Thursday, 27th of May, ECIU University hosted day two of the Student Agora. Students discussed their place in the open ecosystem of ECIU University, the definition and recognition of student engagement and the student vision of the development of the ECIU University.
This Student Agora was the first event fully open to all ECIU students, going further than the previous ones, focused on the invitation of students’ representatives and challenge participants. This was also the first Agora where an ECIU University expert was given a chance to reflect on topics brought by the students.
The Student Agora started with a talk about the student vision of the ECIU University and its strategy, presented by the ECIU Student Engagement Manager, Benjamin Beton from INSA Group. He outlined the bold vision, starting with student engagement in educational activities. “ECIU University aims to have more and more students involved in challenges and micro-modules offered by the partner universities. ECIU University is also creating space for some extracurricular activities, including this Student Agora and actions around it. The ultimate goal is to create a strong student network”, Benjamin Beton explained.
Following the presentation, students fully supported the Agora concept while emphasizing the need to get as many students on board as possible. They also insisted on the fact that engagement should be fully recognized, not least because students need some time to be efficient in their engagement.
Recognition of student engagement as an extracurricular activity in the ECIU University was then further discussed. Henri Pirkkalainen, from Tampere University, started with an introduction of the work done to develop the ECIU University. He then presented the current progress in the ECIU University’s recognition processes:
“At the moment, one of the key developments in European Higher Education Area, and ECIU University, is Micro-credentials, a proof of short learning experiences such as challenges and micro-modules. Those micro-credentials would find a place in competence passports issued by the ECIU University in order to recognize every participation in the ECIU activities. Going further than Credentials and Passports, we are also working on solutions to capture the skills developed in learner-owned profiles such as Europass or Credentify. Through those learner profiles, we are trying to create a skill bank for all students’ experiences. Both hard and soft skills would be accounted for in these platforms when ready to use”.
Students welcomed all the initiatives regarding the recognition of student engagement in both educational and extracurricular activities. Discussions quickly focused on the development of the learner-owned profile and its development in the ECIU University. Henri Pirkkalainen explained:
“The development of learner-owned profile is still at an early stage but we have a whole ECIU University team currently working on actual solutions and tools to showcase skills and experiences. The potential of the micro-credential technologies is not limited to collecting proofs of short learning experiences. One of the needs of the learners is to gather all the diplomas, certificates, micro-credentials and badges of prior learning in one place, as well as to offer this solution to lifelong learners”.