Keynote speakers

Ida Dringó-Horváth, PhD

 Head of ICT Research Center, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.

She  is habilitated Associate Professor of Education Science and Applied Linguistics. She received her PhD in 2004 and her habilitation in 2019. Her research and teaching areas are linked to language learning methodology and learning and teaching with digital technologies (EdTech), particularly in foreign language teaching and teacher training, but more recently in higher education as well.

Since 2018 she has been leading a complex training program for the development of digital competences of lecturers at the university. From 2020 onwards, she regularly organises a meeting for centres for higher education methodology in Hungary and a related conference on digital competence development and the use of ICT in Higher Education.

Keynote speech: Centres for Educational Technology in Higher Education

In recent years, higher education institutions both in Europe and worldwide have increasingly sought to digitise their teaching and research activities, and in this context, to improve both the technological environment and the digital pedagogical competences of their staff. The forced absence of face-to-face education due to the 2020 pandemic clearly contributed to making these developments a top priority, and as a result more robust digitisation support schemes have been organised.

As a consequence, already functioning methodlogical support centres have experienced a significant increase in their roles, and their tasks and functions have been broadened. In other higher education institutions where such centres didn’t use to exist, new ones have been created to support digitisation and the development of digital competences.

This presentation will provide an overview of this exciting process, which has been ongoing ever since, with a detailed description of current practices in Hungary as an example. In addition to detailing the position, role and core tasks of methodological centres in higher education, the main challenges facing these units will also be discussed, as well as the support and cooperation opportunities available.

Taking into account emerging trends and international practice, the presentation will aim to outline the direction of development in this field: how will the effective development of digital competences in higher education be achieved in the future?

Dr Ruaidhri Neavyn

Special Adviser to the Higher Education Authority of Ireland

Ruaidhri is currently employed as a Special Adviser to the Higher Education Authority of Ireland. His activities in HE policy development include business, industry and society linked HE skills and engagement programmes, HE system performance frameworks, and international collaborative networks. Prior to his appointment as an adviser to the HEA Ruaidhri served as president of two institutes of technology in Ireland, namely the Waterford Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Carlow. He has been an expert advisor for the OECD and EU on numerous international reviews and is currently a member of the Portuguese Higher Education Advisory Council and is a member of the OECD’s group of national experts on higher education. He is one of the co-designers and founders of the Regional University Network – European University and is a member of its management and co-ordination bodies. His current project interests; through his participation in EU and national programmes; focus on embedding environmental sustainability within HE systems through the deployment of novel digital and pedagogical approaches.

Embedding Sustainability in Higher Education Through Digital Approaches

Many higher education institutions (HEIs) are pursuing greening measures in support of the green transition, but few have fully integrated environmental sustainability into their institutional strategies and day to day operations. One way to support the strategic embedding of greening activities is through the use of digital tools and platforms. Since the early 2000s, digital sustainability tools for HEIs have emerged and are nowadays numerous and widespread. These digital tools have had many functions including (i) supporting self-assessment of the integration of sustainability within institutional strategies and activities (ii) improving awareness of sustainability among staff and students (iii) improving sustainable operations in areas such as energy and transport. This presentation will provide an overview of the range of digital tools and platforms available to support the green transition within the higher education landscape. The presentation will also provide a detailed overview of the EU-funded project GET-AHED which is to be a digital platform developed in consultation with a number of EU ministries, HEI representative bodies and an existing European University alliance which will provide HEIs across the EU with a range of online tools to enable them to implement the EU’s Green Transition and Green Education and Training priorities. The range of tools to be developed will allow a multiple of HE stakeholder groups to promote and develop whole institutional approaches to sustainability which will focus on:

  • Designing, implementing, and monitoring institution sustainability plans
  • Supporting Higher Education leaders, in embedding sustainability into all aspects of the institution’s operations
  • Supporting staff and students in promoting greater involvement in sustainability initiatives both internally and externally.
  • Designing, implementing, and monitoring approaches related to sustainability operations of a HEI and in particular energy and energy related systems.