Ready for a crisis: accelerated digitalization in education


  • Paul Timmers


  • Alexandra Giannopoulou
  • Carrie Klein
  • Felix Seyfarth

Organisation: VUB Data Protection on the Ground

Room: Online 2

Timing: 18:30 - 19:45 on 27 January 2021

A notable effect of corona-related confinement measures was the introduction of ‘emergency remote teaching’: educational processes had to be moved online in record time. While a plethora of tools was available, concerns about data protection and online safety arose instantly. Few educational organisations were ready to make a considered assessment of the reliability of options under pressure.

The education sector is in a constant state of flux. It is hard for many educational professionals to keep up with developments, especially technological advances. Recent years have also seen an interest in ‘revolutionizing’ education from the technology sector, promising to radically improve learning. This panel will discuss the following themes:

• What has the corona crisis done to (digital) education?
• How to evaluate EdTech platforms?
• How does privacy function as power in education?
• What to expect from the future of Digital Education?


Paul Timmers

European University (CY)

Paul Timmers is adjunct professor at European University Cyprus, visiting professor at Rijeka University, senior advisor to EPC Brussels, board member of Digital Enlightenment Forum and of the Estonian eGovernance Academy supervisory board. Previously he was Director at the European Commission dealing with EU legislation and funding for cybersecurity, digital health, smart cities, e-government. He was cabinet member of European Commissioner Liikanen, manager in a large ICT company, and co-founded an ICT start-up. He holds a physics PhD from Nijmegen University, MBA from Warwick University, was awarded an EU fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, obtained cybersecurity qualification at Harvard, and was research associate University of Oxford.


Alexandra Giannopoulou

Blockchain and Society Policy Lab at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam (NL)

Alexandra Giannopoulou is a postdoctoral researcher at the Blockchain and Society Policy Lab at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam. She is an associate researcher at the CNRS Centre for Internet and Society in Paris. Her research focuses on privacy and data protection, digital identity, and decentralization.

Carrie Klein

Future of Privacy Forum (US)

Dr. Carrie Klein is a Senior Fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum. She works with K-12 and postsecondary education stakeholders to improve data privacy policies and practices. Dr. Klein’s research is focused on the organizational and individual implications of postsecondary data privacy policies and on the influences of analytics and surveillance technologies on higher education organizational and individual decision making, outcomes, and equity. Dr. Klein is also an affiliate faculty member in the Higher Education Program at George Mason University, where she teaches social justice-based courses on organizational theory and student affairs.

Felix Seyfarth

Berinfor (CH)

Dr des. Felix C. Seyfarth is a Higher Education researcher, lecturer and consultant. After obtaining his master’s degree in political science at Freie Universität Berlin, he was MOOC producer at Leuphana Digital School and Senior Fellow Digital Learning at the University of St.Gallen. His research on organizational strategy and digital education formats concerns the interplay of technology-enhanced learning and organizational practices in higher education institutions. An experienced blended learning designer with a demonstrated history of evidence-based innovation and change management, he is frequently sought out for project evaluation, peer reviews and strategic advisory in the field.