E-Learning –Challenges of the Next Phase

Steffi Engert, Sandrina Heinrich, Anke Petschenka


In our presentation at EUNIS 2013 we want to share our views and reflections on e-Learning perspectives in Higher Education from the point of view of practitioners in a European non‐elite university. As inner-University consultants we are mediating and translating e‐Learning concepts, strategies and technologies to the everyday needs of teachers and students. Our statements reflect the views and experiences of different generations of e-Learning experts: Steffi Engert is about to end her career, which covers twenty years of conceptional and practical work in Higher Education, SMEs and non‐profits. Sandrina Heinrich has recently earned her diploma and transited from supporting students as a student assistant to working full‐time as an academic consultant for learning technologies. Anke Petschenka represents „the middle“: she is representative of (e-Learning) age, when the first wave of early adopters was followed by the first extension of the user base amongst teachers and students.
We see e‐Learning in Higher Education at a crossroad amidst a new wave of development. The time of „idealist“ experiments of pioneers of the first and second waves – the first looking for the „virtual university“ (ideally world-wide) and the optimal technical learning environment, the second committed to merging technology and didactics in an intelligent manner – are definitely over. E-Learning is no longer disputed, but has turned into an everyday feature of teaching and learning, albeit still too often on the basic level of electronic distribution of learning materials. In turning into a matter of course, it no longer has to justify its raison d’etre, but instead it has to live up to the real world demands of the mass‐university. It has to prove its worth in helping the universities to cope with the growing number of students and their increasing diversity, undermining traditional models of learning and teaching, under conditions of massive pressures to be cost‐effective and part of the global competition.


MOOC; mass-university; future of E-Learning; global competition

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Yves Epelboin (2013), Report on MOOC: a European view. Retrieved March 14, 2013 http://www.eunis.org/files/MOOC_en.1.1.pdf

Ernst & Young (2012), University of the Future, Retrieved March 14, 2013 http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/University_of_the_future/$FILE/University_of_the_fut ure_2012.pdf

NMC Horizon Report, 2013 Higher Education Edition (2013) Retrieved March 14, 2013 http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-‐horizon-‐report-‐higher-‐ed

DOI: 10.7250/eunis.2013.047


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EUNIS 2013


ISBN  978-9934-10-433-6 - online