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Humanities: The Pedagogy of Virtual Mobility - 1994


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This work contains a synthesis of thinking and practice on ODLsupported …

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

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  • 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. 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. 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: 101
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. (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, connect scattered campuses of that same institution and thus enablingstaff to give the lecture only once, the HUMANITIES model is basically 119
  • 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. 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. • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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: lite/index.html• news groups/mailing lists: dgroup.html• Internet Relay Chat• Fax• Mail (for texts, evaluation reports, etc.)132
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  • 47. Bibliography Thomas E. Cyrs, Teaching at a Distance with the MergingTechnologies, Center for Educational Development, New Mexico, USA,1997. Portawy P. & Lane C., Teleconferencing & Distance Lerning,Applied Business teleCommunications, San Ramon, CA, 1992 Virginia Ostendorf, The Two-Way Video Classroom, Virginia A.Ostendorf Inc., Littleton, CO, 1989. Søren Pold, Evaluation of the HUMANITIES Project, inArbejdspapirer, 1 Dept. of Comparative Literature, University of Aarhus,Denmark, 1995. Søren Pold, Litteraturhistorie i en elektronisk tidsalder – Rapport iforlængelse af HUMANITIES II, in Arbejdspapirer, 10, Dept. ofComparative Literature, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 1997. Mills R. & Tait A. (ed.), Supporting the Learner in Open &Distance Learning, 1996 Burge E. & Roberts J. (ed.), Classroom with a Difference:Facilitating Learning on the Information Highway, 2nd edition 1998. Latchem C. & Lockwood F., Staff Development in Open andFlexible Learning, 1998. Bang J, The Meaning of Plot and Narrative, Andersen, Holmqvist& Jensen, eds: The Computer as Medium, Cambridge University Press,p. 209 – 221, 1993. Bang J., Curriculum, Pedagogy and Educational Technologies:Some Consideration on the Choice of Technologies for Open andDistance Learning. Human Resources, Human Potentials, HumanDevelopment: the Role of Distance Education, EDEN, Tavistock Press,Bedford, UK, P. 127 – 134, 1994. Bang J., Media Supported Learning – Limitations and Perspectives,EDEN Conference Proceedings, Budapest, p. 236 – 241, 1997. Bang, Baumeister & Wilson, Cross-Cultural Course Development,Paper for the 18th ICDE World Conference in Penn State, USA, CD-ROM, 1997. Bloom, B.S., Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I:Cognitive Domain, New York, 1956. Gadamer, H-G., Wahreit und Metode, Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr(Paul Siebeck), 1960. Lave & Wenger, Situated Learning. Legitimate, PeripheralParticipation, Cambridge, 1991. 145
  • 48. Laurillard D., Rethinking University Teaching, Routledge, London,1993. Marton & Ramsden, Improving Learning. New Perspectives,London, 1988. Ricoeur P., Time and narrative, Chicago: The University ofChicago Press, 1984. Rowntree D., Exploring Open and Distance Learning, KoganPage, 1992.146
  • 49. The Role of Resource and Study Centre Irene Hein Helsinki University of Technology, TechNet FinlandAs mentioned elsewhere in this work, it will be necessary to create theright conditions, at all levels, to become successful and effective in theimplementation of new technologies for flexible learning. A strategicapproach at university level is essential, and care should be taken thatteachers, tutors and students get support towards new ways of teachingand learning. In HUMANITIES where we limit ourselves to hybridmodels of face to face and distance teaching and learning, we havenoticed that part of the expertise for support is present in theuniversities, often rather disperse, but part is certainly lacking. In thiscontribution we make an inventory of tasks to be performed by aresource and study support structure, leaving it to individual universitiesto decide how these activities can best be organised within theiruniversities, also taking into account growing opportunities to useservices from umbrella networks, like VirtUE (see contributions byFloor and Van den Branden & Bang). We use the term Resource andStudy Centre (the RSC) without the intention that this means that allasks have to be performed by one concentrated unit in each university.During the HUMANITIES project it became obvious that there areseveral success factors which need to be taken into consideration if auniversity decides to develop itself towards ODL. The factors are brieflycovered in the following paragraphs.It is important to have a managerial and organisational vision, leadership,and courage as well as a research-based educational framework for newdidactics. Also, universities need experience and skills in the design,development and use of computer-based tools and environments, andtelematics applications. Another success factor is high–quality technicalinfrastructure and convenient access to it for all teachers and students.Also the whole institutional culture needs to reward both technicalinnovation and good teaching. Through these factors it is possible to 147
