Coming up

Quality in Higher Education week

12-14 November



Work closely together with invited experts on-site in direct relation with the institutional challenges on introducing and/or optimising new modes of teaching.

EMPOWER is  offering on-site collaboration between EMPOWER experts and the hosting universities. These universities want to accelerate the adoption of new modes of teaching and learning by sessions on-site within the direct context of the university. All to be organised in cooperation with the institutional coordinator and in direct relation to the identified needs of expertise. The institutional needs for expertise are identified in an institutional profiling exercise organised by EADTU. The programme of each on-site visit is therefore tailor-made in accordance with the priorities based on a dialogue with relevant experts. 

On-site approach:

  • Management and expert meetings on innovation and transformation
  • Strategy meetings
  • Training sessions
  • Developing an institutional roadmap for change and implementation


Two day academy sessions: Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA).

Within the EMPOWER programme an Online Learning Leadership Academy has been developed. The academy is an exciting and unique professional development programme. It aims to support the needs of both experienced and new and emerging institutional leaders responsible for a variety of online, open and flexible learning initiatives in higher education. Participants will have an opportunity to share experiences, both online and face-to-face and learn from a number of case studies, which attempt to reveal both the challenges and opportunities of leading in an era of change.

The academy is designed around the principles of active learning and includes activities like high-level discussions, creative problem solving and strategic thinking in response to new and emerging models of teaching and learning. Five experts from the field will explore real dilemmas, challenging case studies and future scenario’s, to better understand the development of strategic, research-informed response to opportunities and threats facing HE. 


Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference (OOFHEC).

The OOFHEC conference focusses on trends and high impact factors in global and European higher education.


Past webinars

Blended Learning webinar week:

25 - 27 June 2019

In the Mix

Blended. It used to refer to something you did in the kitchen. With a machine. It saved you having to mix ingredients with your hands or a utensil. It took away a lot of the effort. Hopefully, the end result was edible. Now blended has come to mean something else, at least in the education domain. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about blended learning? 

Once, blended learning was an easy concept to understand. It described the difference between traditional and distance education. Face-to-face learning experiences were mixed with remote learning, usually mediated through some kind of technology. First, it was paper-based, and then followed a rapid evolution of technology, so that now the ‘ distance' side of blended learning comes in many shades and hues. The most common form of blended learning today is where you spend some time in the classroom, but the majority of your time studying online. Sams and Bergman call it the flipped classroom. It's a form of blended learning, but it’s not new. Blended learning is taking on a number of other connotations, because thanks to the advent of the digital device, there are now many more modes of learning. Consider for example the blend between mobile and tethered learning experiences. You can be mobile and take your learning beyond the classroom, but you can be away from the classroom and still be tethered to your technology. In this session, I will explore issues around these developments, and some of the alternative possibilities for what we now call 'blended learning'. By Steve Wheeler, Plymouth University, UK


European Maturity Model of Blended Education 

Universities face challenges as keeping quality with large student numbers and lower budgets per learner, supporting study progress and success and meeting the needs of part-time students. Innovation by blended education will lead to quality enhancement of the learning experience, personalization, accessibility,  flexibility and inclusion. Furthermore, blended education is suitable for teaching large groups synchronously and asynchronously; constituting small learning groups; capitalizing on the worldwide connection with research; multi-campus education and blended mobility, etc.

Blended education combines conventional and digital methods to achieve an “optimal exploitation of ICT and internet” integrated with the conventional technologies of physical material and co-presence in space and time. The value of blending the two is that digital methods offer much greater personalization, flexibility, inclusiveness and efficiency than conventional methods can, but they have to be used appropriately (Laurillard, 2015). The concept of blended learning itself is far from clear-cut. The literature spans various definitions and meanings,  e.g. ”the thoughtful integration of conventional and digital methods of teaching and learning” (Graham, et al., 2013). It is agreed that the digital is not a supplement and does not simply replicate aspects of the conventional – each should enhance the other. The EMBED project is about introducing innovation in higher education by the implementation of blended learning (b-learning) in a strategic partnership and beyond. The partnership consists of frontrunner universities in b-learning European wide for full expert representation. They will create a reference model for developing and implementing blended learning, embracing all levels of an institution: the design of the blended course, organisational aspects such as staff support and training, and institutional leadership, developing policies and strategies making the institution continuously innovative. It is a maturity model with criteria and instruments to assess the degree of maturity of b-learning and innovation. (Wiebe Dijkstra, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)

Proposal for strategic refocusing in UNED Local Centers

The success of UNED since 1972 can be due to some classic factors of open universities (e.g. change from an elite to a massive system of high-quality services, innovation in learning and teaching, flexible practice centred on the student, use of new technologies or admission of non-traditional students), but it has also been cemented in other factors as its blended-learning model with a large physical territorial structure: 61 Local Centres and 120 classrooms within the Spanish State, besides 13 Centres in different countries of the world, mainly in Europe, North and South America and Africa, whose funding depends, in addition to those of the university itself, on the public or private initiative and local or regional administrations that become part of its governing board and make strategic decisions, in unequal and variable proportions, plus an academic structure at its headquarters by the Ministry of Education. 

