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

Executive summary

Edu-Hack is an education project that intends to directly address the recommendation of the European Commission on Opening Up Education to “support teachers’ professional development through open online courses” (2013) by increasing the digital skills of the higher education teachers in creating innovative learning and teaching approaches and tools.
Run by Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (Spain), Coventry University (UK), Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) and ATiT (Belgium), Edu-Hack develops a capacity-building methodology that uses online course (EduHack online course) and face to face intensive training activities (EduHackathons), whereby teaching professionals learn how to produce digitally-supported learning experiences and have the opportunity to experiment with creative models and approaches to teaching and learning, with a focus on fostering collaborative learning and student engagement.


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.


The EDU-HACK project aims to tackle this problem at its source by:
1)improving skills of higher education teachers in developing new learning and teaching approaches using open web and digital tools;
2)networking groups of educators in different countries, so as to share and combine work and improve cross-border collaborations;
3) matching teachers with other professionals (media-production experts, quality-assurance professionals, web developers etc.) to allow the creation of transdisciplinary teams.
In particular, the EDU-HACK project:
1) develops a methodology for a 1-2 days intensive course (prepared through an online collaborative learning phase), modelled after hackathons, whereby the higher education teachers work together to design and produce new learning content and teaching approaches;
2) organizes 3 instances of university teachers’ hackathons around Europe;
3) sets up a European open resource database and network, which promote the reproduction of these events by other institutions and in other countries, either independently or with the help and expertise of the Consortium.