Archive 2014

SFDN-Workshop with Prof. Eric Mazur @ ETH (Nov., 28th 2014)

Prof. Eric Mazur: Flat space – deep learning



Based on the principles of backward course design (Wiggins & McTigh, 2005) Eric Mazur presented the redesign of his own course at Harvard. He promoted the backward course design approach that recommends to start “with the end in mind” by defining desired learning outcomes of a course at first.

The next step is about planning ways to measure the learning outcomes with “acceptable evidence”, and finally thinking about a suitable “instructional approach” that relies on the principle of students having the ownership of learning (November, 2012), and collaboration as a perfect way to develop knowledge and skills.

Therefore, he changed his course from a lecture into a course based on a team and project-based approach. Mazur mentioned that redesigning a course must be seen as a long-term process, and couldn’t be finished after one semester. He gave an inside view in the process of the planning process, and the realization of his didactic concept at Harvard.


Mazur@ETH-06 IMG_1504

Slides of the presentation:



Tool for Peer Instruction:

Team Based Learning:

Resources  concerning Mazur’s course “AP50”:

nb (notabene) – an annotation taking tool online:



Grant P. Wiggins & Jay McTigh (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Alan November (2012). Who owns the learning? Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree Press.


Mazur@ETH-04 Mazur@ETH-05






Designing Environments for Learning


During the last 2 years, the Educational Technologies Unit at the University of Basel conducted a study and subsequent project on Campus Development, exploring and discussing questions like: How do modern technologies drive change in learning, and how does the university campus accommodate that development? What kind of learning environment can facilitate the modern learners’ diverse needs, both in physical rooms and e-learning settings? In what respect might this campus development support the university’s strategic goals? And how should different stakeholders collaborate on the way towards the “campus of tomorrow”?

The project involved almost 100 internal and external experts and users. As a result, a working group on “Learning Spaces” (AG Lernräume) now connects the different players in the fields of campus infrastructure and services as well as didactics, in an ongoing process of conducting projects, evaluating and refining rooms and processes alike. Various pilot projects explore ways and methods e.g. of appropriate user participation, be it in workshops, through interviews or questionnaires, or in a permanent student group for early feedback on ideas and projects.

For further information on the study and project, please visit the weblog on, for information on pilot projects see

working group learning spaces

SIG University Teaching Education

The SIG University teaching education aims to create a space where practitioners and researchers can share and reflect together practical concerns, so that together generate ways to face current and forthcoming challenges in this area. This SIG have also the mission to identify cross-institutional concerns and support the development of collaborative projects.

A virtual space was created to facilitate the exchange and reflection among the members (SWITCH toolbox platform).

If you have any question, comment or are interested in participate in the SIG activities please contact Vania Guerra (



Successful Kick off meeting of SIG University Teaching Education

Dear SFDN members,

The past friday 31st October was taking place the kick off meeting of our SIG University Teaching Education. 6 enthusiastic SFDN members worked together during 3 hours, where we shared our interests and through an interesting and intense discussion we built a common understanding of the goal of our SIG, how we will start working and some visions about what we are aiming at.

impressions from a nice and intensive work session… (Photos: Monica Feixas)

We want to thank Monica Feixas for her participation and the documentation of the event! That’s why we can not see her in the pics ;).

For more information about our meeting and our activities you can contact Vania Guerra ( or go to the SIG section were we will be posting soon the minutes and more information about our internal activities.


Public Lecture @ ETH: Eric Mazur, Harvard

Eric Mazur: “Assessment – The Silent Killer of Learning”

Thursday, Nov. 27th 2014,

3pm – 5.30 pm, HG F 30 (Main Building, Audimax)

According to ETH Zurich’s Gender Action Plan (GAP), varying interests and
approaches of women and men in learning and teaching should be given
more attention. This lecture aims at making us more aware of such differences
and helps us to make ETH’s education more attractive and effective.
Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts
succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices
are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to
students, so does assessment often focus on having students regurgitate that
same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus
on the skills that are relevant in life in the 21st century. Assessment has been
called the «hidden curriculum» as it is an important driver of students’ study
habits. Unless we rethink our approach to assessment, it will be very difficult to
produce a meaningful change in education.


