Result ID 1: The efficient teaching guidelines: a dataset by branches of knowledge
The first Project Result (PR1) will consist of designing and creating a database to analyse the factors that most affect teaching quality by branches of knowledge (Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social and Legal Sciences, or Engineering and Architecture). Each partner will collect data through a questionnaire constructed ad hoc to incorporate all relevant variables linked to active methodologies, teaching resources (virtual and augmented reality, podcasts, infographics, etc.) and the types of assessment used by the university teaching staff according to their area of knowledge.
The aim is to address one of the main challenges of the European University Association (EUA): The Universal Design, as a means to ensure inclusive, equitable and accessible education for all students, an education in which the teacher helps students to be managers of their learning.
The importance of this project lies in the fact that it is not a mere description or enumeration of teaching methodologies, assessment systems or technological resources. On the contrary, it is an exhaustive analysis of its components (requirements, objectives, etc.).
The analysis will allow us to develop the ConecctU app, a virtual advisor for teaching in Higher Education (PR2). On the other hand, this material will serve as a starting point for creating the Innovation Lab and designing the training actions planned in the different institutions involved in the project (PR3). Finally, the information gathered will be published in the form of infographics. This material will be available in English, Czech, Spanish, Finnish, Dutch, and Italian. In addition, an ebook will be produced, which will collect experiences of good practices with active and innovative methodologies.
The pandemic has highlighted some of the shortcomings, limitations and challenges of education at all levels of education, especially at the university level (Rapanta et al., 2020). In HE, it is assumed that students master learning strategies and self-regulate their learning process (Steh & Saric, 2020). The results of the data analysis we will carry out will serve as a starting point for planning teacher counselling through comprehensive and individualised training.
Target groups and expected impact
The direct beneficiaries of this output will be teachers at all educational levels. This will have a particular impact on the learning of all students, regardless of their physical, linguistic, social, etc. status. We expect that at the end of the project, the infographics and the ebook will have reached 5.000 downloads. We expect that it will influence teacher assessment quality systems.
Elements of innovation
The innovative component of this proposal does not lie in the sequential presentation of methodologies, types of assessment and technological resources for teaching, but in the detailed analysis by branches of knowledge of the components of the TPACK model (pedagogical, didactic and technological knowledge of the teacher). The analysis will also provide information on how university teachers take into account the psycho-educational variables involved in the teaching-learning process (learning styles, motivation, metacognition, time-space management, personality, self-concept, motivation, learning styles, relationships with peers, relationships with the teacher, equity, inclusion, etc.).
To ensure the dissemination and transferability of PR1, a virtual multiplier event will be held in January 2023, jointly organised by all project partners and led by the University of Murcia. The EUA and national and European educational leaders and university professors will be invited to this event to promote the project results among European universities. It will also be extended to teachers from other educational levels, as the project’s sustainability objectives include its adaptation to Secondary and Vocational Educational Training
Result ID 2: ConnectU: a digital teaching advisor tool for Higher Education
This project (PR2) aims to develop a software application to advise academic teaching staff in instructional design, following the Universal Design (UD) principles of inclusion, equity and accessibility. Based on the information obtained in the previous Project Result (PR1), the consortium will develop ConnectU app, a virtual advisor for teaching in Higher Education. ConnectU is based on a proactive, personalised decision-making process through the adaptation of the principles of the Computerised Adaptive Test (CAT) model.
The aim is to offer the teacher a personalised instructional design proposal covering the three pillars of the successful learning experience: planning and design, teaching and learning, feedback, and meta-learning (Mazur & Valdivia, 2020). First, the user must register and answer a series of questions that will configure his or her profile. From these answers, the algorithm will select the first item with which the process starts. These are some of the generic questions: faculty, courses level, teaching experience, knowledge and experience, number of courses per semester, etc. In the next step, ConnectU will present the items generated in PR1 differentially according to the answers given by each teacher. ConnectU will generate an instructional design proposal adapted to the teacher, the subject and the student.
All the results generated by ConnectU will allow detecting training needs that will be used to nurture the PR3 project. ConnectU will also have a space for students designed to know their selfregulated student profile and keys to work on those aspects that intervene in learning that could be improved (e.g., use of time, physical and social environment, methods of learning, monitoring performance, etc.).
