Workshop on Renewing the Quality Agenda in Europe

Today at the 2017 annual EDEN Conference in Jönköping/ Sweden we have held a learning cafe workshop on a very important theme in the overall discussion of Quality in E-learning: “Renewing the European Quality Agenda”.

Why “renewing”?
Well, in a time where E-learning is more and more moving from an exception to a general offering the question of quality which has always been very important to ask and to strive for,   has to be asked from a different angel. Universities and educational institutions, and also national policies in general are turning more and more to embrace digital media into the core of their operations. In my view we have Europe wide reached a stage in which we went from a more experimental stage of using digital media in educational institutions to a stage where integration happens and a normalization takes place. Of course throughout Europe there is still a very divers scene.

However in this situation, the integration of digital media has to stand a test as a ‘standard mode d’employ’ and therefore needs to deliver. The question on quality is therefore not an experimental any more but becomes more crucial as digital media influence the core of higher educational institutions.

Against the background the workshop asked the question if the current frameworks which we have established throughout the past decade in Europe to assure and to develop quality for e-learning and technology enhanced learning is still suitable or needs to be renewed, and if: how.

For the  workshop we have been joined by Alastair Crelman and by Cecilia Bjursel who each gave an impulse about their views of what good learning is. This was meant as a mind disrupting lead-in into the discussion on  quality, because we felt that we did not want to start the discussion on quality just by directly diving into the “usual” existing frameworks and standards.

The discussion was very lively and turned up the 4 main conclusions after 90 minutes of discussion:

  • Power – how can teachers in a digital free pedagogy let go of their power and  give the rains of learning more into the hands of students?
  • EQF – how can we make sure that the experiences made during the past decade with innovation  in learning can be used to inform better the ongoing debates in Europe, specifically ask this for the European quality framework processes?
  • Openness – how can we develop quality for open learning and open education environments? How can freedom be organized?
  • Culture – How can a holistic quality culture be achieved?

 

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About Ulf-Daniel Ehlers

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers is Vicepresident for Quality and Academic Affairs at the Baden Wurttemberg-State University in Stuttgart, Germany. He has been appointed Professor for Educational Management and Lifelong Learning at the same university. Before he has held positions as Associate Professor in the University Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Professor for Technology Enhanced Learning in the University Augsburg (Germany) and Associate Professor of the Graduate School for Management and Technology of the University of Maryland University College (USA). Ulf is an educational scientist and holds degrees in English Language, Social Sciences and Educational Sciences from the University of Bielefeld, where he finished his Ph.D. with honors in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning in 2003, and was awarded his habilitation in 2008 from the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has created many international, European and national projects and was involved in founding the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, in which he served as Vicepresident and President for several terms. He has also served as President and Vicepresident of the of the largest german speaking e-learning Association, the Society for Media in Science (GMW e.V.) as well as serving on advisory boards to several professional associations in the field. Before his career in academia he has been a successful and award winning entrepreneur in the field of webbased IT Technologies and founder of several companies.
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