Traditional face-to-face tutoring is progressively decreasing due to the current support that all our students receive by online means; in this sense, our blended-learning model requires to be updated according to the evolution and development of society itself and the availability of advanced learning methodologies supported by technologies (such as the incorporation of artificial intelligence). Local centres are urged, thus, to develop new academic services giving an answer to the demands and challenges of higher education in the XXI century. In this context, I will explain the possibilities for a recalibration of the role of UNED Local Centres, suggesting some relevant developments more focused on life-long learning possibilities, such as higher support to entrepreneurship,employment, specialisation, research and transference; and other contributions such as local support to open and online programs under a GLOCAL approach, taking advantage of our privilege connection with the immediate environment. By Luis Fernández, UNED, Spain


Active learning and blended & flipped models

A selection of tools to improve feedback in virtual and face-to-face spaces 

 "Flipped learning and Blended learning models are often used with the same meaning, but there are some differences, we could say that “all flipped is blended but not all blended is flipped”, we will start by clarifying some misunderstandings and wrong conceptions about both learning strategies. Once we have done this, we will analyse some tools with a huge potential to improve feedback with students both in the virtual and face-to-face spaces, Specifically, we will pay special attention to features as “heat maps”, “gamification possibilities and “multimedia options”. (Raúl Santiago, University of La Rioja, Spain)

Why Diversity Matter in ODL? Case of Anadolu University

Learner demographics have a wide range of differences in massive education systems. Disadvantaged groups, digital skills groups, different socio-economic levels, different learning styles are some examples of these differences. Thus, ODL needs to be accessible for all learner groups with diversity in learning environments, learning materials, media types, student support services, blended learning opportunities and assessment types. ANADOLU University Open Education System as a Mega University aims to provide this diversity to 1.2 million students from 36 countries. By Elif Toprak and Mehmet Firat, Anadolu University, Turkey 

Digital Media Arts in Open and Distance Education 

This presentation introduces a PhD programme in Digital Media Arts and explains how we explore expressiveness to its maximum extent through computer graphics, digital sound and music, computer vision, digital storytelling, virtual reality, amongst other technologies, in the context of Open and Distance Education. Through a blended learning, approach students explore techniques of artistic expression in order to generate new media applications, products, narratives, games and aesthetic experiences in such areas as the cultural industries, education and entertainment. (José Bidarra, Universidade Aberta, Portugal)

Panel discussion on the present and future of Blended Learning

Panel discussion by Stephan Poelmans, KU Leuven, Belgium & Steve Wheeler, Plymouth University, UK & Antonio Moreira Teixeira, University of Aberta, Portugal

Webinar week: Virtual Mobility

20 - 23 May 2019

Innovative models for International Collaboration and Mobility in Europe

The report is based on new developments in higher education and international collaboration, using new modes of teaching and learning. This results in three types of collaboration and mobility: physical, blended and online. Main parameters for innovative education and mobility formats are defined as well as basic principles of international course and curriculum design. Examples illustrate the complete opportunity space between fully face to face and fully online collaboration. They relate to mobility within single courses, exchange mobility (classical Erasmus), networked programmes and mobility windows and joint programmes with embedded mobility. The report shows concrete mobility schemes, also achievable in small international collaboration and mobility settings. It underpins policies for international networking and delivers tools to organise innovative education and mobility formats. By Piet Henderikx, EADTU, The Netherlands

KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank

One of the mobility schemes mentioned in 'Innovative models for International Collaboration and Mobility in Europe' is the KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank. The KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank is an extra-curricular Honours Programme that is predominantly an online programme but supported by two very short physical mobility periods. It is a student-driven programme for which each university selects up to 20 students. From February until November, an interdisciplinary group of students independently shapes a research project within a given theme. An international and interdisciplinary team of academics coaches the students. Work sessions, including video conference sessions, are organised in the evenings. Online platforms and tools facilitate the collaboration between the students. During the Easter Break, the students meet on campus for a Focus Week. In November, they participate in an on-campus Workshop Week culminating in a concluding event where they present their findings to a broad audience. Ms. Katrien Vanelven from KU Leuven's International Office will talk about the format and lessons learnt. (Katrien Vanelven, KU Leuven, Belgium)

Open Virtual Mobility Skills

Research Results & Application in the Design of MOOCs

This contribution will present how Open Virtual Mobility Skills have been elicited and used to design Open Online Courses Erasmus+ strategic partnership Open Virtual Mobility (2017-2020), Participants will learn about the research methodology and the key research results from Group Concept Mapping and how these results have been translated to the design of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Open Virtual Mobility Skills encompass a set of eight skill clusters. These skills are useful for successful participation in Open Virtual Mobility and at the same time can be gained from participating in Open Virtual Mobility. Participants will also learn how Open Virtual Mobility Skills are assessed and recognised in the Open Virtual Mobility Learning Hub.  By Ilona Buchem, Beuth Hochschule für Technik, Germany 

UOC with Latin-American Universities

The UOC, which is sensitive to the need to bring lifelong learning to a larger and more diverse number of people, prioritizes, with special emphasis, collaborations with foreign universities which share the same goals. UOC’s innovative virtual mobility model it’s based on our pedagogical model, student-centred, with the necessary adaptations, such as knowing the university of origin, maintaining a stable and continuous relationship, guaranteeing the constant relationship between academic peers, specialized mentoring, among others. (Carme Anguera Iglesias, UOC, Spain)

Higher education in emergencies - Learning pathways | Panel discussion

Higher education in contexts of conflict and crises straddles the humanitarian-development nexus. This presentation focuses on the design, development and implementation of higher education programs through digital learning. We argue that traditional notions of higher education in terms of utility and quality require rethinking when being operationalised in fragile contexts. Through concrete examples of virtual mobility and credit transfers, we discuss how challenges can be overcome and forcibly displaced learners can benefit when a life-long learning approach is being embraced. By Barbara Moser-Mercer, University of Geneve, inZone, Switzerland

Panel discussion with several presenters of the Virtual Mobility webinar week (Video: 38:10)

