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Education Innovation

Working Group

Chair: Nicoleta Laura Popa

Dr. Nicoleta Laura Popa is professor of educational sciences and vice-dean for scientific research and international relations of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi in Romania. Her research interests and expertise cover intercultural education, mobility and migration, educational assessment and evaluation, gifted education. She has held teaching and research fellowships in several European universities, with activities connected to the theme of education and transnational migration. She coordinates the Research Center in Educational Sciences and is a member of the Research Laboratory for Studies on Intercultural Relations, Migration and Education. She has been a member of the Education Innovation Working Group (Coimbra Group) since 2016.


Vice-Chair: François Lecellier

François Lecellier is associate professor in Computer Science at the Institute of Technology of the University of Poitiers in France. His research interests are focused on image, videos and data processing and clustering. He also works in the field of Learning Analytics in the program Elans to allow a “tailor-made” follow-up, essential to better accompany students’ learning trajectories. He is also chair of Coda project regarding links between high schools and universities. In pedagogy, he works on gamification and use of video games to enhance students’ engagement.

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 a Working Group dedicated to Education Innovation in its many different forms in the pursuit of enhanced teaching and learning.

Expected outcomes of the work conducted by members of Education Innovation Working Group cover:

  • Exchange of experiences, best practice and programmes;
  • Broader cooperation among Coimbra Group Universities in Education Innovation, leading to joint educational research and the implementation of proven innovative approaches to teaching and learning for the benefit of the specific academic setting;
  • Analysis and use of opportunities for the enhancement of teaching and learning provided by technologies (on-line programmes, blended learning, etc.), especially in collaborative approaches for Coimbra Group universities;
  • Participation in joint European academic cooperation and research projects in the field of education innovation and the use of new technologies;
  • Contribution to the production of policy documents, organization of seminars or other events in the field.

Priorities for 2022-2025

  • Exchange of knowledge and collaboration in projects regarding the following themes, which subgroups are working on:
    • Learning spaces.
    • Internationalisation of the curriculum (virtual exchange, virtual mobility, collaborative online international learning, internationalization in European Alliances).
    • Continuous professional development.
    • Technology enhanced teaching and learning.
  • Contribution to production of policy documents (e.g., reports, white papers).
  • Two/three webinars per year, with external experts, on specific topics, open to all CG Universities.

Recent highlights

  • Employability in the Curriculum Workshop. The event was jointly organised with the Employability Working Group, and hosted by Durham University. Academic and support staff working in student employability from several Coimbra Group Universities presented various approaches to including, and recognising employability in formal and non-formal educational activities. In addition to fruitful discussions on the topic of employability in the curriculum, participants approached effects of the pandemic on specific activities focused on students’ employment prospects.
  • Webinars. The working group organises webinars which are used to share knowledge and practices about themes and projects related to our field. The WG recently launched a new series of online events looking at “Digitalization after Vaccination. What will remain in HE teaching and learning?” (2021/2022 Webinar Series). The forced digital turn during the pandemic will certainly have long-term effects on teaching and learning practices, and the new webinar series addresses sensitive issues revealed in these challenging times.
  • Reports on teaching and learning post COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic struck Europe in February 2020, and its impact on higher education has been huge, given that all universities have pivoted to emergency remote teaching. At the initiative of the Coimbra Executive Board, the report on Coimbra Group Universities’ responses to the COVID- 19 emergency published in May 2020 was followed by a second report in published in December 2021, capturing developments in a range of aspects central to academic life. Alongside all working groups, the WG prepared the survey questions on teaching, learning and assessment during the pandemic, and contributed to analysing and reporting data collected from member Universities.

Ongoing/forthcoming activities

The following themes will continue to be an important part of EDU WG’s collaborative activities, aimed at documenting good practices in CG Universities and/or analysing specific topics relevant for teaching, learning and assessment in higher education:

  • Learning spaces adapted for education innovation. A collection of examples of innovative learning spaces for higher education will be produced and made available on CG website. A network of specialists in the design and the pedagogical value of learning spaces will be also initiated and sustained in the following years.
  • Virtual exchange for internationalization at home and internationalization of the curriculum. After the publication of a baseline study with CG Universities included, EDU WG intends to offer professional development for lecturers and international officers at CG universities about internationalisation at home through virtual exchange; to Identify and publish case studies of virtual exchange at CG universities; and to publish recommendations for integration of virtual exchange in higher education.
  • Teaching, learning and staff development activities in CG universities. The topic is approached in a comparative study, based on a survey conducted in member Universities, highlighting practices in developing didactic competences of educators.
  • Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching is a new theme to be developed in the following years, with various emphases such as gamification, virtual learning spaces, augmented & virtual reality, learning Analytics.

EDU WG will continue to answer the calls for contributions to CG reports. For some of the above-mentioned topics and activities, internal reports are also in progress. One example is the first draft of the report on continuous teaching staff development in CG universities, to be circulated and discussed in the group, and also presented at a latest stage to a larger academic audience as a conference paper/presentation.

Webinars on education innovation, technology-enhanced education and collaborative approaches for CG universities will be organised according to a calendar following the structure of the academic year, to be published on intranet, and disseminated via the newsletter.

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