On 29 September, the 4EU+ alliance had the pleasure of hosting the first online event dedicated to supporting academic development in the age of European universities.
Our experts presented how the alliance (re)designed the Activity Based Curriculum Learning Design (ABC LD @4EU+) training method to our sister alliances. Our colleagues were engaged in a fruitful exchange about how alliances of European universities can support academic staff and students to experience innovative teaching and learning towards an integrated educational framework.
We had the opportunity to share their experience in the localization of the well-known method ABC-LD workshop, redesigned and enriched in the context of the 4EU+ educational mission. Based on the teachers' need to design a novel educational experience for 4EU+ students, we illustrated its adaptation, how we chose adequate digital tools for online training and how we integrated the 4EU+ educational framework into it.
The participants learned how the ABC-LD @ 4EU+ works and played around to discover the pedagogical and digital tools through a demonstration in small teams in breakout rooms. And with this practical approach, a fruitful discussion took hold.
The pandemic has created an unprecedented ground to foster new practices and create innovative and multidisciplinary resources. In this direction, one of the significant advantages underlined by our 4EU+ Alliance academic development team and confirmed by the alliances already familiar with the ABC workshop, is that the ABC-LD training is also a great self-assessment tool aiming at rethinking the course and its learning outcomes. At the same time, new online solutions had to be found to adapt to the pandemic context, and it became of utmost importance to share practices, learn from each other and become aware of the pedagogical tools to use and need.
Our participants' sister alliances have all different pedagogical approaches and methodologies that have been implemented or are still being developed. However, considering how diverse the teaching and learning practices are at each university, every pedagogical model should have a solid framework to create suitable academic development actions. Therefore, it is crucial to begin with an initial needs analysis to understand what academic teachers already know and reflect on what they need in terms of pedagogical support.
European Universities Alliances were conceived as transnational alliances composed of very different members. The real challenge was collaborating in teams to co-design teaching and learning activities, cooperate with the students and make them active participants in their learning. The key terms that emerged are multidisciplinary, active learning, teamwork and cooperation to connect different approaches between different universities. This effort has shown difficulties on the one hand, but on the other hand, it has strengthened the alliances and increased their sustainability for the future.
The lively discussion highlighted the need to create recurring spaces for dialogue and sharing on the academic development actions we all take as alliances to stimulate academic staff in the collaborative design of teaching activities, including the creation of study programs.