Innovating Education in new modes of teaching and learning webinar week:

20 & 21 November 2018

Changing patterns in interactive learning design

Current trends in distance education point to changing patterns in business models and in learning design, these were clearly interconnected, and the solutions reside in both high level and low-level decisions. The higher-level decisions are related to personalised learning, practical subjects, shorter programme cycles, partnerships for face-to-face sessions and technologies for seamless learning. The lower level decisions imply the design of learning environments and the implementation of learner support strategies. So, this talk will explore the processes and suitable technologies for learning design, including the design and application of digital media in teaching and learning, and a critical analysis of the benefits of technologies in education. By José Bidarra, Universidade Aberta

Collaborative Learning in Open and Distance Learning

I'm pretty sure all distance educators like the concept of students learning collaboratively. But nothing's straightforward in ODL and it's worth asking some questions:

  1. Why do we like collaborative learning? Is it to improve learning, overcome isolation or to save money?
  2. What's the best way to help students get together? - forums, mentoring, 'study dating'?
  3. Do students really like it? Or do some find it unhelpful and even threatening?
  4. What are the potential pitfalls? Group assessment? Internet harassment?
  5. Most importantly! - does it work?

By Ormond Simpson, University of London

Transforming Higher Education with Blended Learning: Managing Expectations and Bridging Gaps:

With blended learning having become “the new normal” (Dziuban, Graham, Moskal, Norberg, & Sicilia, 2018), even traditional on-campus universities work on creating new learning designs to meet their students’ needs for flexibility, mostly concerning work/life/study balance and opportunities for lifelong learning. Implementing such programs comes with a set of challenges in the realms of pedagogy, technology, and management, however. In this webinar, I will introduce the first blended learning bachelor program at the University of Graz in Austria. Focusing on some challenges faced and lessons learned, I will offer insight into the process of implementation that could be used for future projects in blended learning, particularly in other “brick-and-mortar” higher education institutions. By Simone Adams, University of Graz

Understanding student paths in higher education blended-learning:

Beyond success and dropout

This study first aimed to identify critical instances that characterise common student paths and deviations that lead to certification, interruption of studies or dropout in blended-learning. We then crossed the path types and degrees of completion with available student characteristics to infer various student profiles. Using time and credits required to graduate to identify path deviations may provide insights on early warning signs of potential dropout and lead to seeing dropout, not only as an academic failure but also as possible fulfilment of learning goals independent of certification, particularly. These results will allow us to understand various paths and goals students follow in higher-education blended-learning study programs that particularly attract non-traditional students, to propose guidelines for designing curricula that are more open and flexible in their delivery while maintaining support for learning progression to achieve program learning outcomes. By Kalliopi Benetos, Université de Genève

Quality in Higher Education Week:

19 & 20 September 2018

Quality frameworks for MOOCs

OpenupEd organised a webinar on Quality frameworks for MOOCs, including 6 short presentations related to various perspectives on quality. 

  • Checking MOOC quality afterwards: the case of accessibility by Francisco Iniesto (OUUK)
  • Quality assurance of MOOCs from an institutional perspective: the OpenupEd label by Jon Rosewell & Karen Kear (OUUK)
  • The student’s perspective on MOOC quality by Gohar Hovhannisyan (ESU)
  • How a MOOC platform checks the quality of MOOCs by Rebecca Love-Howard (FutureLearn)
  • How a MOOC platform checks the quality of MOOCs by Catherine Mongenet (FUN)
  • How to secure the quality of MOOCs in cross-sectoral / cross-institutional team: the case of the BizMOOC project by Darco Jansen (EADTU)

Main results EADTU-ENQA Peer Learning Activity on QA in blended and online education

The EADTU-ENQA PLA has identified next steps in the development of high quality blended degree and online continuing education in a dialogue between main stakeholders: universities, quality assurance agencies, governments and students. Only in a dialogue between these stakeholders, we can come to a favourable environment for further innovating education. This PLA showed a shared responsibility to accelerate innovation and quality of education and to find ways for improvement. Ways forward for all stakeholders separately and in dialogue will be presented. By George Ubachs, EADTU

Main findings of the ENQA WG E-learning

Recognising that recommendations for quality assurance and e-learning have already been written, the WG decided to create a new focus: to systematically examine both the applicability and relevance of the standards as defined in the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG, 2015). Although each standard proved to be fully applicable to e-learning, some standards seemed to require special guidance on how they can be applied. The findings of this work are applicable to all forms of e-learning. Besides, it is meant to initiate discussion and the thinking process of stakeholders involved, e.g. HEIs, QA agencies, etc. It is not intended to be prescriptive. By Esther Huertas Hidalgo, AQU Catalunya 

Lessons from 10 years of E-xcellence quality reviews for elearning

E-xcellence is a QA methodology with a strong quality enhancement focus. We analysed E-xcellence self-evaluations and roadmaps at twenty higher education institutions to identify the most challenging aspects of e-learning provision. The main challenges were: developing e-learning strategy, building online academic communities for students, and managing staff workload. There was also a strong focus on increasing the interactivity of learning materials. In contrast, the provision of reliable IT systems and hardware was unproblematic. By Karen Kear & Jon Rosewell, OUUK

E-assessment week:

26 & 28 June 2018

Academic dishonesty: challenges & solutions

Though academic dishonesty or academic fraud can be considered ‘a fact of life’ (much as we like to erase it, we know that at best we can try to contain it), educational institutions need to make a convincing case that their assessment practices are fair and reliable. In this respect, recent figures on the extent of the problem of academic dishonesty give rise to concern. At the same time, there is a desire to increase flexibility in educational assessment through online assessment, which also constitutes a challenge in terms of ensuring the response to an assessment is provided by the right person. The European Horizon2020 TeSLA project aims at enabling reliable e-assessments through various state-of-the-art technologies for authentication and authorship verification, which can help to improve assessment practices in both online and face-to-face settings. These technologies include face-recognition, voice-recognition, analysis of keystroke (typing) dynamics, plagiarism detection, and forensic (writing style) analysis. In this webinar, we will explore definitions and types of academic dishonesty, the scope of the problem, solutions provided by technologies, and the extent to which they cover the problem. Finally, we will discuss possible measures beyond the use of technology. By José Janssen, OUNL

Teachers intentions and students perceptions of written feedback

Feedback is one of the most powerful enhancers of learning and although there has been quite a large amount of research studying determinants of effective feedback, both teachers and students indicate that feedback is still not optimally used. In this webinar, we will present an overview of some studies conducted at the Open University of actual feedback practices and students' perceptions of feedback. We will conclude with some food for thought when providing feedback to our students. By Kim Dirkx, OUNL

Viewbrics: mirroring and mastering complex generic skills with video-enhanced rubrics through a technology-enhanced formative assessment methodology

To master complex generic skills (or ‘21st-century skills’), it is important to form a concrete and consistent mental model of all constituent sub-skills and mastery levels.  An analytic assessment rubric describes skills’ mastery levels in text, by means of a set of performance indicators for constituent sub-skills. However, text-based rubrics have a limited capacity to convey contextualized, procedural, time-related and observable behavioural aspects of a complex skill, thus restricting the construction of a rich mental model. 

Therefore, within the Viewbrics-project, we study the possibilities of using video modelling examples combined with rubrics, called video-enhanced rubrics, for the formative assessment of complex skills. We expect that using video-enhanced rubrics instead of text-based rubrics will lead to a ‘richer’ mental model and improves feedback quality (in terms of consistency as well as concreteness)  while practising a complex skill, for both pupils and teachers in secondary schools.  Subsequently, we expect increased skill’s mastery levels. 

Within the Viewbrics-project, we developed and tested this technology-enhanced formative assessment methodology with video-enhanced rubrics, through a design research approach with teachers, pupils, researchers and various domain experts, for three generic complex skills, namely presenting, collaborating and information literacy. This webinar reports on the followed design research process, the resulting formative assessment methodology and functionality of the Viewbrics online tool and on future research. We will also discuss the applicability of  ‘Viewbrics’  in other educational contexts. By Ellen Rusman, OUNL

Fostering engagement and learning through formative feedback

UNED developments and use of automatized and mobile feedback for closed and open-ended questions:

Formative assessment and personalised feedback are commonly recognised as key factors both for improving student’s performance and increasing their motivation and engagement (Gibbs, 2005). Currently, in large and massive online courses technological solutions to give feedback are reduced to different kinds of quizzes. In this webinar, solutions and results for automated closed and open-ended questions will be presented, based on UNED experiences in different undergraduate subjects. 

Automatic Feedback for closed question: 

Previous research in Educational Psychology has showed the positive results for students’ engagement and learning of, on the one hand, the so-called Testing effect, or answering questions after study sessions; and, on the other hand, Spaced education, meaning spaced repetition of the same questions at specific intervals, which increases long-term retention. Through this webinar participant would have the opportunity to know the features of a new Moodle activity plug-in activity developed in UNED called UNEDTrivial, which allows instructors design quizzes as learning tools based on “testing effect” and “spaced education”. First results in two subjects of the Faculties of Economics and Psychology will be presented. 

Automatic Feedback for open-ended questions: 

At present, one of our challenges is to be able to give feedback for open-ended questions through semantic technologies in a sustainable way. To face such challenge, our academic team decided to test a Latent Semantic Analysis-based automatic assessment tool, named G-Rubric, developed by researchers at the Developmental and Educational Psychology Department of UNED (Spanish National Distance Education University). By using GRubric, automated formative and iterative feedback was provided to our students to different types of open-ended questions (70-800 words). This feedback allowed students to improve their answers and practice writing skills, thus contributing both to a better concept organisation and the building of knowledge.  

At this webinar, we will present the promising results of our first experiences in UNED Business Degree students along with three academic courses (2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17). By Miguel Santamaría Lancho & Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua


2016 - 2019 webinars

The practical realities of participating in a MOOC

27 February 2019

This webinar was organised by the Erasmus+ project ​MOONLITE​. Supported by ​EADTU, ​OpenupEd​, ​EMPOWER​, ​UNED​, Athabasca​ ​University​​ ​and​ ​​Linnaeus​ ​University​. 

By Timothy Read (UNED), Beatriz Sedano (UNED), Darco Jansen (EADTU), facilitator: Alastair Creelman (Linnaeus University)

Why universities invest in MOOCs – the importance of the social dimension

1 December 1017

The MOOC hype in the media might be over, but investments in and the uptake of MOOCs are increasing significantly worldwide. There is no doubt that European HEIs joined the MOOC movement later, but contrary to the developments in the US, European HEIs are now engaging more with MOOC development and production. Various studies demonstrate that a large percentage (at least 40%) of European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) seems to have​ ​developed​ ​a​ ​MOOC​ ​or​ ​is​ ​planning​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​MOOC. 

The question being considered in this webinar is why HEIs are investing in MOOCs, the role of political environments and educational values in different regions and if this support the use​ ​of​ ​MOOCs​ ​for​ ​social​ ​inclusion. 

