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 Webinar week: Blended Learning

Blended Learning


Chair of the webinar week and EMPOWER member: Angeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua, IUED Director, UNED, and Chair of EMPOWER Student Support field, Spain

Tuesday 25 June 2019 [14.00-15.30 CESTLooking deeper into Blended Learning 
Video Recording

  • In the Mix (Steve Wheeler, Plymouth University, UK) 
    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'.

  • European Maturity Model of Blended Education (Wiebe Dijkstra, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)
    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. 
Wednesday 26 June 2019 [14.00-15.30 CEST Good practices in Blended Learning
Video Recording part 1/2 Video Recording part 2/2
  • Proposal for a strategic refocusing in UNED Local Centers (Luis Fernández, UNED, Spain)  
    Presentation Video
    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 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.
  • Active learning and blended & flipped models: a selection of tools to improve feedback in virtual and face-to-face spaces (Raúl Santiago, University of La Rioja, Spain)
    "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”.

  • Why Diversity Matter in ODL? Case of Anadolu University (Elif Toprak and Mehmet Firat, Anadolu University, Turkey) 
    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.

  • Digital Media Arts in Open and Distance Education (José Bidarra, Universidade Aberta, Portugal)
    This presentation introduces a PhD programme on 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.
Thursday 27 June 2019 [14.00-15.30 CESTPannel discussion on the present and future of Blended Learning
Video Recording

25 & 26 & 27 June 2019

 Webinar week: Virtual Mobility 

Virtual Mobility


Tuesday 21 May 2019 [14.00-15.30 CEST]
Video Recording

  • Innovative models for International Collaboration and Mobility in Europe. Report from the EADTU Task Force and a Peer Learning Activity on Virtual Mobility (Ma 2019). (Piet Henderikx, EADTU, The Netherlands)
    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. 

  • KU Leuven - Stellenbosch University Think Tank. (Katrien Vanelven, KU Leuven, Belgium)
    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. 

Wednesday 22 May 2019 [14.00-15.30 CEST]
Video Recording

  • Open Virtual Mobility Skills – Research Results & Application in the Design of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). (Ilona Buchem, Beuth Hochschule für Technik, Germany)
    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), https://www.openvirtualmobility.eu. 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. 
  • UOC with Latin-American Universities. (Carme Anguera Iglesias, UOC, Spain)
    The UOC, which is sensititve 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-centered, 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."

Thursday 23 May 2019 [14.00-15.30 CEST]
Video Recording

  • Higher education in emergencies - Learning pathways. (Barbara Moser-Mercer, University of Geneve, inZone, Switzerland) 
    Higher education in contexts of conflict and crises straddles the humanitarian-development nexus. This presentations 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. 

  • Panel discussion

21 & 22 & 23 May 2019

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

International education


Changing patterns in interactive learning design (José Bidarra,Universidade Aberta)
Current trends in distance education point to changing patterns in business models and in learning design, these being 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.

Collaborative Learning in Open and Distance Learning (Ormond Simpson, University of London)
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?

Transforming Higher Education with Blended Learning: Managing Expectations and Bridging Gaps (Simone Adams, University of Graz) 
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.

Understanding student paths in higher education blended-learning: beyond success and dropout (Kalliopi Benetos, Université de Genève)
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 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.

20 & 21 November 2018

Quality in Higher Education week

Quality Assurance

Quality frameworks for MOOCs (co-organised by OpenupEd)

QA in blended and online education 

  • Video recording

  • Main results EADTU-ENQA Peer Learning Activity (PLA) on QA in blended and online education by George Ubachs (EADTU)
    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 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.

  • Main findings of the ENQA WG E-learning by Esther Huertas Hidalgo (AQU Catalunya) 
    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.

Lessons from 10 years of E-xcellence quality reviews for elearning by Karen Kear & Jon Rosewell (OUUK)

  • Video recording | presentation

    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.

19 & 20 September 2018

EMPOWER E-Assessment week


Tuesday 26 June

Thursday 28 June

  • Video recording

  • Viewbrics: mirroring and mastering complex generic skills with video enhanced rubrics through a technology-enhanced formative assessment methodology by Ellen Rusman (OUNL)
    Full description | Presentation | Video viewbrics | Viewbrics flyer

  • Fostering engagement and learning through formative feedback. UNED developments and use of automatized and mobile feedback for closed and open-ended questions 
    by Miguel Santamaría & Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua (UNED)
    Full description | Presentation (will follow)

26 & 28 June 2018
15.00 – 16.30 (CEST)


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

Organised by Erasmus+ project MOONLITE, empowered by EMPOWER

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

1 December 2017
15.30 – 16.30 (CET)


 Assessing Students and Tutors with Learning Analytics Dashboards


26 September 2017
11.00 – 12.00 (CEST)

Learning Analytics for Student Support

Student Support

15 September 2017
11.00 – 12.00 (CEST)

Interactive Class systems in UNINETTUNO course delivery model

Curriculum development & Course design

12 September 2017
11.00 – 12.00 (CEST)

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

Policy and Strategy Development

31 August 2017
15.00 – 16.00 (CEST)

 Discover TeSLA, a prototype candidate-authentication system for online assessments

By: TeSLA communication team

18 May 2017
12.30 – 13.15 (CEST)

Using Zotero as a collaborative research management tool

Knowledge Resources

 16 May 2017 
10.00 - 11.30 (CEST)

Listening the educational initiatives for Migrants and Refugees coming from NGOs

Institutional Support

 26 April 2017 
16.30 - 17.00 (CEST)

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

Student Support

 26 April 2017 
16.30 - 17.00 (CEST)

Student Support, complementary videos: 

Student Support


 Open Education and the Sustainable Development Goals: Making Change Happen


 12 April 2017 
13.00 - 14.30 (CEST)

Creative use of Europeana content for open education


 28 March 2017 
10.00 - 11.30 (CEST)

Theories of Student Support for Retention

Sudent Support

 16 March 2017 
15.00 - 16.30 (CET)

UOC Virtual Library Teaching Services and Learning Resources

Knowledge Resources

14 March 2017
10.00 - 12.30 (CET)

Deconstructing Technology Enhanced Learning: from platforms to the cloud

Institutional Support

 8 March 2017
11.00 – 12.30 (CET)

Mobile Learning & New Trends 

Institutional Support

 21 February 2017
11.00 – 12.30 (CET)

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

Curriculum development & Course design

 14 February 2017
15.00 – 16.30 (CET)

Alternative perspectives on MOOC success


 15 December 2016
10.00 – 11.30 (CET)

Business models for OER and M

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