  • 50. achieve deep staff engagement and commitment which is prerequisite forbuilding a creative and skilled implementation team.It is very important that universities take these points seriously andanalyse which of them needs to be improved. They are especiallyimportant when planning the role of Resource and Study Centres.A. Strategy of the University In the introduction the strategy of the university is mentioned.From this point of view there are mainly two strategic ways to follow.Both strategies have an impact on how the RSC´s functions and roles areconceptualised. The university can start with minor or major changes which arediscussed in more detail below. It will be important to bear in mind that the RSC tasks will bedifferent before and during the phase of transformation compared withafterwards.A. 1. Minor Changes The role(s) of the RSC may vary according to the general strategyof the university on Open and Distance Learning (ODL). There are twomain strategies: in the first one the structure and traditions of theuniversity remain unchanged. This means the ODL is “taped” on the oldtraditions, and only part of the course(s) is delivered, for example byvideoconferencing. The course itself has always been part of thecurriculum and is now “only” delivered in a different way. If it isdelivered through Internet, a student can choose when to attend it. When the changes are minor, the curriculum is still in the hands ofthe teachers (and faculty) and teachers do not need to change theiropinion on the basic elements of teaching and learning, and studentsfollow the instructions given to them from the university. The flexibilityof time and space will increase and it is easy to develop teaching in amore international environment. The teaching material will be updated148
  • 51. more often. These are, of course, positive things, but they are still thesingle courses which are open and distance, not the university itself. This minor strategy is suitable for the universities and facultiesinterested in taking the first steps in developing the teaching andapplying ODL. Many of the universities already have several coursesmodified to ODL, and thus it is necessary that the experiences gained aredelivered to other teachers, too. As for the teachers, they are required to rewrite the teachingmaterial, give feedback and support to students through distancelearning, work with the technical staff and learn how to usecommunication technology. The teachers also need the tutors and theuniversity should have a positive attitude towards this kind of activity.This means, for example, that less teaching load be given to the teacherswho want to learn teaching through ICT, which might take more timethan giving the same course face-to-face. Teachers might feel uneasywith these new media and they might not want to spend extra time onplanning their teaching. Also, the university has to (create and) support the RSC fromwhere the teachers will get both the technical and pedagogical supportwhen they want and need them. If this is the strategy, the role of the RSC is to help the staff andteachers to become acquainted with and to use telecommunications andin many cases help them to select the right technology and to adapt theirteaching material, and of course to motivate them to give their coursesthrough ODL. The bottom line is that information and communicationtechnology works and is available, when the teachers and students needit.A. 2. Major Changes The other strategy is to introduce more basic changes within theuniversity and faculties. This does not mean that universities shouldbecome completely virtual but rather that they move towards learner-centred activities (also when we practice face-to-face instruction).Universities should create a truly open and flexible studyingenvironment. As a consequence it means that the university seriouslyanalyses the pedagogical background of the teaching, which is a step 149
  • 52. towards a more student-centred attitude, individual ways of learning andstudying. As it was mentioned, this does not mean that universities shouldoffer 100% of the teaching through distance teaching. It means that wecreate and design relevant study units using all the available alternativedelivery opportunities – including face-to-face as well as individual workby students. If we take seriously the basic principles of constructivism,we should put an end to the teacher-centred methods (even if we useface-to-face or videoconference). Again this does not mean it is the endfor lecturing. Lecturers will become a part of a deep learning processstudents are experiencing, not so much delivering information. Teaching and universities should open up towards the society, “thereal life” and the surrounding world. By networking with otheruniversities and workplacesthey will offer the students more largeresources than before. Not only the individual courses are open anddistance but the university itself is also open and distance. In this case the teachers should be aware of the principles oflearning and teaching, and to be capable of designing teaching so that itgives freedom and flexibility for the student. The teachers should work actively with the surrounding society(also through ICT) and also work successfully in teams. When teacherspractice distance teaching they need to know how to write and producedistance teaching material (print, WWW) and how to perform the rolesof a tutor and a mentor. And of course it is understood that teachers areexperts in their own academic field. The major strategy is a suitable approach when the universityalready has some experience in modifying courses to distance teaching.Then it can be expected that some of the basic rules have beennegotiated with faculties, teachers and students. In this case the RSC offers both the technical and pedagogicalsupport, but is also active in developing the whole university to utiliseODL. The work would not only be reactive but active or even proactive. There are some observations about the difficulties in this strategy.Mason (1994) has noticed that numerous case studies and evaluations of150
