Category : Featured

Candidates to the 2015 EUNIS Board of Directors

Elections to the EUNIS Board of Directors will be held at the General Assembly during the EUNIS 2015 Congress  (13:30, 11 June 2015, Abertay, Dundee, Scotland).

The 2015 candidates to the Board of Directors are:

Bas foto Linked

Bas Cordewener (1957) works at Jisc in the UK as International Facilitator. The main part of his time Bas acts as Coordinator of the Knowledge Exchange, a collaboration between DFG (Germany), SURF (Netherlands), DEFF (Denmark), CSC Finland and Jisc (UK). The Knowledge Exchange focus is on structural exchange of expertise and building networks of experts in areas Open Access, Research Data and related policy and infrastructure. The remaining time Bas supports Jisc in its international representation and networking, especially in engagement with Europe (e.g. H2020), and technology foresight activities. Before working for Jisc, Bas has worked as Manager International Affairs and Deputy Program Manager IT and Education for SURF (Netherlands) and as Deputy Director for the Expert Center for Computer Aided Education (ECCOO) at University of Groningen. After a working career in Library and University administration as well as in IT staff roles Bas studied Marketing at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and received a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) Marketing, ‘passed with honors’ in 1995. Between 2006 and 2010 Bas has been a board member of EUNIS on behalf of SURF.

tomasz szmuc

Prof. Tomasz Szmuc, Vice-Rector for Cooperation, AGH University of Science and Technology, e-mail: Received MSc in Electrical and Control Engineering from the AGH University of Science and Technology (AGH) in 1972. He has been employed since the beginning at AGH University of Science and Technology, where received Ph.D. (1979) and Sc.D. (1989) degrees, and Professor title (1999). The research activities focus on software engineering, in particular applications of formal methods (Petri Nets, Temporal Logics, Process Algebras) for modelling and support of software development. Development of real-time systems and control systems constitute the main stream in application related research. He is author or co-author of 10 books and more than 180 articles mainly related the specified above Software Engineering and application categories. He was a Vice-Dean (1990 to 1992) and Dean (2005-2008) of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Electronics. He was also Vice-Rector for Science (2008-2012) and currently is Vice-Rector for Cooperation (2012 – 2016). He is a member of many editorial boards in scientific journals and conferences, expert in the National Centre for Research and Development, and in National Centre of Science as well as task groups at the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. He was a coordinator and represented Polish Node called CC Poland Plus in the preparation and then initial phases of KIC-InnoEnergy project, coordinated and co-financed by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Currently KIC-InnoEnergy is managed by non-profit European company – Societas Europaea (SE). Shareholders of the KIC-InnoEnergy SE are leading European universities and research institutes, and main European energy related companies, e.g. EDF, Areva, Vattenfal, Total, ABB, Gas Natural, Iberdrola and many others. Prof. T. Szmuc is responsible for thematic coordination in the area of Clean Coal and Gas Technologies in CC Poland Plus – one among six nodes in the KIC-InnoEnergy. He is also engaged in building international cooperation with several R&D research and development institutions located worldwide.


Dr Valérie Le Strat holds a PhD in molecular chemistry and she is also project manager for both the current and the future student management application at Amue. With her team, she is in charge to ensure the proper functioning of the current Student Management System (Apogée), currently used by 80 organizations in France. She is also responsible for studying different ways to offer a new solution to Amue’s members in order to deal with the rapid changes occurring in student’s life and schooling area (Sicles project). She has previously work as a functional expert on the student management application (Apogee project), and was mainly focused on student self-service until Amue decided to offer French Higher Education institutions a new software to build, administer and distribute its course catalog (ROF project). She first helped in designing the solution matching the needs of French higher education institutions. Then, as a project manager, she has brought the aims and issues of this solution to Amue’s members and also supervised its deployment. This system is currently used by 10 organizations and is still deployed.

rvogl05_klRaimund Vogl is director of IT for the University of Münster (Germany) since 2007. He holds a PhD in elementary particle physics from University of Innsbruck (Austria). After completing his PhD studies in 1995, he joined Innsbruck University Hospital as IT manager for medical image data solutions and moved on to be deputy head of IT. Additionally, he served as a lecturer in medical informatics at UMIT (Hall) and as managing director for a medical image data management software company (icoserve, Innsbruck) and for a center of excellence in medical informatics (HITT, Innsbruck). He is active as a member of the executive team of the IT strategy board of the Universities in Northrhine-Westfalia. He is a member of GMDS, EuSoMII and AIS and is representing Münster University in DFN, ZKI, DINI and ARNW. His current research interest focuses on the management of complex information infrastructures. More detailed information on his CV and numerous publications can be found in the CRIS of Münster University here .



Mikael Berglund

Mikael Berglund is a scholar of Computer Science at the University of Umeå.
He has been working with research about Virtual Learning Environments and Time-Spatial Visualization of National Archives.
Previous projects include Identity Management within the European GÉANT project and the management of e-infrastructure development for Sweden’s NREN, SUNET. Currently, he is working as an IT-architect at ITS in Umeå and is occupied with building the new Swedish national student information system, Ladok3.

UNIVERSITIC: IT Survey in Spanish and Latin America Universities

The knowledge society that Europe designed in Lisbon is based on a modern higher education system with innovative methods and resources. Universities that were pioneering in introducing computation and Internet for research have been walking fast to adopt information technology (IT) in three levels: teaching, management and government.

In Spain, this evolution has sometimes lacked of assessments and of lightness. For this reason, the IT Committee of the Spanish Association of University Rectors (CRUE in Spanish set of initials), in 2004, drove the establishment of an inquest, called UNIVERSITIC, in order to achieve a global assessment of IT in universities that includes: IT description, IT Management and IT Governance.

The results of the first year’s survey showed that Spanish Universities, in general had adopted a compromised stance with the aim of incorporating and use of IT, but frequently this compromise was more reactive than proactive, more improvised than planned.

Ten years later, this survey has been improved and now also includes the Latin America area. Current results indicate that universities usually plan IT implementation and they are aware of the need to achieve best practices both in IT management and in IT governance. So the UNIVERSITIC survey and its results are very useful for the Spanish and Latin American universities and we hope it could become a good reference for European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) too.

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TNC15: 15-18 June 2015, Porto, Portugal

The TNC15 Networking Conference is the largest and most prestigious European research networking conference, with more than 650 participants attending this annual event. TNC brings together decision makers, managers, networking and collaboration specialists, and identity and access management experts from all major European networking and research organisations, universities, worldwide sister institutions, as well as industry representatives.

Read more…

In the distance rise the clouds

imageIn the tropical seas, in the so-called doldrums, sailors are aware that, when the clouds rise in the distance, they must rush to modify their sails before the storm. In recent months announcements have been made by Coursera, EdX as well as by some important American universities and MOOC business models are starting to emerge. What does this mean for our universities? Is the storm coming? I will let you build your own judgment.

The MIT policy is changing: they transform their teaching organization. The year will no more be divided into semesters but in shorter modules of six weeks about and degrees will be organized as series of carefully chosen modules. This will ease the transformation from a classical face-to-face teaching into blended learning using SPOCs, whenever required.

Can we follow the same path? Transforming our calendar is easy but can we afford building a number of MOOCs or SPOCs? With budgets constrained, whether in finance as well as in personnel, where should we first focus our efforts?

Since I was asked for an EdTech conference, beginning of June, to deliver a speech about business models for MOOCs, I leaned back on the cost of this form of teaching.

The cost, to build a six weeks MOOC, can be estimated between € 30,000 for the simplest ones, when it is easy to transform a classical course into a suitable form, and may rise beyond € 100 000 for the more complex ones (see my paper in this issue of EUNIS Journal of Higher Education IT.) To obtain these figures I was considering the same course being reused, with some modifications, three times or three years. These figures take into account the consolidated wages, but not surrounded, to be able to compare these costs to the classical delivery of the same course. The developments are made in-house, assuming that the university possesses the competent staff, teachers and technical support. Outsourcing the building of a MOOC would be more expensive. These values are in agreement with other studies.

Let us now compare the costs when delivering the same course in a hybrid mode, i.e. a SPOC, with a limited number of face-to-face classes in small groups, like it is used at EPFL, or in the classical approach, i.e. in a lecture hall. The SPOC needs fewer teachers because plenary lectures in the amphitheater are suppressed and the number of application lectures in small groups is reduced. When delivering the course as a MOOC, we must only add the wages of the tutors whose number increases slowly with the number of students. It is drowned in the total cost to build the MOOC, especially considering the variability of my estimation between 30 000 € and 100 000 €!

In my calculation, I consider one teacher for 50 students and a meeting every two weeks for the hybrid mode (SPOC). For the classical delivery one hour in the theater per week and one meeting every week in small groups (50 students). Since I did not have a precise estimation for the cost of the buildings, my estimation is based on the lower bound of rental prices. This therefore includes the depreciation of the assets. The cost increases rapidly with the number of students because the salaries of the teachers represent an important part of the expenses.

