On 31 January and 1 February 2018, the Swiss e-learning community met at the University of Teacher Education in Lucerne for the national conference eduhub days 2018. The event also coincided with the Swiss e-learning community's 10-year anniversary.
To celebrate a very special anniversary, the annual eduhub days conference focused this year on the topic of collaboration. After all, Swiss universities will only meet the challenges of digitalisation through collaborations that bridge the divide between the country’s ‘rösti’ and ‘polenta’ strongholds. This sort of collaboration and networking is making a major contribution to the success of this community.
Contributions to the conference came from the community itself, with sessions organised for attendees to discuss the challenges that Swiss universities are having to confront in the face of digitalisation. Practical solutions for overcoming these challenges were presented as well. The two keynote speakers also addressed this topic, setting the stage for the event.
On the first day of the conference, Stephan Sigrist from W.I.R.E. vividly described how the biggest challenge lies in taking the massive volumes of data we gather and giving this data structure, using it productively and organising its complexity. The task is not to collect even more data, but rather to efficiently use the data already collected in such a way that both students and instructors can benefit from it in the context of higher education – without drowning in excessive information.
Patrick Jermann from EPFL offered a counterpoint to Sigrist in his keynote on the second day, explaining how data gathered from MOOCs developed by EPFL can be used in a precise and productive way to improve the quality of instruction.
All in all, the eduhub days anniversary event in Lucerne did more than just provide a nice retrospective of what the Swiss e-learning community has accomplished so far. It also provided insights into what Swiss universities are likely to encounter in the future. Digitalisation will continue to create further challenges, one of which is regaining a healthy level of common sense in the midst of so many technologies.
"The Swiss e-learning community has been so successful for the last 10 years not because its members interact virtually, but because they do so in person."
Technology should only be deployed with good reason, because computers can’t replace human beings. The success of the Swiss e-learning community also attests to this very fact. It has been so successful over the past 10 years not because its members interact virtually, but because they do so in person – whether it’s during the sessions at eduhub days or enjoying a coffee break together. Valuable contacts are made and knowledge is shared through face-to-face dialogue.
Each and every one of these personal interactions make the Swiss e-learning community better, a development that is likely to continue during the upcoming eduhub days.