Fostering higher education students’ autonomy through blended learning (BLEARN_AUTONOMY) will operate for 24 months starting in November 2020. It experiments with digital, innovative practices that are instrumental to tackle skills gaps and mismatches as well as to reward excellence in teaching.
The project attempts to generate synergies between digital competences and educational methods in order to strengthen the quality and relevance of higher education in Spain, Portugal, Norway, Poland and France. The Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) leads a network of partners that bring strong expertise and new sources of creativity to the project. University of Vic- University of Central Catalonia (UVic- UCC), University of Minho (UM), University of Stavanger (US), University of Warsaw (UW) and Catholic Univesity of Lyon (UCLy) are the partners.
Thus, the consortium constitutes a sample of both stakeholders and case studies. As stakeholders, all the institutions are interested in piloting teaching methods that get the most out of blended learning. US has a strong background in this field, and UAB, UM and UVic-UCC have previously started some relevant projects. In addition, the consortium facilitates research activities to the extent that the whole array of institutions outlines a sample of diverse (older and newer, bigger and smaller) institutions working in very different contexts.
The project pursues two key objectives. Firstly, it will analyse to what extent teachers' feedback helps students to make professional judgements that solve challenging problems and develop their meta-cognition skills by regulating their own learning (e.g. through learner portfolios). This objective requires teachers to find out methods that accompany learning beyond the walls of the classroom and the cells of the timetable.
Secondly, the project will invite teachers to broaden up the scope of teaching activities. Besides lecturing and testing, blended learning clearly entails designing online environments, providing detailed and sound feedback, leading collaborative tasks and sharing expertise. Therefore, teachers must experiment with new professional roles, based on collaboration and social and emotional skills, that certainly cut across classroom walls and fixed sessions.
Call 2020 Round 1 KA2 - Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices KA203 - Strategic Partnerships for higher education Form ID: KA203-AB10CDE4 Deadline (Brussels Time) 2020-04-23 12:00:00
2 / 220EN
UAB will be in charge of Management and Implementation tasks, namely: convening steering board meetings, internal communication, monitoring and evaluation, and risk management. Research, Collaborative Teaching and Sharing Expertise will constitute the three core activities of BLEARN_AUTONOMY. UM will lead a qualitative and quantitative research on on the digital feedback that teachers provide to students. UVic-UCC will lead collaborative teaching by exchanging feedback between teachers from different institutions. US will lead the activity on sharing expertise about how to scale up blended learning in higher education institutions. In Warsaw, the partners will participate in an international training activity in order to reflect on collaborative teaching and develop their skills to define future work in the field of blended learning. Finally, UAB will design and implement a systematic dissemination plan that will use social media and convene multiplier events.
The project includes four intellectual outputs. O1 will consist of writing a handbook with research-based guidelines for teachers in higher education. O2 will set an online platform for collaborative teaching across higher education institutions. O3 will consist of a handbook for educational leaders and teachers in higher education. O4 will engage the partners in preparing a pedagogic publication to an academic journal.
Remarkably, the research activities and the correlative outputs (O1 and O4) will greatly contribute to achieve the first objective (i.e. analysing teachers' feedback). By inducing collaborative teaching and sharing expertise BLEARN_AUTONOMY will contribute to the second objective (on teachers' approach). O2 and O3 will contribute to this.
BLEARN_AUTONOMY aims at impacting on HE teachers, students and institutions as well as on the emerging ECIU University. If the project succeeds in fostering HE students autonomy through blended learning, it will impinge on students’ learning outputs and teachers’ concept of teaching strategies. It will also consolidate previous initiatives, attempt to scale up some pilot initiatives, and hopefully, open a conversation on blended learning in institutions who have not explored its potential yet. The project also adds to the endeavours of ECIU University to promote students’ autonomy through tailored teaching strategies.
Beyond producing the intellectual outputs, the dissemination plan will draw on multiplier events, social media and Erasmus+ networks. Finally, BLEARN_AUTONOMY expects to be sustainable to the extent that it relies on tenured faculty members, generates synergies with previous projects and inspires new modes of blended mobility.