This webinar was organised by the Erasmus+ project ​MOONLITE​. Supported by ​EADTU, ​OpenupEd​, ​EMPOWER​, ​UNED​, Athabasca​ ​University​​ ​and​ ​​Linnaeus​ ​University​. 

By Dr. Nathaniel Ostashewski (Athabasca University), Timothy Read (UNED), Darco Jansen (EADTU), moderator: Charlotte Traeger (ESCP Europe), facilitator: Alastair Creelman (Linnaeus University)

Open Education and the Sustainable Development Goals: Making Change Happen

12 April 2017

Education for All has been a concept at the heart of international development since 1990 and has found its latest instantiation within the Sustainable Development Goals as SDG 4 ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Open education, in the form of resources and practices, are both seen as contributors to SDG4. The ambition is clear but the means to make it happen are not and a number of commentators have claimed that a power and systems thinking approach to making change happen is critical.

This presentation (1) sets out the scale and scope of the SDGs; (2) reviews the potential contribution of open educational resources and practices to support the SDGs and (3) uses this framing of power and systems thinking to review the way open education activities might be fostered within tertiary education in all local, national and regional contexts in order to support the SDGs, and not just SDG 4. It will also tentatively outline a theory of change that brings together power relationships, systems thinking and open education as key components.

By Andy Lane, The Open University, UK 

Creative use of Europeana content for open education

28 March 2017

Europeana is Europe's main culture portal, with now about 50 million objects of Cultural Heritage including documents, images, videos and audio recordings. It is well known by Libraries, Museums and Archives as well as scholars for its trusted content. However, it is still underused in Education. Several factors make it an ideal tool for higher education. First of all, there is the quality: the cultural heritage objects described in Europeana come directly from the source, from the current holder, and have been digitized to high standards. Second, an ever-growing part of it is available for public reuse and openly licensed, as the European Commission pushes Cultural Heritage institutions to open up their collections. Thirdly, and this might be of growing interest, it shows Europe to its full diversity, in contrast to many current educational resources such as schoolbooks. It holds records from Central and Eastern Europe as well as those of Western Europe. Last, Europeana is transforming from a portal into a platform for reuse, educational as well as commercial. It wants to offer higher quality primary source material in a way that it can be integrated into educational apps, but also in an interactive way in online learning such as MOOCs. In this talk, we will discuss two examples from Europeana Space: creative reuse of Europeana content and the Europeana Space MOOC. By Frederik Truyen, KU Leuven

Business models for OER and MOOCs beyond monetary incentives

29 November 2016

OER and MOOCs can have multiple purposes and can bring a variety of returns on that investment. While there are costs associated with providing these free educational products and organizations might focus on ways to monetize the interest in their OER and MOOCs to offset those costs or provide revenue there is also non-monetary value to be gained from a variety of sources that expand the nature and range of business models for open education as both a producer and user. In this online event Andy Lane from The Open University UK, one of the EMPOWER experts and founding Director of the OUUK’s OpenLearn platform, will discuss non-monetary business models that variously involve enhancing brand awareness, extending the impact of research, enabling valorization of informal learning, encouraging partnerships between organizations, supporting capacity-building in communities and spreading the costs of developing OER. By Andy Lane, OUUK

Alternative perspectives on MOOC success

15 December 2016

Currently, MOOC providers report high drop-out rates ranging from 90 to 95%, meaning only about 5 to 10% of the MOOC takers is receiving a certificate when they enrol in a MOOC. However, drop-out is clearly defined from the perspective of the MOOC providers. MOOC takers may have other perspectives and to understand these perspectives their behaviour regarding MOOC enrolling should be studied. MOOC takers may have many reasons why they enrol in MOOCs and why they do not finish a MOOC. We distinguish two levels of the MOOC taker’s perspective, namely the level where MOOC takers are planning to enrol in a number of MOOCs because they have a personal curriculum in mind that they wish to complete. The other level is where MOOC takers are enrolled in a single MOOC as part of completing their personal curriculum. The presentation will go more in-depth about these two levels. By Karel Kreijns & Maartje Henderikx, Open University of the Netherlands

Assessment, examinations and certification

2016 - 2017 webinars

Assessing Students and Tutors with Learning Analytics Dashboards

26 September 2017

Newly emerging schemes for data capturing and storage have been creating a prosperous ecosystem for revolutionizing the way public organizations and private companies are doing business. Educational institutions are now able to provide evidence of accountability and efficiency based on the adequate allocation of public funding and their ranking in relation to other institutions as well as to assess and guide their students, tutors and administration. In this study, we present our initial findings from applying learning analytics schemes along with adequate visual representations bundled together for ease of use into the so-called learning analytics dashboards to establish patterns of student performance and tutor productivity. Moreover, we report on the applicability of certain of these software suites for addressing the needs of the students and tutors in a module offered by the Information Systems graduate program in the School of Science and Technology of the Hellenic Open University in Greece. 

By Vassilis Verykios, Andreas Gkontzis, Elias Stavropoulos, Hellenic Open University

TeSLA project: An adaptive trust-based e-assessment system for learning

16 September 2016

TeSLA system is a project funded by the European Commission. It will follow the interoperability standards for integration into a different learning environment and it will be developed to reduce the current restrictions of time and physical space in teaching and learning, which opens up new opportunities for learners with physical or mental disabilities as well as respecting social and cultural differences.

Given the innovative action of the project, the current gap in e-assessment and the growing number of institutions interested in offering online education, the project will conduct large scale pilots to evaluate and assure the reliability of the TeSLA system. 

