“Digitalisation and AI: Opportunities and Risks for higher education teaching and learning“

Welcome to the first DIES web seminar 2024 in the series “University Leadership in Challenging Times”, organised by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

This international DIES web seminar will focus on the topic of “Digitalisation and AI: Opportunities and Risks for higher education teaching and learning”.

The digitalisation of higher education and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) present numerous opportunities across higher education and research sectors, offering substantial potential for innovative, efficient, and effective teaching and learning methods. However, the integration of AI in higher education teaching and learning also poses various risks and challenges that universities must address and mitigate, among others concerns related to potentially fraudulent activities and the insufficient proficiency in utilizing AI technologies. What is more, students, academic and non-academic staff are facing the challenge to on the one hand exercise diligence to maximize the benefits derived from AI tools while concurrently safeguarding against instances of misconduct.

In this web seminar opportunities and challenges of the increasing digitalisation and the usage of AI in higher education teaching and learning will be discussed with experts from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. They will share their experiences and perspectives and discuss the added value and impact of digitalisation and AI, regional characteristics and existing or needed governance structures amongst others.

Based on inputs from expert speakers, the web seminar will provide space for sharing experiences from different world regions and identifying examples of good practice.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) organise this series of web seminars in the framework of their joint DIES Programme.

DIES Web Seminar

Please join the DIES Web Seminar by clicking on the button,
starting on May 16 2024, 2:00 pm – 4:15 pm (CEST) / 12:00 pm – 2:15 pm (UCT)


Photo: © Hartmann Mainz

Dr Malte Persike

Scientific Manager, Center for Teaching and Learning Services (CLS), RWTH Aachen University

PD Dr Malte Persike is the Scientific Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Services (CLS) at RWTH Aachen University. His research topics include evidence-based impact research in higher education as well as learning analytics to optimize teaching and learning processes. He is an expert in digital teaching, learning, and assessment, as well as data-drivenimprovement of learning contexts. In 2012, he received the highest national German teaching award, the ars legendi award for excellent teaching.



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Dr Andrea Klein

Member of the core team of the ‘Virtual competence centre for teaching and learning writing with AI-tools and techniques for education and science’ (VK:KIWA)

Dr Andrea Klein is a highly experienced lecturer, coach and author. She has been teaching the fundamentals of academic writing and research to students of all levels for a considerable period. Through university didactics workshops, Andrea Klein actively mentors fellow lecturers and pioneers effective teaching and supervision strategies. She thus contributes to faculty development. Her specialised blog ‘Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten lehren’ (www.wissenschaftliches-arbeiten-lehren.de) is also aimed at lecturers, providing them with both constructive approaches and practical resources for their teaching.
As a member of the core team of the Virtual Centre of Excellence VK:KIWA (AI in academic writing and research), who is driven by her passion for educational excellence, Andrea Klein is committed to promoting a courageous and yet responsible usage of AI in academia.


Panel Speaker Dialogue Round:

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Associate Prof Dr
Joseph Kwame Adjei

Associate Professor, Computer Science & Information Systems (CSIS) Department, Ashesi University, Ghana

Dr Joseph Kwame Adjei is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at Ashesi University and an alumnus of the 2021/2022 International Deans Course (IDC). He completed his PhD studies in Information Systems at Aalborg University, Demark. Joseph has acquired extensive leadership and management experience in higher education. He was Dean of the School of Technology at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) from 2016 to 2021. During his tenure, he developed a PhD programme in Information Systems, an MSc in Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity, and an MSc in I.T. and Law. He also spearheaded academic cooperation between GIMPA School of Technology and universities in China, USA and eastern Africa, resulting in various faculty and/or student visits. He has served on several committees and is currently an accreditation assessor for the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC). Joseph has conducted many studies on information privacy, and factors affecting effective adoption of emerging information technologies. He is currently working with two Ashesi colleagues to explore university faculty perceptions and attitudes toward the application of Artificial Intelligence in higher education.


