EDU-HACK – Hacking Education through eLearning and Open Education (EU Project)

Status: 
ongoing
Period: 
September 2017 - August 2020
Funding: 
437.990 € (126710 € for Nexa)
Funding organization: 

European Commission Erasmus+ Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices / KA203 - Strategic Partnership)

Person(s) in charge: 

Juan Carlos De Martin (coordinator), Mattia Plazio (Project Manager), Antonio Santangelo (Researcher)

Executive summary: 

EDU-HACK is an education and innovation project that intends to address the recommendation in the 2013 European Commission's Communication on Opening Up Education to "support teachers' professional development through open online courses". The project aims at creating capacity among higher education teachers on e-learning courses and MOOCs authoring and development, through online capacity building and through face to face intensive training activities (Hackathons) which will focus on ensuring teachers acquire the correct skills to be able to digitize the teaching they are already offering, improving quality, access and learning outcomes of students.

Background: 

A number of recent policy initiatives, in particular the European Commission's Opening Up Education Communication and its related actions (such as the Open Education Europa portal), have put a renewed emphasis on the creation and pedagogically-sound use of digital resources for education.
In particular, the research accompanying the Opening Up Education Communication found that 50%-80% of students in EU countries never use digital textbooks, exercise software, broadcasts/podcasts, simulations or learning games, that most teachers do not consider themselves as 'digitally confident' or able to teach digital skills effectively, and that 70% of teachers would like more training in using ICTs.

Within Higher Education, the emergence of Open Educational Resources (OER), Massively Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and other blended methodologies (such as for example Flipped Classroom methods) is vastly increasing the demand for digital learning opportunities.
On the demand-side, the request for such opportunities is increased further by continued promotion of lifelong learning, leading students to ask for customizable and flexible study experiences, which can be taken along with other responsibilities such as work.

Objectives: 

The EDU-HACK project aims to tackle this problem at its source by:
1) improving skills of teachers-in-training and recently-graduated teachers in developing and delivering eLearning courses, with particular attention to OERs and MOOCs;
2) networking groups of these educators in different countries, so as to share and combine work and improve cross-border collaborations;
3) matching the talents of teachers with those of other professionals (media-production experts, quality-assurance professionals, web developers etc.), to allow for transdisciplinary course creation teams.
In particular, the EDU-HACK project:
1) develops a methodology for a 3-day intensive course (prepared through an online collaborative learning phase), modelled after business-plan competitions or hackathons, whereby recently-graduated teaching professionals will learn the knowledge necessary for eLearning courses, and OER and MOOCs creation and use;
2) organizes 3 instances of these "university teachers' hackathons" around Europe, in which participants will learn the needed skills and to create prototype courses, which could be further developed after the end of the project;
3) sets up a European open resource database (connected and not competing with other repositories in the field) and network, which would promote the reproduction of these events by other institutions and in other countries, either independently or with the help and expertise of the consortium.

Results: 

The following results are expected upon completion of the project:
1) Curriculum for eLearning/OER/MOOC production intensive course: the course-curriculum defines the learning outcomes, course contents, learning activities and assessment methods to be used in each step of the course that will be organized with an online and face to face phase.
2) EDU-HACK Online Course: the EDU-HACK Online Course consists of a 10-12-week course and includes, approximately 6-8 modules. It covers the topics and activities defined in the curriculum and is based on a “connectivist” approach, where every learner is granted a web-space (through the Domain of One’s Own approach) and builds knowledge in collaboration with other learners.
3) EDU-HACK Intensive Training Sessions: the online course runs in three successive-rounds, each followed up by a 3-day intensive training session, where participants design prototype eLearning courses, OERs and MOOCs. Thus, each activity step is repeated three times, once for each round of the course.
4) EDU-HACK Semantic Connected Learning Platform: all the contents produced by teachers during the three intensive courses are made available through a semantic web platform, which will “connect” the authors of the contents, the contents themselves, the topics of the courses, and the pedagogic strategies to be used to make the maximum out of the content. The platform includes a recommender system that suggests connections between teachers in different countries through their profiles (match-making), skills, produced contents and related topics.
5) EDU-HACK Toolbox: the EDU-HACK toolbox is designed to carry the activities and results forward beyond the project life. It aims to set up a structure for independently organized EDU-HACK events. Under this system, all outputs of the product would be open-sourced to allow for re-use and/or modification by third party organizations.
At the end of June, the Edu-Hack Consortium finalized the EDU-HACK online course, that will be officially launched by October 2018.