CODUR presented at EDEN and CIDUI conferences

Prof. Albert Sangrà, coordinator of the CODUR project and Director of the UNESCO Chair for Education and Technology for Social Change, and members of the team Montse Guitert and Juliana Raffaghelli attended the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) Annual Conference held in Genova (17-20 June) and the International Conference on University Teaching and Innovation held in Girona (4-6 July).

In both conferences, the objectives were two-fold: a) to present the CODUR project with its initial online indicators to be included in university rankings and to promote the debate about the evaluation of the online dimension inside the university ranking system, and b) to conduct an interactive workshop where the participants could give their feedback about the new set of indicators created by the CODUR project.

The CODUR project is leading to its end, but the number of impacts (both institutions and people) are growing remarkably.


CODUR presented at the African Council for Distance Education

Following the invitation of the Executive Board of the African Council for Distance Education, the coordinator of the CODUR project and Director of the UNESCO Chair for Education and Technology for Soial Change, Prof. Albert Sangrà has attended the Steering Committee and Executive Board meetings of the ACDE held in Beira, Mozambique, 22-23 March, 2018.

In these meetings, the CODUR criteria and indicators have been presented at the level they have currently been developed. Feedback given has been very positive, indeed. African open, distance and online universities face the same problems than any other online university in the world: lack of visibility, concerns on quality of their education provision, and any consideration in university rankings.

Universities in Africa are rapidly moving into open and online education as a way to widen higher education all over the continent. In addition, they are very concerned about providing high quality of education, not only access. As necessary agents to get the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), they have very much welcome such an initiative as CODUR in order to have criteria and indicators to measure their quality, and guidelines to support any open and online university to move forward higher standards of quality in higher education provision.

Very interesting talks have been had with Prof. Abdel Raouf Abbas, President of ACDE and Prof. Rotimi Ogidan, ACDE Executive Director, as well with several university Vice-Chancellors.

Continuous communication and updating on the project have been agreed, as well as advice and support for their strategies in make high quality online education growing and more visible also in the African continent, where CODUR already has an associate partner (University of South Africa, UNISA).

CODUR is one of the projects where the UNESCO Chair is involved, aiming to increase the reputation, quality and visibility of online education.


International Seminar on Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education


Last November, 21 and 22, the International Seminar on“Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education” was held in Barcelona.
The international speakers invited shared their different perspectives on the topic, touching upon research and ways to get reliable evidence, learning analytics as a mainstream of evidence gathering, policy and the way that evidence can play a role on policy systems.
By clicking on every title you will be able to download the presentation of every speaker.


JAIRO H. CIFUENTES MADRID, TELESCOPI – Network of Observatories of Good Practices on Strategic University Management in Latin America and Europe 


Evidence-based Institutional Research: Gathering data for measuring impact



RICHARD GARRETT, The Observatory of Borderless Higher Education


Researching Online Learning… Reflections on Techniques and Sources



EMMANUEL (MANNY) JIMENEZ, 3ieImpact – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation


Systematic Review of the Effects of Interventions to Improve Education in Developing Countries


DONATELLA PERSICO, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche (ITD) – Italian National Research Council (CNR)


There is no such thing as context free evidence




FRANCESCA POZZI, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche (ITD) – Italian National Research Council (CNR)


Will the future of Higher Education be evidence-based?



PAUL PRINSLOO, University of South Africa – UNISA


Learning analytics in a time of an insatiable thirst for data and evidence: A provocation



KATIE ROSE, Centre for Public Impact


Decoding Government Effectiveness



OLAF ZAWACKI-RICHTER, University of Oldenburg


Relevance and rigour – towards evidence-based practice in education

International Seminar on Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education

The UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change at UOC work and initiatives take as reference the document “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (United Nations, 2015) which underlines the commitment and the challenges to face world-wide for a sustainable and equitable development. Specifically, the Chair focuses on the Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims to ensure, by 2030, “that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development” (SDG 4.7).

This means that education is one of the main tools for achieving a sustainable development (OECD, 2007; UNESCO, 2014) and that those countries with more educated people have generally better economic incomes and more opportunities to grow and increase the wellbeing of their citizens. In addition, technology is also providing new opportunities for access to higher education, as well as the transition to new methodologies that might help to get better teaching and better learning outcomes.

Online teaching and learning can make a huge contribution to the achievement of the aforementioned goal. It provides more flexibility, easiness of access, affordability and appropriate skills for the digital age, as well as social and economic impact in the society. However online education is always under the magnifying glass as it usually brings concerns about its quality and effectiveness.

What opportunities online education is going to provide to higher education are growing is a fact (Allen & Seaman, 2016; Bichsel, 2013; Online Learning Task Force, 2011), but doubts on this educational modality still persist. Different studies (Cavanaugh et al., 2004; Means et al., 2010; Means et al., 2013) have started to provide some evidence of its effectiveness through research, but there still is a big need of further investigation in this field, which could help to increase online education reputation.

