Table of ContentsIntroduction.................................................................................. 5Backgroun...
The Role of Resource and Study Centre..............................55A. Strategy of the University...........................
IntroductionThis work contains a synthesis of thinking and practice on ODL-supported flexible learning in traditional Euro...
Co-ordinator: Dr. Maya Eisner (EuroMedia Link, Milano).Participants: Prof. Jørgen Bang (Aarhus University), Mrs. Irene Hei...
Whereas this work should provide a better understanding of the virtualmobility model as developed by the HUMANITIES projec...
Background and History of HUMANITIES                      Peter Floor2             Coimbra Group, Leiden UniversityA. Back...
Louvain (B), Montpellier (F), Oxford (GB), Padova (I), Pavia (I), Poitiers(F), Praha (CZ), Salamanca (E), Siena (I), Thess...
certain extent it was felt as if the institutions considered it their duty   to avoid overengagement in new technologies t...
• prove that virtual mobility can work effectively at European scale,  create a usable model for a Virtual Classroom.• Int...
technologies used). The technologies to be used were also debated anddecided upon, with assistance of the experts particip...
Between 1994 and 1998 the following universities engagedthemselves actively or passively in HUMANITIES projects:Aarhus, Åb...
courseware, if possible not only for repeated use by the universitiesparticipating in the first round, but also for more g...
ODL, ICT and the HUMANITIES model                  Jef Van den Branden          Educational Director EuroPACE 2000        ...
6) to build on opportunities provided by existing ODL products,   particularly those produced in previous European Union  ...
ODL and ICT backgroundsB. 1. Open and Distance Learning       Distance Education at university level is to be situated in ...
BBC) and home experimenting kits (including the popular "BBCcomputer", a PC specially developed by Acorn for the purposes ...
the British OU was devoting much attention to didactics that wereinspired by behaviourist design principles. Behaviourism ...
Universities, but became also introduced on campus in traditionaluniversities (not least while the instructional materials...
Also in training and education, trans-national networking throughODL has been advocated: many reports of either the Commis...
other words to be a strategic decision in response to the universityscontemporary needs.      This approach fits perfectly...
(members of Coimbra Group as well as others, invited to join the projectfor the purpose). Since HUMANITIES provided only p...
a network model. The network connects the partners and provides theopportunity to have an integrated approach and care, in...
C. 1. Actors in HUMANITIES      All in all, 26 universities from 19 countries have been involved inthe preparation and exe...
•     international outreach;•     pulling resources for sharing knowledge and experience.Tutors• professional updating;• ...
dehumanisation of the interaction; some even fear that the "normal"interaction in conventional settings will drop or be lo...
Part of this strategic decision concerns the development of anappropriate pedagogic and didactic approach to learning in a...
negotiation in which new information is integrated and absorbed intoour existing understanding of the world.      To achie...
is jointly developed and provided ("Thematic clusters") or broughttogether to service the education and training needs of ...
Bibliography      Daniels, J.S. (1996). Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media.Technology strategies for Higher Education. ...
The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility                      Maya Eisner – Co-ordinator                      Roberta Paulin – Ass...
What is important to highlight is that often ODL Projects run with twodifferent speeds. On one hand, there are “the theori...
subject, and use each other as resources for gathering of information inrelation to assignments and exam essays.       In ...
knowledge through expression of meaning and points of view indiscussion with fellow learners.      Although the virtual se...
As far as the choice of the channels of interaction is concerned, itis to consider which pedagogical strategy could be use...
The main activity in the common project was five satellite sessionswith lectures and discussions.For this, a combination w...
technology, the foreign languages, and the many distant listeners’thought.       They had also organised two audio-confere...
gives the speaker a somewhat prestigious platform and therefore create astronger sense of a unified forum with a unified d...
teacher-class discussion, when spontaneity is altered by technicalrequirements and by distance.      Separation by distanc...
This new orientation could be very rewarding both to young andcreative people who are interested in teaching and learning ...
individual environment, communicating with the others only throughtelematics.      Often face-to-face tutorials, in which ...
possibilities for dialogue between learner and tutor/teacher and/orbetween learners themselves turn ‘closed’ learning situ...
what would be needed. A Resource & Study Centre should providepedagogical and technical support, facilities and an organis...
G. 3. Communication and information technology &pedagogical aspects – courses      A Resource & Study Centre should offer ...
Facilitators are directly responsible for certain tasks involved withthe daily operation of the two-way system. They are m...
The experience arising from HUMANITIES Universities hasshown how the process of introducing technologies in a traditionall...
HUMANITIES Universities have accepted the challenge ofexperimenting a new way of creating and disseminating knowledge, thi...
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994
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This work contains a synthesis of thinking and practice on ODLsupported
flexible learning in traditional European universities as
developed in a number of European projects. These projects have a
hybrid model of face to face teaching and distance teaching and learning
in common, the so-called HUMANITIES model, which has been
applied in different subject areas and in various university settings.
Co-ordinator: Dr. Maya Eisner (EuroMedia Link, Milano).
Participants: Prof. Jørgen Bang (Aarhus University), Mrs. Irene Hein
(TechNet Finland), Mr. Jorma Rinta-Kanto (Turku University), Prof.
Carmen Martín Robledo (Salamanca University), Mr. Søren Pold (Aarhus
University).

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Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994

  1. 1. Table of ContentsIntroduction.................................................................................. 5Background and History of HUMANITIES....................... 9A. Background ........................................................................................9B. History ...................................................................................................... 11ODL, ICT and the HUMANITIES model .........................17A. Aims and objectives ........................................................................17B. ODL and ICT backgrounds ............................................................... 19 B. 1. Open and Distance Learning...................................................... 19 B. 2. The Open University example.................................................... 19 B. 3. Shift of educational paradigms ................................................... 20 B. 4. Dual mode and mixed mode universities ................................. 21 B. 5. Trans-national networking .......................................................... 22 B. 6. Information and Communications Technologies.................... 23C. Experiences within HUMANITIES.............................................24 C. 1. Actors in HUMANITIES ........................................................... 27 C. 2. General overview of experiences and outcomes ..................... 28The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility .........................................35A. The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility................................................. 35B. The Learning Context..................................................................... 36C. The “Pedagogical” Use of Technologies in HUMANITIES Project...............................................................................................38D. The Teacher’s Role in ODL .......................................................... 42E. The Tutor’s Role in ODL ..............................................................44F. The Learner’s Role in ODL........................................................... 45G. The Organisation of Universities in ODL................................... 46 G. 1. Pedagogical support and services............................................... 47 G. 2. Motivation and orientation ......................................................... 47 G. 3. Communication and information technology & pedagogical aspects – courses ..................................................................................... 48 G. 4. Technical Support and Facilities ................................................ 48 G. 5. Organisational support ................................................................ 49H. Conclusions on ODL Pedagogy ...................................................49 99
  2. 2. The Role of Resource and Study Centre..............................55A. Strategy of the University...............................................................56 A. 1. Minor Changes.............................................................................. 56 A. 2. Major Changes .............................................................................. 57B. Teacher view on the RSC............................................................... 60 B. 1. Point of the View of the Students ............................................. 62C. How to Establish the Resource and Study Centre ..................... 63 C. 1. Technical Support ........................................................................ 64 C. 2. Pedagogical Support..................................................................... 64 C. 3. Research and Development........................................................ 65 C. 4. Administrative Support ............................................................... 65 C. 5. Communicating with the Site Campuses, Study Centres and Individual Distances Learners ............................................................... 65D. Conclusions......................................................................................65Interculturality and European citizenship through ODLat university level ........................................................................69A. The influence of culture on knowledge shaping and transfer... 70 A. 1. Cultural Diversity in Europe and European citizenship......... 72 A. 2. Factors Influencing Virtual Instruction .................................... 74 A. 3. Courseware Design for Trans-European Virtual Instruction 76B. Language in Virtual Instruction..................................................... 78 B. 1. Language Policy versus Language Management...................... 78 B. 2. Indications for Language Management in Virtual Instruction Networks .................................................................................................. 80An Economic Analysis of Virtual Mobility..........................87A. The purpose of this contribution.................................................. 87B. Costing Virtual Mobility.................................................................88C. Benefits .............................................................................................91D. How to make decisions ........................................................................ 93 D. 1. Stakeholders’ views and weighting principles........................... 93 D. 2. Context analysis ............................................................................ 93 D. 3. University strategy and key benefits .......................................... 94 D. 4. A three-step approach to decision making ............................... 95E. Conclusions......................................................................................96Conclusions, recommendations and strategic options ....99Concluding statements..........................................................................99100
  3. 3. IntroductionThis work contains a synthesis of thinking and practice on ODL-supported flexible learning in traditional European universities asdeveloped in a number of European projects. These projects have ahybrid model of face to face teaching and distance teaching and learningin common, the so-called HUMANITIES model, which has beenapplied in different subject areas and in various university settings.The project partners have the feeling that the accumulated experiencehad become broad and deep enough to make an attempt at synthesisingfor wider dissemination. This in order to assist newly interested personsand parties in partner and other universities to make a start withprovision of HUMANITIES type flexible learning without inventing thewheel again.The HUMANITIES III project, supported by the EuropeanCommission DG XXII under Socrates ODL, aimed at the followingways to disseminate summaries of results: a Dissemination Conference(held 13 October 1998, Long Term Strategy for ODL in UniversityEnvironments and Virtual Mobility1), preparation of a book containingthe results of the synthesis studies (the present work), and production ofa practical guide, to be published almost at the same time as this work.The present work is composed of a number of separately writtencontributions.Four detailed overviews of research findings and practical experienceswith HUMANITIES-model ICT and ODL form the core of the work,each one based on the outcome of a Special Interest Group in theHUMANITIES III project: Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility (SIG 1)with attention to a detailed description of the concept and theHUMANITIES model, the conditions for application, benefits andexperienced and/or expected results;1 A brochure with a synthesis of HUMANITIES III may be obtainedfrom the Coimbra Group office; e-mail: delaere@coimbra-group.be 101
  4. 4. Co-ordinator: Dr. Maya Eisner (EuroMedia Link, Milano).Participants: Prof. Jørgen Bang (Aarhus University), Mrs. Irene Hein(TechNet Finland), Mr. Jorma Rinta-Kanto (Turku University), Prof.Carmen Martín Robledo (Salamanca University), Mr. Søren Pold (AarhusUniversity). HUMANITIES Resource and Study Centres (SIG 4)a discussion of their function and main roles within and outside theuniversity, including the inter-university network as a necessary conditionfor functioning, and of organisational and economical aspects in view oftheir acting users;Co-ordinator: Mrs. Irene Hein (Helsinki University).Participants: Dr. Suzanne Weber (University of Göttingen), Dr. FrankAustermuhl (University of Mainz/Germersheim), Dr. Peter Floor(Coimbra Group), Mr. Xavier Bonete (Univisjon, Bergen). Interculturality and European Citizenship at University Level (SIG 3)with overview of the various concepts behind the terms, theirconsequences for education in general and their influence on virtualinstruction in particular, and with specific attention to the languagefactor;Co-ordinator: Mr. Jef Van den Branden (EuroPACE 2000, Leuven).Participants: Prof. Jean Wood (University of Edinburgh), Prof. ValerioGrementieri (Siena University), Dr. Domingo Sánchez-Mesa (GranadaUniversity), Dr. Claudio Dondi (Scienter, Bologna). Costs and Benefits of Virtual Mobility (SIG 2)with a multi-perspective view to the economic analysis of the model andsuggestions for the university management decision making process.Co-ordinator: Dr. Claudio Dondi (Scienter, Bologna).Participants: Prof. Nicolás Pérez de la Blanca (University of Granada), Dr.Maya Eisner (EuroMedia Link, Milano), Prof. Knut Midttun (Universityof Bergen), Dr. Christel Claeys (University of Leuven), Dr. AlexiaBoninsegna (Scienter, Bologna).The four core-contributions are preceded by a summary of thebackground and history of HUMANITIES and an introductorycontribution on ODL and ICT in education and the kind of virtualmobility we have implemented.At the end of this work we present some general conclusions,recommendations and strategic options.102
  5. 5. Whereas this work should provide a better understanding of the virtualmobility model as developed by the HUMANITIES projects, probablyits most practical outcome is the set of guidelines produced as areflection on the findings and experiences reported here.The contributions in this work have been written in such a way that eachone can be read and used independently as well. Therefore, a limitedamount of overlap in the texts had to be accepted.It was decided that the task of the editor would be a relatively light one,the responsibility for the contributions remaining with their authors.With this work and the Guidelines the series of HUMANITIES projectsinitiated in 1994 comes to an end. We shall continue working along thelines of HUMANITIES in a variety of other ways and projects.We are grateful to all those who have enabled us to developHUMANITIES. We appreciate to mention many supportive persons inDG XXII, DG XII and DG XIII, European Commission. We aregreatly indebted to our university and non-university partners, especiallyall persons who involved themselves enthusiastically in the actualdistance learning projects.Many valuable suggestions have been received from and contributionsmade by Dr. Claudio Dondi from Scienter, Bologna. The dedicated andthoughtful support by officers at the Coimbra Group office, Mrs.Véronique Maes, Mrs. Cliona Cunningham (until April 1998) and Ms.Alejandra Roig, and by their colleagues in other partner organisations hasbeen indispensable for the completion of our projects.Finally we are most thankful to all those who contributed with theirsuggestions, critical comments, and well considered feedback to thesharpening of our minds.HUMANITIES is a good example of what can be reached in amotivating collective effort. Valerio Grementieri Peter Floor 103
  6. 6. Background and History of HUMANITIES Peter Floor2 Coimbra Group, Leiden UniversityA. Background Plans for HUMANITIES originated in the Coimbra Group in thecourse of 1993.The Coimbra Group is an association by charter of mostly old andtraditional universities, the vast majority of them situated within theEuropean Union.The group was created in 1985 on the initiative of Mr. Simon-PierreNothomb, then at the Université Catholique de Louvain. The definitivedecision to establish the group was taken in 1986 in Coimbra, hence thename Coimbra Group. Conscious of the fact that traditional universities have a specificmission within the whole of higher education and that collaboration andpursuit of common value added could be of great importance to themembers of the group, the founders decided to apply certain criteria tomembership and to keep the number of members limited.Thus, at present the Coimbra Group has 33 members, all complete,traditional universities, most of them relatively old and situated in smallto medium-sized towns where the academies and their students have adirect and visible impact on town-life itself.Mid-1998, members of the Coimbra Group are: Aarhus (DK), Barcelona(E), Bergen (N), Bologna (I), Bristol (GB), Budapest (H), Cambridge(GB), Coimbra (P), Dublin-Trinity (IRL), Edinburgh (GB), Galway(IRL), Göttingen (D), Granada (E), Graz (A), Groningen (NL),Heidelberg (D), Jena (D), Kraków (PL), Leiden (NL), Leuven (B),2 With constructive critisism and active contributions from VéroniqueMaes, Project Director Coimbra Group office, Jef Van den Branden,EuroPACE 2000, Claudio Dondi, Scienter, Bologna and ValerioGrementieri, Università di Siena.104
  7. 7. Louvain (B), Montpellier (F), Oxford (GB), Padova (I), Pavia (I), Poitiers(F), Praha (CZ), Salamanca (E), Siena (I), Thessaloniki (GR), Turku/Åbo(FIN), Uppsala (S), Würzburg (D).Grossly stated, the Coimbra Group aims at collaboration in the mainareas of academic concern, teaching and research, and also at fosteringthe cultural diversity in Europe through university cultural events. The history of the group has shown that, indeed, actions could beundertaken and results realised that individual member universities couldhardly bring about.Some examples:• Having an integrated network of contact persons in place, the group was in an excellent position to embrace the ERASMUS and, later, TEMPUS and Med Campus programmes of the European Communities. Not only were the members capable of realising a strong participation in the programmes, they could also exchange information, discuss best practices and assist each other by solving problems.• Having shown that it was capable to deliver, the group got a contract from the European Commission to test an idea of Mr. Nothomb that Latin-American alumni of European universities and post-graduate courses would be eager to organise themselves in ‘Círculos Europeos’ to strengthen ties with Europe and its cultures, learn about backgrounds and practicalities of integration processes, also under way in Latin America, and exchange expertise in favour of higher quality, more effective relations between universities and society, etc. At present 18 such Círculos Europeos exist, in Buenos Aires/La Plata (Argentina), La Paz (Bolivia), Florianópolis, Niterói, Pelotas, Recife, Río de Janeiro, São Paulo (Brasil), Santiago (Chile), Bogotá (Colombia), San José (Costa Rica), Quito (Ecuador), Ciudad de México (México), Asunción (Paraguay), Lima (Perú), Montevideo (Uruguay), Caracas, Mérida (Venezuela).• University representatives active in the group realised themselves that the rapid advances in information and communication technologies would deeply affect all sectors of society and would have an immense impact on Higher Education. They also noticed a certain reluctance in their institutions as a whole to play a vanguard role on the electronic highway, notwithstanding impressive achievements in certain academic subject areas within their institutions. On the contrary, to a 105
  8. 8. certain extent it was felt as if the institutions considered it their duty to avoid overengagement in new technologies that might put high traditional academic values (and therefore also personal and institutional interests) at risk. With the increasing capacity and user-friendliness of the new technologies new applications came within reach, enabling hybrid models of university teaching and ICT-supported (tele-)learning. It became possible to engage members of the Coimbra Group and other universities in pilot experiments with such a hybrid model and this gave rise to HUMANITIES, subject of this work.• In 1997, the Coimbra Group decided to intensify collaboration by paving the way for strategic co-operation arrangements among those members that are interested in and ready for strong commitments on one or more areas of academic interest. It is expected that such an arrangement for the strategic implementation of new technologies will be one of them, in association with the VirtUE (Virtual University in Europe) project. More about this later in this contribution.B. History The initiative for HUMANITIES has been taken in 1993 byProfessor Valerio Grementieri of the University of Siena. ProfessorGrementieri, member of the Steering Committee of the Coimbra Groupfor many years, felt a double concern: on the one hand he feared thattraditional universities would fail to familiarise themselves with thetechnologies in times of increasing competition in Higher Education, onthe other he noted that traditional universities produce great numbers ofalumni in the humanities with relatively weak perspectives on a labourmarket that looks more and more for professionally specialisedgraduates. The first HUMANITIES (Historic Universities MultimediANetwork for InnovaTion In Education Systems) project was granted bythe European Commission in 1994. Its objectives, clearly reflecting theconcerns mentioned above, read as follows:• introduce ODL in top-level European universities, improve appreciation of Open and Distance Learning in universities, explore benefits of internationalisation of curricula, give wide access to international study experiences.106
  9. 9. • prove that virtual mobility can work effectively at European scale, create a usable model for a Virtual Classroom.• Introduce HUMANITIES in an academic environment that so far: − had been reluctant to use new technologies and Open and Distance Learning; − had experienced problems with employment of its graduates (often from the humanities) that would benefit from curricular reform and a European dimension. The project brought together the Coimbra Group, technologyproviders, experts in the area of teleteaching, multimedia use, technologyimplementation and educational research, and the network of universityenterprise training partnerships.Through the Coimbra Group, universities inside and outside themembership of the group were found interested in pilot projects, run -organised and co-ordinated by the group - in the subject areas of Law,Communication Science and Literature. In preparation of the pilots a (hybrid) pedagogical model wasdeveloped, called the HUMANITIES model, comprising a commondistance module inserted in the normal face to face courses of theparticipating universities. University courseface to face module distance module face to face module 16 hours 16 hours 16 hours preparation for distance distance learning tasks learning wwwSpecialists from the partners, in subject area organising committees,decided on the themes and the concrete contents of the three distancemodules. They also assigned senior students/young staff as tutors whogot a special training in the project context (ODL methodologies and 107
  10. 10. technologies used). The technologies to be used were also debated anddecided upon, with assistance of the experts participating in the projects. After thorough technological and pedagogical preparation in allthe universities the distance module courses took place in five or six 3-hour sessions per subject area. Multilateral question/answer plusdiscussion sessions followed presentations by teachers, each time from adifferent locality.A practical placement in a firm or organisation abroad would concludethe learning experience of HUMANITIES I. Local arrangements had been made for assessing the students’progress in the distance modules. We have exposed the essentials of HUMANITIES I at somelength in this historical chapter since it dynamised teachers to the extentthat they started projects based on the HUMANITIES model on theirown initiative, resulting - together with further developments in theHUMANITIES itself - in a whole “family” of HUMANITIES-basedprojects, all supported by the European Commission (DG XII, DGXIII, DG XXII and DG I): HUMANITIES I, II, III Calibernet Transcult Giotto Pegasus Etica Euroliterature Patagonia Only part of these projects focussed on actual teaching/learning,others, not necessarily co-ordinated by the Coimbra Group, elaboratedon experiences gained, included HUMANITIES experiences in a widercontext, or involved HUMANITIES partner universities in datacollection or research.The early projects offering distance modules led to a further evolutionand a greater variety of curricular integration models, all within thehybrid context characteristic of HUMANITIES.Because of its HUMANITIES experience the Coimbra Group wasinvited to join the VirtUE project, co-ordinated by EuroPACE 2000,and is now also getting involved in follow-up projects of VirtUE.108
  11. 11. Between 1994 and 1998 the following universities engagedthemselves actively or passively in HUMANITIES projects:Aarhus, Åbo Akademi, Bergen, Bologna, Coimbra, Edinburgh, Galway,Genève, Göttingen, Granada, Groningen, Heidelberg, Kraków, Leiden,Leuven, Louvain, Montpellier, Pavia, Poitiers, Reykjavik, Salamanca,Siena, Thessaloniki, Turku, Uppsala, Wien. Other organisations participating were/are:Scienter (I) and through Scienter: ATENA, DTI, FUNDETEC, CESI;COMNET (B) and through COMNET: Amitié, AUESA, CARIFFormatante, UETP Danube, DEUS Consortium, EUROTEAM,FORBITEC, HIBERNIA, INTERCOM, MACEDONIA, UETPRandstad, UETP Toscana, AUEF Wallonie-Bruxelles, Western Norway,Western Sweden; EuroMedia Link (I); CNED (F); BAOL (GB); CLS(GB); Associazione Campo (I); British Telecom Italy; Noesis (S);TechNet Finland (FI); EuroPACE 2000 (B); Univisjon (N). At the present stage of developments, having gained sufficientexperiences to evaluate and generalise with a view at enabling others tofollow without having to invent the wheel again (the reason forproposing HUMANITIES III and the writing of this work as one of itsdeliverables), it seems appropriate to conclude the historical introductionwith a short look into the future. It is beyond doubt that ODL supported flexible learning willdevelop increasingly in European traditional universities. Importantelements are:• it leads to dual mode activities (see next contribution);• it leads to economies of scale and cost effectiveness for universities having regional spreading of their campuses;• it stimulates co-operation between universities, nationally and especially trans-nationally. We are therefore certain that our members are going to proposenew projects and we shall encourage them to aim at continuousimprovement, for instance by involving more or other universities, moresubject areas, more students than before, increase the internationalintegration of these students, to experiment with a greater variety ofcurriculum integration models (within HUMANITIES, i.e., maintaining awell-considered combination of traditional teaching and distance learningelements), and to make major efforts at the production of re-useable 109
  12. 12. courseware, if possible not only for repeated use by the universitiesparticipating in the first round, but also for more general circulation toother interested universities, with teacher/tutor/assessment timeincluded. It will be clear that new users will have to pay a reasonableprice for such products and that, correspondingly, methodologies willhave to be developed for costing and marketing.Such developments need well-targeted research and development andour research partners and researchers in our member universities willcertainly seize opportunities that offer themselves.It is also clear that wider and more elaborate involvement in distancelearning and implementation of new technologies will create anincreasing need for all kinds of support, and also for finding the mosteffective way to provide such support, avoiding overlaps and securinggradual accumulation and dissemination of experience gained.The Virtual University in Europe (VirtUE) project line, co-ordinated byLeuven-based EuroPACE 2000, will operationalise a networkedstructure of courses and service provision, aiming at sustainable runningof this complex organisation involving many partners (likeHUMANITIES: universities, technology and specialised servicesproviders), with the aim of making the wealth of knowledge andexperience in mainstream universities available for students at home orelsewhere and new learners, from the professions and society at large. We expect that several major universities, ready for a strategicadaptation of their daily practices with overall implementation of thenew technologies, among them members of the Coimbra Group, willplay a major part in this VirtUE development: interface in a world ofinteroperable tools, services and contents.110
  13. 13. ODL, ICT and the HUMANITIES model Jef Van den Branden Educational Director EuroPACE 2000 Jørgen Bang Associate Professor Aarhus UniversityAims and objectives HUMANITIES is a series of European projects within traditionaluniversities which aimed at the development and introduction in thehuman science faculties of a virtual mobility structure, using open anddistance learning (ODL) which is information and communicationtechnologies (ICT)-based. The project aimed in other words atinnovation in education and training, focusing on three maincomponents:• Research for the development of the methodology;• ICT as the communication and interaction tools;• ODL for the format of the education.These components were taken along the entire project, and were used toconstitute the skeleton of the Humanities model for virtual mobility. More specifically the objectives of HUMANITIES as it developed,were the following:1) to develop Open and Distance Learning as a method to complement and/or provide alternatives to traditional student mobility schemes;2) to develop and test models of ODL in traditional university frameworks;3) to examine and quantify the benefits and role of ICT in university ODL systems;4) to apply accepted best practice to the models of ODL used;5) to establish connection and synergy between key networks involved in higher education, ODL and university-enterprise collaboration; 111
  14. 14. 6) to build on opportunities provided by existing ODL products, particularly those produced in previous European Union programmes;7) to undertake research on a number of unexplored areas of ODL implementation. For HUMANITIES Project Partners (universities involved throughthe University Network partners, as well as the non-university partners)this implied:• to experiment with innovative methods of ODL implementation within an educational environment;• to work together between and with universities to achieve a coherent pedagogical approach through the use of new technologies;• to make the European academic world aware of the added value and benefits of ODL in a traditional environment. More in particular, the HUMANITIES Universities wanted throughthe experimentation:• to achieve innovation through the introduction of new technologies;• to experiment with new methods and inter cultural elements;• to improve competitive positions;• to change the attitude of staff. In view of improving and adding an international component tomainstream higher education, the project aimed at the introduction ofICT and ODL components in conventional degree courses for full-time students.The choice was made to use an evolutionary strategy for thisintroduction: starting with a limited number of subjects and universities,the project wanted to gradually attract more humanities disciplines andfaculties within the already involved universities, as well as welcomemore (new) universities. Consequently, HUMANITIES is as such not an end in itself, itspurpose for universities was and is to experiment and stimulate, to showthe possibilities available to the university world through ICT and ODLand to guide universities in their strategic implementation on awidespread and long term scale. A consensus-building process withinpartner institutions and dissemination of results to interested parties inthe European academic world and ODL communities at large, istherefore regarded as an essential part of this strategy.112
  15. 15. ODL and ICT backgroundsB. 1. Open and Distance Learning Distance Education at university level is to be situated in Europein the late sixties, in the context of the "democratisation" of highereducation. It was found that the severe criteria which regulated (and stilltoday sometimes regulate) entrance to university, disfavoured thoseyoungsters who could rely on the necessary capacities but missed anacademic tradition in their families. The cultural and motivationalbackground of these youngsters, notably to be found in labour class,influenced their vocational choice, by orienting them towards vocationaltraining rather than to higher education in general and universityeducation in particular. Studies revealed that even if these youngstersfollowed a secondary education stream, which typically prepares foruniversity studies, it influenced negatively their success rates, with as aconsequence insufficient results to be admitted at university level, orunfinished university education. With a gross national product relying increasingly on products thatdemand for sophisticated know how (in production or services), theWestern European countries had to mobilise "brains", which impliedthat each citizen should have the opportunity to be educated as far aspossible. Sir John Daniels even believes that, apart from its economicbenefits, educating the mind is an imperative for world security (Daniels,1996). Offering a "second chance" to adults to catch up (and study asmature students at the university) fitted perfectly in their nationalendeavours. However, it implied the need of (1) an "open" admissionpolicy for those who were not responding to the "normal" formalentrance requirements, and (2) a study environment that enabled thecombination of study and professional activity.B. 2. The Open University example The British Open University (OU), as the first example of ODL inWestern Europe, adapted therefore the characteristics of correspondenceeducation to the requirements and modalities of the (British) tertiaryeducational system. It used a combination of paper based instructionalmaterials, audio-visual support materials (the famous OU-lectures on the 113
  16. 16. BBC) and home experimenting kits (including the popular "BBCcomputer", a PC specially developed by Acorn for the purposes of theOU study) to replace lectures and labs of conventional universityeducation. Two further characteristics of British University educationalso got their adaptation:1) reading as an essential element in the British University education became enabled by the production of special readers to replace library visits;2) written assignments (with feedback from tutors) in combination with a limited number of group tutorials (eventually organised as audio conferences) came in place of the conventional tutoring of on campus students.Finally, a number of residential summer schools at regular universitycampuses gave OU-students at least once a year the flavour of being realuniversity students. This British model was later copied by other European "OpenUniversities" (such as the Spanish UNED, the Portuguese UniversidadeAberta, the Dutch Open Universiteit); be it with changes andmodifications, to adapt the system to local (national) requirements of thespecific instructional system and university culture. All these open universities were and are independent institutions,offering their education only in a distance teaching mode. They mostlystarted up with emphasis on openness (as an essential condition fordemocratisation of tertiary education); the distance teaching mode beinginstrumental to realise this primary goal rather than being the ultimateobjective. In recent years however, access restrictions to highereducation have become less severe in many countries, and the degree ofparticipation to tertiary education of traditionally underrepresented socialstrata increased considerably. The need for openness, and with it itscentrality in open university schemes consequently became lessimportant. In its place came a centrality of educational innovationthrough distance education, as a consequence of the considerableexpertise (research and experience) which was gained by these OpenUniversities with respect to teaching and learning at a distance.B. 3. Shift of educational paradigms This shift of objectives goes along with a shift of educationalparadigms. The original concept of the ODL materials as developed by114
  17. 17. the British OU was devoting much attention to didactics that wereinspired by behaviourist design principles. Behaviourism considerslearning to be the (more or less automatic) consequence of an efficientlyorganised learning environment (stimuli), arranged in such a way that anadapted behaviour (reaction) of the learner is provoked and anchoredthrough reinforcement. Hence the need for relatively small learningunits, frequent tests and immediate feedback. Today however,constructivism got acceptance by the majority of instructionalpsychologists as a valid learning theory. It considers learning as a processof construction of meaning and knowledge, performed by the learnerwhile using learning resources. In other words, this shift of educationalparadigms moved the locus of control of the learning process, and withit the focus of education, from the teacher to the learner. Whilst the firstparadigm lays emphasis on "didactic" arrangements from the teachersside to enable the transfer of information from teacher or learningmaterials to the student, the second paradigm considers teaching as asupport device to the students learning, by stimulating the studentsactivity, motivating him/her to use successful learning strategies, helpinghim/her to find, select and process at a level of deep understanding avariety of (appropriate) learning resources, etc (for further elaboration,see Dillemans et al., 1998). With this shift from openness to distance learning, and thecomplementing shift from teaching to learning, the term "ODL"received a more generic interpretation. It is no longer referring to thegenuine open and distance teaching (and learning) with all its connectedconnotations, but indicating all formats of innovative education that canbe defined as “supported self instruction” (Confederation of EuropeanUnion Rectors’ Conferences, 1998). Some people therefore plead to usethe term "flexible learning" as the generic term, as various types of selfinstruction may be situated on a continuum between fixed and flexibleformats (see the reference made by B. Collis about her work in theTelescopia project, in: Scienter, 1998). In this volume, however, weconform ourselves to the recommendation of the Confederation ofEuropean Union Rectors Conferences, to use the term ODL in its all-inclusive designation.B. 4. Dual mode and mixed mode universities As a consequence of this shift in meaning of the term ODL,distance teaching can no longer be considered as the privilege of Open 115
  18. 18. Universities, but became also introduced on campus in traditionaluniversities (not least while the instructional materials of OpenUniversities also found their way into regular universities). In institutionswhere kinds of ODL were introduced in a systematic way, often in anattempt to attract new audiences to compensate for decreasinggovernmental subsidies, "dual mode" or "mixed mode" instructions wereimplemented. Dual mode institutions provide the same education in aconventional on campus (face-to-face) and in an off campus (ODL)mode, while mixed mode applications provide education partly inconventional and partly in ODL modes of teaching and learning.Although dual and mixed modes may be offered in single institutions,the approach is often used in the framework of consortia of regularuniversities, joining forces for the purpose. Such approach laid the basisfor e.g. the Associations of Distance Education, as existing in theScandinavian countries, or the Open Learning Foundation in Britain.B. 5. Trans-national networking The examples of collaboration, given in the preceding section, aresituated in one single country. This national approach has clearlydemonstrated its value, in responding to various national needs: e.g.bridging the physical distances between the place were people liveand/or work and the location of the nearest-by university; rationalisinghigher education by the creation of larger universities by mergingspatially dispersed entities; creating critical masses for the study of highlyspecialised (and by consequence scarcely populated) study domains; etc.This national approach bypassed however the challenge of incorporatingan international dimension. In a unifying Europe, this dimension maynot only offer an added value to education in contributing towards thecreation of a European citizenship, but might become even a necessarycondition to respond adequately to the internationalisation of theEuropean economy (European Commission, 1996). Internationalisation implies trans-national networking. It has beena policy for many years of the European Community, and afterwards theEuropean Union, to stimulate such trans-national networking withinEurope in all sectors of society. The policy was not only initiated foreconomic reasons, but also social and political reasons have triggered it:the European politicians wanted to avoid a Europe with different speeds.116
  19. 19. Also in training and education, trans-national networking throughODL has been advocated: many reports of either the Commission orWorking Groups initiated or supported by the Commission have takenup the issue. See e.g. the various White papers, Green papers, IRDACreport, CCAM studies, BEACON reports etc. Not only in subject domains with a clear European dimension (e.g.European history, European policy, European law, etc.), but in everydomain and level of education and training the European Commissioninitiated programmes to fund projects that aim at such networked ODL. This is maybe one of the main differences of the European ODLapproach in comparison with existing examples in other parts of theworld. The resemblance of ODL schemes and materials may be great(similar subjects, similar design and production methodologies, similardelivery and support strategies and techniques, similar materials, toolsand resources, etc.), but in most parts of the world ODL is being usedfor practical reasons and to respond to local, regional or nationalobjectives. Probably only in Europe a well conceived trans-nationalpolicy which involved so many nations and countries, was inserted in themoulding of ODL.B. 6. Information and Communications Technologies Co-operation between universities (be it regional, national or trans-national) is one of the answers to the contemporary challenges ofuniversities, as described by the CRE report (CRE, 1996) and guide(CRE, 1998). These challenges are specified in the report as reduced funding, thecall by governments and society for greater accountability, demands forincreased relevance, competition within the higher education sector aswell as with other organisations, and the impact and opportunities ofnew technologies. It is argued that more than ever before, the role of theuniversities in knowledge creation and maintenance, as well as theircontribution to cultural and societal development gets affected by theinformation and communication technologies. It therefore pleads thatuniversity strategies for technology should be based in learning, and not(only) be market or competitiveness driven. Implementation of ICTsupported education (ODL in the largest meaning of the term), has in 117
  20. 20. other words to be a strategic decision in response to the universityscontemporary needs. This approach fits perfectly in what the aims and objectives of theHUMANITIES project put forward. The HUMANITIES model wasintended to provide universities with the opportunity to introduce ODLon an experimental basis in their learning approaches, to contributesubstantially to the diffusion of learner-based education and developstudent skills such as initiative, self-confidence and self-assessment; thusenhancing as well the quality of tertiary education. ICT based or supported ODL can service various utilisationmodels. Three models can functionally and conceptually bedistinguished, although in the reality of practical applications a numberof overlaps and synergies will be noticed.• Virtual class and campus This model is based on communication between universities: it creates virtual universities by giving remote access to teaching (virtual class) and (virtual campus), other academic activities (e.g. library visits, research activities and communication) to staff and students from other universities.• Flexible and open learning In this model (off campus) students remain at their workplace, at home or in local study centres. This model is traditionally taken up by Open Universities, and is becoming popular in traditional universities for continuing education and professional postgraduate programmes.• Learning on demand This model may be considered as a specific format of the flexible and open learning, tailored to the specific needs of individuals or small and well defined user groups.C. Experiences within HUMANITIES HUMANITIES chose for a specific activity within the first modelwhich was described above: virtual mobility at advanced undergraduatelevel of students in humanities faculties of European universities118
  21. 21. (members of Coimbra Group as well as others, invited to join the projectfor the purpose). Since HUMANITIES provided only parts of a normaluniversity curriculum, it utilised a "hybrid" model of virtual mobility.This means that some components of distance education(videoconferencing based lectures and seminars, computer conferencingand e-mail based ongoing communication, assignments using webresources, video and text based resources or multimedia) were integratedwithin a traditional classroom based course. The choice for this model of virtual mobility was made as itintegrates a number of advantages:• a greater number of students can be involved than in trans-national mobility schemes;• a greater possibility exists of introducing new contents in the curricula and of activating new courses;• possibility of achieving the results at lower costs;• possibility of combining trans-national experience with the use of new technologies;• bringing the practice and educational innovation to the teachers. By using this combination of ODL and traditional teaching, bothteachers and students could benefit at least partly through the virtualmobility of the experience of conventional (physical) mobility: access toother teachers, to learning materials taught in "foreign" universities, toother cultures and environments. Furthermore, it allowed both teachersand students access to new technology and shaped and directed the useof this technology within a pedagogical environment. Finally, itencouraged economic rationalisation through the saving of energy withthe perspective that on the longer term also money can be saved. As such, the HUMANITIES model provided an effectiveresponse to the Socrates objectives: meeting both the educational andtechnological demands of today, improving the quality and relevance ofthe education offered, and promoting European co-operation andidentity. Also its motivation to improve the quality of traditionaleducation through the use of ICT addressed one of the main objectivesof the Socrates programme. Though virtual mobility can be realised within one institution, e.g.to connect scattered campuses of that same institution and thus enablingstaff to give the lecture only once, the HUMANITIES model is basically 119
  22. 22. a network model. The network connects the partners and provides theopportunity to have an integrated approach and care, in which all actorsare interactively involved. A number of (mostly) Coimbra Groupuniversities, supported by training organisations and research instituteswere united in a network for the very purpose. Such networked model of virtual class is essentially different fromODL in which conventional lectures are transmitted either by ICT to anaudience that is not present in the lecture hall, or taped to provide (onand off campus) students with the recorded version. Both types of ODLbecame extremely popular in the USA, where "university extension"programmes use often these techniques (eventually in combination withmore traditional ODL materials in paper-based format and/orconventional computer assisted instruction). The network model as a trans-national model, is not onlypromoted by the European Union, but is even an essential condition toproject funding from the European Commission. In this way itcontributes to education towards European identity and Europeancitizenship, and supports the development of Europes economy (bettertraining of the workforce, preparation for European mobility). The HUMANITIES project should be situated at this background.It has been, and still is an emanation of the Coimbra Groups interest instimulation of educational innovation within its member universities, by:• making universities and their staff aware of the potential of ODL (and ICT);• offering them models which are validated by research to realise this potential;• training them in optimal use for the ODL design, production and delivery (including user support), thus contributing to enhancement of availability and quality of ODL media and resources;• encouraging the recognition of qualifications obtained through ODL in an inter-university co-operation on a European scale;• supporting universities in the development of strategic plans for innovation.120
  23. 23. C. 1. Actors in HUMANITIES All in all, 26 universities from 19 countries have been involved inthe preparation and execution of three subject areas - (European) Law,Communication Science and Literature, and in later strategicdevelopment and research/dissemination projects. The participating universities were all of a European and traditionalnature and shared three main characteristics: • a long tradition in the humanities; • limited experience in the field of ODL; • member of/or associated with the Coimbra Group, and open and accustomed to trans-national experiences (ERASMUS, LINGUA, TEMPUS, etc). Naturally, the education and training systems were different ineach country thereby giving a wide range of differences which furtherenriched the project and tested its applicability and effectiveness on aEuropean scale: • linguistic differences; • cultural differences; • differences of structure and organisational processes; • differences in the level of autonomy; • differences in course content, level and structure. Other partners were training and research organisations, involvedin the project to support either ICT or/and ODL methodologyimplementation. The project contributed in the following way to beneficiaries:Universities• innovation by introducing new technologies, new methods and inter-cultural elements;• improvement of competitive positions;• change in attitudes of staff.Professors• familiarisation with ICT;• new approaches to teaching; 121
  24. 24. • international outreach;• pulling resources for sharing knowledge and experience.Tutors• professional updating;• career development;• international outreach.Students• improvement of curricula through an international environment;• increase of "employability"• familiarisation with ICT• confrontation of ideas with other European studentsEuropean Commission• innovation in education systems• development of new knowledge• European added value of curricula• enhancing mobility of human resources• development and test of a Europe-wide virtual mobility schemeC. 2. General overview of experiences and outcomes Universities have become more and more aware, thanks toprojects such as HUMANITIES, that ODL can increase both thecompetitiveness and quality of their learning systems whilst providing aneffective response to student expectations and demand. This awareness is however not shared by all universities, nor by allactors within the universities. A number of university teachers andstudents remain rather reluctant, as ODL systems dramatically changethe actors roles: teachers have to become facilitators and supporters ofstudents learning and can no longer "perform" while teaching; studentshave to take a far larger responsibility for their own learning than in aconventional teaching setting. Changing the physical contact between teachers and students onthe one hand, and between students on the other into a virtualinteraction through the use of ICT, is considered by some actors as a122
  25. 25. dehumanisation of the interaction; some even fear that the "normal"interaction in conventional settings will drop or be lost at all. Outcomesof projects and experiences like HUMANITIES prove the contrary, atleast when technology is used in a proper way. A most important condition to optimally use ICT and ODL is thetraining of actors. Not only teachers and students, but also tutors,administrators and even technicians within the universities must learnhow to use ICT and ODL. It is not an easy task to develop and providesuch training, nor to motivate all these actors in taking it. As long asresearch recognition is predominantly influencing academic careers,investment in teaching and learner support will remain less attractive forteachers. Innovation of education implies a greater involvement ofadministrators and technicians in the development and provision ofeducation, which is sometimes rejected by teachers as they expect to losecontrol over the instructional situation by it, and sometimes unwillinglywelcomed by administrators and technicians as this affects the workingtime, and creates responsibilities and task contents for which they wereoriginally not engaged. With respect to ICT based ODL in general and with the virtualmobility model in particular, the following conditions can additionally bementioned as essential:• availability of technology;• internationalisation of curricula;• academic recognition and integration in the curriculum, implying acceptance by the own university and institutional support;• provision of a network of universities as a support structure for the interaction;• limited number of participating sites in the interaction, to enable good communication;• cost sharing and reduction of telecommunication expenses;• language skills (computer languages/natural languages). Hence the need for the universities to accept ODL and ICT as astrategic issue for future development; a decision which has to be takenat top management level of the university but supported at the mid levelof faculties and departments and accepted by individual academics (for amore elaborated argumentation, see CRE, 1998). 123
  26. 26. Part of this strategic decision concerns the development of anappropriate pedagogic and didactic approach to learning in a virtualenvironment where teachers and students are scattered over severalinstitutions in different countries but exchanging ideas and collaboratingto explore themes of common interest (I). Another part of this strategicdecision is the willingness to invest in the infrastructure and personnelthat the new technologies and their use imply (II). Ad I In the classic lecture hall model, still used in many conventionaluniversities, transference of knowledge is viewed as a disseminationprocess in which the lecturer pours knowledge into the heads of thestudents based on the logic of the content. A similar concept lies behindthe correspondence model for distance education, but has in the large-scale open university model been modified. Now course materials areorganised to support the individual learning process and often face-to-face tutorials in which the students may ask questions and receivecomments on their assignments, has become an integrated part of thiseducational set-up. Over the last decade the tradition for producinglearner-oriented educational material has expanded further by adding aninteractive dimension, e.g. Computer Based Training (CBT)programmes, CD-ROM based learning material and WWW distributedcourses. A different understanding of the learning process is expressedwithin the problem-oriented concept of learning. Here the assumption isthat truly meaningful learning arises from the students activeengagement in shared learning experiences directly related to praxis -practical work or problem solving analysis of identified social,environmental or physical problems. Group-work is an essential aspectof this learning concept both within the school system and at universitylevel. The virtual environment model applied in the HUMANITIESproject - also named the virtual mobility model - tries to develop anunderstanding of learning between these two positions. On the onehand, transfer of knowledge is accomplished by presenting the learnerwith prepared learning materials and even lectures, which are able toencourage active participation. On the other hand, the acquiredinformation has to be integrated with the already existing knowledge inthe brain of the learner to fulfil the learning process. Meaning isproduced and knowledge is constructed through an active process of124
  27. 27. negotiation in which new information is integrated and absorbed intoour existing understanding of the world. To achieve this the virtual environment model is an effectivevehicle since dialogue and collaboration are adequate tools to enhancethe integration (negotiation) of new information with existing knowledgethrough expression of meaning (points of view) in discussion with fellowlearners. Through the incorporation of modern educational technologiessuch as satellite television, video and audio conferences, WWW, e-mailand computer conferencing, distance is no longer an obstacle and insome cases even time has been overcome. Nevertheless, the mostimportant achievement is probably the learner-centred approach whichencouraged trans-national and inter-institutional collaboration bothamong students/learners and among teachers/content providers. The experiences from the HUMANITIES project show that theteachers appreciate its potential of sharing resources. Not only efforts fordevelopment are shared (with all the benefits of receiving the multiple ofthe own investment, e.g. a full course for actively contributing to a partof it) but co-operation contributes clearly to the overall quality of theend product. Trans-national collaboration also acts as eye opener to newpossibilities, approaches, examples of good practice, or helps to avoidmistakes during implementation. Ad II An ODL resource and support centre in each university has to beconsidered an appropriate and positive step, as it offers both apermanent structure and a strongly needed co-ordinated organisation ofservices within the university. This centre should not (necessarily) belimited to certain subject areas but have links with all faculties anddepartments. At the trans-national level, a network is needed to support theparticipating universities. As was investigated in the VirtUE (VirtualUniversity for Europe) project, this network could take the format of (1)a joint academic network for content provision, and (2) a central serviceprovision network for technology and methodology provision andsupport. The joint academic network might be organised in clusters of co-operating universities, either composed around subjects for which ODL 125
  28. 28. is jointly developed and provided ("Thematic clusters") or broughttogether to service the education and training needs of a region("Regional clusters"). The central service provision network develops services of variouskinds: provision of ICT (hardware and software, with emphasis on thenetwork support: conferencing bridges, satellite capacity and uplink, webenvironments, authoring tools, etc.) and standards (e.g. for basicrequirements of equipment, for access to resources, for languagemanagement), support for network development (varying from partnerrecruitment to support for academic recognition), interface between thejoint academic activities and technology providers. As general outcomes of experiences, it can be noted that ICTbased trans-national ODL is appreciated specifically by students for its:• quick and accurate retrieval of information;• availability of demonstrations and applications as learning resources;• access to lectures on topics or approaches of topics that are not available in the own university;• (on-line/off-line) communication with persons which otherwise would be inaccessible, or hardly to be approached;• the European dimension (with the enrichment of cultural diversity) for a course.126
  29. 29. Bibliography Daniels, J.S. (1996). Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media.Technology strategies for Higher Education. London, Kogan Page Dillemans,R., Lowyck, J., Van der Perre, G., Claeys, C. & Elen, J.(1998). New Technologies for Learning: contribution of ICT toinnovation in education. Leuven, Leuven University Press. CRE (1996). Restructuring the University. Universities and theChallenge of New Technologies. Geneva, Association of EuropeanUniversities. CRE (1998). Restructuring the University. New Technologies forTeaching and Learning. Guidance to Universities on Strategy. Geneva,Association of European Universities. Confederation of European Union Rectors Conferences. Workinggroup on open and distance learning (1998). Trends in Open andDistance Education. A Review and Recommendations. Lisbon,Universidade Aberta. European Commission (1996). Teaching and Learning. Towardsthe Learning Society. White Paper. Luxembourg, Office for OfficialPublications of the European Communities. Scienter (1998). Research perspectives on Open DistanceLearning. Collection of research papers from the four projects supportedby the EU Joint Action on Open Distance Learning. Bologna, Scienter. 127
  30. 30. The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility Maya Eisner – Co-ordinator Roberta Paulin – Assistant EuroMedia LinkMany thanks to our SIG 1 «Virtual Team», that with great energy and constant co- operation contributed to the accomplishment of this chapter.A. The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility The idea behind HUMANITIES Project is to develop andconsolidate a structure of Virtual Mobility such as to enable, in themedium term, the vast majority of European students to make use of theopportunity to increase the quality of their education and, thus, to openup better training and professional qualifications as well as employmentopportunities for the young citizens of Europe. HUMANITIES is based on integration of ODL elements(modules, technologies) in traditional classroom lessons, on a learningmodel which, without abandoning the classic lesson of the singleteachers, adds value to the students activities and the collaborativelearning.It is important to underline, first of all, that what has been developed inHUMANITIES is a teaching/learning model, which could be perceivedat the same time as a product (intangible) or as a set of services. Planning and organisation of a Distance Learning course, as well asroles, characteristics and responsibilities of the key players in ODL(teachers, tutors and learners) are quite different from the ones typical ofa traditional classroom environment, in which all the learners are locatedin a well-defined space with a Teacher providing a face-to-face lesson. Looking at the HUMANITIES Project experience, it has beenpossible to point out and to analyse all the substantial changes, whichoccurred.128
  31. 31. What is important to highlight is that often ODL Projects run with twodifferent speeds. On one hand, there are “the theories” of how ODL“should be”, while, on the other hand, there are (and it is completelyunderstandable) specific problems belonging to each specific university,to each specific attitude or resistance, and so on.Therefore, besides theories, it is important to be able to “listen” to theexperience coming from each university and try to understand where thereal problems are (is it a matter of organisation, budget, culture,technology, knowhow?).Only then, a real “tailor made” ODL project is feasible. As for HUMANITIES experience, a gradual and context-basedimplementation is giving a more positive feedback than a pure ODLscheme. This hybridisation can be defined as a methodological approach inwhich part of the teaching is delivered in the traditional face-to-facemethod and part through the ODL strategy by using channels such asInternet and technology media such as satellite broadcast, videoproduction, web pages, audio and videoconference.This possible solution should be better than a complete virtual class. Infact, people need people. The human contact is necessary and interactionmakes people feeling part of the same common project. The HUMANITIES model, by dealing with the innovation of thelearning approaches in traditional environments through ODL and newtechnologies, is in some way assisting the traditional Europeanuniversities to face and fulfil the new changes and needs. The overall goal of HUMANITIES (Historic UniversitiesMultimedia Network for Innovation in Education Systems) is tocontribute to give a European dimension to the learning process byutilising the means already available, thanks to previous EuropeanProgrammes. The Project is aimed at experimenting an integratedsolution from an educational, social and economic point of view.B. The Learning Context Basically the HUMANITIES Project is an educational innovationproject, joining together a model for virtual mobility with a virtualseminar model - understood as an educational setting in which thelearners exchange ideas, discuss controversial issues related to the chosen 129
  32. 32. subject, and use each other as resources for gathering of information inrelation to assignments and exam essays. In ODL, knowledge is no more poured into the heads of thestudents based on the logic of the content, but often learners may askquestions and receive comments on their assignments in the face-to-facetutorials, which are an integrated part of this educational set up. A different understanding of the learning process is expressedwithin the new ODL context. On the one hand, transfer of knowledge isaccomplished by presenting the learner well-prepared learning materialsand even lectures that are able to encourage active participation. On theother hand, the acquired information has to be integrated with thealready existing knowledge in the brain of the learner to fulfil thelearning process. When learning is brought out of the classroom and the “built in”possibilities of dialogue, the processes of conceptualisation, textualisationand mediation become essential. The message has to pass throughencoding and decoding, both of which are heavily dependent on thecultural environment in which they proceed. Even when decoding isaccomplished and information transformed into new knowledge by thereceiver, there is no guarantee that this knowledge is equivalent to theknowledge of the sender. The dissemination of knowledge is in factdependent on the culture in which it is produced and reproduced duringdecoding and reception. In an Open and Distance Learning context, knowledge might betransferred if the two following conditions are achieved:• The receiver belongs to a culture/society in which the codes – language, text-formats, genres and media-conventions – used during encoding are shared and understood;• The learning material or the educational setting is able to establish a “space” of reflection and contemplation in which the Learner may decode the information and negotiate its relevance in relation to existing knowledge and world views. The virtual seminar model is an effective vehicle to reach thesetwo conditions since dialogue and collaboration are adequate tools toenhance the integration and negotiation of new information with existing130
  33. 33. knowledge through expression of meaning and points of view indiscussion with fellow learners. Although the virtual seminar model, in principle, is an excellenttool to promote trans-national knowledge transfer and dissemination ofinformation in a way that enhances a European dimension to thenational curricula, the educational set up of the operation has to becarefully planned from a didactic perspective.Collaboration with colleagues and learners from different Europeanuniversities involves a technical infrastructure, a learning supportstructure and a planning horizon, which are quite different from the onesneeded in the home-university-based courses.C. The “Pedagogical” Use of Technologies in HUMANITIES Project As technologies are an integrated component of theHUMANITIES ODL hybrid solution, more and more attention has beengiven to them. Frequently, each of the media is considered as just amedium for transmitting information. However, each medium hascharacteristics that differentiate it from the other. Therefore teachersusing them should have a clear idea of which form they should transmitthe information in. Multimedia support is not a neutral tool that can be used withoutconsiderations in order to increase the efficiency of learning.Technologies are something that changes curricula, giving newcompetencies to people using them. Therefore, the creation of a synergybetween the technical side and the human and didactic one is of thegreatest importance.Technology should not become a goal in itself and the education shouldnot be constructed around the media, because the role of technology inthe ODL educational set up is that of a learning facilitator. The realchallenge is not which technology works best but which models are bestsuited to the individual learner and his/her learning needs.That is the reason why the HUMANITIES Project aimed to experimentwith ways of introducing telematic technologies in classical Europeanuniversity settings, in order to develop concepts of ODL as opposed tosimply delivering courses top-down. 131
