1. Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management
  2. Homepage
  3. Research
  4. IDEA

IDEA (Inclusive Digital Education Approach)

A 2 years research project in collaboration with the EFMD and 5 partner universities

recherche digitale

The COVID pandemic changed the rules overnight and the ‘new normal’ will be here for long, with no return to the previous situation. Before the pandemic, online/blended education was only targeted towards a minority of students that voluntary enrolled for these courses. In the age of the COVID pandemic online teaching and learning has become the norm and concerns all students and professors. This calls for a well-thought out and systematic adaptation of current practices.

The transition to online learning teaching and learning took place in emergency. And in many cases universities merely transferred their existing courses to online ones (virtualization) with only minor modification. This quick answer avoided the total standstill of the HE sector and pushed the institutions to go online and to overcome previous reluctances. However, it led to quality concerns, insufficient preparation of the professors and a lack of adaptation to the students’ needs. Direct consequences have been lower students’ engagement/participation, higher dropout rates and increased difficulties for the most vulnerable students. Faculty and institutions management (for ex. program managers) fell they are not prepared for this new situation. They ask for a quality referential that provides guidance for designing, delivering and assessing digital education. To ensure a successful transformation, this quality referential should be completed by resources, tools and training materials.

Existing quality assurance models for online education incorporate the four following components: course delivery and operation, institutional context, quality assurance process, and course composition. We need to complement them with an extra component: inclusiveness.

In this project we define “inclusiveness” as “the recognition of all student’s entitlement to a learning experience that respects diversity, enables participation, removes barriers and anticipates and considers a variety of learning needs and preferences.” It translates as “the design and delivery of teaching, learning and assessment methods that allow all students to engage meaningfully with the curriculum and achieve their full potential .”

Up till now inclusiveness was not really salient as online education was a voluntary choice from the students or the educators. Those persons were prepared to take/deliver courses online, knew about the requirements and accepted the constraints. This is no longer the case since online education has become “obligatory” for all students/professors, since the pandemics has restricted presential activities.

Practically, this translates in many questions:
  • How to make sure that the students can not only access the course/resources, but also participate to all pedagogical activities and benefit from fair evaluation and exams?
  • How to make sure that the courses are designed to engage all types of students and allow them to contribute actively?
  • How to make sure that students’ interaction (with the teachers and between themselves) are encouraged?
  • How to make sure that all mechanisms are in place to allow a quick identification of problems/difficulties, organization of extra care and support to the students in need and avoid dropout or disinvolvement?
  • How to make sure that students remain engaged and cultivate the feeling of being part of the institution/program and do not turn into distance/passive consumers?
  • How to make sure that isolation is avoided, that mechanisms are in place to identify vulnerable students and allow an early diagnosis of difficulty?

If you want to join or know more about the IDEA project, please visit: https://theideaproject.eu/


Mis à jour le 25 octobre 2021