How could developers of e-learning working in different higher education institutions share information and views with each other? The national Digipeda network was established at the Pedaforum in 2017 to solve this problem. At the time, there was no regular network covering all higher education institutions, even though cooperation in e-learning and teaching technology did exist earlier. As the issues on the surface are often the same regardless of the higher education institution, the developers needed a permanent forum for discussing them.
The digital pedagogy network became a community where members can discuss technical and pedagogical solutions together. It helps to see the big picture. The network also engages in stakeholder cooperation, acts nationally as a channel for interaction between higher education institutions in digital teaching matters and supports other national groups in matters related to their field.
Dozens of colleagues supporting a digital pedagogy expert
The digital pedagogy network includes one or more representatives from each Finnish higher education institution. The network meets on a remote or local connection every few months and maintains contact between the meetings on the Teams channel. At meetings and in the shared working area, members can highlight topical themes for discussion and share information and best practices.
The Chair of the network, that is responsible for the meetings and the organisation of activities, changes yearly. Representatives of universities and universities of applied sciences always work in pairs. The operation is based on the participants’ activeness and reciprocity: everyone has the right to propose matters to be discussed and the opportunity to make their own expertise available to the network.
The latest example of topics shared in the network is the use of AI applications in teaching – a question that has quickly become topical in higher education institutions. The digital pedagogy network first discussed the topic in its Teams channel and a meeting. It was able to quickly share situational information on the policies and recommendations of higher education institutions as well as questions to which teachers and students sought answers. Over the years, the network has also carried out various studies, surveys and conference presentations and written articles together.
As it is, the network is based on understanding synergy: when I help a colleague on an important issue, I probably also get help when I need it. There may be only a few experts in e-learning within one university, but with the help of the network, they will be supported by several dozen colleagues. Accumulated understanding and knowledge help in everyday work. It is also not always necessary to work with the entire network. When colleagues get to know each other, it is easier to communicate and propose cooperation also outside the network’s channels.
The network and the Digivisio programme office regularly exchange news
The Digipeda network has worked closely with the Digivisio 2030 programme and CSC since the very beginning. The network has wanted to be strongly linked with the project, as many of its members are actively involved in the implementation of Digivisio.
Experts and project managers from the Digivisio programme office have been invited to the Digipeda network meetings to discuss the latest news about cooperation. At the same time, Digivisio experts have been able to hear important news about the everyday life of higher education institutions and the needs and interests that have arisen there.
Olli Vesterinen (Principal Lecturer, Diaconia University of Applied Sciences)
Suvi Junes (IT Specialist, Tampere University)
Praesidium of the Digipeda network for the academic year 2022–2023
This article is part of a blog series that unwraps the vision for e-learning drawn up in the Digivisio 2030 programme. Read more about the vision for e-learning.