Digital skills

Digital skills in higher education

When we talk about digital transformation at universities and universities of applied sciences, we cannot avoid talking about digital skills. What exactly ‘digital skills’ means, however, varies depending on the activities and tasks being performed. Teachers, researchers, and staff in university administration need to perform diverse tasks and have to familiarise themselves with information technologies to a certain extent, depending on their position and assigned duties. Project managers of digitalisation projects, meanwhile, have to meet other requirements. For this reason, they also need different forms of training and continuing education.

Eine Person tippt auf eine futuristische Oberfläche

An overview of digital skills at higher education institutions (HEIs)

In this section, you can find an overview of the different skills requirements for university staff in teaching, research, and administration areas. This also presents a selection of continuing training opportunities and digitalisation projects on digital skills. This is followed by offers designed specifically for people who will manage a digitalisation project in higher education in the future.

Check your digital skills!

As part of the federal government's Digital Austria initiative, online skills checks and quizzes are offered in cooperation with the fit4internet Association, covering topics such as data science, artificial intelligence, and job skills. The skills checks and quizzes encompass a wide range of skills and are also of interest to university staff, allowing them to evaluate their skills in detail and learn more about specific continuing education offers. The Austrian skills model DigComp 2.2 serves as a basis for this, and this, in turn, is based on the European Reference Framework for Digital Competences of Educators (DigCompEdu).

Check out the skills check

Digital skills in teaching

Used in this context, the term digital skills refers to both teachers and students at universities and universities of applied sciences. These include skills needed to:

  • use video conferencing tools to hold and participate in courses or to record lectures
  • use virtual reality and understand how to use game-based learning
  • create and use of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
  • apply the Inverted Classroom as a teaching concept
  • use learning management systems such as Moodle
  • understand how Open Educational Resources (OER, providing open access to and further use of educational materials) can be used
  • use digital tools to design inclusive and accessible online and hybrid teaching materials and to use them everyday study situations
  • use file hosting services such as Google Docs

Depending on the branch of science and the degree programme, students are also taught or required to have subject-specific digital skills. Some of the key areas are data management, knowledge of statistics, machine learning, and algorithms.

Ein Tablet auf dem Tisch

Continuing education: Digital skills in teaching

In this section, we have put together a selection of courses, MOOCs, and training programmes that can be held in-presence and online and which have been specifically developed for teachers and students.

iMooX: The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform offers freely accessible courses on digital skills for students and teachers. These include the courses “Digital Skills for First-Year Students”, “Programming with Processing”, and, since May 2023, the MOOC “Learning Analytics for Higher Education Teaching”, plus many more.
About iMooX

eDidactics: This is an advanced training programme from the Styrian University Conference that teaches students how to use technologies in HEI teaching. The programme is offered jointly by all nine Styrian universities and covers topics such as programme management systems use, media education, e-moderation and communication with digital media, performance assessments, and digital accessibility.
About the training programme

eEducation - Digital Programme Design: This in-service master's programme offered at the University of Krems is ideal for teachers who would like to continue their education while completing their degree.
About the programme

Continuing education on digital accessibility: The Austrian Institute of Technology offers training courses on digital accessibility upon request.
About the offer from the Austrian Institute of Technology

Continuing Education on Open Educational Resources (OER): Open Education Austria offers an overview of OER training materials and training opportunities.
See an overview on

Tip: Lernapp Cybersecurity Quiz

Cybersecurity is a hot topic right now. For that reason, the Cyber Security Quiz was developed as a learning app as part the federal government's Digital Austria initiative. Although the app is primarily intended for use in secondary schools, it could also be of interest to HEI teachers.
About the Lernapp Cybersecurity Quiz

Current projects that support digital skills development in teaching

As part of the Ministry's "Digital and Social Transformation in Higher Education" call for proposals, sent out to public universities, 34 selected digitalisation projects have been launched. Seven of these are specifically dedicated to improving digital skills in higher education teaching. The table below provides an overview of these projects, including contact details for the project leaders. Once the projects have ended, the sustainable services resulting from the projects will also be listed here.


Title of the initiative

Basic info/Short description

University of Vienna

Teaching Digital Thinking - Conceptualising, Delivering, Energising, and Sustainably Implementing Strategies

10/20 - 12/23
Target group: students
About the project

University of Klagenfurt

DigiFit4All - The personalised curriculum in the field of digital literacy

05/20 - 04/23
Target group: Pupils, teachers, students, administrative staff
About the project

University of Innsbruck

CodeAbility Austria Digital - Supported programming education at Austrian universities

01/20 - 12/24
Target group: Teachers and students in programming education
About the project


TU Wien



05/20 - 04/24
Target group: Teachers and students at higher education institutions, pupils and teachers, adult education institutions, interested members of the public
About the project


