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.


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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In Homage to Joe Bower, The Teacher from Red Deer

The night of January 3, Joe Bower, a teacher from Alberta, Canada, died of a sudden heart attack, a few days after his 37th birthday.

Too early, inexplicably, tragically. Still, the light and inspiration Joe radiated will far outlast him.  His death is a tragedy for the family, friends, students and colleges who were close to him. But it also moved many people to express their deep mourning for this special person – a person who worked to not only create better schools but also a better world. Joes work, writings and his blog demonstrated his courage in single-handedly taking on the system  and challenging the status quo. It also inspired many teachers around the world.

Members of this Chair‘s work, his fellow speakers and other participants in a conference in Barcelona in December 2014 had known Joe for only a few days. But we all immediately knew what a jewel was amongst us. His talk was so wonderfully down to earth and practical in application. In fact, it was less a speech and more of a conversation with the audience who he so naturally engaged with his logic and thinking processes – and led to joint conclusions. It was a real joy to watch him capturing attention, empathising with his audience and directing this academic forum as if it were a high-school class session! Clearly, here was a high-calibre pedagogue, a real master.

Cena bona

But this alone does not make a great teacher. Love and respect for children, compassion for their personal struggles and achievements, for their pain and joy – these were the qualities which made him great. As Cathy Davidson wrote, he set the bar for humanity and for our profession as educators sky high.

Joe’s human qualities, his profound honesty and his modesty are revealed by little details. He told the conference that he was not born a good teacher; in fact, he had started out a terrible teacher! On being asked why it was so difficult to get in contact with him, he confessed that when he received the invitation to come to Barcelona as a keynote speaker, he thought that was a (bad) joke and he had deleted the letter! And after all, how he could just leave his 126 students and go to Barcelona?

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IITE-UNESCO asks professionals to make their voice heard in a project on the future of education

The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) is implementing the project Access, Equity and Quality: Envisioning the Sustainable Future of Postsecondary Education in a Digital Age, in collaboration with UNESCO Headquarters. The project aims at determining the future agenda in ICT in postsecondary education and contributing to shaping education policies based on research and foresight studies.

Within the research methods used in the project, IITE is asking higher education professionals to answer a survey.

Professors, researchers and managers are invited to fill in the questionnaire, with the deadline set on Monday 28th September, 2015. The survey deals with the issues of validation and credentialing of learning results and open educational resources; curriculum and institutional change and teacher development.To deliver consisten results, the project will apply other research methods such as virtual panels of policy makers and experts; mapping and assessment of major relevant trends; analysis/generalization of the results of the panel/survey; feedback from UNESCO Chairs, etc.

Education For All Report Presented in Barcelona


Aaron Benavot, director de of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2000-2015, presented the achievements and challenges of Education worldwide yesterday in Barcelona.

All through the event, organized by the UNESCO Center of Catalonia and Fundació Jaume Bofill, Benavot pointed out that there are many signs of notable advances. The pace towards universal primary education has quickened, gender disparity has been reduced in many countries and governments are increasing their focus on making sure children receive an education of good quality. However, despite these efforts, the world failed to meet its overall commitment to Education for All. Millions of children and adolescents are still out of school, and it is the poorest and most disadvantaged who bear the brunt of this failure to reach the EFA targets.

The organizers are asking for contributions to the debate on the three priorities for next 15 years: access, equity and quality. If you want to make your opinion heard, you can join the debate on 

The report can be read and download on


Call for applications to undertake postdoctoral research studies



The UOC’s UNESCO Chair is a center for the promotion of research, learning and information resources in the intensive use of ICTs in education for social transformation. As a further step toward fostering meaningful social change, the Chair is opening a call for applications to engage people who share the mission and values of our organization to establish mutually beneficial collaboration. Priority will be given to research proposals related to the three main areas of the organization’s work: quality of online education, ICT for development and economy of online education.

During the stay, the researcher will have the chance to share with the UOC community the outputs of his or her work, as well as will be able to take part in research events held by the university. In addition, the researcher will be invited to participate in the activities organized by this UNESCO Chair. The Chair will foster a meaningful collaboration so that both parties would benefit from the other’s contribution.

You can find the specifications of the call here. To fill and submit the application form, please click on the following link.

The Call is also available in Spanish here.

Revisiting the fundamentals of traditional curricula

This post was written by Tom Caswell

the wolrd needs a new curriculum
Marc Prensky’s book cover

This week UOC and the UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change will host a 2-day seminar called Revisiting the fundamentals of traditional curricula. Education thought leaders from around the world will meet in Barcelona, where the education reform debate will focus on what has been called the most fundamental unit of educational paradigms: curriculum.

Our curriculum should reflect our vision of the world, including how we will prepare students for a future full of information, technology, personalization, and change. But much of our curriculum is still built on a one-size-fits-all, lecture-style model where all students get the same lessons at the same pace regardless of their abilities. This is one example of how curriculum design has remained unchanged for decades while so many aspects of our lives have become highly personalized. How do we address this disconnect? What kind of learning experiences and assessments will prepare students to thrive in a future we cannot ourselves fully imagine?

The following skills and abilities could be valuable in a global, information-driven economy. How do we create curriculum to address them?

  1. Learn to search, sort, and evaluate information
  2. Learn to create new things and adapt to new situations
  3. Learn to build trust, relationships, and networks
  4. Learn to focus and prioritize in an age of distraction
  5. Learn to synthesize, interpret, and validate ideas
  6. Learn to lead, follow, and collaborate
  7. Learn to share and give back (e.g. OER and Open Source)

Is our curriculum going through a gradual evolution or is it in need of something more disruptive? Join us this week for an exploration of curriculum as an agent for change. Follow the discussion using #curriculumBCN as we highlight blueprints and working examples of curriculum models that are delivering on the promise of educational transformation.

Streets win over tuition fees in Germany, for Germans and international students

The German political decision to introduce tuition fees was defeated by popular opposition. The protests-leading German Free Education Movement was born when 200 organizations, including student unions, trade unions and political parties, formed the Alliance Against Tuition Fees. Students took to the streets all over Germany in response to the seven West German states that introduced fees in 2006 and 2007.

In Hessen Students occupied their universities and in Hamburg there was a fee strike. In Bavaria, a movement that began with hundreds of students protesting in 2008, grew to several thousand protesters by 2013. Then is when public opinion changed. Protesters proposed a state referendum on higher education policy and the petition was signed by 1.35M voters and caused the state’s premier to scrap tuition fees just a few days later.

And that was not all. On October 10, Germany announced that it is extending its tuition-free college education to all students from around the world. While cost of American college education is on the rise — with undergrad fees in non-profit schools ranging from $14,300 for state universities like UCLA, and from $37,800 for private non-profit schools like Harvard to 50,000+ in other schools -, this decision puts Germany in very advantageous position to attract international talent. The UK, where tuition fees have risen by 50% under Tory’s administration, might appear as less appealing for many international students.

Read more:
Germany scraps tuition fees after mass student protests cause shift in public opinion
Germany extends free college education to all students in the US
Germany offers free college tuition to US and international student
All German universities will be free of charge when the term starts