  • 53. telecommunications applications underline the importance of top-leveladministrative support to the success of any programme. Although manysmall-scale uses of these technologies begin at grass-roots level with afew enthusiastic teachers, their growth within an organisation must havebacking at the highest levels because so many major policy issues are atstake. Mason (1994) continues on the same topic: “To understate the dollars required to operate, maintain, upgrade, and train to the system is to undercut its assimilation into the instructional process. When this happens, technology remains supplemental, making it even more vulnerable to cost reductions.” “Managing and supporting the equipment through its lifetime is another issue which some institutions face for the first time with telecommunications. A whole new unit and/or type of staff are necessary. “ Daniel (1996) asks why should a campus university develop atechnology strategy rather than take the more usual route of relying onthe initiatives of individual faculty members of their departments? Heanswers, that a laissez-faire approach, far from enhancing theuniversities´ competitive advantage by giving it cost advantage andvaluable differentiation, is likely to increase costs and create excessivedifferentiation that students will find burdensome.CRE (1998) gives very useful guidance for the strategic decision process. The application of technology without a concurrenttransformation in the teaching/learning process will be an add-on thatwill only increase costs. On the other hand, re-engineering the learningenvironment will not occur without the development of a technologyinfrastructure. Universities should analyse and be clear about how they want theiruniversity to develop. And what are the roles of ODL and the RSC inthe process. There are several questions to think about, such as: Does auniversity expect cost reductions using open and distance learning? Howmuch is a university ready to invest in the RSC? What are the newadvantageous things the RSC will bring on the level of the wholeuniversity? 151
  • 54. Universities should also reconsider their preferred output, forexample regarding students, new products etc. Options are shown in thefigure below. Option A is the way universities most likely will followwhen they begin their work towards dual-mode ODL. It correspondswith the minor change strategy. If there will be a decision for new products and/or new students,the RSC might also have a role of marketing and making newinnovations. OLD PRODUCTS NEW PRODUCTS (Courses, etc.) (Courses, etc.) REGULAR A. B. STUDENTS Old content for the e.g. - courses e.g. on-campus old students, only the produced and run students. delivery method with other changes. universities (other countries); - including courses of other universities in own curriculum; - individual courses (multimedia, CD- ROM etc.). NEW STUDENTS C. D. e.g. off-campus When the delivery This is the most students, individual method makes challenging task, students, adults. distance studying when a university possible, we can have probably changes new students off- most. campus.B. Teacher view on the RSC There are some interesting observations made by Willis (1995).He writes that historically and on a national level, technical managershave played a more dominant role than educators in distance educationplanning and implementation. Although much time is spent convincing152
  • 55. funding agencies, governing boards, politicians and the fellowadministrators that distance education technology is the solution, facultyare seldom consulted as to the nature of the problem. Given the fact thata poorly defined problem has an infinite number of solutions, facultymembers are often expected to make a system function that they hadlittle input in planning and that may or may not be instructionallyappropriate. Willis continues that often administrators and technical managersrealise this conundrum after the technical system is in place. Theacademic reality dawns slowly that the interest, support, and enthusiasmof the faculty is required if a distance education program is to besuccessful, regardless of its technological sophistication. In several studies the three following characteristics of educationalenvironment appear that inhibit change and must be overcome if facultydevelopment efforts are to be effective. First the rigid departmental structure in many academic institutionsallows few opportunities for instructors to receive advice, trade ideas, orcollaboratively solve problems. To overcome this rigidity, theestablishment of mentoring programs should be considered to bring newand veteran distance education faculty together in a non-threateningenvironment to share ideas and join together in common problemsolving. A second characteristic highlights that as a result of variousexpectations, educational systems often work towards a number ofcontrasting and poorly defined goals. To reduce goal ambiguity,institutions and departments participants in distance education shouldensure that these teaching efforts are related to institutional andfaculty/departmental missions, goals and objectives. The third characteristic is the fact that effective distance educationrequires that the individual needs and characteristics of both studentsand teachers are considered when selecting delivery methods. The extentto which this is accomplished will have much to do with theeffectiveness of the faculty development process and the distanceteaching that results. It has been suggested that faculty participantsshould be encouraged to share concerns and question the administrativeexpectations of the technical systems. 153
