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).


Learning Our ABCs: Project Update

By Clare Gormley

It seems safe to state that there are challenges in learning design that almost all institutions face: limited staff time, a modular focus, and a tendency towards ‘lone ranger’ thinking to name just some of the potential barriers to successful course design. These types of challenges have significantly influenced the team-based ABC methodology developed originally by Clive Young and Nataša Perović of University College London (UCL) which continues to grow in popular use worldwide as a model for blended learning design.


Dublin City University’s (DCU) Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in the ABC to VLE Erasmus+ funded project to further develop the ABC Learning Design methodology. As relative newcomers to ABC (DCU first experienced it in 2017), this project has been a great opportunity to apply the approach and benefit from the experience of UCL and the 11 other European partners involved. For those not familiar with the format, ABC offers a rapid-fire, hands-on workshop approach where in just 90 minutes academic teams work together to design or redesign modules and programmes. By the end of the process, teams have discussed, debated, and discovered a range of potential activities and technologies, communicated their overall vision of their course, and ultimately created a storyboard of an intended learning experience. Not bad work in under two hours, especially when it all goes according to plan.

The overall goal of this particular European project is to develop ABC as a downloadable toolkit that can be used and adapted by any institution. Clinical-Exercise-Science-Programme-Team-.jpegAt DCU we have adapted the ‘classic’ materials to suit important strategic priorities such as flexible learning modes, enhanced feedback mechanisms, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Furthermore, by using the approach with several teams, evaluating it, and learning how different aspects perform on the ground, we hope to continue to develop our own expertise in using the approach in different contexts. We also plan to do our bit to promote conversations amongst the Irish learning design community about using and tailoring the method to optimum effect.

You can read more about some of the lessons learned along the way on Clare’s person blog post reflecting on this initiative.