A major goal of the digitalisationof higher education administrations is to make administrative processes and procedures efficient and resource-saving. In the area of recognition and credit transfer, digital solutions also offer opportunities to simplify existing procedures and increase transparency.
At the European level, the development of joint digital approaches to enable the quality-assured exchange of student mobility data for recognition processes has received political support (cf. Communiqué of the Bologna Ministerial Conference Rome 2020). In recent years, the European Commission’s digital initiatives have furthered the replacement of paper-based Learning Agreements and Transcripts of Records through database-supported instruments (Online Learning Agreement, Erasmus without papers, European Student Card) and thereby coming closer to the vision of a seamless and secure transfer of student data in the European Higher Education Area through interoperable systems.
At the national level, universities are obliged by the Online Access Act (OZG), to develop possibilities in the next few years to carry out recognition and credit transfer by means of digitalised procedures.
In the future, one focus will be the design of digital recognition and credit transfer processes that are ideally integrated into campus management systems and enable the exchange of competences and qualifications between higher education institutions. The development and expansion of information platforms across subjects and higher education institutions also represent promising options for improving and simplifying current procedures. For example, the central archiving and provision of module descriptions could offer considerable added value to students and HEIs. The use of databases could significantly improve the consistency and transparency of recognition and credit transfer decisions.
In order to avoid isolated solutions, to take different needs into account and to enable transnational or nationwide use the exchange and dissemination of good practice will be crucial. One identified challenge in the development of cross-university tools is that digital solutions must be adaptable to the specific requirements of heterogeneous higher education institutions to achieve sustainable benefits.
In this context, greater standardisation of recognition and credit transfer procedures at higher education institutions is a prerequisite for developing technical options and establishing digital workflows and processes. The digitisation of administrations could be an important occasion to deal with coherent minimum standards and thus take a necessary step towards improving the recognition and credit culture at universities.