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Brussels, 22 November 2019

From physical to virtual? Internationalising higher education in the digital age


Will virtual education become the new paradigm of internationalisation? Will it succeed and replace the traditional modes of international cooperation and internationalisation, such as the mobility of students and faculty, international curricula, etc?

What will be the implication of “virtual onslaught” on the work of internationalisation agencies?

On November 22 (Friday), ACA will address the theme From physical to virtual? Internationalising higher education in the digital age in the 61st ACA European Policy Seminar. In the one-day programme, we have packed in policy updates on the digitalisation of higher education in Europe, with a particular attention paid to the new Erasmus programme 2021-2027, and an overview of the latest developments of digital infrastructure and digital tools that are at the disposal of universities for advancing their internationalisation ambitions. A panel discussion drawing together representatives of old and new university consortia and developers of digital solutions will go through administrative challenges for the creation of a “European Campus” and explore the potential and limitations of digital solutions in overcoming obstacles lying in front of the newly selected European University Alliances or other forms of cross-border university consortia. Following that, the seminar will also discuss the use of micro-credentials for online learning, and the critical use of digital data for strategic marketing and recruitment of international students.

To complete the programme, ACA Director Bernd Waechter will compare notes of the new developments discussed in the seminar and those he summarized from the Fjaerland Conference in 2001, and tell us what he thinks will change or not in the next 20 years.

Who should attend?
The one-day intensive programme is to tie together all cross-cutting issues related to internationalisation and digitalisation, and bring together policy makers and practitioners for an all-round discussion on policies and practices.
Our traditional target participants are policy makers and staff members working on internationalisation matters:
• senior management staff charting internationalisation strategies;
• staff members of internationalisation offices;
• coordinators of international study programmes;
• staff members of marketing, recruitment and admissions offices;
• researchers and analysts of national bodies and universities active in the field of internationalisation.
Particularly for this seminar, universities that are newly selected or preparing for the upcoming rounds of the European Universities Initiative or other global university alliances may find inspirations on the potential use of digital tools to overcome challenges in arranging seamless mobility on a European Campus.
Of course, the mainstreaming of internationalisation and digitalisation means that our programme will not only benefit our traditional target groups, the friends of ACA, but any higher education professionals or academics actively involved in both internationalisation and digitalisation activities.

All are welcome. We believe that diversity and inclusion will only benefit the entire discussion in this one-day seminar.

Register now or before 31 October to enjoy the early bird discount and the free guided tour of the Secrets of Brussels (limited capacity).


Thursday 21 November 2019


17:30 An out of the ordinary guided tour with Derek Blyth (max. 20 participants, pre-registration required)

Local writer and journalist Derek Blyth (author of the bestselling guide The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels) has teamed up with ACA for the past four years to offer a walking tour of Brussels that sets out to reveal some secret and surprising spots. Lasting 90 minutes, this informal urban ramble aims to highlight offbeat places that make Brussels unique, from hidden alleys and eccentric architecture to authentic Belgian cafes. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes (for the cobblestones) and bring along an umbrella.

19:00 Seminar dinner

Friday 22 November 2019


8.30 Registration opens
9:00 Welcome and introduction
Queenie K.H. Lam, Project Manager, ACA 
  Session 1:
Digitalisation policies driving internationalisation of higher education tomorrow
9:10 “Bologna Digital 2020”: digitalisation of higher education in Europe and good practice examples
Dominic Orr, Senior Researcher, Kiron Open Higher Education
9:50 The EU’s digital agenda and what you must know about digitalisation in the new Erasmus programme 2021-2027
Elena Tegovska, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG Education and Culture
10:30 Coffee break
  Session 2:
Digital infrastructure and practical tools for internationalization on offer
10:50 Online hub for European Universities – bringing together different perspectives and digital solutions in the OpenU project
Saskia Weißenbach, Senior Desk Officer, Digital Internationalization and European Higher Education Policy, Division Strategic Planning, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Stefan Jahnke, Senior Policy Officer, European University Foundation (EUF)


Parallel Workshop 1 (Seminar Room):
Digital tools for administration – Interoperability of digital administration tools across the EU, national and institutional levels
Victor Aguilar, MyAcademicID Coordinator, European University Foundation (EUF)
Stefan Jahnke, Senior Policy Officer, European University Foundation (EUF)

Parallel Workshop 2 (Break-out room):
Digital tools for teaching and learning – Dialogue facilitation for online training/interactive online courses
Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange represented by:
Sarah Guth, President, UNICollaboration
Stephanie Siklossy, Project Manager, Search for Common Ground

12:30 Lunch
  Session 3:
The promises and critiques of digital solutions for overcoming challenges in internationalisation
13:30 Online learning micro-credentials as a path into the future of international student recruitment
Stefano Menon, Project Manager, MircoHE, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano


Panel Discussion: Do solutions offered by existing digital infrastructure meet the administrative challenges for international university alliances?

Emily Palmer, Secretary-General, UNA Europa
Anna Weinand, UniGR Officer, University of Trier
Kostis Giannidis, President, Erasmus Student Network (ESN)
Märt Aro, Chair of the Board, Nordic EdTech Forum (N8)
Stefan Jahnke, Senior Policy Officer, European University Foundation (EUF)


Coffee Break


Session 4:
Digital data collection and application for strategizing internationalisation


Digital data for policy-making: use and misuse of web-analytics
Märt Aro, Chair of the Board, Nordic EdTech Forum (N8)


Comparative data analysis for global market identification: data quality matters
Queenie K.H. Lam, Project Manager, ACA


Session 5:
The past, present and future of digitalisation for internationalisation


The virtual exchange landscape. What has changed and what not in the past 20 years?
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA


Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA



Cercle de Lorraine

Poelaertplein 6
1000 Brussel