Belgium – LNO2
The Flemish network, formerly known as Contactgroep Hoger Onderwijs, has a new name: LNO², which stands for ‘Lerend Netwerk voor OnderwijsOndersteuners’ – learning network for educational developers.
LNO² is an ‘emerging network’, active for three years now. Last year we launched a website (www.lno2.be). Four institutions for higher education (one university college and three universities) are in charge of coordinating the network:
– Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
– Vrije Universiteit Brussel
– Universiteit Antwerpen
– Artevelde Hogeschool Gent.
The network is a loose one. Educational developers do not register. There is no membership fee. For now this approach still seems to work, but obviously in the future we will need to sort out the leadership and membership structures.
Aspect of our network’s activities which has been especially successful
Our most successful activity last year was a conference organised in May, which was attended by 120 educational developers. We discussed assessment policies in higher education. In the morning two case studies were presented and commented upon from an educational development perspective. In the afternoon 17 groups of colleagues contributed to the discussion, research and sharing practice sessions.
A particular difficulty our network experienced this year
Our network didn’t experience any particular difficulty last year, but it became clear that the profession ‘educational developer’ is very diverse in Flanders. Educational developers do different things in different institutions, even within the same institution people interested in our network do very different things. Such variety is not necessarily problematic. It does challenge us to make explicit how each of us understands educational development and to find out how we can integrate these approaches in order to create an adequate teaching and learning environment for our students.
How we expect our network to develop over the next year within our national higher education context
Sorting out our profile will be very helpful undoubtedly when we tackle the challenge facing higher education in Flanders, the merging of institutions in so-called ‘associations’. This process is going on for some time already, but the policy makers now seem to start thinking about how they could organise educational development efficiently in this changing context. We hope that LNO² will have some impact on this discussion.