  • 56. In our case we have to ask if this means that there is a need to hirestaff from different faculties or should there be staff of the RSC placedin each faculty of the university? How to overcome the gap between theteachers and technical and administrative staff? Or will there be staffwho is responsible of taking into account the opinion of the facultiesplaced at the RSC? Also if the programme involves teachers in major changes, it isessential to plan and market the innovation very carefully. Mosttelecommunications applications have been championed originally byone or two members of an organisation. Wider acceptance and use ofthe medium depend on whether teachers are involved and consulted inthe process. Distance teachers must not only know the content but alsodevelop an understanding of distant student needs. Further, the teachermust become familiar with the technological delivery system and helpstudents do the same. Staff at the RSC should be aware of the change the teacher will gothrough when they become distance teachers. The RSC needs toorganise in-service training on several topics and not only on how to usenew media technically.B. 1. Point of the View of the Students When we move towards distance education the students needdifferent support and services than before. The cornerstone is the accessof students to information technology and other electronic resources.Also the effectively and timely delivered material and study guides arerequired. In addition, RSC also has to play an important part in the periodpreceding the actual training, i.e. the period of strategic choices andprocess of making the university aware of these choices and theirconsequences. Of course the students have to accept the student centredphilosophy and learn to take more responsibility for their own learning.In addition, the information literacy skills are the foundation of bothdistance learners and teachers. It can be expected that the coming154
  • 57. generation will be very talented in using information technology andthus, the tasks of the RSC will change.C. How to Establish the Resource and Study Centre Earlier in this contribution we have argued that managerial andorganisational vision, leadership, courage and a university culture thatrewards these challenging new activities are indispensable for asuccessful implementation of new technology. When a university decides to establish a RSC there are two mainstructure models to follow. The first option is to an establish a newindependent office which offers the services. Either the users (teachers,faculties) or the university support the service. In most universities thereare in-service training offices, computer centres, libraries, etc., which canoffer some of the services needed when moving towards ODL and usingnew technologies. There are examples of how in a flexible learningenvironment libraries can change and broaden their roles and tasks to bemore involved in giving the support both to students and teachers. The second way to establish the RSC is therefore to build anetwork inside the university and outside when partners are alreadypresent. Then there would be a team of experts responsible fororganising the services already available and planning what is needed andwhen. This creates more strength in negotiations with providers andguarantees higher quality provision of a number of expert services, sothis initiative is more cost effective. Being flexible the network can reactto the changing needs of the university. It is important to remember that the amount and content of therequired support depends on the stage the university has reached indeveloping distance education. The tasks are different for a universitywhich is in the initial and starting point than for the university which haspractised open and distance teaching. Summarising, the roles of the RSC can be listed as follows (seealso the mindmap below). It depends on the individual university how allthese tasks will be carried out. Many of them already exist inside theuniversities, some of them must be established, some can be broughtfrom outside sources. 155
  • 58. C. 1. Technical SupportTechnical roles- maintaining the system- following the markets- helpdesk (for teachers, tutors and students)- basic technical training and courses on the use of technologies- communicating and negotiating with telecom providersMedia expertise- media selection- productionDelivery of the programs as well as study material- certain forms of technical co-ordination and classroom supportCopyrightsDeveloping technology for university level learningC. 2. Pedagogical SupportTutoring the teachers prior to the course, during the course and after thecourseIn-service training- courses on how to write and design digital study material- both newcomers and experts on teaching through IT- taking into account teachers own expertise and experience, and theformation of teams for mutual practical and moral support.Course design from the pedagogical aspects- effective learning methodologies- from teacher centred learning to learner centred learning- organisational support/co-ordination of development of workingoutlines and practical arrangements for preparation and delivery ofcoursesProblem solving- helpdeskMotivating staff and students- organisation of discussions- presentations of success stories and failures- invited speakers- study visits elsewhereDeveloping the effective methodologiesLearning needs analysisAssistance in the strategic change process156