By: Serpil Koçdar (Anadolu)

A cluster-based analysis to diagnose students’ learning achievements

19 July 2016

Assessment and evaluation of students’ performance have always played an important role in the learning process as it provides information about the level of knowledge acquired on a subject, and the progress that has been achieved. However, another main issue is detecting the thematic core in which the students have learning problems because they are evaluated in terms of competencies. This study proposes an adaptive approach to diagnose and feedback students and makes use of the Item Response Theory to estimate skill levels and classify the students. In addition, it uses a model of concepts’ relationship between the concepts and the items of the test. The purpose is to diagnose students’ cognitive problems and provide personalized and intelligent learning suggestions. This approach can be used as a system of intelligent diagnosis that receives a set of responses, and generates a data set of weak concepts for each student, specifying their learning path and resulting in clustering individuals who share the same shortcomings to ease any process of group feedback. 

By Miguel Rodríguez Artacho, Associate Profesor  at ETSI Informática, UNED 

Confidence-based marking

22 June 2016

Confidence-based marking (CBM) is an assessment method which asks the student not only to provide the answer to a question but also to report their level of confidence (or certainty) in the correctness of their answer. They need to consider this carefully because it affects the marks they are awarded: a student scores full marks for knowing that they know the correct answer, some credit for a tentative correct answer but are penalised if they believe they know the answer but get it wrong. There are several motivations for using CBM: it rewards care and effort so engendering greater engagement, it encourages reflective learning, and it promises accuracy and reliability.  

CBM has had niche success in the past in the context of medical training and recently may have a found a new niche in the context of regulatory compliance; these are both areas where the assessment of competency and mastery is expected. However, CBM has not been widely adopted in other areas of education. 

In this talk, I will review the CBM landscape and ask why CBM is not used more widely. What are the benefits claimed and how robust is the evidence? How should CBM be presented to the students? Do they need the training to understand how the system works? Is it a fair method of assessment? Does it disadvantage any category of the student? How does it fit with ideas around ‘assessment for learning’ and ‘reflective learning’? 

Confidence-based marking could offer both the student and teacher greater insight into a student’s understanding than the standard fare of e-assessment, the multiple-choice quiz. It is a technique that we should, therefore, keep under consideration. 

By Jon Rosewell, Dept Computing & Communications, MCT, OUUK 

Curriculum development and course design

2016 - 2017 webinars

Interactive Class Systems in UNINETTUNO Course Delivery Model

12 September 2017

Uninettuno developed and evolves its own organizational and didactic models for course design and delivery through a research-driven approach: experimentation/prototyping - piloting - large scale roll out. One of the main components of Uninettuno delivery model is the provision of environments and activities for interactive and collaborative learning. The webinar will briefly introduce Uninettuno models, focusing then on the process that led to evolve the "Virtual Classroom" system in an "Interactive Class" system (experimentation - piloting - large scale roll out), and on the psycho-pedagogy-centered approach adopted for the definition of teaching/learning model framework for  all the actors of the teaching/learning process.  

By Alessandro Caforio, International Telematic University UNINETTUNO

Innovative Distance Education Programs Recently Offered by Anadolu University for Providing Identical Needs of Different Target Groups

14 February 2017

The Open Education System of Anadolu University has continued to enlarge with the launch of new programs in 2015-2016 academic year: Public Relations and Advertising, Healthcare Management, Social Work, and Management Information Systems, also new associate degree programs in 2015-2016 academic year, i.e. Culinary Arts, Child Development, Medical Documentation and Secretary Training, and Geriatric Care, and in 2016-2017 academic year, Geographic Information Systems and Technologies, and Web Design and Coding. The programs in Civil Aviation Management and International Trade and Logistics Management were established in 2015-2016 academic year in the Faculty of Business Administration.  In the webinar, of those new programs, specifically information about Web Design and Coding and Geographic Information system programs as technology-related programs will be presented with a focus on curriculum design features.   

By Ayse Hepkul & Mehmet Firat, Anadolu University

Blended Learning as a Key to Skills, Content, and Learning Success

15 November 2016

More successful and efficient teaching and learning can profit from the use of Internet and Communication Technologies. Their use in and outside the classroom can provide more supportive and successful learning opportunities, teacher and peer support, as well as innovation in course design. Blended Learning course design is one of the ways of achieving this. 

This webinar will focus first on the general philosophies of teaching and learning specifically applied to blended learning design, which will contribute to more successful learning and greater satisfaction of learners and teachers. Using the course design model for the author's blended learning courses as an example, the talk will show how the Blended Learning concept is integrated into a curriculum at a traditional university and how it can also be used to promote communities of practice among learners. Ultimately, these factors will lead to better skills, content, and language learning. 

By Eric Brewster, Johannes Kepler University Linz 

The EMMA 5D MOOC Framework

21 September 2016

The EMMA 5D MOOC framework is a way to describe the full cycle of MOOC creation and delivery. By identifying 5 stages of MOOC implementation (Decide; Design; Develop; Deliver; Document), the framework introduces a set of questions as well as examples taken from three complementary perspectives: institutional, pedagogical and technical. The EMMA 5D MOOC framework integrates the distinctive EMMA project experience in cultural and linguistic diversity. It is also the result of a comparative literature review on the subject. 


