EPIC: Report on day III

It’s a wrap! Hundreds of educational pioneers and innovators came together in Rotterdam for three days of EPIC. Read the report of day three here.

Mininote on institution-wide approach to innovate education  

Put the students first. “It seems so logical, but many times we are talking about students, not with them”, Gerdinand Bosch told his audience during his mininote. The student journeys are crucial within the transition that is taking place at Avans Hogeschool at the moment. 

Avans Hogeschool aims to create flexible education in which 25% of the curriculum is a personal choice of the students. This educational transition requires a total alignment of people, processes and technology. The disrupting insight was that standardising processes is key to making things more flexible for the students.  

National initiatives to stimulate digital innovation in higher education

Johanna de Groot, Christien Bok and Sharon Flynn spoke about national initiatives to stimulate digital innovation in higher education.

Johanna de Groot (programme manager of the Acceleration Plan) on success factors for innovation: work with a core team, teams have their own goals, teams collaborate on concrete products and funding is available, it is ok to try out things and fail, a combination of bottom-up initiatives and top-level commitment. Johanna on challenges within innovation programmes: the pace of adoption is slower than the duration of the programme, not invented here syndrome and challenges to find the right decision-makers and change-makers within organisations.

Christien Bok (SURF) on the ‘Digitaliseringsimpuls’ and plans for digitalisation in education: implementation within the organizations will be one of the hardest parts. Christien on the challenges for the ‘Digitaliseringsimpuls’: commitment, find and bind talent, national collaboration, and international collaboration.

Sharon Flynn (Irish Universities Association) shared her thoughts on innovation from the perspective of the Irish programme ‘Enhancing digital teaching and learning’. She shared success factors such as including students in the programme by recruiting them, to create a more inclusive programme.

Closing EPIC: Innovation – how to make the engine run?

EPIC was closed by Anka Mulder, President at Saxion University of Applied Sciences and initiator of the Acceleration Plan, and Farshida Zafar, Director of ExasmusX.

Anka Mulder shared her thoughts on innovation from her role as president as well as a member of the steering committee of the Acceleration Plan. “If you look at innovation, it does not come without risk. Some things may fail, and some things may succeed. Allow for risks.” Anka ends her presentation with a quote from Albert Einstein: “A ship is always safe at shore but that is not what it’s built for.”

Farshida Zafar shared her perspective on innovation from her role as Director of ErasmusX. She, for example, showed the audience how they dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency remote teaching. Farshida: “When life gives you lemons… build your campus in minecraft!” The minecraft-project was an inspiring example of innovation. Furthermore, Farshida emphasizes the importance of key-value indicators. “For innovation, do not focus on KPIs, focus on value.” She continues: “We’re working with innovators. Instead of numbers, we measure for value: key-value indicators.”

You can read the report of day 1 here.
You can read the report of day 2 here.

Image: De Beeldredaktie / Marcel Krijgsman

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