Daily chronicle – first day of the Leadership School

By Laura Infante Blanco & Julie Bu Daher

First working session: Innovation or Death

After a very warm welcome from Anne Boyer (D-Transform scientific coordinator), Pierre Mutzenhardt (President of Université de Lorraine) and Jean-Yves Marion (Director of LORIA – UL), the first working session of day 1 of the leadership school started with an effusive invitation of Marta Aymerich (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)to all the public to innovate, immediately followed by the keynote of Antoni Pérez Navarro.

He made a review about the history of education and the devices which were invented for educational tasks. In the recent years, the aim of these devices is to easily register and to share and synchronize knowledge. In the era of changing and ephemeral information, universities have to react according to the dynamics of knowledge, and this objective can only be reached by means of rapid innovation. We cannot envision innovation without   education and the main actors (decision makers, teachers, support staff, facilitators, aliens) are the key players in the process. Antoni Pérez Navarro humorously illustrated a situation of misconception of the transforming educational context by calling himself from the future, trying to understand how the future university will look like (no more teachers,
no more classrooms, changing programs …).

Right after this talk, Marta Aymerich gave the floor to Natalie Cernecka, from “OpenClassrooms”, the company start-up was founded in the nineties with the aim of teaching code programming. Nowadays, they  have more than 1000 online lectures, and their mission is to make education accessible, teach job oriented skills in order for people to become and remain employable. The success key in this teaching  environment was the introduction of the role of the mentor in the system. Mentors are people in charge of listening, helping and supporting students through the continuous learning process.

Another successful innovation story came from Olivier Crouzet and its “école 42”. This HE computing school made its appearance a few years ago promoted by the low rank of France in the global e-economy. This innovative school is  100% free of lectures and teachers, and students develop on its own looking for information sources, collaborating to resolve problems, and using other modern learning techniques as peer-evaluation, individual pace and gamification.

The third example of innovative academic example was minutely detailed by Catherine Mongenet. FUN-MOOC was created in 2013 to promote innovative teaching and learning methods based on MOOCs. Since that moment, the  MOOC platform has been continuously evolving so as to improve the learning experience by means of new concepts such as collections, some being reused as SPOCs. Catherine claimed that one of innovative aspects of FUN-MOOC was the synergy with companies from whom they have already received positive feedback.

Keywords: evolving Higher Education, education devices, innovation actors, mindset, mentors, peer-evaluation, individual pace, MOOCs, flipped classrooms, SPOCs.

*Second working session: Strategy and Digital Education part I*

The second working session of day 1 of the leadership school started by the invitation of  Angela Procoli to M. Makhanya from the University of South Africa.

M. Makhanya started his speech by introducing UNISA (University of South Africa) which is the oldest and foremost representative of ODeL (open, distance and e-learning) in the developing world.

The notion of social justice is a fundamental precept of UNISA’s institutional strategy and planning, imperative for its digital transformation.

He claimed that social justice in South Africa refers to the extension of principles enshrined in its constitution of human dignity, equality and freedom to participate in all of the political, socioeconomic and cultural spheres of society.He confirmed that digital transformation is not cheap despite the perceived potential of large scale delivery.

The institutions are unambiguously tasked to be promoters of digital transformation, equity and social justice. This issue presents a number of complex challenges: Infrastructural lack, entrenched and persistent poverty, lack of political will and a host of well documented
socio-economic, political and contextual realities continue to exclude a majority of potential Higher Education students in the developing world.

After this talk, Anne Boyer invited H.W.Plotkin who talked about OER Implementation at the Institutional and National Level.

He started the speech introducing Creative Commons as an organization that legally helps to share knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible and innovative world unlocking the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity. Their mission is to give people the power to share knowledge.

Traditional universities weren’t able to react to the knowledge revolution, the exponential growing of information and the new methodologies of learning and sharing knowledge. Creative commons had the initiative of creating a repository containing Open Educational Resources, which can be combined to form an entire degree. Other initiatives of this
group are Cool4Ed, an open online library for education, and the future education technology investment advisory service launching september 2017. Local governments have contributed economically to these and many other open e-learning initiatives.

Anne Boyer then invited Azim Roussanaly from Université de Lorraine to present his speech about the digital strategy of the hosting institution. He started his talk by a brief description of Université de Lorraine, a young university born by the fusion of 4 universities.  He discussed foundations of the strategy design whose basic principles are
consistency, steering and territorial partnership. He presented the digital strategy as serving a global institutional project, accompanying all stakeholders: staff, students and partners and integrating technological regulatory and usage changes. He confirmed that the university develops the usage of digital technologies in teaching practices, supports teachers in the design of online courses and the production of digital resources,
adapts the teaching spaces and offers assistance to all users (including students). He provided examples of some actions in the field performed at the university as: dashboard for e-learning, pedagogic and digital correspondents network, call for proposals, Mut@camp and others.

*Keywords*: digital transformation, social justice, e-learning, digital technology transformation, innovation, knowledge revolution, OERs

*Tips of the day:*

  • Innovation is the answer to face the exponential progress of the educational context.
  • Aliens brings disruption, they are everywhere, and if we are not prepared we will be invaded
  • A remarkable aspect of digital revolution in the global south is the perceived value of access via digitalisation/ICTs as a means of achieving social justice and human flourishing
  • Open Educational Resources could be a way to achieve open global education

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