Due to COVID-19, teachers have had to adapt to an immediate situation, and educational institutions have made a great effort in digital transformation. However, continuing with this emergency remote teaching is unfeasible and does not guarantee the quality of teaching. It is time to change to a student-centred model in which teachers must balance their curricular, psycho-educational and technological knowledge to design successful learning experiences. Nevertheless, the work pressure involved in that paradigm shift (e.g. surveys results in 76.5% UMU; 83.5% RUG), coupled with teacher training deficiencies, make it difficult to meet this challenge. ConnectU offers an exciting alternative that reduces the time we have to invest in designing courses from Universal Design principles, moving away from more traditional teaching models.
Academic teaching staff from any branch of knowledge, newcomers (predoctoral, postdoctoral staff) to education and experienced professionals. It will also be useful for students to reflect on their learning needs. Elements of innovation: The innovation component of ConnectU lies in the fact that it is an application that advises and guides teachers in designing their instruction. It is neither a repository of educational materials, nor is it a list of active strategies and methodologies where the principles are explained in such a generic way that it is difficult to visualise their results in a specific area of knowledge.
We expect that at the end of the project: -The ConnectU app will reach 5.000 downloads -Counting with 1.500 teachers trained in the new methodology -Involving at least 30 other institutions to use the app -The ConnectU use will be compulsory in the 6 partner universities Transferability potential: ConnectU can be applied to other educational levels with slight algorithm adjustments, adapting the learning standards and compulsory education. It can also be applied to teaching academies. Furthermore, this project can generate an appropriate synergy with the Erasmus + projects INDIe and the INDIe4All, as it can complement the INDIeOpen curricular content development platform with ConnectU
Result ID 3: Training for academic teaching staff: when students’ selfregulated learning matters
The third Project Result (PR3) will consist of building an Innovation Laboratory (Innovation Labs) that allows teachers to carry out a guided analysis of their teaching practices in order to improve the quality of teaching. The Innovation Labs will design training itineraries to provide the most appropriate response to the needs of each teacher detected through ConnectU.
The aim is to address one of the main challenges of the European University Association: training for academic teaching staff on inclusion and equity topics. Specifically, the Innovation Labs aim to: 1) expand knowledge, enhancing understanding of Universal Design (UD) principles for inclusive, equity and accessible teaching; 2) stimulate innovative ideas on how to improve innovation strategies and practices through learning from experts and peers; 3) build peer support networks of practitioners to exchange good practices and promote collaboration in innovation. The Innovation Labs will be a space to exchange good practices, co-create new ideas and explore areas for collaboration among institutions. This will help to reduce one of the main dissatisfactions of teachers with work overload. It is also an ideal complement to ConnectU for new teachers in educational institutions. The training modules will be designed on the basis of the information gathered in PR1 and the needs identified for each user through ConnectU.
The need to create Innovation Labs arises mainly from a gap in the training of staff in higher education institutions, which does not exist for teachers at other educational levels: Pre-school, Primary and Secondary teachers must necessarily undergo prior pedagogical training in order to be able to teach.
At the university level, where we find a dual profile in staff (teaching and research), pre-doctoral training in research content is conceived as a compulsory issue that no one questions. However, the same is not true for teaching. Houlden & Veletsianos (2020) state that moving to online teaching has added to the stresses and workloads experienced by university faculty and staff who were already struggling to balance teaching, research and service obligations (Rapanta et al., 2020). What teachers need is not “tips and tricks” but a process of deep and careful reflection on what competences students can develop.
Academic teaching staff from any field of knowledge, both those with a long career in university teaching who need to recycle their teaching practices and those who are about to enter university teaching. Indirectly, the greatest beneficiaries will be the students, since good teaching practices guarantee the personal and professional development of students (Fisher et al., 2018). Elements of innovation: The innovative component of this proposal lies in the creation of a space to experiment, analyse innovative teaching practices, receive feedback on the implementation process and assist in the development of innovative practices or ideas. It will also allow teachers to be advised on how to develop a training pathway that meets their needs and fills their gaps.
The Innovation Labs will be reference spaces for teaching experimentation, to analyse teaching practices. Therefore, the main indicators of the impact of the Innovation Labs will be: -120 users of the Innovation Labs spread across all the institutions in the consortium. -2500 professors trained through personalised training itineraries. -At least 30 other institutions from different educational levels (Secondary, Vocational Educational Training, Adult Education) will use the Innovation Labs. Transferability potential: The Innovation Labs can be a reference for Secondary, VET, Adult Education, and Teachers and Resources Centres. In short, their use can be extended to any organisation linked to education to analyse its teaching practices and initiatives, with the support of experts in educational innovation