  • 59. C. 3. Research and DevelopmentEvaluation of ODL approachesProducing guides in generalPublication of articlesAction researchC. 4. Administrative SupportAssistance in the strategical change processBudgetingStandardised methods and daily workStatement about teachers work load (and payment) comparing totraditional classroom teachingInformation exchange within UniversityNetworking with international universitiesCreating and maintaining web sitesC. 5. Communicating with the Site Campuses, Study Centresand Individual Distance LearnersCo-ordinatingHelping the distance teachers and tutorsHelping the distance co-ordinatorsD. Conclusions In this chapter we have briefly covered the wide range of thetasks which a university will face on its way to open and distancelearning, using new information technology. Each of these tasks wouldneed more attention and more detailed analysis. At this stage the most crucial question is not who is in charge ofwhich tasks, the bottom line is that all the tasks will be taken care of, inrelation to the selected strategic options and resulting needs, at presentand extrapolated into the next years. 157
  • 60. Bibliography Daniel, J.S. (1996). Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media.Technology Strategies for Higher Education. London, Kogan Page. Mason, R. (1994). Using Communications Media in Open andFlexible Learning. London, Kogan Page. CRE (1998). Restructuring the University. New Technologies forTeaching and Learning. Guidance to Universities on Strategy. Geneva,Association of European Universities.158
  • 61. Interculturality and European citizenship through ODL at university level3 Jef Van den Branden Educational Director EuroPACE 2000 The author is much obliged to the other members of SIG 3, who discussed in depth an initial draft of this contribution: Alexia Boninsegna, Claudio Dondi, Valerio Grementieri, Domingo Sánchez- Mesa Martínez, Jean Wood.Society today becomes more and more international, confronting tertiaryeducation increasingly with a need for internationalisation, andconsequently with cultural and linguistic issues that affect courses andcurricula (i.e. courses which address typical European issues, coursesexclusively lectured in English in countries were this is not the nativetongue, etc.). As international mobility had and maintains anoverwhelming success with students all over Europe, physical (andcertainly with respect to ODL based education in future also virtual)student mobility will only amplify the confrontation of universities withthese issues.Since its very origin, the European Union has promoted trans-nationaleducation as a means to create understanding between nations on theirway to a European identity. Due to European support programmes suchas Socrates, trans-european networks for education and training havebeen set up. It is in the framework of these networks, that cultural andlinguistic issues are, and should be tackled. Also the HUMANITIESproject was confronted with these issues. This contribution reflects onthe HUMANITIES experiences and approaches to deal with them, onresearch about these topics, and on experimentation with possible ways3 Part of this contribution has been elaborated in Van den Branden &Lambert (in press) 159
  • 62. to give cultural and linguistic issues the place they deserve in trans-national ODL.Within these experiences, instruction was given in the framework of avirtual mobility scheme, based on a trans-European network oftraditional universities (i.e. Coimbra Group universities) for ICTsupported ODL. For more details about this virtual mobility scheme, seethe contribution on ODL, ICT and the HUMANITIES model. Virtualinstruction took place through combinations of interactive (satellite)television, videoconferencing, internet communication, computerconferencing, audio conferencing, and even conventional mailing of pre-recorded videotapes and written materials.A. The influence of culture on knowledge shaping andtransfer The term ‘culture’ refers in general to views, values, norms,expectations and conventions for behaviour that is typical for a specificsociety or community. Such cultural communities may (partly) coincidewith country borders, but they can as well be found between ethnicgroups or language communities within a country. Language difference isoften paralleled by cultural difference, and, on a macro level, language isone of the most important, be it not the only determining factor withregard to cultural diversity. Cultural differences however exist also on amicro level, ranging from disciplinary cultures in academic communities(Huber, 1990) to working environments (company culture, professionalsvs. the unemployed). Teaching and learning as processes of shaping and transferringknowledge do not only take place in a given cultural or cross-culturalframework, but are also powerful vehicles for communicating culturaland social values. From this viewpoint distance teaching and learning bymeans of communication technology offer specific challenges andopportunities to create a multicultural society (Barrera, 1993). As peopletend to interpret other people’s behaviour however through their ownframework of cultural norms, communication with someone who speaksa different language, to a certain degree subscribes different values andmaintains a different outlook on life, may nevertheless createmisunderstanding. Such differences have strong chances to increase as160
