The digital transition is influencing large parts of society, including universities. Digital communication, the sharing of data and information, digitally enhanced learning and teaching, as well as research, digital skills and many other topics are high on universities’ agendas. These developments require infrastructure and competences from staff, as well as providing opportunities for innovation and better management. Moreover, they require policy and funding frameworks that reflect universities’ interests, both as adopters and developers of digital technologies and approaches.
Digitally enhanced learning and teaching has increased during the pandemic with universities quickly pivoting to remote learning. However, the topic had already been on the agenda for more than a decade. In 2013, EUA published a report on the development of massive open online courses (MOOCs), and in 2014, its e-learning study – the first-ever report gathering comparative data from digital developments at higher education institutions across the European Higher Education Area. A second study conducted in 2020 under the DIGI-HE project showed some longitudinal developments, as well as some new and recent developments, such as the provision of short online courses, or microcredentials.
EUA also supports its members in their ongoing strategic development, in order to develop a “high-performance digital education ecosystem”. This is one of the priorities of the EU’s 2020 Digital Education Action Plan, to which EUA responded.
As part of its work on Open Science, EUA has been active in promoting open access to data for many years. It is a member of the governing board of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and is engaged in furthering skills to ensure Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data through the FAIRsFAIR Project. Additionally, EUA has gathered data on universities’ innovation activities for the digital transition with its recent innovation survey.
This EUA position outlines the preliminary findings of a major study on innovation at European universities. It captures the different levels of innovation capacity at universities, as well as how these levels contribute to a wide range of impacts and social outcomes.
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