Hanoi University of Industry hosts visionary minds from Vietnamese universities to explore the future of online education



“It doesn’t matter what you have to say if no is listening,” is how Dr. Bob Schoenfeld, Program Manager, Global Outreach & Extended Education at Arizona State University opened the Digital Immersion Forum held a Hanoi University of Industry in October 2022. 

Celebrating the successful partnership between USAID, BUILD-IT and their strategic partner universities, the forum explored the positive impact of Digital Immersion on higher education in Vietnam. Focusing on stakeholders in Vietnamese higher education unfamiliar with BUILD-IT support programs, this forum explored the components of BUILD-IT’s 3 Streams of Digital Immersion model, including Digital Pedagogy in Higher Education, Embedding In-House Experts, and Improving Digital Education. Participants heard from faculty, staff and administration of BUILD-IT University Strategic Partners who have implemented and benefited from these programs. Audience members were exposed to speakers and panelists who discussed and explained the successes, challenges and solutions experienced from personal involvement in these endeavors.

The 5th forum of the Playbook series, The Digital Immersion Forum celebrates The Digital Pedagogy in Higher Education Playbook, a resource for institutions who wish to further support their digital immersion strategy and faculty development initiatives. Over the past few years, digital pedagogy in Vietnam has continued to expand and has become more ingrained in institutional classrooms. The implementation of digital technologies at institutions has been seen across the spectrum, from web-enhanced courses to fully online. While the circumstances of pushing education online have been challenging at times, moving into the future, utilizing digital tools and strategies has become the norm.


“What does matter is that students are engaged, instructors are prepared, and schools are equipped to ensure the quality of education they provide their in-person classes,” continued Dr. Schoenfeld. An educator for over 20 years, Dr. Schoenfeld opened the session on the perils of neglecting the role of pedagogy in higher education while extolling its potential. 

BUILD-IT has been working with partners in academia, government, and industry to assist institutions meet their goals in this area. Over the past several years, faculty and staff at BUILD-IT universities have engaged in workshops, seminars, training, and conferences in this area to broaden the knowledge base and develop robust programs to offer faculty the opportunity to enhance their digital pedagogy and virtual classroom approaches.

Concluding the opening remarks, Dr. Schoenfeld summed up his perspectives by adding, “the dedication and passion that the Vietnamese faculty have incorporated into the BUILD-IT workshops, trainings, seminars and projects makes me very optimistic for the future of online education as a viable modality of instruction.” 

Building off this theme, Keynote Speaker Robert Sherwood from Algorithmics, an education innovation institution based in Ho Chi Minh City, added, “the future of digital education is the very definition of inclusivity. Digital Education is providing access to an opportunity any number of people don’t have for any number of reasons. This is a responsibility we should take seriously.”

In concordance since 2015, the BUILD-IT Alliance, a strategic collaborative dialogue with industry and the Vietnamese Government (MOET), has focused on creating a world class model for innovative online engineering higher education. The BUILD-IT public-private ecosystem is designed to produce graduates who can solve problems and engineer solutions and value for Vietnam’s social and economic development. Incorporating the online modality has become increasingly important as technology and infrastructure allows greater access. This forum is a celebration of that collaboration.

BUILD-IT leverages the vast capabilities of the implementing partner, Arizona State University, America’s largest and #1-ranked university for innovation, along with diverse government, industry, and academic partners linking T&E higher education to the needs and capabilities of industry partners, building strategic leadership skills to advance university autonomy, program and instructional quality, and formal lasting.

Throughout this forum, participants engaged with panel of speakers from Lac Hong University and Ho Chi Minh City of Technology and Education. From this moderated panel, audience members learn that Digital education is an asset and were exposed to strategies to better support their students and their community. They also discuss the reality that online education is a skill, and it needs to be developed. They leared how to incorporate digital education into their school and about the benefits of the BUILD-IT’s digital immersion support services. Perhaps most importantly, they heard how it has been implemented in Vietnamese institutions, while exploring successful implementation strategies allowing them to stand on the shoulders of giants in Academia.

Highlighting the role of digital immersion were 6 participants from the Increasing Digital Assets program. Increasing Digital Assets is a BUILD-IT sponsored program that supports university faculty and staff in leveraging their knowledge, skill set and wisdom to create relevant quick-start content. This ‘Quick-start’ response, also called ‘rapid-response’, allows for proactive individuals to identify an area of concern in the university environment that they want to address.

The forum was very proud to present six winners from the Increasing Digital Assets program and share their creations. 

  • Tran Thi To Quyen, Dr., Can Tho University
  • Chau Phuong Khanh, Mr., Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology
  • Hoang Nguyen Ly, Ms., HCMC University of Technology and Education
  • Nguyen Dinh Phu, Mr., HCMC University of Technology and Education
  • Tran Van Thanh, Mr., Lac Hong University
  • Tran Thach Thao, Ms., Lac Hong University

Education is a long-term endeavor. Solutions are never final. They can always be improved. Education evolves, and institutions need to evolve with it. The faculty, students, administrators, staff members and experts from industry who attended this forum is a tangible demonstration that the future of higher education in Vietnam will only continue to rise.