  • 63. soon as the objective ground for differences (such as linguistic, religious,economic habits) becomes more obvious. Strydom and O’Mahony (Strydom, 1993) warn for problems withrespect to (open) learning theory and practice, some of which arementioned here:• approaching the issue of cross-cultural differences in education byfocussing on the empirical difficulties with respect to language, learningstyle and habits and then suggesting small-scale ways of improvement ofthe situation bypasses the deep structural problem and concentrates onlyon its manifest form;• ICT based education has the intrinsic tendency to stress on cognitiveand individualistic dimensions of learning and to neglect the socialdimension that constantly occurs through co-operation, which results ina one-sided conception of learning and neglects the relevance of social-emotional structures for motivation;• where human learning is the object of computer programmes, itssocio-cultural conditions and mechanisms cannot be objectified asexternal. It is only by directly building in the socio-cultural dimensionthat learning technology research and practice can fully address thesocio-pedagogics of learning. What counts for learning and the learner is also true for teachers:the attitudes of teachers towards technology and pedagogical issues haveto be taken into account. Challis and Johnston (Challis & Johnston, 1994) conductedresearch on the perceptions of university staff with regard to distance asopposed to traditional face to face teaching. The researchers observedthat the distance learning mode was perceived by the education faculty toinhibit the development of personal relationships with students, therebylimiting the tutor’s ability to broaden the student’s view of the world.Distance learning was consequently perceived as an inferior method ofteaching and learning. The engineering faculty identified student contactas a problem, but primarily as a consequence of the amount of planningand co-ordination which had gone into the production of the distancelearning mode. They conclude that the perceptions of academics arevalue driven, with many evaluative statements suggesting that theirperceptions of actual experiences had been influenced, if notconditioned, by some theoretical templates of what a degree, a post-graduate experience, even the nature of a university ought to be. 161
  • 64. A. 1. Cultural Diversity in Europe and European citizenship The historical boundaries of many European countries have ratherbeen designed as outcome of war and political power, rather than as anexpression of community cohesion of their inhabitants. Even in veryrecent history, great efforts were made to acculturate divergent groupsinto the dominant language and culture of these countries. In spite ofthese efforts, the European nation-states always retained within theirpolitical boundaries very substantial ethnic minorities, whose culturesvaried significantly from that of the dominant state. As contacts between cultures become closer, due to the effects ofmodern technology, modern media, international travel and everydayintercultural contacts, many differences seem to become relative andreduced to common factors. This convergence and mixing of culturesgenerates on the other hand also defensive attitudes. Even Europe’sintegration process, expressed in common legislation, legal standards andadministrative regulations, a common currency, etc. may reinforce thefear of not being able to locate oneself in a common European culture.Hence the concept of multicultural societies in the context of a Europewhich becomes more and more integrated contains both anxieties andopportunities (Knapp, 1990). Such ‘deterritorialisation’ of audiovisualproduction and the elaboration of trans-national systems of delivery(Morley, 1995), create tensens between globalism and localism. AndEvans (Evans, 1997) states that these increasing globalisation forms ofopen and distance education raises at the same time questions of accessas well as invasion. European citizenship is an essentially humanistic idea designed toconstruct a democratic Europe that is respectful of a balance betweeneconomic, technological, ecological and cultural considerations.Introducing the idea of a European citizenship  as Article 8 of theMaastricht Treaty indisputably does  has significant implications, inthat it goes beyond an economic approach to European integration,accords the Member States the role of actors in the process of theconstruction of such citizenship, consolidates existing citizenship rightsand institutes new rights.162
  • 65. It is important for Europeans, particularly young people, to realisewhat is at stake and take a responsible part in the debates and the choicesto be made. Otherwise the process of integration will enjoy no popularsupport and will be seen to have been imposed from above. The resultwill consequently be fragile. Citizenship is located at the structural and inter-actional interfacesbetween the individual, the state and the community. It is therefore apolitical practice whose terrain of development is people’s socialsituation and political participation. Active citizenship demands theacquisition of cognitive and communicative competence through socialand educational process. Citizenship education does already exist in most Member States:but under different names and for different purposes, for differentamounts of time and for different ages and pupil groups  and theEuropean dimension of citizenship is very underdeveloped, which is notsurprising, given that European citizenship is an ambiguous,contradictory conceptual space. There are five essential dimensions to a new citizenship:• the dignity and centrality of the human person; the knowledge of democratic political institutions; majorities and minorities in the democratic governance of peoples; media which can express themselves freely but are fully conscious of their responsibilities;• social citizenship: social rights and responsibilities; the struggle against social exclusion and marginalisation; solidarity as an intrinsically European achievement; social cohesion and the reinforcement of community spirit;• egalitarian citizenship: rejection of discrimination and prejudice based on gender and ethnicity; understanding the value of equality; equality of opportunity across the board in education;• intercultural citizenship: the value of diversity and openness for a plural world; European identity and multiculturalism; respect for different cultures and the legitimate expression of collective rights; tolerance and the active search for the richness of difference; European and global ‘good neighbourliness’;• ecological citizenship: the preservation of the ecosystem; rapprochement between humanity and nature; accreted conscience 163
