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UOC and global consortium DXtera Institute host symposium to design the future of education technology

Data and technology experts from around the world gather in Barcelona to discuss the next generation of technology infrastructure in education

How is artificial intelligence optimizing educational institutions' processes and decision-making? How is big data analysis helping centres of learning to go beyond traditional testing methods in order to track students' progress? What digital resources and tools identify areas where students can improve, and enable learning to be personalized? These and other questions will be debated at the international Next Generation Student Success Symposium, an event organized by the DXtera Institute, the German Alliance for Education, Strada Education Network and the UOC, taking place in Barcelona (Palau Macaya) on 19, 20 and 21 June.

There is a growing need for students to be able to work and study in integrated online environments that allow them to acquire and build knowledge more quickly and more effectively, both individually and collectively. The goal of this meeting of e-learning experts, particularly targeted at decision makers and researchers at higher education institutions, is to analyse and share the best artificial intelligence tools and practices to meet future students' expectations.

“DXtera Insititute is a global consortium of education and technology professionals coming together to solve critical technology challenges facing universities and higher education,” said DXtera President and Co-Founder Dale Allen. “Our collaborative approach focuses on better integrating technology and information systems across an institution or organization in the education sector so that leaders can access the data needed to make informed decisions to support students. We are ensuring students, faculty and staff have the real-time information they need to help students succeed.


Big data, business intelligence and machine learning (computers that use data to learn autonomously and predict future behaviour) are emerging as key factors in the education sector. When applied in learning analytics, these technologies compile, analyse and present data so that teachers and students can optimize learning and the environments in which it takes place. For example, these techniques can help identify students who need more support in their learning process, doing so at a sufficiently early stage to ensure they can fulfil their academic goals.

According to Marta Aymerich, UOC Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research, this symposium will be a good way to illustrate the usefulness of translational research in education, as it will show how new knowledge generated by research in different fields can be applied in education, and how the main recipients of this knowledge – the students – can benefit from it.


The symposium's themes

The symposium, which will be opened on 19 June by Dale Allen, president of the DXtera Institute, and Antoni Prez, deputy director and head of research at the UOC's eLC, will focus on three themes. The first is digital learning environments, with discussions on which educational ecosystems, services and cognitive technologies are needed for future education. The second theme is business intelligence and learning analysis, with experts talking about how these can contribute to governance and the optimization of institutional operations and practices. And in the third theme, education pathways and professional careers, strategies will be proposed for designing academic programmes, promoting competencies and skills for students, and encouraging them to complete their studies.


International experts

As part of the programme for 20 June, to be opened by Marta Aymerich, a keynote lecture on digital learning environments will be given by Josep A. Planell, the UOC President. The day will feature contributions from renowned international speakers such as the Associate Dean of Digital Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Vijay Kumar.

Other speakers at the symposium include Tristan Denley, Chief Academic Officer of the University System of Georgia, USA, who has transformed university education in Tennessee using a data-based system and is a specialist in innovative mechanisms to help students; Hae Okimoto, Interim Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Academic Technologies at University of Hawaii System, an expert in integrating technology, data and policy to foster learning; and Jordi Conesa, the UOC eHealth Center's data manager, an expert in distance education and the application of learning analytics to distance learning environments such as the UOC.


Organizers

DXtera Institute is a US-based, non-profit educational consortium that helps universities optimize use of data and find shared, innovative solutions to remove technology barriers. The UOC is this consortium's first European hub and its goal is to promote and bring together all the activity taking place in this field in Europe. Antoni Prez, the UOC eLearn Center's deputy director and head of research, and Francesc Santanach, an expert in e-learning at the eLearn Center, are the UOC’s representatives in DxTera Institute, whose headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

Strada Education Network is a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to catalysing more direct and promising pathways between education and employment through philanthropy and research. Through strategic philanthropy, research and insights, and mission-aligned affiliates, Strada Education Network focuses on advancing the universal right to realized potential called Completion With a Purpose®.

German Alliance for Education