To do this, the development of an appropriate methodology is crucial. In this sense, the work from Hattie (2008), Visible Learning, becomes a benchmark. Other studies have also highlighted the importance of the meta-analysis approach for these purposes (Borenstein et al., 2009; Field & Gillet, 2010). But considering just a unique approach could be biased and, therefore, taking into account other perspectives is highly recommendable.

Building up a methodology that can be the underlying framework for carrying out a set of research looking for evidence supporting the reputation and better visibility of online education is the main purpose of this event: organizing a Seminar with experts on this topic to get the knowledge that will provide the UNESCO Chair and its collaborators with the required skills to establish an observatory on the reputation and visibility of high quality online education.

This UNESCO Chair is highly committed to identify, analyse and disseminate any evidence or data regarding the quality, the effectiveness, and social impact and economic impact of online education. In the last two years, this Chair has fostered a long-lasting Seminar on the “Economic Effects and Social Impact of Online Education” consisting in different workshops, aiming to analyse how online education can be a driver for improving the way people can have a more equitable higher education, and to identify what might be the economic effects of greater dissemination and understanding of the contributions of online education to social development.

The good outcomes of the previous workshops have led the Chair, to organise new activities addressed to go further and deeper to identify the ways in which evidence can be gathered to know more and to make more visible the economic and social effects of online education.

The current International Workshop we are organising is aiming to know and understand the methodologies underlying evidence-based research; getting the skills to translate evidence-based research to the online education field; interacting with experts gathering data for observatories and impact of policies and strategies; and establishing the methodological foundations for the creation of an observatory for the reputation of online education, that will be evidence-based. After identifying what kinds of things could be constitutive of evidence, as it was worked in precedent workshops, we would now like to know how to gather them.

In this context, the International Seminar Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education will have two parts:

Workshop on Evidence-based Research: Gathering data for measuring impact

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 10.00 – 14.00 h.

Place: Palau Macaya, Passeig de Sant Joan, 108, 08037 Barcelona

This activity is by invitation only. Five experts from different international centres and observatories will present the methodologies they use to gather data and evidence for their purposes: how they work, how they design their research and how the collect the data they later use in their observatories or studies:

  • Richard Garrett, Observatory of Borderless Higher Education, UK
  • Emmanuel (Manny) Jimenez, 3ieImpact – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, USA
  • Jairo Cifuentes, Red Telescopi – Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, COL
  • Katie Rose, Centre for Public Impact, UK/USA
  • Donatella Persico, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR, IT
  • Karsten Krueger, Fundación CYD – U-Multirank, ESP

Every speaker will have around 30 min, to present the model they work with to the audience. Invited participants, who have participated in previous seminars organised by the UNESCO Chair on the social and economic impact of online education, will discuss with the speakers.

Open Public Session (lecture + roundtable): Will the future of Higher Education be evidence-based?

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, 17.30 – 20.00 h.

Place: Palau Macaya, Passeig de Sant Joan, 108, 08037 Barcelona

This Open Session will start with a lecture and followed by a roundtable in which it is expected to have an overview of how evidence-driven education would be, with their benefits and possible risks, too.


  • Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa, UNISA (Lecture)


  • Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Karl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, GER
  • Richard Garrett, Observatory of Borderless Higher Education, UK
  • Francesca Pozzi, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR, IT
  • Frans Kaizer, Centre for Higher Education Policy & Studies, CHEPS, NE

These two parts are very complementary and will provide valuable outputs to go forward with the research endeavoured by the Chair. As one of the milestone of this research, information about the launching of KLEOS, the Observatory for the Reputation and Quality of Online Education will be given.

If you are interested in participating to the Open Session, you can register to the event by filling this form.

For the Spanish Version of the program click here :

Referencias bibliográficas

Allen, I.E. & Seaman, J. (2016). Online Report Card. Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC.

Bichsel, J. (2013). The State of E-Learning in Higher Education: An Eye toward Growth and Increased Access (Research report). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research.

Biesta, G. (2014). ¿Medir los que valoramos o valorar lo que medimos? Globalización, responsabilidad y la noción de propósito de la educación. Pensamiento Educativo: Revista de Investigación Educacional Latinoamericana, 51(1), 46-57. doi: 10.7764/PEL.51.1.2014.17. Retrieved from

Borenstein, M.; Hedges, L.V.; Higgins, J.P.T. & Rothstein, H.R. (2009). Introduction to Meta-Analysis. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-470-05724-7.

Field, A. P. & Gillett, R. (2010), How to do a meta-analysis. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 63, 665–694. doi:10.1348/000711010X502733.

Hattie, J. (2008). Visible Learning. Oxford, UK: Routledge.

OECD (2007). Higher Education for Sustainable Development. Final Report of International Action Research Project. OECD from Forum for the Future (2006-2007).

UNESCO (2015). Position Paper Education post-2015. Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO (2014). Sustainable Education begins with Education. Paris: UNESCO.

United Nations (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from

Collaboration between private and public initiatives in Online HigherEd: Generating more equity?

Click on the collage to see more pictures
Click here to see more pictures

On November 9, this Chair held the workshop “Collaboration between private and public initiatives in Online HigherEd: Generating more equity?”. This project launched a new research field on economics of online higher education.