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Dr Santiago Tomás

Dean of the School of Education in Austral University, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Santiago Bellomo is the Dean of the School of Education in Austral University, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a PhD in Philosophy, as well as a degree both in Philosophy and in Education Administration and Management. As an expert in education, he has made assessments to national and international organizations such IBD, WB, CONICET and Educ.Ar.

He serves as a full-time lecturer in the Master’s program in the Doctorate in Education and the Master in Law, Policy, and Environmental Management at Austral University. He is the author of 4 books and more than 20 papers in the field of philosophy of education and philosophy of innovation. His latest work, titled “Educación aumentada” (Globethics, 2023) delves into the challenges of education in the era of artificial intelligence.

Before joining this university, he has served as Undersecretary of the National Institute of Public Administration in his country, Director of Education at the Ministry of Energy and Mining of the Nation, Education Manager at the YPF Foundation, and Academic Secretary of Universidad Católica Argentina.


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Associate Prof Dr
Sharina Yunus

Deputy Director of Enterprise Office,
Universiti Teknologi, Brunei

Dr Sharina Yunus holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Brunei, concurrently serving as the Deputy Director of the Enterprise Office. In this capacity, she has played a pivotal role in formulating and implementing intellectual property (IP) and commercialization policies, aimed at augmenting the university’s Innovation Ecosystem. Notably, she has recently concluded a significant research endeavor funded by the ASEAN research grant project, focusing on addressing the issues and challenges confronting ICT startups in ASEAN. Additionally, Dr Yunus was recently invited as a keynote speaker at the 7th IET Smart Cities Symposium organized by the University of Bahrain, where she shared insights on advancements in smart city technologies and their implications for urban development.  She was recently recognized with the Women in Innovation award in conjunction with World IP Day. Dr Sharina has a Doctorate in Optoelectronics from the University of Bath, United Kingdom. Her research interest lies in integrated robotics and AI, robotics for STEM education, Smart Sustainable Cities, Agrotechnology, and PV renewable energy.

Dr Yunus’s contributions extend beyond academia; she has been actively involved in various roles and initiatives within the AI and education sectors. In October 2023, she joined as a Member of the ASIA European for AI Network, showcasing her commitment to fostering international collaboration in advancing AI technologies. Moreover, she served as a speaker at the ASEF 4th AI Innovation Lab, held at Fudan University Shanghai, where she elucidated on the pivotal role of AI in higher education. She previously mentored participants at the ASEF 3rd and 2nd AI Innovation Lab, facilitating the exchange of ideas and fostering innovation among higher education institutions across Asia and Europe. She has also been involved in initiatives such as the DELL4ALL Expert Panel, where she analyzed best practices in digital enhanced learning. Dr Yunus’s commitment to nurturing talent and innovation is further demonstrated through her roles in steering committees for national hackathons and Asia Technological Network ATU-Net, underscoring her dedication to shaping the future of education and technology. In her spare time, she firmly believes in giving back to the community and regularly dedicates her time to mentoring robotic FIRST Global robotic teams to promote STEM education.



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Berit Stoppa

Senior Desk Officer, Development Cooperation – Higher Education Management (P32), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Berit Stoppa is working for the German Academic Exchange Service, as senior desk officer in the DIES programme team (Section development cooperation: partnership programmes, Alumni project and higher education management). She studied German and English linguistics and has undergone further training in Higher Education Management.

After having worked as director of the DAAD Information Center Accra and lecturer at the University of Education Winneba in Ghana and Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Benin, she worked as scientific manager for the FIW, a research institute of the University of Bonn. In January 2020, she joined the DAAD head office in Bonn, being responsible for Quality Assurance Projects and the collaboration with African partner institutions in the DIES programme team.


