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 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.

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 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.

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)EduHack Online Course (https://eduhack.eu/course/). The EduHack online course consists of a 6-8-week course, composed of 4 macro-area of activities and 19 learning 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 and builds knowledge in collaboration with other learners.
3)EduHack Intensive Training Sessions (https://eduhack.eu/eduhackathons/). The EduHack online course runs in three successive rounds, each followed up by 1-2 day's intensive training session (EduHackathons), where participants work together to design and produce new learning content and teaching approaches and tools.
4)EduHack Community Hub (https://hub.eduhack.eu/). The EduHack Community Hub collects the contents produced by teachers during the EduHack online course and the EduHackathons, connecting the authors of the contents, the contents themselves and the topics of the course. It is a knowledge space where EduHackers can meet, read and comment on each other's posts, exchange ideas, experiences and innovative practices in education.
5)EduHack Toolbox (https://eduhack.eu/toolbox/). The EduHack Toolbox carries the activities and results forward beyond the project life. It aims to set up a structure for independently organized an EduHack course and an EduHackathon. Under the EduHack Toolbox all outputs are openly licensed to allow for re-use and/or modification by third-party organizations.
At the end of May 2020, the first experimentation of the EduHack capacity-building programme has been successfully performed and finalized at the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (Spain), at the Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and at the Coventry University (UK). At the same time, the EduHack Consortium has finalized the EduHack Toolbox and built the EduHack Network (https://eduhack.eu/network/), a network of institutions interested in using EduHack materials and services now and/or in the future.

Related Publications: