It Takes a Community : The Digital Transformation of UiB (DigiTrans)

Due to the COVID-19 virus, UiB leadership has had to swing into high gear to support the overnight need for a digital transformation to support teaching and learning. A new digital infrastructure is needed, with support mechanisms for teaching and learning (including digital tools and human resources). The teaching staff (teachers/lecturers, seminar leaders, lab assistants, etc.) needs to find functional ways to teach and communicate with their students online. Students need to adapt to these new was of learning and to communicate with fellow students. Support staff (IT department, Learning Lab, etc.) has a significant role in helping meet the changes.

This transformation involves making use of already existing digital technology and finding new tools to support new needs, helping the teaching staff develop new ways of teaching and combining various digital tools to support their individual teaching needs, and supporting students in the new reality in the middle of a semester. For many teaching staff it will be their first venture into online teaching and just offering their students no more than video-conferenced lectures or voice-over powerpoints and email answers to questions will be enough. Others might be more adventurous and take a variety of new tools and pedagogical practices into use, offering high-quality immersive courses. The same with students, many are more digitally active outside of the university and will bring these approaches with them when faced with the new reality.

Innovation is about changing the current practices and developing new ways of working, and it is apparent from this first week that the entire UiB community has responded to the challenges that have arisen; innovation is alive and well. As such there arises a unique opportunity to study this digital transformation, both in the short and long term.

 DigTrans has four themes of study:

A. Organisation, Leadership & Innovation

B. Adaptation to Online Teaching & Learning

C. Learning Design in Online Courses

D. Digital Student Behaviour

These  4 themes TOGETHER will provide us with a unique picture of the digital transformation at UiB during the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 situation and will capture the complexity of this creative and innovative process in which UiB finds itself. In addition, the project will create a rich collection of data around this unique transformation and will help to document this historical period in the story of UiB.


A. Organisation, Leadership & Innovation (Ingunn Ness & Kristin Børte)

In the strategic plan for UiB “Kunnskap som former samfunnet”, there is an explicit focus on creating an innovative culture at UiB. However, in every organization there exists various barriers to change. Often these are about resistance to change itself, people will often think “if it works fine, why change it” and the need for innovation does not seem urgent. Often a “burning platform” is what is needed – and the COVID-19 situation can be seen as such a "burning platform". Things need to happen now! New teaching practices need to be developed. Such purposeful innovation is not stumbled upon. The University teaching staff seek answers to the new challenges and investigate how to find ways that are functional. New practices are developed to replace and improve existing practices.

Innovation often comes from four areas: unexpected occurrences, incongruities, process needs, and industry and market changes (Drucker ref). The COVID-19 situation is a catalyst of the need to innovate the process of teaching. Innovation is about changing the current practices and developing new ways of working. To achieve this there is a need for creativity at all levels in the UiB organization.

The request for a digital infrastructure for education became a “burning platform” on March 12th. In this project we will investigate the way this infrastructure was developed as a challenge-based innovation across UiB.

This sub-project falls under the SLATE umbrella project Leading Creative Knowledge Processes: Knowledge Intensive Organizations and Learning Contexts and is related to the theme Digital Infrastructures for Teacher Education in the SLATE project Teacher Education and Digitalisation.

B. Adaptation to Online Teaching & Learning (Kjetil Egelandsdal & Cecilie Hansen)

The dramatic move to close the physical campus of UiB from the 12th of March 2020, has placed a high demand on the University teaching staff to adapt from their traditional courses to on-line teaching, and for students to suddenly be 100% online students. This affects everything from lectures, group seminars, labs, assignments, exams. The use of ICT by teaching staff at UiB varies from the front runners to those that have never logged in to Mitt UiB. Our previous research shows that some students are creative in the use of digital tools to support their learning and often adopt other tools than offered by the University.

Wide-scale surveys (campus-wide) and selected in depth interviews will be used to investigate how teachers and students have adapted and experienced these changes, and whether these have an effect on future teaching with ICT at UiB. Furthermore, we will also use wide-scale surveys to investigate how students are organising their learning, what tools are they using (both as part of the UiB infrastructure and others, what challenges are they facing, etc.).

C. Learning Design in Online Courses (Kamila Misiejuk, Barbara Wasson)

Understanding how course instructors design their courses helps us understand what and how students actually learn in the classroom. Because of COVD-19, UiB professors and instructors suddenly find themselves forced to use technology to deliver their courses. The switch to online learning makes learning activities, course design patterns, and pedagogical approaches more visible than during face-to-face teaching. This is a unique opportunity to gain insights into the teaching strategies that are implemented at UiB, at different faculties, and for different groups of students. Learning design captures the plans that teachers have for the teaching related to learning objectives, activities, assessments, and resources that students and teachers undertake in the context of a unit of learning (Conole, 2012). From a learning analytics point of view, information on learning design gives context information that enables us to move from only looking at behavioural student data to being able to understand student learning. If we can capture the changes in teaching strategies that have ensued due to the fast shift to online learning, we can create insights into how to support the better design of our courses (online and blended). It is a unique opportunity to see if teachers at UiB continue to use elements that they have now taken into use in their future courses.

Data from Canvas and FS will be the main source of data for this theme.

D. Digital student behaviour (Jeanette Samuelsen, Barbara Wasson, Mohammad Khalil & Gleb Belokrys)

Given that teaching and learning at UiB has moved 100% online after 12th March 2020, we will look at digital student behaviour before, during, and after the COVID-19 crisis with the help of Learning Analytics. An important aspect of this research is to investigate what sort of digital data we have access to, what data is lost (e.g., logins to external Zoom lectures; other tools students are using), and how can we build a picture of digital student behavioural change. Some of the data identified in this period will feed the other themes and potentially other related projects at UiB.

Trace data from UiB tools such as Canvas, Kaltura, Zoom, Inspera will form the main data for this theme.



Digitrans kortrapport: Studentenes opplevelse av studiesituasjonen etter nedstengingen av UiB grunnet COVID-19 Engelandsdal & Hansen (2020)

Digitrans kortrapport: Undervisernes opplevelse av undervisningssituasjonen  etter nedstengingen av UiB grunnet COVID-19 Egelandsdal & Hansen (2020)

Studentenes opplevelse av studiesituasjonen under nedstengingene av UiB høsten 2020 Egelandsdal & Hansen (2020)

Trends in Learning Design in Canvas Courses after Covid-19 Misiejuk & Wasson (2020)



21. September 2020: First DigiTrans report is published !

DigiTrans presentation at Digitaliseringskonferansen for høyrer utdanning 2020 (video)

18 November 2020: Second DigiTrans report is published !

Den andre SLATE-rapporten fra Digitrans-prosjektet er publisert

Second DigiTrans report is published !

DigiTrans report on the study situation in the Autumn 2020

Project Period:

10.04.2020 - 30.06.2021

Project Period:

April 2020

December 2022

Funded By:

University of Bergen & SLATE

Project Leader:

Barbara Wasson

Project Members:

Ingunn Ness, Kristin Børte, Kjetil Egelandsdal, Mohammad Khalil, Cecilie Hansen, Jeanette Samuelsen, Kamila Misiejuk, Gleb Belokrys

Project Partners:

More Relevant Projects

‍Visiting Address:

Christiesgate 12, 2nd floor

Postal Address:

University of Bergen
PO Box 7807
N-5020 Bergen, Norway