Here, the thematic group began by taking a look at new business and financing models for higher education institutions (HEIs). In recent years, innovations have been developed in many areas and have been used by HEIs to tap into new areas of activity. In September 2015, the thematic group took a close look at individual trends in the sector and outlined these in the publication “New cooperation and financing models in higher education teaching”. Here, the group addressed Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Open Educational Resources (OER), makerspaces and digital badges. Also presented within this framework were best practices from Germany and internationally. The proposed solutions range from innovative financing models – offering possibilities covering a spectrum between additional activities that are subject to a charge (such as ongoing support or certification), co-financing through involved companies (as part of marketing, recruitment or training for their own employees) – to private service provider business models all the way to traditional higher education financing through state institutions.
In connection with questions relating to financing and sustainable business models, the breakneck technological shift in the field of teaching is shaped by current developments such as adaptive and individualised learning pathways and flexible and mobile learning activities. The thematic group examines current technology trends and incorporates them in the teaching context.
The experts define the third pillar in the work of the thematic group, which is also closely associated with the other two fields, as being Life-Long Learning (LLL). Digital teaching resources are used especially intensively in this area given that independence in terms of time and place is of particular importance for the target group. HEIs develop innovative further education offers, ranging from complete degrees to individual events on specific topics. The thematic group is preparing an extensive study on Life-Long Learning, which is to be published in 2016.
“The current hype about MOOCs is prompting the long-overdue discussion about contemporary learning formats and high-quality teaching worldwide. Innovative formats will enhance traditional classroom teaching in Germany, may even develop into the textbook of the future and could encourage people around the world to engage in higher education. The New Business Models, New Technologies and Life-Long Learning thematic group has the potential to set new standards in the discussion about the need for digitisation in German HEIs and to actively advance the implementation of this.”
Publication by the thematic group
New cooperation and financing models in higher education: the thematic group presents four innovation themes in higher education extensively and using case examples: MOOCs, open education resources (OERs), digital badges and makerspaces. Using practical examples, the working paper shows which specific activities exist and upon which financing models they are based.