MedUni Wien

Digital skills, knowledge & communication for human medicine students

01/20 - 03/24
Target group: Students
Development of a curriculum for digital medicine
About the project


WU Wien

Future Learning Experience

01/20 - 12/23
Target group: Teachers
Creation of teaching/learning spaces for the development of new teaching & learning concepts
FLEX-Center (Studio/Lab) + FLEX-Community,
About the project


TU Graz
University of Graz

Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programme in Computational Social Systems

01/20 - 12/23
Part of Teaching Digital Thinking
Target group: Students
Master’s degree programme offered since WS 2021,
About the project



Digital skills in research

Digital skills development in research places a strong focus on research data processing, but other increasingly important focal areas include the need to develop collaborative work practices, the ability to evaluate and apply technical innovations, and the need to improve digital media literacy. These include skills needed to:

  • use research information systems (database-driven documentation and reporting systems that are needed to collect, present, and analyse research information, i.e. metadata on research activities)
  • apply the FAIR principles to support the Open Science/Open Data initiatives: data, algorithms, tools, and software should be made findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable in order to guarantee interdisciplinary, inter-university, and international reuse.

Other relevant skills are those needed to:

  • use virtual research environments: Wikis and forums, databases, and electronic publishing platforms, opportunities for group writing and collaborative experimentation. Examples: BEXIS2, Transkribus, OMERO, WissKI
  • use digital publication formats such as data journals and enhanced publications
  • apply analysis methods such as machine learning and other AI in everyday research
  • depending on the subject area, coding knowledge
Person tippt am Laptop

Continuing education: digital skills in research

Data Stewards Certificate Course: The University of Vienna's two-semester certificate course teaches students about research data management, open research, and open science and prepares them to support researchers throughout the research data cycle in the form of data stewardship.
University of Vienna website

Carpentries: Offers coding and data science skills training for researchers at locations worldwide and online. website

Projects that support digital skills in research

The following projects support the development of digital skills in research. The projects aim to optimise the research process as well as to support the acquisition of knowledge through digital technologies.



More information

Fair Data Austria

Promoting collaboration among Austrian universities to support the development of coherent and robust research data services, applying FAIR principles and providing training opportunities in the form of webinars.

Project website

European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) + EOSC Support Office Austria

The EOSC aims to network scientific research infrastructures from different disciplines across Europe as data warehouses to enable access and re-use of research data.

Part of the complex project structure is the Support Office Austria, which has also established a working group on continuing education and training materials.

EOSC website


Working Groups of the EOSC Support Office Austria



The sub-project of the European Open Science Cloud aims to establish an international open science skills center and to promote the cooperative design and provision of methods and training resources on open science/data management in research.


Project website

Digital skills in administration and management

What does the term digital skills refer to in university administration?

Digital skills in administration and management refer to the ability to design and manage digital processes, use and preserve data effectively, and communicate and work with digital technologies. The overriding goal is usually to make administration processes more agile, efficient, and user-friendly.

Continuing education: Digital skills in university administration

Every university and university of applied sciences has its own internal continuing education offers, such as training courses on standard programmes such as Microsoft Office software packages and communication tools. If a university has a change management department, it often also offers specific training sessions on how to launch digital projects. For example, this was implemented in the HR4u project . The specific contacts for training offers for university staff are the respective personnel and skills development departments, the central IT services, or continuing education departments at the universities. In addition, Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences offer life-long learning courses.


Numerous digital initiatives related to the service and administration areas are listed on the digital university hub. Once these projects have been completed, the results and services from the projects are also published.

About the initiatives

Real-world example: The TU Wien administration network

The (currently) internal administration network at TU Vienna was designed to support personal exchange among administrative staff. A database of knowledge is also being developed to meet their specific needs.

More info about the administration network

Offer for digital project managers

What do you need to initiate, manage, and support digital transformation processes in higher education? The digital university hub offers support: the Change Management Concept Papers and an associated Basic Toolkit can help you begin your journey along the change management path.

Change Management Concept Papers + Basic Toolkit

Continuing education opportunities (selection)

Below, you will find a selection of academic continuing education measures for change managers and project managers of digitalisation projects.

Person tippt auf eine futuristische Oberfläche

 Degree Programme/Course


 More Information

Master's Degree Programme Digital Transformation Management

FH Carinthia

Website FH Kärnten

ULG Leadership in Digital Transformation  

TU Graz

Website TU Graz

Digital Communication Leadership

Paris Lodron Uni Salzburg

Website Paris Lodron Universität

E-Learning: Change Management

University of Graz/Uni for Life

Website Uni for Life

Are you aware of more continuing education offers and projects?

You can let other members of the Austrian higher education community know about interesting continuing education offers and projects on digital skills by sharing these on the digital university hub. Please contact the DUH project team (contact info in the sidebar).