  • 66. of environmental values; the key significance of sustainable development. Europe should play a role through education and training:• to affirm and transmit the common values on which its civilisation is founded;• to assist in devising and disseminating ways of enabling the young people of Europe to play a fuller part as European citizens;• to identify and disseminate best practice in education and training for citizenship, in order to filter out the best means of learning contemporary elements of European citizenship and especially, to develop these methods. Educational systems in Europe should:• study in detail the key facts of discrimination among citizens, particularly those relating to the issues of gender and inter-ethnic relations;• promote university research on these issues;• highlight European achievements in the arts and sciences as a common heritage for all citizens, and thus the trans-national character of their influence and importance.A. 2. Factors Influencing Virtual Instruction The application of ICT and its success in education varies fromcountry to country. Influencing factors are:• The availability of the technology itself. Education has never been a leading argument to develop technology: educational use of a specific technology followed in most cases only when the larger consumer market (e.g. television, audio and video recorders, computers) was conquered by the technology. Unavailability of a specific technology in educational settings is consequently bound to broader economic, social and political factors, which may vary from country to country.• National and European legislation. ICT based virtual instruction depends largely on the availability of telecommunications technologies. Legally protected monopolies164
  • 67. and the legislation of countries itself have disfavoured in the past an effective use in educational settings. In many European countries for instance, legislation restricted the use of cable TV to conventional television broadcast, only opening cable TV for other purposes (including education) within local, small scale experiments (Van den Branden, Devoldere, & Tilley 1993). We had to wait for a directive of the European Union (the “liberalisation” of telecom services and operations) to enable cable operators to extend their activities in the educational field.• Financial constraints. The initiation of an educational application of technology depends in many cases on incentives in the format of a financial support that comes from external funds. The European Union has recognised this problem in providing a number of programmes (e.g. the open and distance learning strands of Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Phare, Tempus and Telematics Application programmes). Participation in these programmes is however very unevenly spread between European countries, once more illustrating the different perception of its use due to cultural differences in the member states.• Cultural differences as such. Research in the framework of the European Open University Network project, found also cultural differences between larger European regions in the attitude towards ICT use in education. Inhabitants of Northern and Western European countries prefer significantly more to study with computers than students and professionals from Southern and Central/Eastern European countries, although all respondents want to maintain also traditional education methods. The Southern, Central/Eastern European people believe more clearly that a high level of educational competence is necessary to work with ICT, and prefer working with computers in small groups. They also believe more distinctly that audio and visual, rather than computer-based information is necessary for the learning process. These findings are quite independent of the various expertise categories (undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate, Ph.D. students, professionals) which were investigated: differences in attitudes between countries are about identically reflected in each expertise category. 165
  • 68. However, differences between the expertise categories themselves are noticed as well: Ph.D. students and professionals are the most motivated to use computers for learning. Graduates and specifically undergraduates are less motivated, as they expect a higher workload when using ICT than with conventional study. All student categories, and specifically undergraduates expect nevertheless that technology will improve their learning, whereas professionals are more hesitating on this point (preferring more traditional environments including lectures or printed materials for their learning/training). Also gender differences were found: computer based technologies were significantly more preferred by European men, but no difference was noticed for audio and visual learning media. This contrasts with other (American) studies where no significant differences between boys and girls on general attitudes towards computers were found (Askar, Yavuz & Koksal, 1992). On an institutional level we find once more a mixture ofinfluencing factors. Part of these are objective (e.g. the cost factor, theaccess to technology as relying on external availability within the country,the availability of central technical support for users), but some areclearly