How are OUs bridging Formal with Non Formal and Informal learning? Competences/skills recognition? Non Formal certificates and badges? Credit Transfer? Micro credentialing? ePortfolios?
  • 6. OUs are not obsolete and have still an important role to play, even if different from the past and with major variations according to each context. OUs are especially designed institutions which use an open network organisational framework. They dedicate/commit themselves to advanced research and innovation in technology-enhanced learning, to preserve and share their DE legacy, as well as to widen access and participation in higher education for all, independently of context, condition and barriers. Their prior mission is to assure every social group at risk can have access to quality HE. Because of their modular and scalable design, OUs are prepared to swiftly and organically adjust to continuously changing societal challenges and needs. A (possible) vision for the future(s) of DE universities
  • 7. PT NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR DE – AN HOLISTIC APPROACH The Portuguese Government set a systemic goal – to reach 50.000 students enrolled in DE formal programmes delivered by public HEIs by 2030. Currently they reach less than 10.000. To meet that goal, the legislator reorganises the system, generating interdependencies by imposing the following conditions: • Universidade Aberta (UAb) should be the national competence centre for DE, assuring the national advanced research and innovation capability in the field, which should be shared with all the other public HEIs. • UAb assures the support to all other public HEIs, by providing them with infrastructure (when needed), learning design and teacher training. • All other HEIs willing to be receive public funding for providing DE are encouraged to establish consortia or work in partnership with UAb. • However, UAb will have to assure most of its educational provision will be delivered in partnership/consortia with other public HEIs.
  • 8. LEGAL FRAMEWORKS – OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS FOR DE The new PT legislation follows most of the international best practices in DE. For example, it sets as mandatory that programmes should be inclusive and designed for high flexibility. In addition, it allows for eAssessment to replace F2F exams. However, regulation may impose standards and criteria which are not flexible enough to accommodate technological change and pedagogical innovation, thus hindering institutional capability to experiment, which is a critical feature of this education modality. The national Quality Assurance Agency (A3ES) is called to play an important role. As QA agencies recognise the unique features of DE, it’s important that they are prepared to tackle this challenge. The work being conducted by ENQA and some agencies is very much encouraging. However, this has to be followed up by all QA agencies. Moreover, DE experts must be mandatorily involved in evaluation panels.