Our partner: HM Foundation
BLESS, a three-year collaboration between Kiron and the H&M Foundation creates an innovative and supportive learning environment for students to achieve study success, facilitate efficient transfer processes, and implement scalable activities for students worldwide.
The project focuses on female students by offering additional support services including offline practical learning support, student community building and online study material.
As part of BLESS, we held six offline classes in Berlin and Munich where students could come together and learn. We also conducted our first-ever Women’s Week in April 2018 with a focus on refugee women and higher education. A roundtable with the topic “The future is female” connected women from the political, legal, academic, and digital sectors with our students and the wider community. BLESS was also crucial in expanding our online community and our digital campus through additional learning resources and technical support. Our extensive outreach and communications campaign allowed us to reach wide parts of the community in Berlin and beyond.
BLESS – Building a Learning Environment for Study Success
Kiron Open Higher Education is happy to announce a new partnership with the H&M Foundation: project BLESS (Building a Learning Environment for Study Success). The H&M Foundation is a non-profit global foundation, privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of fashion company H&M. Through BLESS, Kiron and the H&M Foundation will create an innovative and supportive learning environment to achieve study success, facilitate efficient transfer processes, and implement sustainable scaling activities. The project has started in fall 2017 and will run until September 2020.
Obtaining and interpreting student progress data is necessary for the design and personalization of Kiron’s learning platform and student support services. To better identify student needs and obstacles to learning, we will conduct surveys of 1,500 students. Based on our findings, innovative student learning resources will be created through the production and collection of Open Educational Resources available on Kiron Campus as well as open to the public. Moreover, we have implemented a central repository for integrating study progress data from disparate sources. A paper describing the repository is available for download here.
Ensuring our students’ success also requires an interactive and supportive community where students, as well as other supporters, enable each other to be motivated, active and fruitful in their student journey. Therefore, we envision creating an interactive peer-to-peer community and a student forum volunteer program. The creation of a virtual peer-to-peer community through the Kiron Forum will enable group discussion, chats, and meetings – always guided and secured through a dedicated online community manager. A student forum volunteer program will allow us to ensure that students’ needs are considered while we also continuously improve the community. Within the program, we will develop and implement a system to offer guidance, training, and rewards (such as badges) to active volunteers.
Kiron aims to also implement several pilots and programs with a specific focus on offline learning support, practical experiences and improved inclusion and support of female students. We will offer Offline-Tutorials for specific modules where students reported difficulties during study weekends, implement an internship program, and organize a summer school in Germany, specifically designed for female Kiron students.
As part of the H&M Foundation project, we will develop and implement improved transfer guidance and create a network to ensure the successful transfer of eligible Kiron students. Building upon the first successful transfer processes, the project aims to pilot post-transfer support measures such as study guidance, mentoring, and language support to students who have already transferred to a Kiron partner university.
BLESS will also improve Kiron’s onboarding processes by offering onboarding and information services in Arabic for our students currently living and studying in Germany. Our current content will also be improved based on our students’ needs assessment surveys. Lastly, we will include videos of Kiron students as role models in the onboarding process with more experienced students guiding the younger generation of students through the onboarding phase.
Kiron Open Higher Education is excited about its partnership with the H&M Foundation which will allow us to continue to support our students in their study goals.
The H&M Foundation is an independent legal entity operating beyond the company’s value chain with its own staff, strategy and board. The mission of the Foundation is to drive long-lasting positive change and improve living conditions by investing in people, communities and innovative ideas. Since 2013, the Persson family has donated 1.3 billion Swedish krona ($177 million/€144 million) to the H&M Foundation. To learn more, visit hmfoundation.com. For more information on BLESS please visit http://hmfoundation.com/kiron-open-higher-education/.