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Welcome to Higher Education 4.0

Learners are presented with an overview, in addition to an abridged summary of the outcomes of the masterclass.
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Hello, and welcome to Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your future, a new course offered by Dublin City University, in conjunction with our partners at the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. It’s great to have you here, and we’re looking forward to learning together.
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This course is designed for educators, students, and indeed anyone with an interest in the changing nature of Higher Education.
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We have organised the course around three primary topics: This week, Week 1, we will explore the changing nature of skills, and in particular, the concept of future skills.
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We will ask what skills will be important to prepare learners for the 21st century, and how these skills might be conceptualised and promoted, in different contexts.
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In Week 2, we turn to the core pillar of the course - the potential of micro-credentials as a new means of certifying valued learning outcomes. We will explain what we mean when we use the term micro-credential, and the critical questions that need to be answered or addressed in putting them into practice.
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In Week 3, we will examine authentic and learning-centred pedagogies, which can be a valuable and impactful way of developing skills and transferable new learning outcomes. Throughout each Week, we will be looking to you to share your thoughts, opinions and experiences with us. We hope that you will participate in these discussions, and interact with others on the course, as your participation is the best way to get the most out of your time here! If you have any questions, make sure to post them in the comments section, and our course facilitators will respond to them. Let’s begin! [Music Playing]

Welcome to Higher Education 4.0: Certifying the Future. Our team in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) is pleased to welcome you to this online learning experience, in partnership with the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). Taking the form of a masterclass, we have designed the course experience to raise critical awareness, foster discussion and get you thinking about this overarching big question:

  • What is your vision of what Higher Education will look like by the year 2030?

To help set the scene and get you thinking from the start, watch this brief video produced by Jisc (2020) on Education 4.0…

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

One of the important lessons from this video is that we need to be critical about who is defining the future for us. Will the future of universities and colleges be shaped in an inclusive way or left to men already in positions of power and responsibility in established institutions in well-developed countries? This is one of the reasons why we think this masterclass is important in giving more people a voice to help shape the future.

What does the masterclass cover?

While there is no right answer to this big question, by the end of this 3-week, 2-hour per week masterclass, you will be more informed, knowledgeable and better equipped to express your own vision and viewpoints on the following three topics:

1. The growing importance for universities and other educational stakeholders to engage with the future skills agenda. We will explore the future of work along with the increasing focus on transversal skills, and in doing so attempt to answer a number of key questions: What are future skills? Why are they important? How can they be measured? 2. The new possibilities of micro-credentials for certifying the future. This new approach to accredited professional development could transform and redefine higher education and the traditional credential ecology, which is a legacy of the 20th Century. We will explore a number of different micro-credentialing initiatives around the globe and in doing so try to answer several key questions: What are micro-credentials? Why the growing focus on them? Are they just another passing educational fad? 3. An exploration of new authentic forms of pedagogy, such as Challenge-Based Learning (CBL), and the transformative potential of new digital technologies to support more active and impactful student experiences. We will explore how CBL is being adopted by the new ECIU University as a signature pedagogy and in doing so endeavour to answer a number of key questions: What is CBL? What is the new science of learning? How will Higher Education 4.0 impact pedagogy?

In this first week, we will explore the future skills agenda. Week 2 moves this discussion onto the topic of micro-credentials, as we look at how these two new educational trends fit together. We will demonstrate the clear opportunities that exist to design more flexible learning pathways, which might enable the development of more active citizens, lifelong learners and innovative, globally-oriented and curious work-ready graduates. In the final week, we will bridge the discussion about future skills and micro-credentials with an exploration of new and authentic pedagogies, as we explore efforts to reimagine the future of higher education.

Save the date – Online Webinar with Prof. George Veletsianos

Before we move on, we also ask you to place a special date in your diary – on Thursday, the 11th of March, 2021, at 5pm, you are invited to join an online webinar delivered by the course educators, with Prof. George Veletsianos, entitled “Learners and Universities in the 21st Century – Future-ready?”. This webinar is delivered as a part of a wider scholarship which Prof. Veletsianos has been awarded; the Irish-Canadian University Foundation’s (ICUF) D’Arcy McGee Beacon Scholarship (you can read more about the foundation’s critical work in promoting Trans-Atlantic research ties here).

Prof. Veletsianos has extensive experience researching online, and will offer a presentation on how social and technological trends, such as automation, are disrupting and transforming the nature of skills development for 21st century learners, and in particular, how these changes are reflected in educational practices and systems. The subject matter is extremely-topic for our discussion this week, and we hope that you will join us!

Please click here to register for the event, and if you have any questions before the webinar, make sure to post them in the comments section.

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Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your Future

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