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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 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

The potential offered by information and communication technologies, pedagogical research, the general expectation that students can and should participate more in their own learning process, widening of access and participation, as well as the use of relevant resources outside the boundaries of Academia, all point to the central importance of developing Education Innovations in various forms in the pursuit of enhanced teaching and learning. The working group develops its actions around exchanges of experiences, best practices and also organises seminars (active workshops) on different issues pertaining to enhanced teaching and learning activities. Outcomes of these activities are shared on the website of the WG. In addition, the group proposes or contributes to policy documents on higher education issues.

Recent highlights

  • White paper on Current trends in assessment in Europe”. The development of teaching and learning activities that support student-centred learning have seen an increased focus on assessment and feedback in many European universities. Following a seminar on assessment practices, the working group  produced a white paper which features different cases and practices in formative and continuous assessment from Coimbra Group universities, and outlines suggestions for further research, development and the sharing of good practice.


  • European Projects. The working group is 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.


  • Seminars. A seminar on student retention and the active engagement of students in higher education was held in March 2019 where working group members and staff from the University of Granada, which was hosting the seminar, exchanged information and experiences, and participated in a “design thinking workshop” to develop new strategies to engage students in higher education.

Current/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.


  • Webinars. The working group organises webinars which are used to share knowledge and practices about themes and projects related to our field. 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)