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FLORENCE

Digitally Strong in Education
and Research

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Virtual Exchange

Florence is a professor and digital enthusiast. She creatively harnesses the full potential of digitalisation in academic teaching. This leads to new challenges which will enable brand-new opportunities for international cooperation.

Monday morning at the university: Florence has an appointment with a student. Find out more about Florence!

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AI Learning?

The students in Florence’s courses are very diverse. They have different levels of competence, practical experience and prior knowledge. Accordingly, students perceive the technical and content-related barriers of a task in different ways.

Problem: Many students won’t achieve the intended learning success. Florence’s courses have a high dropout rate, which is very disappointing for everyone involved. Florence has an idea and visits her university’s e-learning centre.

I would like to offer my students an adaptive digital learning system in preparation for my course “Media Use in Educational Work” next semester. I want to be able to evaluate the students’ prior knowledge with the help of AI methods. This way, I can provide adequate tutorials in advance and facilitate a consistent starting point. Do we have a tool like that?

What a great idea! Students would be able to prepare for course content in their own environment. But this plan is also very ambitious. We don’t have a suitable tool with this level of automated evaluation. And I’m pretty sure this would have to be a customised tool, too. But if you’d like to gain a deeper understanding of using artificial intelligence you should visit the learning platform KI-Campus (in German). It offers a lot of material about using AI and you yourself could gain new skills on related topics.

But to identify an appropriate tool you should also have a look at research projects. The Digital Learning Map 2020 created by e-teaching.org provides an overview of German projects for educational contexts. And then you could use the European Project Database CORDIS to search for and contact suitable projects throughout Europe.

Here’s an important note before you start: Please remember that your students should decide for themselves which information they want to share with you or the university. Their data belongs to them, and they need to be able to retrace who is using it and for which purpose. The initiative OpenAIRE provides webinars on this topic, which you can use to inform yourself.

Research on Digital Learning Assistants

As recommended, Florence looks into research projects on adaptive learning systems and automation. She finds a number of interesting projects about data-driven learning assistants, for example the BMBF funded project SIDDATA...

Collaboration with Spain

In addition to fascinating German projects, Florence discovers a research project in Spain—they are developing and testing a tool similar to what she is looking for.

Erasmus+
in Sevilla

Collaborating with the Spanish lecturer Cecilia serves as an immense inspiration for Florence.
The two dedicated lecturers are planning to visit one another for some time in order to learn from each other. Thanks to Erasmus+, they are able to meet during a teacher exchange. For 6 weeks respectively, Florence will be in Sevilla and Cecilia will be in Schönburg. Florence is also involving her departmental colleagues, who are looking forward to the new input from Spain.

Virtual Exchange for Everyone

6 months later, back in Schönburg: At a small university event, Florence presented a digital report on her experience. She also learned a lot while Cecilia was in Germany. Her written report is available online on the university’s website. Florence already plans to include it in her next course. The current course is a virtual collaboration with Cecilia’s course in Sevilla.

Their goal: Together with the students, they want to evaluate country-specific differences and cultural characteristics.

The Basis: They are using an adaptive automated tool for preliminary inquiries which Cecilia developed in a research project.

You can find out how a Virtual Exchange works in this clip by the EVOLVE project. Florence and Cecilia created a unique learning environment for their diverse group of students. The joint seminar is location-independent with appointments in Schönburg and Sevilla, which can be attended in person or online. Even beyond the contents of the course, the students gained a cultural understanding. They were able to communicate without the need to leave their home university.

Currently, AI methods are used in a variety of projects and contexts in the education sector. This story illustrates only some examples of this development.

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