The difference between blended learning and SPOC is mainly the use of the buildings for the small classes. Given the variability of my estimations, I did not draw another curve. Distance education and SPOCs are about the same and are represented on the same curve.

For the classical delivery, my estimates are based on the official working time of Higher Education teachers in France: 6 hours of work for one hour in front of the students in the lecture hall, 4 hours of work for one hour in front of the students for applications lectures in front of small groups. Playing with all these variables and different estimations for the cost of the MOOC, gives always curves as shown below.


Below 200 up to 300 students the cheapest means to deliver a course is the classical approach. Blended learning becomes cheaper only for large classes above 500 students. A conventional MOOC, i.e. delivering a course without face-to-face interaction and no personal interaction is never of interest below 300 students. These values vary with the real cost to build the MOOC and the other variables such as salaries, buildings… which may change from one university to another, but the message is very clear: savings can be made, using MOOCs or SPOCs, only for very large groups of students. For a single university it may only work for the first years.

This leads to two conclusions: increasing the number of students or grouping universities, to share the costs, are the only solutions to save money. These are just the solutions, emerging in some US universities.

Arizona State University is the consortium of all public universities in this state. They will open a common first year, as distance education, with the help of edX that gives them free support. The full first year degree will be delivered for less than $ 6,000, which is cheaper than the conventional prices in the US today. This is being made possible thanks to the scale factor: more students and development costs supported by the consortium. The promoters of this experience have added an interesting feature: the MOOCs are free and students will pay at the end, before the examination. In other words they will not engage if they do not think they have a good chance of succeeding. With a lmited number of teachers that interact remotely with students, without the cost of the campus, their cost curve is closer to that of a MOOC as any other.

Another example is Urbana Champaign university, which will open an MBA for $ 20,000 only. This may sound crazy but be aware that the registration fees, for such diploma, can exceed $ 60,000 per year! Urbana works with Coursera, in a pattern roughly equivalent to the previous one: studies will be free and students will have to pay only to obtain verified certificates and predefined sets of specializations. When, already advanced, they may apply for recognition of their achievements for this eMBA and will pay the extras to get the Urbana degree. The business model is that Urbana hopes to attract an additional number of students without engaging additional staff or having to build new premises on its campus.

And behind these two universities, we find again Coursera and edX, which are the only ones able to offer a wide catalog. Here is the limit of the simulation shown previously: I have not taken into account the cost of support that these agencies provide.

Daphne Koller, in an interview at Wharton school, said that, within two years, Coursera will be able to offer the full curriculum of a university. Coursera believes it may present its catalog to universities that want to build their own curriculum. This will not affect the best known universities but smaller ones, such as as community colleges, which will become mere intermediaries who gather an array of MOOCs, add a support and will issue their degrees. These universities will only be assemblers of courses, build otherwise, and will become controlers of acquired knowledge and delivery of grades.

The Coursera’s business model has not changed: they believe they will recover their costs through the sale of certificates and of courses produced by others. EdX is more discreet about its model, sheltered behind its wealthy donors.

What will it be in Europe, except in England, where the cost of education is essentially paid by the state? It is still difficult to know. Digital education will play its part, and many companies are already coming in the business of the production and broadcast of Higher Education. Private schools will be first, because they have greater control of their costs. Public universities are not immune: their strength is the delivery of grades and diplomas, but it could be questioned either by changing the institutional rules or simply because employers consider new forms of graduation as valid. English speaking universities are more in danger than the other because students continue to prefer to study in their native language. But for how long?

In the immediate future, adult education agencies will be first affected because they do not have the protection of the graduation. But that is a topic for another column.

In any case, all Higher Education institutions, public or private, would do well thinking quickly on their evolution, in the light of these emerging forms of economic models.

The MOOC insidiously continue to transform the landscape. We are still at the beginning.

PS: there will not be a new issue before a while: let us chat together at EUNIS 2015, in Dundee!

Report: Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA): a landscape review, by Gill Ferrell

“We look in more detail at the components of this life cycle later in this report: suffice it to say here that the effective management of assessment and feedback is central to the learning experience and encompasses a very wide spectrum of activity involving many different stakeholders. From an institutional perspective, ease of access to accurate, up-to-date assessment data is essential for the effective running of a range of business processes from quality assurance and marketing to long-term curriculum planning. From a tutor’s perspective, efficient management of assessment data can mean improving student learning without increasing workload e.g. having a timely overview of what has been learned and understood; being able to give feedback/feed forward in timely and effective ways and it can also aid course review and validation processes (…).”

Read the report here