3.00 pm Welcome Coffee
3.30 pm Welcome speech Prof. Sarah Springman
3.40 pm Talk by Prof. E. Mazur, Harvard University
4.30 pm Panel Discussion «Assessment and Gender Stereotypes»
5.00 pm Questions and Answers
5.30 pm Apéro Riche
For details please see: Flyer_Mazur Assessment and Gender_Broschure (PDF)

SIG University Teaching Education – Kick off meeting

We are happy to announce that next 31st October at 9:00 held the kick off meeting of the new SFDN-SIG University Teaching Education will be held.  A group of SFDN members interested in this topic will meet in Zurich to set the basis of the SIG, discuss and define its goals and activities.

If you are interested in joining this meeting or need any information don’t hesitate to contact Vania Guerra (, you can also post your comments or suggestions here.

Lund visits Lausanne


Talk: “How to recognize excellence in teaching? The experience of Lund’s University” 

Anders Ahlberg from Lund University will explore this subject at the University of Lausanne (Salle Herbette, Unicentre) on Thursday, September 25 2014, starting 12:15 p.m.


The presentation will be followed by a small snack, so please inform Elisabeth Fournier (elisabeth.fournier at if you would like to attend the event.


Jacques Lanarès, Vice-president for Quality and Human Resources at Unil, in the original invitation to the event:

“Nos collègues ont développé plusieurs projets pour  valoriser l’ enseignement et notamment une forme de certification  qui vise à évaluer les compétences en ‘enseignement avec les mêmes exigences que celles appliquées à la recherche. Ils ont maintenant plusieurs années d’expérience et ce sera très intéressant de pouvoir en discuter avec Anders.”


Université de Lausanne

Copyright: Université de Lausanne

University of Basel Launches MBA in Academic Management

The University of Basel offers a new innovative international degree programme that aims at professionalising higher education management at the interface of science and administration on all hierarchy levels of a modern university. The MBA in Academic Management is aimed at academics from all disciplines. It starts in November 2014 for the first time. The language of instruction is English.
This part-time, internationally oriented degree programme provides academics with the opportunity of high level continuing education and to obtain an additional qualification in university management. The degree programme takes a bit more than two years (including final thesis) and consists of two modules. Module 1 focuses on the professional management of the key areas of university work – research and teaching – taking into account personnel development and quality assurance.Module 2 focuses on the strategic management and continued development of a higher education institution, taking into account quality development, governance, controlling, and profile formation. The degree programme corresponds to a total of 63 ECTS credit points, one third of which are acquired in face-to-face seminars. The seminars take place once a month in blocks of two to three days.

Further information
Gerhild Tesak, Programme Manager MBA in Academic Management, Head of Educational Staff Development Unit at the Vice-Rectorate for Teaching and Development
phone: +41 61 267 12 32, email: gerhild.tesak(at)

2nd Meeting SIG Curriculum Development

Second meeting of the SIG “Curriculum Development”

on the following Topics:

  • further presentations on the practice of curriculum development at your universities
  • how to build curricula which really enhance competences of the students
  • Change Management for curriculum revisions

In order to save time to discuss the second and third topic we would like to ask you to prepare a lightning talk (5 min, at least 5 slides or 1 poster) about your practice of curriculum development at your university. Please contact  if you are interested in attending and maybe in presenting your practice.

SFDN Members presenting at ICED Conference in Stockholm, June 2014

SFDN Members presenting at ICED Stockholm:

– Thomas Tribelhorn and Adrian Schori: roundtable discussion in which they introduce their new online Service []

– Marion Lehner: poster about the effectiveness of the certificate program at University of St. Gallen regarding conceptions of teaching

– Tobias Jenert & Taiga Brahm: leading a pre-conference workshop about change managment in higher education

– Ariane Dumont : paper about implementing flipped classrooms and Peer Instruction (Mazur 1997) in a Swiss University of Applied Sciences