Taking up the Presidency motto “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery”, experts from Portugal discussed with the OpenU Policy Cluster partners how the OpenU project can contribute to a fair and inclusive digital transition in the specific context of European higher education.
Presentations focused on Portuguese policies – on the national initiative INCoDe.2030 with a specific action on inclusion, and the Erasmus+ National Agency’s support of inclusive mobility – as well as on national perspectives from practice:
Participants gained insights into the inclusive approaches taken at the Universidade Aberta and the ECIU European University, learned more about the NAU platform’s strategies to target diverse learners with MOOCs, and were confronted with the important reflections on inclusion shared by the Portuguese umbrella organisation of local students’ unions (FAIRe).
The following thematic clustering gives an impression of the main topics of discussion:
- flexibilisation and personalisation of learning paths to cater to the needs of non-traditional students; aiming to embed universal design in higher education policy and practice,
- (online) lifelong learning, also as a means for upskilling and reskilling, to leave no one behind,
- the role of micro-credentials to contribute to a more inclusive (digital) higher education,
- virtual and blended mobility formats to facilitate access for all learners – without replacing physical mobility,
- fostering digital literacy of teachers and students’ digital readiness,
- blended formats and the social aspect of learning (and teaching) online: change in pedagogy, the spirit of the digital (international) campus,
- access and connectivity: being mindful of the digital gap and of issues with accessibility in digital education,
- language skills for open online education,
- flexible support services to students and teaching staff, promoting team culture, guarding mental health,
- taking a participatory approach to shaping the (digital and international) campus in an open, inclusive way.
The recommendations gathered during the event will be integrated into the Policy Recommendations that will be shared publicly as a final deliverable of the project.
The next HLAM, hosted by the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training, will take place in October 2021. This is followed by the HLAM hosted by the German Ministry of Education and Research in December 2021.