Nov 08, 2019
A cornerstone of the 12-day Fulbright Seminar for U.S. Administrators in International Education (Oct 29 – Nov 9) and moderated by Friederike von Reden, Fulbright (FB) Germany, the panel discussion convened Dr. Andrea Bör, Provost, Freie Universität Berlin, Peter Hassenbach, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Oliver Janoschka, Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, and Dr. Oliver Schmidt, FB Germany.
Digitalization has great potential for teaching and learning, says Peter Hassenbach. It opens new ways to curriculum composition that allow for off-campus and life-long learning, extra tutoring opportunities, and new certification systems. While all speakers agreed, the consequences of digitalization in the area of research appear less clear.
Concerns voiced from the audience include the security, privacy and ethics of data, intellectual property, as well as copyright. Clearly, a lot of work still needs to be done in these sensitive areas. Oliver Janoschka observes: "Don’t leave these questions to the technical experts but get your students and faculty involved.“ Leaders in higher-ed, he says, should think about setting the right incentives as the digital turn involves the entire institution.
Speaking for a large research university, Andrea Bör points out that the digital turn also relates to the institutional culture as a whole. "The digital turn is about cultural exchange“, she emphasizes, it involves simplifying processes at all levels, and it will determine how competitive an institution is in the long run. Given that in US higher education it is still a bit more common to “just do things,” Oliver Schmidt advocates higher education expert exchanges between and beyond Germany and the US – “growing complexity calls for more collaboration.”
Exactly with this exchange in mind, Fulbright Germany is convening the 2019 Educational Experts Seminar on Higher-Ed Digitalization, in close co-operation with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Hochschulforum Digitalisierung and the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York. Having explored innovation hubs in Boston and New York at the beginning of October, the seminar will now continue its inquiry in Berlin, in December, to take a closer look at the digital transformation German universities are currently undergoing.