Established in January 1987, the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) is Europe’s leading institutional association in online, open and flexible higher education, and is at the heart of the modernisation agenda of European universities. Growing from its eleven founding members in ten European nations, EADTU now has a membership of fifteen institutions and fourteen national associations across 25 nations. Its membership covers over 200 universities and around 3 million students.
EADTU has a European coverage and is regarded as a key-partner of the European Commission as far as lifelong open and flexible learning in distance higher education is concerned. We are committed to the creation of a European Learning Space in accordance with the Bologna Declaration and the ET2020 Strategy.
We define ourselves through three critical features of European open and distance higher education:
- student-centered learning based on high quality online learning environments;
- openness to learners achieved through flexible, inclusive structures and methods that take higher education to students when and where they need it;
- networked education and mobility, where students can learn across national, sectoral and institutional boundaries.
In this respect EADTU:
- promotes Online, Open & Flexible (OOF) education, supporting collaboration and developing new methods and techniques within project;
- shares expertise in OOF education by organising events, staff-students exchange, expert pools, projects, task forces, etc;
- supports policy cooperation and policymaking at rector’s level and in cooperation with the EU, European stakeholder organisations and national governments;
- is a forum and structure for continuous communication for administrators and staff;
- operates in the field of 6 policy areas: Lifelong Learning, Research & Innovation, Open Education & MOOCs. Virtual Mobility, Skills & Employability and Quality Assurance;
- offers a platform for members at events, like the annual EADTU conference on OOF education;
- is an information centre for members on latest developments in OOF education and related EU policies and programmes.
EADTU and its members have long term experience in online education both nonformal and formal, aiming both traditional students and lifelong learners. Next, most EADTU members have specific tasks related to open education, social inclusion and equality. Sustainable services of EADTU are related to quality frameworks for open and online education (e.g., E-xcellence label and OpenupEd label), short learning programs for flexible provision, biggest pool of leading experts in online, open and flexible education (EMPOWER program).
In 2013, EADTU started the first pan European MOOC initiative OpenupEd. OpenupEd is an open, non-profit partnership offering MOOCs that contribute to open up education – much to the benefit of individual learners, partner institutions and the wider society. OpenupEd has a distinct profile compared to other MOOC providers by focusing on inclusiveness, openness and quality as the main drivers. Through this, EADTU ensures up-to-date knowledge on open and online education and MOOCs and creates optimal synergies between other European projects on MOOCs (HOME, ECO, BizMOOC, SCORE2020), MOOC initiatives like OpenupEd and many providers and portals. In this context OpenupEd can ensure the sustainability of the various outputs / results after project life time.
Within MOONLITE, EADTU coordinates an overall paper on A viable role of MOOCs in European HEIs – Vision & recommendations. In addition, EADTU will pro-actively contribute to all other outputs of MOONLITE.
Next, EADTU will contribute to dissemination and exploitation. EADTU activities as an association are focused on developing and sharing knowledge to key actors both within the association and beyond. EADTU contributes actively by dissemination in European (and Global) networks by stakeholder meetings, conference contributions and distributing publications and press releases. EADTU’s annual conferences are well visited by representatives from over 25 countries and offer, next to our dedicated seminars, master classes, a platform for presenting progress and results on projects to a wide audience of researchers and university policymakers. A broad dissemination is further supported by the EADTU and OpenupEd Newsletters.
- Darco Jansen is a programme manager at EADTU. Within EADTU Darco is responsible for the development of different long-term themes for EADTU on Online Education, MOOCs and OER, Employability and on Open and Social Innovation. Darco’s fields of expertise are e-learning, open innovation, educational business development, continuous education, non-/informal learning and workplace learning. He had worked for over 20 years at the Open Universiteit of the Netherlands. Currently Darco is the coordinator of the first pan European MOOC initiative OpenupEd, coordinator of several European projects (HOME, SCORE2020) and he is a partner of other MOOC projects (e.g., BizMOOC, ECO, and MOONLITE). Darco is advocating a stronger coordinated European MOOC response focusing on the use of MOOCs for equity and social inclusion. More recently he has started a project on online/blended short learning programs empowering universities for a more flexible and rapid respond to the needs in the wider economy.