03 dec 2020
The pandemic-driven digital university: temporary nightmare or seed for better higher education?

First Lunchtime Ethical Forum

The University Foundation launches a new initiative, the "Lunchtime Ethical Forum", short discussion sessions on ethical problems in academic life.These events supplement the traditional annual Ethical Forum. The first event of this type was organised online, due to the COVID 19 situation, using ZOOM.

Date : Thursday 3 December 2020 from 1 to 2.30 pm

The pandemic-driven digital university:
temporary nightmare or seed for better higher education?

Stimulated by the development of the MOOCs, the University Foundation devoted its 2014 Ethical Forum to the question of whether universities would survive the e-learning revolution. The Covid 19 pandemic has abruptly propelled e-teaching from the margin to the centre of higher education and given this question an entirely new salience. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, our universities have been forced to shift to an online mode for a huge share of their teaching activities. Is this just a burden to be endured as long as it must by the staff of our universities, and an unrepairable cost inflicted on a generation of students deprived of much of what they could legitimately expect from our institutions? Or has it made all of us experiment with ways of teaching and organizing university life that may make post-pandemic higher education — for young adults and throughout life — more efficient and more fair? In particular, does a more digital university hold the promise of reducing social inequalities or is it bound to make them worse?


Welcome: Jacques WILLEMS (chairman of the University Foundation)

Introduction: Philippe VAN PARIJS (coordinator of the Lunchtime Ethical Forum)

Views from the academic side

Yves DEVILLE & Françoise DOCQ (UCLouvain) (presentation see below)

Piet DESMET (KU Leuven) (presentation see below)

Views from the student side

Chems MABROUK (FEF) (excused)


Q&A session (managed by Bert SEGHERS)

Short conclusion and Goodbye (Philippe VAN PARIJS)


Below links are given tot the Power Point presentations. The video recording of the presentations can be obtained using this link.