Prof. Dr. Ilona Buchem

I am Full Professor (W2) for Communication and Media Sciences, at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany. My research and teaching focus on the intersections of digital media and society, including digital media design and communication, digital media sociology and digital media economy. I am interested in how digital media, especially social, mobile and wearable media, influence communication, learning, economy and society at large. The specific focus of my research and teaching is diversity and divide related to digital media. Some of the key topics on my research agenda include digital competencies and digital learning, digital identities and digital reputation, digital communication and leadership.

Scientific activities:

  • Project Leader “Open Virtual Mobility” (EU Erasmus+): The OpenVM project aims at promoting and scaling-up virtual mobility (VM) in higher education in Europe through achievement, assessment and recognition of Virtual Mobility Skills of HE educators and students in line with the Bologna and Open Education principles. One of the key outcomes of the OpenVM project is the OpenVM Learning Hub, an online learning environment for the development, assessment and recognition of virtual mobility skills in higher education: https://hub.openvirtualmobility.eu/my/. The OpenVM Learning Hub hosts a set of eight mini-MOOCs, in each of the eight competency areas. Each mini-MOOC is dedicated to a specific competency cluster needed for successful engagement in virtual mobility. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “Open Badge Network” (EU Erasmus+): The Open Badge Network (OBN) is an Erasmus + project which brings together organisations from across Europe to support the development of an Open Badge ecosystem, promoting the use of Open Badges to recognise non-formal and informal learning. Mozilla Open Badges is an open standard that allows all skills and achievements to be recognised and shared across the web. Schools, universities, employers and informal learning providers globally are using open badges to capture life long learning which is currently unrecognised. This project aims to provide a trusted source of independent information, tools and informed practice to support people who are interested in creating, issuing and earning badges across Europe. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “BeuthBonus”: BeuthBonus is a qualification program for migrant academics aiming at enhancing the employability and employment opportunities of in-migrate graduates including refugees in IT-related career fields. The BeuthBonus qualification program is based on a combination of on-campus coaching and online learning and makes use of Mozilla Open Badges to enhance professional profiles of program participants by making job-relevant skills visible for potential employers and cooperation partners. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “Digital Future”: Digital Future is one of the winner projects in the competition on higher education and digital strategies by Stifterverband and Heinz Nixdorf Stiftung. The aim of the Digital Future project is developing strategies for using digital media in every department of Beuth University and then combine these department-specific strategies into a university-wide digitalisation strategy. The project is based on the Open Innovation approach and uses Design-Based Research methods to align strategy design and research. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “fMOOC” (VDI/VDE): fMOOC is a research and development project related to the application of wearable and mobile technologies for learning about fitness for healthy ageing in a MOOC setting (Massive Open Online Course). The project is a collaboration with the medical university Charité and uses some of the emerging technologies and concepts such as wearable enhanced learning and gamification. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “Credit Points” (IQ Netzwerk): Credit Points is the first project in IQ Network Berlin addressing highly qualified migrants who already completed a higher education programme outside of Germany. The aim is to supplement prior qualifications acquired abroad with qualifications provided and recognised in higher education in Germany in order to enhance opportunities on the German labour market. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Project Leader “Wikipedia-Diversity” (Wikimedia): The project aims at participatory design, implementation and evaluation of a set of measures in a multi-stakeholder community of practice. This process is anchored within the open innovation approach and transdisciplinary inquiry, and utilizes action research methodology with the aim of improving the gender balance and active participation of female contributors on all levels of engagement in the German Wikipedia. PROJECT WEBSITE
  • Chair of the Special Interest Group on Wearable Technology Enhanced Learning (SIG WELL): SIG WELL is a Special InterestGroup at the European Association of Technology-Enhanced  Learning (EATEL), which stimulates research on wearable-technology enhanced learning in the area of TEL. LINK
  • Chair of the Europortfolio German Chapter: The German Chapter of the Europortfolio Initiative is a Community of Practice of practitioners, designers, researchers and providers of ePortfolios in Germany. LINK
  • Chair of the PLE Conference: The Personal Learning Environment Conference is an annual international scientific conference taking place annually, each time in a different city. The PLE Conference 2013 was held in Berlin, Germany together with a parallel event in Melbourne, Australia. The special focus of the PLE Conference 2013 was “Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future”. LINK
  • Member of the Advisory Committee of Online Educa Berlin: Online Educa Berlin – OEB – is the global, cross-sector conference on technology supported learning and training. Every year, OEB pushes boundaries, challenges preconceptions and catalyses new ideas – through innovations in the exhibition, interventions from participants and new forms of dialogue. LINK
  • Scientific Committee of IEEE/ICALT = IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies: ICALT is an annual international conference on Advanced Learning Technologies and Technology-enhanced Learning organised by IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology. LINK
  • Scientific Committee of IDGEI: IDGEI is a series of workshops on Intelligent Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion. See: IDGEI 2013 (Chania, Greece), IDGEI 2014 (Haifa, Israel) and IDGEI 2015 (Altlanta, USA).
  • Scientific Committee of ITHET – 14th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training, 11-13 June, 2015, Caparica, Lisbon, Portugal. LINK
  • Reviews for journals: International Journal of Human – Computer Studies,
  • Guest Editor of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL): Special Issue on Mobile  Learning and Creativity: Current Concepts and Studies. The papers in this Special Issue explore the relationship between learning and creativity in context of mobile learning.LINK + EDITORIAL
  • Guest Editor of eLearning Papers: This special issue of eLearning Papers builds on the current PLE discussion and focuses on crossing the boundaries of learning contexts. It features some emerging practices, including the construction of PLEs as part of an augmented localised learning experience with mobile devices; PLEs as an approach to supporting learning through work practice; and using gamification and open badges as part of the PLE approach. The findings and insights of the articles in this issue demonstrate the rich contribution of the PLE approach to the opening up of education. LINK
  • Advisory Committee Member of Online Educa Berlin LINK
  • Advisory Board Member of “Perspektive 2.0”:  LINK
  • PC Member of the E-Portfolio Initiative EPIBB: LINK
  • PC Member of the SMART Conference: LINK
  • Chair of the Creative Mobile Learning and Teaching Workshop at EC-TEL 2014
  • Chair of the Mobile Learning & Creativity Workshop at the EC-TEL 2012
  • Chair of the Open Badges Workshop at Online Educa Berlin 2014
  • Chair of the Participatory Culture Workshop at Online Educa Berlin 2012