By: Marcelo Maina and Lourdes Guàrdia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Knowledge Resources

2016 - 2017 webinars

Using Zotero as a collaborative research management tool

16 May 2017

In this presentation, we will discuss how to use Zotero as a basic tool for organizing collaborative bibliographic research. We will shortly overview the basic functionality of Zotero and how it compares to commercial systems, and then zoom in on the functionalities that truly make it a social platform for bibliographic research. Working on shared bibliographies is an excellent way to shape the direction of a research endeavour, and helps forge a common understanding of the research field. But it is also an ideal tool to introduce students to the literature in a particular discipline. We will also highlight some other tools such as The Library Thing, which focuses on book publications. By Frederik Truyen, KU Leuven

Applying learning technologies and tools for creating and using KR in online courses: A Guide for educators and researchers

14 September 2016

The scope of this webinar to facilitate educators for building an online course using knowledge resources (KR) and activities. We will focus on tools that can be used for building such a course and tools for creating KR and add them in an online course. Moreover, viewers will have the opportunity to watch a live demonstration using a demo course created in the Open University of Cyprus eLearning Platform. By Christos Rodosthenous (Open University of Cyprus)

Knowledge Resources to be promoted for their use into the learning Community (Higher Education teachers and learners)

7 July 2016

From context-based learning, libraries can provide KR adapted to each learning context. On the other hand, from adaptive teaching, where all learners are different but, however, most educational materials are the same for all, adaptive teaching technologies and KR should provide flexible study options to the students. Books chapters, articles, videos and other complementary material, available at the Library or that Library can search and provide, should let students to understand better the context they are studying and interacting with. At Open University of Catalonia (UOC) we are working hand-in-hand with teachers (meeting their needs and those of their students) in order to provide them tailored services and KR to contribute to the improvement of online learning. By Gema Santos-Hermosa, UOC

Working together with academics in a changing HE environment

13 October 2016

Librarians at The Open University collaborate with module teams to embed skills activities, resources and live engagement sessions into the taught curriculum. This case study will outline the processes involved, review the outcomes, and examine the chain of a changing environment. What happens when academics directly author their own learning content, or when Librarians are asked to provide support for MOOCs or commercial partnerships? By Cheryl Coveney, OUUK

Student Support

2016 - 2017 webinars

Learning Analytics for Student Support

12 September 2017

The Analytics 4 Action Evaluation Framework (A4A) provides a methodologically sound approach to - using data analytics- identify issues with student performance and progression, and embeds this approach to evaluation with Student Services Teams, and module and qualification teams to support in-presentation and post-presentation improvements to student experience and outcomes. Using the Active Presentation Toolkit, Module Team members, supported by the TEL team, are enabled to identify number of different types of action that can be taken in-presentation to improve student outcomes. The TEL Design team have been running the A4A process for the past 12 months having transitioned the project into mainstream activity. By Rafael Hidalgo-Aponte, OUUK

Institutional support for prospective and new students in online and distance education

14 February 2017

Do you know what are the main necessities and difficulties of prospective and new students in blended and online learning environments? Do you know why they quit while giving their first steps in their studies?

Would you like to know how to design and implement effective induction programmes mediated by ICT?

Would you like to know about innovative and creative ways to give support to students during their first academic year to prevent dropout and promote retention?

Research being done in distance education universities all over the world consistently reveals that students’ dropout takes place primarily during the first year and, even, before the exams of the first semester. That means that great efforts should be placed during this period of time to promote retention.

In this sense, induction programmes in blended and online learning programmes would require being implemented before students’ registration, and should be actively developed during early beginning of the first course and offered all along the first university year. Anyhow, any online training programme should look forward a good integration of participants, by designing its own induction plan. The main goal would be to improve students' retention and success and drop-out prevention.

In this webinar, some innovative experiences of induction programmes implemented at an institutional level, as well as good practices at giving support to prospective and new students will be introduced by international experts from different continents (UAB of Portugal, Open University of the Netherlands, Anadolu University of Turkey, UAPA of Dominican Republic and UNED). So, the institutional expertise at dealing with new students will be discussed and we will have the opportunity to know some innovative actions such as the awarded "Studiecoach" programme of the Open University of the Netherlands. By:

  • Angeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua. UNED, Spain (chair)
  • António Moreira Teixeira. UAB, Portugal.
  • Marion Stevens. Open University of the Netherlands
  • Magdalena Cruz Benzán. UAPA, Dominican Republic
  • Mehmet Firat. ANADOLU University, Turkey

Theories of Student Support for Retention

16 March 2017

“There is nothing” Kurt Lewin wrote, “as practical as a good theory”. This presentation looks at some of the theories that might be practical help in supporting students for retention. In particular it will look at learning motivation theories and how to help students keep their drive to learn. By Ormond Simpson, Former OUUK

Innovative Student Support Solutions for Large Groups

16 November 2016

Do you know how mega-universities cope with the challenge to give support to a large number of students in blended and online environments?

Would you like to know some good and innovative solutions to attend students’ necessities mediated by ICT when numbers increase?

Open and distance education universities are among the largest ones in the world by the number of students enrolled. A quick glance at Wikipedia reveals that this modality is giving, thus, response to main educative challenges all over the world, promoting higher education access in many countries. 

However, giving support to a large number of students is a great challenge that calls for strong and extremely well-organized student support programs, at an institutional level, as well as innovative and creative proposals to give efficient answers to main students’ s needs in this type of mega universities.

In this webinar, distance education universities with a long experience in the field and a large number of students, will present some of their innovative solutions at giving support to big numbers in blended and online learning environments, such as the uses of FAQ System, short video instructions and social media (ANADOLU University, one of the largest universities in the world with 1.900.000 distance education students), and advanced technological tools for online video-tutoring, automatic correction system for open questions, and control process of formal examinations (UNED, a mega-university with 250.000 students).

By Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua. Student Support Chair. Coordinator. UNED

ANADOLU University (Turkey)

Mehmet Firat & Ayşe Hepkul

UNED (Spain)

Tim Read & Covadonga Rodrigo & José Mª Luzón y Guillermo de Jorge Botana

Student dropout in distance education - how many, who, when, why, what are the consequences and how do we overcome them?