The invited speakers Santiago de la Barrera, Permanent Secretary at CONETyP (National Council of Education, Work and Production) of Argentina, and Melissa Highton, Director of the Learning, Teaching and Web Services Division, University of Edinburgh, UK, with their presentations have put the basis to the lively following discussion we will report later on.


Noticia UOC

La Càtedra UNESCO d’Educació i Tecnologia per al Canvi Social organitza el taller «La col·laboració entre les iniciatives públiques i privades en l’educació en línia: ¿Generadora de major equitat per a l’educació superior?», dins del seminari internacional «Efectes econòmics i impacte social de l’educació en línia». El taller se celebrarà a la seu de la UOC a Barcelona el dimecres 9 de novembre 2016.

catedra-unesco El taller té com a objectiu identificar i valorar els efectes econòmics de l’educació en línia i, més específicament, dels models de negoci singulars que poden proporcionar més oportunitats per a un desenvolupament de l’educació en línia equitatiu i a un cost sostenible. De la mateixa manera, es pretén analitzar quin pot ser el paper que el capital privat podria jugar en els escenaris actuals i futurs, i quins podrien ser els avantatges i desavantatges.

Aquest taller es dirigeix a experts en educació, economia i empresa, amb l’objectiu de discutir i analitzar la dimensió econòmica de l’educació en línia des d’una visió transversal i interdisciplinària, a partir de la perspectiva pròpia de cadascú.

Experts convidats

Els dos experts convidats son Melissa Highton, directora de la Learning, Teaching and Web Services Division de la Universitat d’Edimburg, i Santiago de la Barrera, secretari permanent de CONETyP (Consejo Nacional de Educación, Trabajo y Producción) i membre de la Fundación Oficios de Argentina. Tots dos han desenvolupat projectes amb finançament públic-privat en l’àmbit educatiu.

English translation

Moving Beyond Access

What Online Education can contribute to Capacity Building and Social Development of Students

Workshop May 2016 – Going beyond Access  (for more pics here)

The UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), jointly with the Penn State University School of Education (PSU), have started a research project focused on how online education institutions are moving beyond providing access and toward building students’ capabilities and societies’ capacity.

The study aims to define what going “beyond access” means, at a time when access to higher education seems to be the only important issue, forgetting or undervaluing what happens to students after having got this access.

Through a survey based on Alan Tait and Jessica O’Rourke’s Social Justice Audit approach (2013), students from different online universities programs, initially at UOC and PSU, and later from universities settled in other continents, will be asked to define the main elements of their learning experiences, the capabilities they consider online education have provided them, and the constraints they have encountered and how they have eventually being overcome.

Albert Sangrà, Academic Director of the UNESCO Chair, and Adnan Qayyum, Associated Professor at PSU, are the main researchers of the project, in line with the research aim of the UNESCO Chair in identifying and fostering evidence of social impact and economic effects of online education.

The project has been presented in 2016 at three International conferences: EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network) Conference in Budapest, The Learner Conference in Vancouver, and EduTeach 2016 in Toronto. Initial findings from the survey are foreseen to be presented by the end of 2016.

Homage to all the teachers of the world

LogoA proverb says that in Japan teachers do not bow at the Emperor, because
without teachers there will not be emperors

Far from considering whether this is true or not, having a look on what highlighted in the infographic below show that not only the teaching quality and students learning but also the quality of teachers’ personal lives must be improved.

Today is a special occasion to send our congratulations to female teachers – the majority of teachers are indeed women – who everyday push their students to take the best from what explained in the textbook and deploy what learned into the current reality, and once back home, they support their kids to do the same, between household duties and endless tests to correct.

Data is from Teachers’ Dream Classroom – the Infographic created by Edgenuity, available at


UNESCO Chair PhD studentship: Adult literacy and learning for social transformation

A fully-funded UNESCO Chair PhD scholarship for a research study within the theme of adult literacy and learning for social transformation is being offered at the University of East Anglia, UK.




The studentship will begin in October 2016 for a duration of three years full-time study and will cover tuition fees, tax-free maintenance grant, and research training support.
Deadline for applications is 17th June.
Please, see further details here.

For inquires:
Prof. Anna Robinson-Pant
School of Education and Lifelong Learning
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

Chronicle of a biomimetic celebration

sangakoo2A circular room, dark light, dance, mimics, saxophone music, audio-visual projections and much more. You might think that this is a discotheque, but it is not. It is a top notch intellectual performance. Last March 19th we went to CCCB to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hèlix3c, the “constructory” specialized in services that generate non-conventional thinking and transformative action. On the stage stood out the presence of Pere Monràs, the founder and inspirational leader of Hèlix3c.

The celebration was organized as a continuous dialogue between Pere Monràs and some of his collaborators and friends who presented Hèlix3c origins and trajectory. The event was the practical demonstration of one of their main concepts, biomimetic, which promotes nature based innovation. In this sense, Hèlix3c was portrayed as an actor grounded on a biomimetic ecosystem, in which several projects had emerged.

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