Exciting New Project Gets Underway on “Hacking Innovative Pedagogies: Digital Education Rewilded”

The first meeting for an exciting new Erasmus+ funded project was recently held at the University of Graz, Austria with project collaborators from Aalborg University, Denmark and Dublin City University, Ireland (DCU). The DCU/NIDL research team involves Eamon Costello, Mark Brown, Orna Farrell, Enda Donlon and Prajakta (Lily) Girme.

Mark represented DCU at the kickoff meeting (pictured above). At the core of the “Hacking Innovative Pedagogies: Digital Education Rewilded” (HIP-DER) project is the goal of re-imagining traditional models of higher education. The project responds to the challenges of building a more equitable and inclusive digital society and emphasises the transformative role higher education can play in developing more active, digitally competent and diversity-minded European citizens.

Researchers from University of Alborg, University of Graz and Dublin City University
Researchers from University of Aalborg, University of Graz and Dublin City University

The project aims to rethink how to use new digital technology in more creative ways that support transformative pedagogical approaches. Such approaches in this project have an underlying philosophy of listening, responding and co-creating with networked communities of teachers and students and do so in innovative ways that attempt to ‘rewild’ traditional models of pedagogy (Macgilchrist, 2021; Carver, et al., 2021; Ryberg et al., 2021). By rewilding we mean processes that start by unbundling or substituting traditional structures, objects and practices with ones that are  more native, fit-for-purpose and transformative to a given environment.

While the concept of ‘rewilding’ is open to conjecture, it reflects a response to the growth of “Big EdTech”, the way institutions have centralised their digital infrastructure at the expense of local innovation and assimilated new technology into traditional ways of teaching, habitats of learning and narrow channels of assessment.

The project team will produce several outputs, including:

• Insights report on current practice

• A framework for rewilding digital learning ecologies

• Compendium of innovative practices

• Hacking innovative pedagogies MOOC

• Guidelines for hacker pedagogy

The DCU team look forward to welcoming our project collaborators from Graz and Aalborg to Dublin in December for the next project meeting and progressing the project’s aims (although the Austrian hospitality of the first meeting will be hard to match).

Stay tuned and find our more:

The project website is currently a work in progress but more information about HIP-DER will be added over the coming months. You can also catch the DCU NIDL team members at the upcoming EADTU’s Innovating Higher Education Conference 19-20th October 2022 in Athens where we will present on our work to date. Contact Eamon Costello <eamon.costello@dcu.ie>, the project lead, if you are interested in learning more about DCU’s work in this space and how we could work with you in hacking innovative pedagogies.


Carver, S., Convery, I., Hawkins, S., Beyers, R., Eagle, A., Kun, Z., … & Soulé, M. (2021). Guiding principles for rewilding. Conservation Biology, 35(6), 1882-1893. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13730

Macgilchrist, F. (2021). Rewilding technology. On Education. Journal for Research and Debate, 4(12). https://doi.org/10.17899/on_ed.2021.12.2

Ryberg, T., Davidsen, J., Bernhard, J., & Larsen, M. C. (2021). Ecotones: a Conceptual Contribution to Postdigital Thinking. Postdigital Science and Education, 3(2), 407-424. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00213-5

Three New Online Professional Learning Courses for Educators

On Thursday 18th of November, the official DigiTeL Pro launch took place. This collaborative European funded project began earlier in the year with the aim of bringing together a team of experts from several universities, well-known for their research and leading-edge innovation in digital education.

A major feature of the launch was an overview of three new online professional learning courses designed for higher educators. Each course, listed below, explores a different mode or dimension of digital education. Together they aim to support European educators to build their teaching skills and professional capabilities for digital education relevant to their particular interests and institutional contexts.

Course 1: Synchronous and Hybrid Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration form

Course 2: Blending Your Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration form

Course 3: Online Education

Learn more about the course, view a brief presentation and complete the registration for

We invite you to register for these course and/or to share relevant details within your professional networks.

As part of the DigiTeL Pro launch event, we also provided a brief update on DCU’s free course, A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner, offered through FutureLearn. This course, co-facilitated by students and originally supported by IUA and the DCU Students’ Union, has so far attracted over 10,000 students worldwide with a completion rate of over 50%. Over 2,000 DCU students have claimed full certificates of completion. The course was a direct response to the COVID crisis and focuses on developing student readiness for online learning. It completes the suite of offerings supported by DigiTeL Pro.

To further infuse a strong student readiness dimension across and throughout all four courses, the NIDL team has undertaken a literature review to help answer the following questions:

  1. What research has been published reporting student readiness for online distance learning during the COVID crisis?
  2. How strong is the “learner voice” in COVID-related research reporting on student readiness for online distance learning?
  3. What lessons can be taken from the COVID-related literature on student readiness for new models of digital education?

A report of this research will be published in the New Year, but we can already conclude from our analysis that there is limited evidence of previous literature on student readiness informing the COVID response. Secondly, although numerous national and institutional surveys have been published over the past 18 months, which report on the COVID experience, the vast majority of this research does not adequately convey the student voice. Hence, this suggests that, with a handful of exceptions, an important gap remains in the literature which tells the students’ lived experience in their own words.

The above video provides a full recording of the DigiTeL Pro launch event. We look forward to sharing further information in 2022 on this project which is being led by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU).