New digitalisation project between USI, SUPSI and University of Lucerne


Institutional Communication Service

26 February 2021

The importance of improving digital skills has become even more evident with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, faculty, and staff had to transition to online teaching and telecommuting by drawing on the knowledge and skills they already possessed. Still, it was not always easy to put into action. Such knowledge and skills will be critical even after the emergency. For this reason, as part of a joint project, the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and SUPSI, in collaboration with the University of Lucerne, are developing a series of training and coaching offerings over four years aimed at strengthening the digital skills of the members of the university community.


A grant of more than 884,000 CHF

The project "Universities as Learning Communities. The Path to Digital Transformation" is run by USI and funded by swissuniversities and the Conference of Rectors of Swiss Universities. It all takes place under the program "P-8: Strengthening Digital Competencies in Teaching".

The total amount of funding over the four years is approximately 884,000 CHF, allocated between USI, SUPSI and the University of Lucerne.

The project manager for Università della Svizzera italiana is Lorenzo Cantoni, Pro-rector for education and students' experience USI. The project will be coordinated by the eLab Service and will be headed by Dr Stefano Tardini.

At the University of Lucerne, the project will be directed by Prof. Alexander Trechsel, Vice President Research, while for SUPSI, the contact person will be Prof. Daniela Willi-Piezzi, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

"USI started to research in the field of eLearning more than twenty years ago by participating in the Swiss Virtual Campus programme, creating four doctoral schools, international conferences on the subject, and participating in several P-8 digitisation programmes", notes Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni. "It is precisely from these experiences that USI eLearning Lab was created, which not only serves our University but - as this latest project also proves - is a nationwide resource of expertise that offers a further opportunity for a local collaboration with SUPSI and with the University of Lucerne."

Prof. Daniela Willi-Piezzi, remarks that "in terms of objectives, this project is aligned with two other programmes in which SUPSI participates in collaboration with other numerous Swiss universities, to foster the digital competences of staff and students, promoting the development of tools, learning devices and updating activities that are, at the same time, to the benefit of professional realities of the region active in university learning. In particular, this project allows us to further the already existing synergies in eLearning with USI, to develop new opportunities for confrontation with other members of the academia, and to share the precious competencies in university education that SUPSI has developed in the past 17 years, thanks to its Service for Didactics and Teacher Training (SEDIFO)".

The various courses, designed and implemented both in coordination among the partners and individually, are aimed at students, teachers, researchers, and administrative and scientific personnel and will be adapted to the respective groups' needs. The focus is on online teaching and learning, security in the digital world, and tools and methods related to digital data collection and analysis. The topics will be offered in various formats: academic courses, summer schools, seminars/webinars, and public events.


International Network

Among the goals of the project is to ensure the sustainability of the offerings beyond the planned four-year period by including them in regular educational activities. The project is supported by international partners such as the European University Institute in Florence and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University in the United States for a global and continuous exchange of knowledge in e-skills.