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Education Innovation

Working Group


Chair: Francesca Helm

Francesca Helm is assistant professor of English at the Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies, University of Padova in Italy. Her research interests are in the fields of global studies, internationalization of higher education, foreign language education, language policy, identity, intercultural dialogue and Virtual Exchange. She was on the Executive Board of the EUROCALL association from 2011-2017, and is now a member of the Executive Board of the UNICollaboration organization. She is currently leading the Monitoring and ​Evaluation in the European Commission’s recently launched Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange project.


Focus of Working Group

Changes in society and the widening of access to higher education call for innovations in higher education. This Working Group is dedicated to broadening cooperation among Coimbra Group Universities in education innovation in its many different forms and contexts, exchanging knowledge and experiences in the implementation of innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. Our activities include analysing the opportunities and challenges provided by technologies, carrying out joint educational research projects, organizing seminars and contributing to the production of policy documents on these issues.


Recent highlights

  • Report on teaching and learning in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic struck Europe in February 2020, and its impact on higher education has already been huge given that all universities have pivoted to emergency remote teaching. A virtual meeting allowed us to exchange strategies and practices that our universities were adopting. This was followed by the development with other WGs of a survey to all universities and a short report providing an overview of policies and practices for teaching, learning and assessment in CG universities in times of COVID-19. This will be followed up with further analysis of these policies and practices.


  • Good practices in teaching and learning innovation. The first 9 examples of Good Practices from the project of sharing information on innovative approaches to teaching and learning has been published on the CG website. The project intends to facilitate knowledge transfer and foster possible collaborations among member universities. This website will be further enriched in the future.


  • European Projects. The working group has been involved in the Key-Action 3 European policy experimentation EVOLVE (Evidence-Validated Online Learning through Virtual Exchange) in collaboration with the Academic Exchange and Mobility group. It regards the implementation of virtual exchange as an innovative form of collaborative international learning across disciplines in higher education institutions, which can support internationalisation at home strategies. The relevance of virtual exchange has increased at a time when mobility has stopped and universities are using technology for teaching and learning. A short report with case studies on virtual exchange at CG universities is being prepared.


Ongoing/forthcoming activities

  • Learning Spaces. A web resource is being developed about innovative learning spaces with digital technologies and new, flexible learning spaces which allow for a wide array of teaching approaches and student collaboration in Coimbra Group universities.


  • Teaching, learning and staff development: The working group gathers and exchanges knowledge amongst member universities in relation to innovative practices in the different university contexts and is currently mapping activities related to teaching, learning and staff development, with a view to publishing a comparative report. The survey has been sent out to all members and results will be gathered soon.


  • Webinars and Coimbra Group lecture series. The working group organises webinars which are used to share knowledge and practices about themes and projects related to our field. The WG is also working on a new iteration of the Coimbra Group lecture series following the successful Narratives of Europe, narratives for Europe. These are open to staff at Coimbra Group universities and recordings are disseminated through the website.


Contact person at the CG Office: Catarina Moleiro (moleiro@coimbra-group.eu)