"edu" stands for "education"; "hub" speaks for itself. eduhub has existed for 10 years and serves the members of the Swiss e-learning community as a platform for interaction and networking. Nathalie Roth, Community Coordinator at SWITCH, discusses her day-to-day work and reveals what makes eduhub so successful in this interview.
Nathalie Roth: SWITCH sees its role as that of an "enabler", meaning that the Foundation coordinates the eduhub, and organises and finances all community events. SWITCH also maintains and hosts the eduhub website and sends the weekly newsletter. The Educational Technology Working Group (ETWG) specifies eduhub’s substantive direction. It comprises the leaders of the e-learning support centres at Swiss universities.
Nathalie Roth: Its growth is a major success. We started 10 years ago with 670 members. Currently, the community has 960 members. Nearly all of the Swiss universities are represented in the eduhub community. We also see this reflected on eduhub days, which have since established themselves as the most important Swiss e-learning conference in the academic e-learning world. It’s now fully booked every year. The monthly webinars are also very popular and have proved effective as virtual exchange platforms.
The results eduhub has achieved to date are also impressive. Numerous e-learning projects have been successfully completed within the framework of AAA and the Learning Infrastructure, for example DICE, the Safe Exam Browser, Annotating Academic Video, the ePortfolio pre-study, the Mobile Uni app and others.
Additionally, eduhub has eight active Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which look in depth at the issues of digital collaboration, e-assessment, e-portfolios, obile learning, open educational resources (OER), quality distance learning, SwissMOOC and video, and are successfully progressing their inter-institutional projects.
Nathalie Roth: My working day usually begins with checking over 30 newsfeeds from national and international e-learning blogs each morning, looking for relevant issues for the Swiss e-learning community. Once I’ve published the most exciting and interesting news for the Swiss e-learning community, I take care of email queries.
I also regularly maintain the eduhub website and organise events. Sometimes I also attend national or international conferences in order to network with people from the community and stay on the ball, or because I’m presenting on an issue from the field of e-learning myself. In addition to that, I’m also responsible for SWITCHvideoconf and give introductory courses on SWITCHinteract, both SWITCH services, which are frequently used by members of the Swiss e-learning community. At the same time, I am also manager of the SEB Consortium. This consortium originated from the AAA Safe Exam Browser project and SWITCH’s collaboration with the e-assessment SIG.
Nathalie Roth: The members of the Swiss e-learning community are intrinsically motivated – the issues are of personal importance to them. The community members want to achieve something together and decide the objectives that they want to work towards themselves. In my opinion, communities only work when the members want to work on a specific issue and the interaction with other community members fits their personal needs.
Another factor in eduhub’s success is the personal contact among the community members. People have known each other for years and feel like a big family. The eduhub community is not exclusively a virtual community. Members also meet and interact with each other directly. This personal and direct contact increases trust among community members, which is a key factor for successful collaboration. In the years that eduhub has existed, its members have learned that they can reach their goals more quickly and easily if they collaborate with each other.