  34. 34. As far as the choice of the channels of interaction is concerned, itis to consider which pedagogical strategy could be used for each channel.Moreover, each channel should be introduced with presentations,examples, exercises, because pedagogy is not independent from itssupporting tools.Satellite transmission, video and audio-conference on one side, Internet,e-mail, mailing lists on the other, lead to an increase in motivation ofstudents (as happened in HUMANITIES Project). Through all these contacts with other Universities working at thesame field, students feel themselves part of a common project aiming ata common goal.Moreover, technologically mediated distance education gives the chanceto improve discussions among students. To succeed on a university levelwith ODL, it could be fruitful to use the remote control as a tool toopen local forums and simultaneously use local forums to subvert thepower of the remote control. It is necessary that both the local and theglobal setting change, without cancelling either, in order to gain bothglobal insight and local critical integrity. In order to give an example of how HUMANITIES I andHUMANITIES II were developed between the participating universities,the following experience in the subject area of Literature will bepresented, even if in other parts of the Projects different solutions werefound and implemented. In this particular case, the communication technologies were:• satellite transmission• video ISDN (high (384 KB) and low (128 KB) quality• telephone (conference + one to one)• Internet• WWW-homepage: http://www.dipoli.hut.fi/org/TechNet/org/humanities/ lite/index.html• news groups/mailing lists: http://www.dipoli.hut.fi/org/TechNet/org/humanities/lite/ dgroup.html• Internet Relay Chat• Fax• Mail (for texts, evaluation reports, etc.)132
  35. 35. The main activity in the common project was five satellite sessionswith lectures and discussions.For this, a combination was used of satellite transmission, video ISDN,telephone, and email collected in the studio, Univisjon in Bergen. In thestudio, the various signals were combined and edited into one signal thatwas up-linked to the satellite (Intelsat 707) to be received throughoutEurope. Some of the sessions were moderated from Bergen and hadgathered professors in Bergen, which allowed for very high, satellitequality, image and sound. But as there was not the intention to centralisethe course delivering and bring everybody to Bergen, the Bergen studioalso functioned as a hub combining remote sites, using high quality videoISDN (384 KB) or lower quality (128 KB), though the low quality can beproblematic for longer interactions. For example, there was a session mediated by task force chairmanDaniel Apollon and with the cybertext professor Espen Aarseth in thestudio discussing with the hypertext professor George P. Landow andprofessor Enric Bou at Brown University using high quality ISDN video. Afterwards and during the session students from all over Europeinteracted with questions and comments using low quality ISDN,telephone or email. - Another session with professor Siegfried Schmidtwas mediated from a remote site in Münster (Germany) by task forcemember Barend van Heusden. This session included professor JenaroTalens at yet another remote site (Granada, Spain) mediated by taskforce member Domingo Sanchez-Mesa. Both these remote sites usedvideo ISDN to transmit the signals to Bergen and up-linked to thesatellite from there. The discussions and interactions among the students played a largerole in the HUMANITIES Project, though one should not confusetelematically mediated discussions with local ones. These discussionsstarted during the satellite sessions.They were beforehand structured into 3-4 topics, which the studentswere asked to relate their questions to, in order not to get to afragmented discussion, as sometimes happened in HUMANITIES I. This planning definitely improved discussions: preparation,structuring, and mediation are definitely necessary, as discussions canvery easily become fragmented, formal, and stiff because of the 133
  36. 36. technology, the foreign languages, and the many distant listeners’thought. They had also organised two audio-conferences (using telephonebridges) among the students. However, it proved to be difficult to getalways a good result from this technology. There was noise from themany connected partners and it was a rather straining experience thatshould not exceed one hour and should also be firmly mediated.However, it is in other ways less stiff and formal than the videodiscussions and it helps tremendously in creating a common forumamong the students. They hear each other (mainly mediated throughtheir local tutor) and each others points of views, and it slowly developsinto an understanding of the different positions. The last technology used for discussion was the Internet throughmailing lists and mirroring news groups. There were four news groupsand mailing lists for the literature project. These could be reached from aweb site with reading lists, schedule, technical information, help, andwith links to relevant material for the course provided by the lecturersand local student groups. At the time of the project in the autumn of 1996, Students incomparative literature were still reluctant to use the Internet and enterthe discussions. A way to further discussions was to have some collectivework behind one’s contribution, to make that contributions to thediscussion lists reflect local discussions. The telephone conferences andthe satellite sessions often generated such collective questions andstatements, and helped create a feeling of community. However, it is alsoimportant to mediate Internet discussions to secure that studentscomments do not just echo out in empty cyberspace, and to avoidharassment of cultural differences. To conclude on the discussions and the media used in theHUMANITIES Literature Project, they clearly functioned at differentlevels and each medium definitely had limits too.The best result was made when we succeeded in combining thediscussion media to make them support each other. Thereby onechannel animates discussions in other channels that, on the other hand,follow up on what is left out by the former. In general, the higher,synchronous technologies helped to create a sense of a forum fordiscussion through the fact that they let only one speaker speak at a time,134
  37. 37. gives the speaker a somewhat prestigious platform and therefore create astronger sense of a unified forum with a unified discussion. The Internetafterwards had plenty of space for the different threads in thediscussions combined with the still very important discussions in thelocal classrooms.D. The Teacher’s Role in ODL Whether a teacher is teaching a live, interactive course, his/her roleis different in many ways from the traditional teacher in the classroom.The distance requires the teacher to relate with students in a new anddifferent way and to become, to a degree, reliant on individuals otherthan himself/herself for the delivery of services to students.Student-centred distance learning modifies the roles and jobs of theteacher. It is a cultural change, and resistance to it is a naturalphenomenon. The role of the teacher does not lose its significance:however, he/she is no more an omniscient lecturer but a guide on thepath of the learning process. The changes in teaching approach may not be as extreme. Theteacher necessitates all of the understandings, experience and skills of alive classroom teacher and even more, since a virtual teacher should alsobe prepared to take advantage of the potential of the technology and tounderstand the technical and human implication of the new delivery.He/she needs to rethink and adapt the learning material and his/herlearning style and methods to technologies. The teacher also needs tounderstand the new components needed for a telecourse and how studyguide, textbook and telecourse lessons fit together. He/she needs to betrained to develop other material, which may be needed for clarificationor enhancement of the pre-produced material. It is essential for the teacher to use effective interaction andfeedback strategies in order to involve his/her students. The teacher“can see” all the students even when they do not happen to be physicallyin the same room. Classroom teachers rely on a number of visual andunobtrusive cues from their students to enhance their delivery ofinstructional content. In contrast, the distant teacher has few, if any,visual cues. Those cues that do exist are filtered through technologicaldevices such as video monitors. It is difficult to carry on a stimulating 135
  38. 38. teacher-class discussion, when spontaneity is altered by technicalrequirements and by distance. Separation by distance also affects the general rapport of the class.Living in different communities, geographical regions, or even statesdeprives the teacher and students of a common community link.This is the reason why the teacher in a distance learning setting has toencourage critical thinking and informed participation on the part of alllearners, to use an on-site tutor in order to stimulate interaction (whendistant students are hesitant to ask questions or participate), to call onindividual students, to ensure that all participants have ampleopportunity to interact, to make detailed comments on writtenassignments, referring to additional sources for supplementaryinformation. They need to give feedback and support to students thoughdistance. Teleteachers manage their class so that the students at each siteare equally involved. Another important aspect, which is typical of distance education, isthe teacher’s psychological attitude towards the distance course.Teachers have to prepare themselves ahead of time to be psychologicallyup and energetic.They have to visualise themselves, seeing themselves as dynamicpresenters who are making contact with the audience and presenting thematerial successfully. Their facial expressions, their gestures, even theirclothes, are powerful tools for persuasion and effective communication.They moreover need to consider space conditions, which are importantin order to avoid “static video lecturers”. The HUMANITIES teachers play a number of roles: they areinvolved with the delivery of the face-to-face modules; they select thetutor, whose task is to monitor the activities of the students, andfacilitate their assessment of results. The active collaboration of the teacher with the on-site tutors, thesupport staff, the administrators and, last but not least, the learners, isvery important. Teams and division of labour is often needed. Changesmust be made in the usual organisation of teaching activities. This shouldbe not easy and simple since several new skills (management, team work,budgeting etc.), that may be strange for many academics, are needed.136
  39. 39. This new orientation could be very rewarding both to young andcreative people who are interested in teaching and learning in the futureand even to the best and experienced teachers, who need professionaldevelopment and support in designing new courses.E. The Tutor’s Role in ODL The role of the tutor in Open and Distance Learning is beneficialfor the general balance of a distance course.The tutor acts as a bridge between the students and the teacher. To beeffective, a tutor must understand the student’s needs and the teacher’sexpectations. It is definitely necessary to integrate the technical aspects of thecourse with the content. But tutors should not function as a filterbetween these two aspects, since it is important to develop professionaland content-related perspectives on the technologies, in order to make itwork sufficiently and develop way to apply technology to a professionalacademic setting.Instead they should function as animators for the students, pushing theminto interacting with each other and the other Thematic Study Groups allover Europe. The role of the tutor could be to facilitate the discussion (going onthe Internet and the other various media, and over great cultural andgeographic distances) acting as mediator (summoning up, being the firstto raise questions, etc.), and taking care that discussion do not get out ofhand (quarrelling over linguistic and cultural differences, etc.) The tutor, who can be an advanced student, interested in thecontent and the technological aspect of the course, should be an expertin the subject that learners are studying. He/she needs to know how tohelp learners in gaining their sense of the subject. He/she also needs toknow about the kinds of difficulties learners may have, and the kind ofapproach learners might find helpful from tutors, assisting with trainingand other activities in the classroom as necessary. In fact, one of the most important tasks of the tutor is to make thelearner still feeling part of a “traditional” class and not being in an 137
