Skip to content
question-2519654_1280 Cropped (1)

Open Call for Case Studies – Digital Higher Education

01 February 2021

Apply to be a case study in a pioneering research project
on the digitalisation of higher education in Europe

Are you interested in learning more about digital higher education?
Do you work at a European higher education institution?

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society invites you to participate in an innovative research project, Organisational Adaptivity in the Higher Education Context (OrA). The OrA project investigates the digitalisation of higher education, with a focus placed on exploring the organisational aspects that aid and hinder the implementation of teaching and learning innovations.

In this open call, we are seeking 6-8 European study programmes (e.g. bachelor and master degree programmes) to serve as case studies in our research project. The study programmes may use educational technologies to various degrees – from early stage to full integration into the course content. Individuals working or associated with such study programmes are invited to apply on behalf of their institutions (e.g. instructors, professors, institutional leadership, and IT and support staff).

Our Offer to You

As a participant, we offer you the opportunity to explore and learn how digital education may be successfully implemented at your institution. This includes: 

  • Access to in-depth knowledge of the organisational processes aiding or hindering the digitalisation of your and other institutions. 
  • A platform to share your expertise and learn best practices from experts during knowledge transfer workshops.
  • Involvement in a European-wide research project and a growing network of digital teaching and learning experts.

Your Participation

When selected, we would conduct fieldwork at your institution (currently planned are interviews, focus groups, and a survey). In the research project, two phases of fieldwork are planned: the first taking place in the spring & summer 2021 and the second, in the following spring & summer of 2022. During these two periods of fieldwork, participants will be asked to: 

  • Grant the OrA team allowance to conduct fieldwork under mutually agreed upon reporting conditions (e.g. your institution will be anonymised in the research findings).
  • Serve as or provide a key liaison partner at their institution. The liaison partner will help the OrA team identify institutional contacts (e.g. for interviews) and serve as a general contact person for their institution.

Project Background

The OrA project is a collaboration between the FernUniversität in Hagen, research cluster D²L² and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the need and urgency for building a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and successes associated with conducting higher education digitally. The OrA team is excited to invite higher education actors to participate in this groundbreaking study amidst a rapidly changing higher education landscape. The case studies will enable us to gather valuable insight into the experiences of stakeholder groups at the heart of higher education institutions (faculty, administration, and central leadership) and how they work together to implement teaching and learning innovations.


  • To apply, please fill out the following online form by 7 March 2021, 11:59 pm.

You will be informed by the OrA team about the next steps in March. 

For enquiries, please contact Dr. Melissa Laufer ( or Dr. Len Ole Schäfer (

We look forward to working with you!

This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact

Melissa Laufer, Dr.

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin: Wissen & Gesellschaft

Melissa Laufer, Dr.

Researcher: Knowledge & Society

Bronwen Deacon

Researcher and project manager: Knowledge & Society

Sign up for HIIG's Monthly Digest

and receive our latest blog articles.

Our Journals

Further articles

From Zero To One: How a Podcast is fostering Entrepreneurship Education

In recent years, customer acquisition has become the biggest challenge to German startups. Covid-19 turned out to be an accelerator for the recent developments. This article discusses a podcast that…

CfP: Research Sprint “Digital self-determination”

Interested in real-world problem-solving, research with impact and networking opportunities? Join our Spring 2021 online research sprint open to Masters- and PhD-level students from all disciplines and geographies. Deadline To…

The Digital Services Act and freedom of expression: triumph or failure?

This article looks at new obligations and regulatory powers introduced by the DSA and examines their potential to safeguard freedom of expression.