1/9/18 · Institutional

The UOC to promote digitization of universities as the first European hub of the DXtera Institute

Photo: <a target="_blank" href="https://unsplash.com/photos/npxXWgQ33ZQ">Unsplash/Glenn Carstens-Peters</a>

Universities currently have access to vast amounts of academic and student data, but they can't search all of this data because their IT systems are not connected. And there are no standard tools for higher education institutions which hinders improvement of information systems and data integration.

The UOC has joined the DXtera Institute, a US non-profit educational consortium, in order to optimize the use of such data and find shared and innovative solutions to overcome these technological barriers. The aim is to use big data to make key information available and improve levels of student success.

Through this agreement, the UOC will become the European hub responsible for coordinating and promoting the activities taking place in Europe. Antoni Pérez and Francesc Santanach, the deputy director and an e-learning expert at the UOC's eLearn Center, respectively, will represent the UOC in this Washington, DC-based organization. Pérez will sit on DXtera's Board of Directors and Santanach on its Technology Advisory Board.

The UOC will join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Georgia State University, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and, the University of Hawaii as a founding partner of DXtera. The institute plans to expand to different continents across the globe in the future.

For the UOC's Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research, Marta Aymerich, joining this consortium is recognition of the UOC's ability to transfer its knowledge of e-learning. It also ties in with other projects being developed at the UOC, such as D-TRANSFORM, which aims to make university decision makers aware of the importance of integrating digital technology to optimize learning.

In turn, the consortium will provide support to the UOC. "It will provide advice on the trends and innovations in education and technical assistance in order to integrate the consortium's IT solutions. Likewise, it will help model and mine the educational data, including skills, rubrics, marks, tests, programmes, courses, academic records, etc," said Pérez.

Among the activities scheduled for the coming year, a symposium is to be organized to look at ways to improve student success. The members of DXtera are to take part in the event, and representatives from the leading European institutions are also expected to attend. "The UOC will also lead a project on the learning environments of the future and one on chatbots, which will allow professors and students to adapt their academic activities to meet their skills and learning objectives," said Santanach.

Collaboration with this consortium, which was established in 2016, is expected to continue until 2020. The UOC will take on different projects each year throughout this period.

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