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Marijke Wahlers

Deputy Secretary-General and Head of International Department,
German Rectors‘ Conference (HRK)

Marijke Wahlers heads the International Department of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). In this capacity, she has initiated various projects and activities that aim at enhancing the German universities’ framework for internationalisation and international collaboration. She also heads the Section Asia, Australia & Oceania within HRK’s International Department and is one of the members of the founding team of the DIES International Deans’ Course.

Before joining the German Rectors’ Conference, Ms. Wahlers was head of international relations at the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences and coordinator of international relations at the Prefectural University of Kumamoto and the Kumamoto Prefectural Government Office in Japan. Ms. Wahlers holds a master’s degree in English linguistics, Japanese studies and business studies. She studied at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Washington in Seattle (USA) and at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University in Great Britain.



"Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies" (DIES)

Universities throughout the world are operating in an increasingly dynamic environment characterised by global challenges. They face intense competition for students, highly qualified researchers and third-party funding. This holds true for developing countries too, where the demand for tertiary education has been skyrocketing over the last decades.

In light of these developments, higher education management in all its particulars is becoming more and more important in the field of international development cooperation. The programme “Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies” (DIES) has been jointly developed and coordinated by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) since 2001. DIES is strengthening capacities in higher education management, both on individual and institutional level. It offers a wide range of tailored activities training courses, dialogue events and university partnerships. – These activities not only foster the competences of academic staff, but also contribute to the enhancement of institutional management at universities in developing countries. DIES focuses on three key partner regions: Africa, Spanish-speaking Latin America and Southeast Asia. Funding is provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

The DAAD is a joint organisation of German institutions of higher education and their student bodies, devoted to internationalising the academic and scientific research system. With its broad range of scholarship programmes, the DAAD enables students, researchers and university lecturers to take advantage of the best study and research opportunities. Since it was founded in 1925, more than 2.5 million scholars in Germany and abroad have received DAAD funding. Apart from the scholar ship programmes the DAAD supports the internationalisation of German universities, promotes German studies and the German language abroad, advises decision makers on matters of cultural, education and development policy and assists developing countries in establishing effective universities by means of special programmes.

German Rectors’ Conference (HRK)

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) is the association of state and state-recognised universities in Germany. The HRK currently has 269 member institutions, in which over 90 per cent of all students in Germany are enrolled. The HRK functions as the voice of the universities in dialogue with politicians and the public and as the central forum for opinion-forming in the higher education sector. The HRK cooperates with universities and corresponding organisations all over the world. Its aim is to represent the interest of German universities at an international level and to support German universities in their internationalisation process.

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Prof Dr Marcelo Knobel

Former Rector, University of Campinas (Unicamp), Member of the governing council of the Magna Charta Observatory, Brazil

Prof Dr Marcelo Knobel was the 12th Rector of the University of Campinas (Unicamp), in Brazil, where he is a Full Professor of Physics. He held other leadership roles, including: Executive Director of the Unicamp Exploratory Science Museum, Vice-Rector for Undergraduate Programs, Vice-President of the Brazilian Physics Society and Executive Director of the Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano). He has already published more than 300 scientific papers, in addition to numerous opinion pieces in both national and international newspapers and magazines. Prof Knobel is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (Elsevier). He is an Eisenhower Fellow (2007), Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2009) and Lemann Fellow (2015). He is Member of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory.

Photo: © Jens Gyarmaty

Prof Dr Eva Asselmann

Professor, Faculty of Health, Health and Medical University, Germany

Prof Dr Eva Asselmann is a Professor of Differential and Personality Psychology in Potsdam. Her research focuses on personality development, health promotion, and prevention. In particular, she examines how personality and mental health change before and after becoming a leader. Her research revealed that emergent leaders experience substantial changes in personality traits (e.g., extraversion and risk affinity) as well as both favorable and unfavorable changes in subjective well-being. Moreover she develops targeted trainings and has many years of practical experience in consulting and coaching for individuals and larger organizations. She is certified in Systemic Coaching, Change Management, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In 2022, she published her popular science book “What We Grow From” to disseminate her latest research findings on personality development around major life events.