On Monday, 11th of September 2017, Kiron and its partners RWTH Aachen and FH Lübeck hosted an event reflecting upon the first year of their 13-month pilot project INTEGRAL² .

The evening event took place after the networking meeting “Netzwerktreffen für die Hochschullehre” of ”Hochschulforum Digitalisierung” that set the perfect framework for in-depth discussions on innovative approaches towards digital learning and teaching. Participants from universities and other higher education stakeholders throughout Germany joined together for a day of networking and an eventful evening about INTEGRAL².

INTEGRAL², which is short for “Integration and Participation of Refugees in the Context of Digital Teaching and Learning Scenarios”, was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since September 2016. The consortium aimed to test and refine innovative approaches to opening higher education through digital solutions.  

During his introductory remarks, Peter Hassenbach, Head of Division (“International Exchanges in Higher Education, Internationalization”) at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, reflected upon the origin of the project and emphasized the unique feature of a young social start-up joining forces with two well-established higher education institutions.

Oliver Janoschka, Head of Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, emphasized the prospects of digitalization to enable access to higher education for different groups of people, as well as the disruptive chances of the INTEGRAL² project. Moreover, he congratulated the openness of RWTH Aachen and FH Lübeck to constantly work on the implementation of digitalization in German Higher Education. Florian Rampelt, Director of Education at Kiron Open Higher Education, then recalled the first year of INTEGRAL², as well as its goals and highlighted some of the results, noting that “collaboration is key for successful innovation in higher education”.

The milestones achieved in this project aim at improving the study experience and chances to access higher education of refugee students. Therefore, Moataz Ghannam, a Kiron student who is about to transfer to BAU International Berlin this winter term, presented his story and his achievements with Kiron and highlighted the opportunities refugees gain through the digital solutions Kiron and its partners are providing to (prospective) students.

The key learnings of INTEGRAL² were discussed in a panel discussion moderated by Isabel Schünemann of Stifterverband. Florian Rampelt (Kiron), Kristin Bleyder (FH Lübeck) and Dr. Marcus Gerards (RWTH Aachen) shared preliminary findings, reflected on the challenges but also the unique potential of the pilot project within this diverse consortium, and highlighted potential impulses for higher education institutions in Germany. Moataz Ghannam, who himself participated in several activities conducted as part of INTEGRAL², provided valuable insights regarding the student perspective on the project. Moreover, a gallery walk gave participants the option to dive deeper into the discussions about INTEGRAL² results that were presented in poster format.

We would like to thank all participants and partners that helped us to make this enjoyable and inspiring evening possible!

More information about first project results can be found in our German language INTEGRAL² booklet: “Öffnung von Hochschulbildung durch digitale Lehr- und Lernszenarien”.