New SELFIE Style Digi-HE Project

Over the past three-months our NIDL team has been successful in partnership with several other European universities and professional organisations in securing a number of new externally funded research and development projects. These new projects explore some interesting areas of innovation in digital models of teaching and learning, and we will share more information about each project in a series of blog posts over the next few weeks. However, to begin with a brief description of the Digi-HE project appears below.


About the DIGI-HE Project

The DIGI-HE project (Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2023) aims to develop a self-reflection tool that will help European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to develop and enhance their strategic approaches for digitalisation. Such a tool exists already for schools (i.e., SELFIE) but not yet for higher education, at least not at international level. The project targets different types of institutions (universities and colleges), at different levels of maturity in their digital developments. Through a survey to HEI, DIGI-HE will gather fresh data on the state of play of and strategic development goals and challenges in digitalisation – an update to a 2014 report, which is up until now largely the only source for comparably data on the issue in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This survey will inform the development of the self-reflection tool, and also help to identify participating institutions.

publication_107466_cover.jpgThe tools arising from this project will be developed based on the SELFIE tool, and lessons learnt, the European Framework for Digitally Competent Educational Organisations, and other existing benchmarking and maturity tools geared to higher education institutions. It will attempt to cover the main missions and areas of activity where digitalisation plays a role, in a holistic way: learning and teaching, research and innovation, governance and management, and cooperation and outreach (including internationalisation).

The tool will enable the institutional leadership – without external support, steering or assessment – to explore perceptions and perspectives of different members across the institution (leadership, teachers, researchers, administrative staff, technical and IT staff, and students), and use these for self-review and self-reflection, and to enhance strategic institutional development. It will inform and stimulate intra-institutional strategic dialogue and collaboration processes, thus contributing to mainstream approaches, improving support and more transparent structures for digitalisation, and increasing the proactive participation of staff and students.

The project will also attempt to build a community of practice around the DIGI-HE, to foster inter-institutional exchange of good practice. This should contribute to an accelerated and more strategic take-up of digitalisation at European HEIs. It could also be used as a basis for interinstitutional cooperation and benchmarking, and in this regard could serve networks and associations of HEIs, and could contribute to the development of national approaches, by map state of play and needs for digitalisation.


The project is funded under the European Commission Erasmus+ KA3 strand. The Digi-HE project consortium consists of the European University Association (EUA – coordinator); Dublin City University (DCU); Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW); Jÿvaskyla University (JYU); and Vytautas Magnus University (VMU). Associate partners include the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN); the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), and the Irish Universities Association (IUA).


#OpenTeach: Professional Development for Open Online Educators


On the 21st of November an intra-institutional team from the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) and the Institute of Education from Dublin City University presented at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education open forum presentations for teaching and learning funding. The DCU team presented our proposed project called #OpenTeach: professional development for Open Online Educators.


The #OpenTeach project aims to address the challenge of effectively supporting the professional development of part-time educators involved in teaching online, higher education programmes. Specifically, this project aims to develop the digital and pedagogical competencies of the 90+ DCU Connected online teachers, enabling them to create a positive and supportive learning environment for our students.


The project has a number of phases, as illustrated above. Firstly we will conduct an analysis of our online teachers’ professional development needs and a critical synthesis of the relevant literature on supporting part-time casual teaching staff. Then we will design and create a suite of open access evidence-based digital guides on best practice for online teaching. Using the digital guides we will develop a short online course which will be piloted, evaluated and adapted. The resources will follow an open first philosophical approach.

The full blog post describing this project is available on Orna’s LinkedIn page. For more information on the #OpenTeach project contact Dr. Orna Farrell