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).


Supporting this Year’s Open Education Week

Unknown.pngThis week is “Open Education Week” and several members of the NIDL team have already contributed, or will be over the next few days, to a range of activities and related events. On Tuesday, for example, Professor Mark Brown moderated a webinar on “The Story of the Open University” as part of EDEN’s programme of activities for the week . You can read more about this webinar and what the four distinguished panel members had to share on a blog written by Professor Grainne Conole. A recording will also be available on EDEN’s website


On Wednesday, Professor Grainne Conole gave a presentation on “Open Education into the Future” as part of another EDEN webinar on the broader theme of “Ongoing Initiatives for Open Education in Europe“. The slides from Grainne’s talk can be accessed below and a recording will also be available on EDEN’s website: 

And on Friday in another contribution to EDEN’s webinar series, Professor Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl is participating on a panel discussion on the topic of “Researching Openness – Evidenced-based Approaches“. More specifically this webinar will explore the following questions:

  • How openness is approach in research? Thematic overview (levels of openness, other dimensions that are addressed through research publications, e.g. open online learning, open distance learning, OER, OEP, etc.).
  • What impact does openness have upon education?
  • What kind of openness do we (society) need?
  • What are the characteristics of open learning, open curriculum, open education and open learner/ teacher?

Dublin City University (DCU) has a long history of Open Education and our commitment spans all three traditional pillars of university work: research, teaching and service. For example, last year DCU was the first Irish University to launch an open access press through a strategic partnership with University College London (UCL). The Open Education Unit in the NIDL continues to play a key role in the provision of online distance education through the DCU Connected platform as part of DCU’s wider mission of opening access to higher education and transforming lives and societies. Our NIDL team also makes a significant contribution to the Open Education agenda through service activities, with many of our staff serving on the executive committees of major professional bodies working in the area. There is also a strong Open Education dimension to this year’s ICDE World Conference on Online Learning that DCU is hosting in the Convention Centre Dublin in November.

wcol banner