Higher education in the digital age

At the eduhub days 2021 the community came together virtually to think about how to shape the future of teaching and learning in higher education.

Testo: Cornelia Puhze, pubblicato il 16.02.2021

During the last six months, the Swiss Higher Education Institutions became proficient at using digital solutions for teaching and learning in higher education. But what about teaching and learning in higher education after COVID-19? How will we teach in five, ten or even 20 years? Will we use hybrid scenarios, fully rely on distance teaching or not even have instructor-led formats? With the radical changes we're seeing, do we need to think more radically about the future? Or in the words of Isabelle Chappuis, Executive Director, Futures Lab, HEC Lausanne, UNIL: "How will universities be disrupted? How do we have to evolve and accept that there needs to be a new way to look at higher education? How can we help shape its future?"

In the true "eduhub spirit" these questions were tackled via the different formats of keynotes, workshops, parallel sessions, BarCamp sessions and of course the coffee breaks.

From tomorrow to the deep future

Dr. Gabriele Rizzo, futurist, Defense advisor and Adjunct Professor at Sapienza University of Rome, gave a lot of food for thought with his inspiring keynote "Technology and the human dimension: From tomorrow to the deep future". He expanded on what the future might bring and how we could use these different viewpoints of the future to make better long-term strategic decisions, also about the way we could shape higher education.

In his forthcoming book “HR Futures 2030: a design for future-ready Human Resources” co-authored with Isabelle Chappuis, a lot of questions regarding the future of higher education will be tackled. Among the many concepts explored in the book that will produce an impact on education, there is the capacity of digital technologies to re-ontologize reality. Technology will disentangle education, learning and academic degree. Universities will have to evolve towards a different meaning of certification they're giving, more of a passport to the world of work. One such example is the Stanford2025 skill-print, on which his emerging concept of 'skillptures' is based: "The spatio-temporal representation of skills and competencies and their interactions with other professional and life experiences."

"It's not about digital skills"

What kind of digital skills should students then acquire in the future? "It's not about digital skills, but skills in the digital age," keynote speaker Dr. Sarah Genner claimed. As a media scientist, digital expert and lecturer, her research focuses on the impact of digital technologies on people and society, especially in the workplace and higher education. Starting from the position of asking what kind of skills we need as a digital society, she proposed that digital skills are both technological and social. She highlighted the importance of the four C skills creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration along with all the 'self' skills, such as self-guidance, self-reflection or self-efficacy. So, in fact many of the skills are not new, we might just be teaching them differently in the future. Or to conclude in Sarah Genner's words: "There is no digital education, only education in the digital age."


Missed the eduhub days this year?

You can watch the recordings of the plenary sessions on SWITCHtube including the two keynotes.

And enjoy the funniest COVID-19 in higher education memes from the competition.



Cornelia   Puhze

Cornelia Puhze

Cornelia Puhze is an IT security awareness specialist at SWITCH. As part of SWITCH-CERT, she supports the Swiss education, research and innovation community in managing the human risk in information security. Armed with an MA in Political Communications, she learned her craft in the private sector, public sector and in NGOs in Zurich and London.


The eduhub community

eduhub is the Swiss academic e-learning community. By connecting e-learning stakeholders and experts, SWITCH aims to support the higher education community in making effective use of the opportunities presented by digitalisation.


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