Higher Education in the Digital Age
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Higher Education in the Digital Age

Moving Academia Online

Edited by Annika Zorn, Jeff Haywood and Jean-Michel Glachant

The European higher education sector is moving online, but to what extent? Are the digital disruptions seen in other sectors of relevance for both academics and management in higher education? How far are we from fully seizing the opportunities that an online transition could offer? This insightful book presents a broad perspective on existing academic practices, and discusses how and where the move online has been successful, and the lessons that can be learned.
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Chapter 4: How to design a 21st-century online course that makes learning happen for all

Annika Zorn, Salla Sissonen and Chiara Canestrini


Florence School of Regulation (European University Institute) had offered a blend of residential and e-learning for almost a decade when it decided to move its flagship training fully online. Its first online course ‘The Regulation of the Power Sector’ trained hundreds of practitioners and academics with completion rates of up to 85 per cent and 62 per cent of participants scoring high on the final exam. The chapter describes how the emerging online school developed its very own approach to online learning, moving beyond small distance-learning classrooms but at the same time working around potential pitfalls of Massive Open Online Courses such as low completion rates and low levels of learning. The school developed new ways in which to share and create knowledge through its executive training offers, in line with some of the most discussed approaches existing in higher education today, such as collaborative creation of knowledge across borders and crowdsourcing, engaged research creating close links from academia to world of practice, peer and horizontal learning and assessment, ownership of learning, and the re-definition of the roles of instructors, learners and experts.

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