29 September 2016

Dropout in open and distance education tends to be higher - sometimes much higher - than in conventional education. This webinar will try to understand the issue by looking at the scale of the problem - how many students drop out and who drops out and when. It will examine the serious consequences - social and financial - for students, institutions and society as a whole. It will argue that overcoming the problem involves recognising that funding appropriate student support is not simply a cost but can have a positive financial return for institutions through increased retention. The webinar will suggest some ideas for discussion about what that appropriate support might comprise. By Ormond Simpson, Former OUUK

Institutional Support: ICT, media and educational support services

2016 - 2017 webinars

Listening the educational initiatives for Migrants and Refugees coming from NGOs

12 May 2017

Losing migrants and refugees’ talents because of our inoperability will be our responsibility. Migrants and refugees are said1 to be “a tremendous added social, economic and political value”. Who are the most appropriate to detect and channel their specific needs on tertiary education? Universities should ask NGOs in order to identify training needs and design programs and evaluation systems relative to this vulnerable and valued collective. This workshop sets out the Spanish Refugee Aid Commission (CEAR), a representative voice of migrants and refugees in Spain, and HERMES, an old UNED project set up for special learning and teaching of migrants and refugees in which CEAR is interested in participating, channelling their voices.

1 Members’ policies and activities concerning refugees and migrants, July 2016

By María Teresa Bendito Cañizares (UNED) on HERMES University Integration Project for immigrants & by Cristina Sirur (CEAR) on CEAR: Right of Asylum and Refugees in Spain

Deconstructing Technology Enhanced Learning: from platforms to the cloud

8 March 2017

Technology-enhanced education has walked a long way since the first standardisation initiatives and industrial LMSs almost 20 years ago. In this scope, we take a look back and forward in the current state of educational technologies with a view of current trends in the demand for distance education. 

By Miguel Rodríguez Artacho, UNED

Mobile Learning & New Trends

21 February 2017

Today we face complex changes in society and education (e.g. high turnover rate of knowledge, changing labour market, the fast pace of technology renewal), which require a more creative response to the world problems that surround us. This calls for learning design solutions that deal with three major dimensions: context, technology and pedagogy, and aim at integrating learning in formal and informal contexts through blended learning scenarios. To get effective results emerging digital media tools must be used, but without losing track of a much needed pedagogical model. So, in this presentation, we discuss relevant research on mobile learning and digital media while making the connection to blended learning.

By José Bidarra, UAb 

Onlabs: 3D Game for Distance Laboratory

24 June 2016

Presentation by Dimitris Kalles (HOU) on Onlabs: 3D Game for Distance Laboratory

Training & Qualification

24 June 2016

Presentation by Nicole Engelhardt (FernUni) on Training and Qualification

Gathering ideas for main topics for expert pool Institutional Support

22 April 2016

  1. Presentation by Maria Teresa Bendito Cañizares (UNED) on Gamification
  2. Presentation by José Bidarra (UAb) and Ellen Rusman (OUNL) on A pedagogical model for science education through blended learning

Institutional policy and strategy development for new modes of teaching and learning

2016 - 2017 webinars

Leading in Changing Times: Case Studies in Strategy and Policy Development

31 August 2017

This webinar invites participants to discuss and reflect on contemporary models and approaches to institutional leadership and strategy development in today’s rapidly changing digital era. It argues that leadership remains one of the major challenges facing higher education institutions seeking to harness the transformative potential of new technology-enhanced models of teaching and learning. A strong case is made for a more distributed understanding of leadership in fostering transformative change in complex organisational ecologies. After outlining and inviting feedback on a number of guiding principles emerging from contemporary literature on effective leadership in higher education, the webinar briefly describes three interesting case studies. Firstly, it illustrates based on the experience at Dublin City University (DCU) the importance of aligning the language we adopt with the outcomes we seek in attempting to foster new digitally enhanced models of teaching and learning. Secondly, building on this example, the crucial role of vision, stakeholder engagement and strategic alignment are discussed in the context of envisioning and shaping our own institutional futures. Lastly, the webinar describes the experience of the Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA) and some of the lessons learnt about developing strategic leadership for such uncertain times. Overall the objective of webinar is to share and critically reflect on different experiences of institutional leadership, as we grapple with the challenge of the modernisation of higher education in the European context.

By Professor Mark Brown: Director, National Institute for Digital Learning Dublin City University

International Education

2016 - 2017 webinars

EDELNet (European Distance Education in Law Network): a case study on international strategic partnerships in higher education

7 June 2016

The FernUniversität in Hagen, the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) and the Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNl) are three leading European distance learning universities firmly devoted to further the principle of equal opportunity by safeguarding equal access to top-quality higher education to everyone, using a methodology based on the principles of modern distance learning focused on the needs of the student. In 2014, after eight years of successful cooperation in the organization of international common teaching activities on the bachelor level, these universities established a Strategic Partnership to further cultural exchange and best practices in the internationalisation of high-quality education in law for all three Bologna cycles. Developed within this framework, the EDELNet (European Distance Education in Law Network) project is planned to be the first building block in the implementation of an ambitious scientific and pedagogic concept of Blended Active Learning and student-oriented teaching facilitating a personal learning path with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and intercultural communication skills as a basis for a better understanding of each other’s legal cultures and practices throughout Europe and beyond. The project has been recently awarded European Union funding for the period 2015-2018 by the DAAD ERASMUS+ funding program for Strategic Partnerships (Call 2015).

By Juan Garcia Blesa, Nils Szuka, FernUni