HFDcert – The Community Certificate


Making commitment to innovative and digital teaching visible! With HFDcert, the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung has developed a platform on which any:r can have activities in the area of innovative and digital teaching certified by a peer review process and documented in the form of an online portfolio. The offer is aimed in particular at teachers, employees of didactic and support institutions and students. The HFDcert thus makes activities visible that were previously not recognized within the framework of existing certificates. The Community Certificate launched in early 2019, and has been integrated into the HFDnetzwerk platform since early 2023.

HFDcert - The Community Certificate in brief

Further training opportunities in the area of digital teaching and learning at German universities are characterized by heterogeneity as well as decentralization. They range from institutionalized offerings with subsequent certification to so-called nano-degrees. People also acquire additional knowledge on their own and often apply their skills in learning and teaching in the digital age through their own engagement. These largely autodidactic, informal learning processes and practical applications are often not reflected in existing certification offerings. However, they are of particular importance for the further development of digital learning and teaching methods.

In exchange with members of the community of the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, it became clear that there is a great great need existsto have all further education activities and informally developed competencies to be recognized.. Based on this impulse from the community the online platform HFDcert was developed, which entered the beta phase in December 2018 and was launched on February 1, 2019.

Objectives: The HFDcert is intended to…

  1. Recognize and make visible activities and competencies in teaching and learning in the digital age,

  2. Activate teachers and build a community for scientific and practical exchange,

  3. Create incentive structures for continuing education.

Target groups

The HFDcert is aimed at all teachers at universities, employees of didactic and support institutions and and students, who …

introduce contemporary teaching methods into their (teaching) courses,

Advocate for innovative learning scenarios.

Engage in good university teaching outside of formal continuing education structures.

Grafik veranschaulicht, wie das HFCert in 5 Schritten funktioniert.

Whether it’s a workshop visit, a blog post or the conversion of their own courses – registered users can submit all their activities in the field of innovative and digital teaching on the online platform. and be certified by the HFDcert.. For the recognition per Peer review process each submission must include details of the nature and duration of the activity, a brief justification and, where possible, evidence in the form of document uploads or links.

Randomly selected peers check the information with regard to its appropriateness before the activities are included in the online portfolio of the user can be transferred. Here the following applies: All activities are listed in the portfolio and marked with the corresponding points (ePoints) – one point is awarded for each hour spent on teaching/learning in the digital age. Overall score, diversity of activities and engagement on the platform determine which Progression level achieve the user, i.e., whether they hold the status of instructor, innovator, or incubator. The HFDcert can be used at any time as a PDF file can be downloaded and used as badge added to professional profile pages.

When did it start and how does it continue?

In the course of a test phase with almost 150 users starting in mid-December 2018, conceptual and technical adjustments were made based on the usage data and the feedback from the community in the sense of an agile further development of the platform. On February 1, 2019, the launch of the HFDcert took place for all interested teachers, employees of didactic and support institutions as well as students. Since then, the experts community has been asked to make the HFDcert a model of success in recognizing efforts in modern, high-quality university teaching.