  40. 40. individual environment, communicating with the others only throughtelematics. Often face-to-face tutorials, in which the students may askquestions and receive comments on their assignments, are an integratedpart of the Distance Learning educational set up. Tutors are usually young teachers or advanced students, who wishto participate. The tutor also provides counselling services to the distantlearners; he/she is the manager of classroom activities at the far distantsite, the first resource when the students have academic difficulties, oreven personal difficulties that affect their studies. The role of the tutor should be concerned more with pedagogicalissues, such as methodologies and learners’ support, than with technicalproblems, which are pertaining to the facilitator and to the Resource &Study Centre.F. The Learner’s Role in ODL In this new methodological approach, the primary role of thestudent is “to learn”, or, better to say, “to learn how to learn”. From being teacher centred the learning process becomes a learneroriented one in ODL. In this environment, new kind of learning skillsare required. The new role of the learner is a daunting task, requiringmotivation, planning and an ability to analyse and apply the instructionalcontent being taught. The level of responsibility changes, the learner ismore aware and responsible of his/her own choices. She/He is nowengaged in the whole learning process, self-conscious, ready to negotiatethe concepts and ideas presented in the learning material, and to reflectand test the new knowledge – alone or interacting with others in workgroup sessions. One of the precious tools the learner has to interact in the ODLcontext is dialogue. Also in the traditional teaching environment dialogueexists and is an important resource for interaction, but in the new ODLsituation the objective and the dimension of dialogue change. The138
  41. 41. possibilities for dialogue between learner and tutor/teacher and/orbetween learners themselves turn ‘closed’ learning situations based onstored material into ‘open’ settings in which the learner in collaborationwith a tutor/teacher or fellows learners may explore dimensions notalready embedded in the learning material. With a distant teacher authority, learning is, in some way, lessidiosyncratic and authoritative, and students can more easily form criticaland independent approaches towards the lectures. In the local classroom,learners can react more freely to the lecture and discuss it afterwardswith the local teacher/tutor.With the implementation of both live discussion and writtencontribution (via both Internet’s news groups and personal E-mail) thediscussion has a variety of channels adjusted to different needs andpassions. The ODL system does not develop independent learnersautomatically. However, these skills can be acquired and students canbecome independent learners who will succeed in lifelong learning, if alearning environment and a strong student support have been carefullydesigned.G. The Organisation of Universities in ODL Student centred (distance) learning modifies the role and jobs ofteachers and students. On the one hand, they have to integrate theirmethodological and learning abilities with new ODL oriented skills. Onthe other, as ODL is supported by new technological teaching tools, theyshould also be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of eachtool, as well as with the language in which each tool transmitsinformation and with the way of working each tool has. These modifications highlight the need for a reform in universitiesorganisation. In order to train and facilitate both teachers and learners,giving them in this way a pedagogical and technological support, thepresence of a Resource & Study Centre could be of the greatest usefulness.It could be realised inside and outside the university, or shared in anetworking set up. Then there would be a team of experts who areresponsible for organising the services already available and planning 139
  42. 42. what would be needed. A Resource & Study Centre should providepedagogical and technical support, facilities and an organisational help.G. 1. Pedagogical support and services What is important to remember is that there are many factors,which could hinder or delay the strategic development of the use oftechnology. Part of these relates to the teacher him/herself, part to thegeneral conditions and climate at the university, for which the universityleaders have to take care. For instance, it will be very hard to motivateteachers to involve themselves in the implementation of newtechnologies if there is no reward for such activities in careerperspectives or/and salary structures. At present, the opposite is notrarely the case. Other factors which could be mentioned are:- motivation of teachers;- available competence;- experience;- lack of pedagogical and didactic models;- the professional roles and expectations of teachers. So what ever is the concept of the Resource and Study Centrethere should be a strong emphasis on the in-service training of teachers(and students).G. 2. Motivation and orientation Resource & Study Centres should have the task of supportinguniversity in motivating the staff to move towards the ODL through:- discussion between teachers who have already applied distanceeducation and those who would like to start distance education. Thesemeetings should not only show the best cases, but also make all theparticipants to talk about problems related to their ODL activities andpossible new orientation;- inviting experts to speak about various aspects of ODL - of course,these events can be kept face-to-face or at distance;- the organisation of study visits to other universities.140
  43. 43. G. 3. Communication and information technology &pedagogical aspects – courses A Resource & Study Centre should offer a teacher a set of in-service courses in which the modern pedagogy is applied. In the course(s), teachers should have the opportunity to analysetheir own teaching and the background thoughts. In planning thesecourses, the Centre should consider:- teachers own expertise and experience;- the importance of a teamwork supporting teachers;- teacher’s own developmental project (for example a course or seminarthat he/she wants to deliver through distance). The Centre should also provide: a) courses on how to use different communication andinformation technologies. These courses could be very practical and theaim should be to teach the teacher to use different technologies, withoutcontinuous support.b) courses on how to write and design the digital study material. As a further support, the Resource & Study Centre could have anhelpdesk for teachers working with their courses, materials ortechnology.I. G. 4. Technical Support and Facilities The Resource & Study Centre should also provide a kind oftechnical co-ordination. Besides the support of the tutor, which is relatedto pedagogical issues, teachers and learners also need a constantlyavailable technological support, supplied by the facilitator. The support staff or, better to say, the facilitators are the silentheroes of the Distance Education enterprise and ensure that the myriaddetails required for program success are dealt with effectively. They areable to face the technological aspects of the Project, troubleshooting ifthe classroom has a technical fault. 141
  44. 44. Facilitators are directly responsible for certain tasks involved withthe daily operation of the two-way system. They are moreoverresponsible for:- monitoring students’ behaviour in remote sites;- supervising distribution of texts and other proprietary materials;- checking the classroom periodically during the school day for technicalproblems;- managing the classroom when unusual situations outside the regularinteractive class occur. The Resource & Study Centre should also give advice on thestandardisation of hardware and software, on different technologies andtheir use related with different contexts and necessities, or on Quality-Price ratio, supporting universities in choosing each tool, knowing itseconomic value and weighting its use as a medium of transmission.G. 5. Organisational support At the level of a general co-ordination, the Centre should take careof the development of prior working outlines, decided upon earlyenough so that all the members can follow the scheme in a unified way.The working outline could be sent to all the tutors via E-mail. Likewise,it could be useful to present an outline where the procedure to befollowed is established, when Distance Communication Media such asAudio and Video conferencing, are used. This outline should include, forexample:- the name of the co-ordinator of the activity at an international level,who will be in charge at all times and is the one who will call on each ofthe participants following a previously drawn up outline;- the order of participation (including the name of participants, universityand country they represent);- maximum speaking time;- the topics to be dealt with by each member;- a final time for questions and general conclusions.H. Conclusions on ODL Pedagogy Undoubtedly the exponential development of informationtechnologies is leading universities to profound transformation in theirrole of teaching provider.142
  45. 45. The experience arising from HUMANITIES Universities hasshown how the process of introducing technologies in a traditionallearning context leads to important changes in the role of teachers andlearners as well as in the university organisation. Among the potential changes identified one of the mostchallenging is the modification of the educational mission with thetransition from the traditional “instruction” to the provision of methodsfor personal learning and individual growth. Moreover the increasingrole of technology in communication process and in knowledgeacquisition offers to learners and teachers new opportunities for theircareers not only as information technologies users but also as partner intheir future development and choice. The natural resistance of the traditional universities towards ODLtechnologies needs to be overcome by a combination of encouragement,appropriate training, and development of successful models to beadopted. In this innovative process teachers play a very important roleproviding to their students a service of multidimensional character. Inthe meanwhile their role is becoming more difficult and multi-facetedbecause it incorporates cultural, educational and technologicaldimensions.Teaching is not following any more a subject disciplinary logic, althoughmany teachers are not yet prepared to cope with this greatly extendedrole. It is clear that they should benefit from high quality training coursesand from the organisational and financial faculty supports. The learner needs to be able to process complex information, tosolve problems, to make decisions related to the changing situations.However, since the ODL environment could appear unstructured,learners will need intensive help for knowledge management. Theyshould be prepared for independent learning which will in any casedemand a lot of personal effort.Learners are learning how to draw knowledge from new and variedsources and to exchange this knowledge with others. In order to avoidrisk of isolation ODL should offer opportunities for collaborativelearning and make available, for the learners, human or remote tutors tointeract with. 143
  46. 46. HUMANITIES Universities have accepted the challenge ofexperimenting a new way of creating and disseminating knowledge, thisnew experience had a profound impact on their way of teaching andlearning.144

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