Bricks and clicks for Europe: building a successful digital campus

The EUA 2016 Annual Conference explored how Europe’s universities are developing comprehensive “bricks and clicks” strategies and how they are tackling the challenges involved in becoming more interactive and interconnected.


Universities in Europe are engaged in large-scale transformation in an attempt to address social, cultural and technological changes as well as the shifting expectations of students and society at large. At the same time, higher education institutions continue to be confronted with increasing competition and heavy financial constraints. Disruptive technologies are of central importance in these change processes. They play a decisive role in re-conceptualising the university eco-system by opening up new opportunities for coordinating and linking universities’ various missions, activities and processes in new and manifold ways.

Whether digitalisation is seen as a new paradigm and a game changer or simply a new modus operandi, it is having a major impact on the ways universities conduct research, provide teaching and relate to their community. Digitalisation also requires universities to consider new strategies and to review their modes of operation in order to be successful. A particularly important aspect of such strategies is how best to facilitate and support both virtual and physical interaction and collaboration between staff, students and the wider community, a capacity which may well constitute a key added value of universities in the future.

University leaders and practitioners shared their experiences of major change processes, such as the introduction of open access, open innovation and research and the incorporation of new technologies in university teaching. The conference also sought to explore how these transformations are affecting institutional development, in particular in terms of HR and campus management as well as community relations. 

The conference was mainly aimed at university leadership, rectors and vice-rectors who wish to engage in a Europe-wide discussion, share good practices and learn from each other.

  • Thursday 7 April 2016

    11.30 - 12.45
    Conference opening

    Welcome by

    • Jim Browne, President, National University of Ireland Galway
    • Martine Rahier, Vice-President, European University Association, Belgium

     Opening speech

    • Michael Higgins, President of Ireland

    To see a video of the speech, please click here.

    14.00 - 15.30
    Plenary I: Digital technologies and their impact

    Martin Wirsing, Vice-President for Student Affairs, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
    Bernard Rentier, former Rector, University of Liège, Belgium
    Jaak Aaviksoo, Rector, Tallin University of Technology and former Minister of Education and Research, Estonia

    Chair: Mari Sundli Tveit, Rector, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and EUA Board member

    16.00 - 17.30
    Plenary II: Fostering innovation and managing change in learning and teaching

    Yves Punie, Senior Scientist, Information Society Policy Research Unit, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Spain
    George Ubachs, Managing Director, European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, the Netherlands

    Chair: Ellen Hazelkorn, Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit, Dublin Institute of Technology, and Policy Advisor to the Higher Education Authority, Ireland

  • Friday 8 April 2016

    09.00 - 10.30
    Parallel sessions: Institutional case studies of digitalisation

    Parallel session 1: Learning and teaching

    Integrating bricks and clicks: experiences from Copenhagen Business School
    Annemette Kjrgaard, Vice Dean for Academic Development and Learning Technologies, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

    Open learning content – how does it work in applied sciences?
    Anne Lequy and Timo Staub, Rector, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, Germany

    Using learning analytics to support applied research and innovation in higher education
    Julià Minguillón, Director of Applied Research in e-Learning, Open University of Catalonia, Spain

    Parallel session 2: Research and open science

    Stepping stones towards open science at Delft University of Technology
    Alenka Princic Head of Research Support, Library, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

    Open Science developments in Polish universities and research organisations
    Marek Niezgodka, Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw, Poland

    Towards effective institutional policies to promote open access in educational resources
    Carina S, Director of Innovation and Educational Technology, University of La Laguna, Spain

    Parallel session 3: Outreach to society

    E-Learning strategy of the University of Duisburg-Essen – building a successful digital campus
    Isabell van Ackeren, Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

    Digital presence at the University of Sheffield
    Christopher Stokes, Director of Digital Learning, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

    Parallel session 4: Galway as a digital university

    New impact for the Library in a digital university: opportunities and challenges
    John Cox, University Librarian

    All Aboard! Empowering staff and students to flourish in a digital age
    Iain Mac Laren, Director, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

    Using digital technologies to create flexible learning pathways for adult learners
    Nuala McGuinn, Director, Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development

    14.00- - 15.30
    EUA Hot Topic: University mergers in Europe

    Thomas Estermann, Director, Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development, European University Association, Belgium
    Brian MacCraith, President, Dublin City University, Ireland
    Mari Sundli Tveit, Rector, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and EUA Board member

    To see a video of the session, please click here.

Comfortable read mode Normal mode X