Professor George Veletsianos Awarded Fellowship: Join a Transatlantic Conversation on the Future of Universities

We are pleased to announce that Professor George Veletsianos from Royal Roads University, Canada will be hosted by the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) in March. This virtual academic exchange is possible thanks to the support of the Ireland Canada University Foundation who have awarded Professor Veletsianos a prestigious D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship. George holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Learning. 

Professor George Veletsianos awarded D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship

As part of his Fellowship, Professor Veletsianos will feature in a free online Masterclass on  Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your Future starting on March 8th and will be giving an invited presentation on the changing nature of higher education in the digital-era. Details of this presentation appear below. 

Title: Learners and Universities in the 21st Century – Future-ready?

Abstract 

Drawing upon his significant experience as an educational researcher, Dr. Veletsianos will offer a presentation on how social and technological trends, such as automation, are disrupting and transforming the nature of skills development for 21st century learners, and in particular, how these changes are reflected in educational practices and systems. Students in higher education today face many challenges, from a changing world of work, a sustainability crisis, and core questions of equity and participation which require bold, socially-sustainable solutions.

Dr. Veletsianos will question common assumptions, such as that technological change inherently leads to wider participation in education, and invite us to consider how “…flexible education…can support better—more equitable, just, accessible, empowering, imaginative—educational futures” (Veletsianos & Holden, 2020).

This presentation will be conducted on the week commencing the 8th of March, 2020, and will consist of a 30-minute presentation, and a 15 minute Q+A session, and will be embedded in DCU’s online learning masterclass, Higher Education 4.0: Certifying your Future. Participants are strongly encouraged to consider the following questions as reflective prompts before the session: 

  • What does flexible learning mean to you? 
  • What kinds of learning models do we need to support today’s learners?
  • What types of skills do you feel that students should be developing in Higher Education, to become 21st century learners, and global citizens? 
  • From whom is greater flexibility required? 
  • How can we build more socially-just systems and ways of teaching and learning? 

Participants need to register for this event, which will be an opportunity to hear one of the leading researchers in digital educational practice speak, and give voice to both local, and global perspectives on these critical issues. 

Acknowledgement

The Ireland Canada University Foundation is also thanked for the generous support through the D’Arcy McGee Beacon fellowship’s mission, which…

“… provides light, guidance and hope in challenging times.”

The foundation was established to provide a “positive contribution to society, through the promotion of such shared values, which it does through the organisation of scholarly exchange and related events, and the support of academic and research networks linking both countries.”. For more information regarding the foundation’s work, please visit the ICUF website.

Background reading 

Veletsianos, G., Houlden, S. (2020). Radical Flexibility and Relationality as Responses to Education in Times of Crisis. Postdigit Sci Educ 2, 849–862. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00196-3

REGISTER TODAY!
When:
11th March, 17:00 (GMT)

Where: Zoom: 

Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

You can also register here for our online masterclass, Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your Future, starting on March 8th.

All Roads Leading to Micro-credentials: Latest ECIU University White Paper

Last week we were pleased to launch a new ECIU University white paper on the rapidly evolving micro-credential movement. This paper, Paving the Road for the Micro-credential Movement’, follows close on the heels of a much anticipated report presenting a European approach to micro-credentials with a related roadmap published in December (Commission Consultation, 2020). A major contribution of this report is a common European definition and language for micro-credentials to address what is acknowledged as a global barrier to wider uptake. 

Video of Launch Event

In April 2020, ECIU University published its first white paper on this topic which identified a number of guiding principles and emphasised the point that micro-credentials should be in the service of big ideas rather than being the big idea itself.

The latest white paper illustrates how the new ECIU University is one of these big ideas with its focus on developing an exciting new co-creation learning ecosystem that connects learners for life.

Micro-credentials are core to the 2030 Vision and concept of developing smart new learning pathways for learners across the ECIU University partners. An implementation roadmap with defined actions across a number of building blocks is also presented in the white paper.

The launch event anchored growing worldwide interest in micro-credentials in a number of competing and consisting drivers, including a trend which is emphasising skills over degrees and the need to urgently address an increasing skills gap due to ongoing digital disruption and the changing nature of work. A focus on developing and recognising transversal skills was also noted along with the global impact of MOOCs. 

While Neoliberal critiques of the movement were noted the role of different interest groups with competing agenda was claimed to be precisely the reason why educators need to be in the driving seat. After all, one of the most important underlying drivers of the micro-credentialing movement is the need to develop new flexible pathways to address current low rates of life-long learning across Europe. Such pathways may be able to better support the pillars of life-long learning:

  • Learning to be
  • Learning to know
  • Learning to do;
  • Learning to live together
  • Learning to transform

Moreover, the development of micro-credentials can potentially support more agile responses to new and emerging developments and growth areas, such as the European Green Deal and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Over 300 participants from Europe, and beyond, participated in the virtual launch event, which included presentations from Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of the Unit in charge of Higher Education Policies and Programme at the European Commission. Anthony Camilleri, Director at Knowledge Innovation Centre, Dr Henri Pirkkalainen from Tampere University and Professor Mark Brown. 

In his keynote presentation, Mark shared news of a new online course, “Higher Education 4.0 – Certifying your Future” available later in February through the FutureLearn platform. This course, developed by a NIDL team to support the ECIU University initiative, explores the new skills agenda, the emergence of the micro-credentialing movement and new authentic pedagogies for new times. The course also draws on findings of a National Irish Survey on Micro-credentials that will be published shortly.

This forthcoming report and the latest ECIU University white paper can be found on the NIDL’s Micro-credential Observatory that is regularly updated to provide a comprehensive collection of policy and research initiatives in this burgeoning area.