In 2009, I completed my PhD in Educational Sciences at Humboldt University in Berlin. My dissertation research was part of my work at Daimler AG, where I designed and evaluated technology-enhanced learning for sales. I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Warsaw (PL), studied Communication Sciences at Concordia University (USA) and Educational Sciences at University Duisburg-Essen (DE).

In academia, I have participated in a number of research projects (e.g. principal investigator, researcher) and taught both on-campus and on-line courses (e.g. VFH/on@campus – Germany; eEducation program – Austria). My fascination with online communities as forms of learning, belonging and participation started with the research project “Mediencommunity 2.0”. I have personally cherished the creativity, openness and the edupunk spirit of the PLE community. As member of the organising committee of the PLE Conference I have been organising the Mediacast Contest to support creative expression through digital media.  The ePortfolio idea has been inspiring to me for a long time and I have been actively involved as member of the E-Portfolio Initiative  in Berlin & Brandenburg.

Outside of academia, I worked as trainer at various corporations. My trainings focused on e-learning and language training. I have also co-authored a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 1093) at the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), focusing on competency modeling in context of human resources & work-based e-learning.

Currently, I am the project coordinator of two national research projects related to diversity and digital media, i.e. “Wikipedia-Diversity” in cooperation with Wikimedia Germany and “Credit Points” as part of the IQ Netzwerk.

I am also member of the advisory board of the project Perspektive 2.0 and General Chair of the international conference on Personal Learning Environments – The PLE Conference 2013 – which will be held in Berlin and Melbourne, 10-12 July, 2013.

I enjoy international cooperations and I have been involved in a number of national and international collaborations projects, including #mproject, #iCollab and #FSLN. These international collaboration projects have involved students from different parts of the world, including Germany, UK, Spain, New Zealand and Israel. It has always been an enriching experience!

Further information:

Contact details:

Prof. Dr. Ilona Buchem
Professor for Digital Media and Diversity

Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin
Luxemburger Straße 10
13353 Berlin


Skype: Ilona.tfh
Twitter: mediendidaktik