linked to cultural issues. CRE found clearly the existence of“subcultures” within the university: on average the implementation ofICT in education is advocated both at the level of top management(recognising the potential of ICT as a strategic issue to open the marketof continuing and lifelong learning as well as to prepare the universityand its pedagogy for the next decades) and at the base level of teachersand tutors who experienced the benefits of ICT in their lectures andtutorials and became very enthusiastic. In between those two layers thefaculty management can be situated as “a frozen middle”: the university’sintermediate decision levels and management levels are clearly lessenthusiast about the implementation of ICT in education (CRE, 1998).A. 3. Courseware Design for Trans-European VirtualInstruction There are a number of issues that should be taken into accountwhen designing courseware for trans-European virtual instruction.166
  • 69. Learners need to consider examples and references as relevant totheir own experiences and expectations. Cultural biases can consequentlyaffect the acceptability of courseware. Restricting the adaptation of“foreign” courseware to translation – a quite common use ininternational exchange of courseware – may be unsuccessful. Problemsmay arise with spelling of words, the use of humour, the application ofcertain colours and graphic characters, etc. A possible solution to thisproblem is ‘localising’ or ‘versioning’; either by the course developers orthrough local adaptation at the user’s level. A second solution, butnormally also the more expensive one, is the specific development ofcourseware for the local market. Such courses should seek to incorporatelocal cultural material not only for its own value and accessibility but alsoto facilitate understanding of general concepts found in importeddistance education programs (Weatherlake, 1995). Also learning and teaching styles vary from one country orcommunity to another, because what is pedagogically acceptable in one,may not be in another. A possible solution to these problems is thatlearners choose their own route through a course and adapt the materialso that it uniquely fits their own learning style (Dixon & Blin, 1993). Collis et al. (Collis, Parisi, & Ligorio., 1995) suggest as an output ofthe TELESCOPIA project that, when adapting courses for trans-European tele-learning, one has to choose a course content with strongcross-cultural or culture-neutral aspects. This results, according to theauthors, in two guidelines:• course contents in which the cross-cultural aspects of trans- European participation are either of minimal relevance (e.g. learning to use the Internet) or form an integral part of the content (i.e. courses preparing persons for internationally oriented work experience) should be preferred;• careful planning of the course to avoid extra problems from the cross-cultural perspective. Course quality and usefulness will not improve automatically by embedding communication and interaction. Forcing learners for instance to talk with each other in a common - foreign – language, of which the participants lack sufficient proficiency will result in misunderstanding. There are many more elements that reflect culture and,consequently, may influence learning (learning motivation, quality of thelearning output). As an example, it has been noticed during 167
  • 70. videoconferences within the HUMANITIES project, that gestures,clothing, even the colour of skin can result in positive learning effectswhen deliberately embedded as elements of the cultural environment,but also may become hindering when neglected.B. Language in Virtual Instruction As virtual instruction in Europe mostly addresses a trans-nationalaudience, language is probably the predominant cultural factor where allinvolved actors are confronted with. Almost every internationalconference on distance education in recent years reported on language asa complicating factor in cross-cultural instruction and education(Lambert, 1998). More precisely, reference is then made to thecommunication difficulties that are created by using “a foreign language”(mostly English as the lingua franca) for instruction and supportactivities. The fact that the use of language(s) in communication is treated asa difficulty rather than simply an intrinsic aspect of communicationwithin any cultural situation is indicative for the nature of the problemitself. Research on international communication took place in the areasof business administration and management, social psychology,anthropology, etc., but with very erratic references to linguistics, andwith a strong emphasis on those kinds of (saussurean) linguistics thatleave “culture” (and discourse, or pragmatics) out of the debate.Consequently, language has generally been left out as an object ofresearch on intercultural communication, with exception of translation asa "(technical) service" (Janssens et al., in print).B. 1. Language Policy versus Language Management As solution to the language problem in open and distance learning,it is suggested in the already mentioned TELESCOPIA project toimpose the use of one common language (i.e. English), prepared bybetter methods for teaching English all over Europe, and to shift ininstruction from language into visual communication wherever possible.Such recommendations ignore however at least two importantconsiderations: 1° the obvious conflict between such options and the168
  • 71. general claims in matters of cultural identity and language on behalf ofthe EU and its member states, in particular as far as the advantages ofdifferentiation in minorities are concerned (just like colonisation, thelingua franca model imposes standardisation quite unilaterally); 2° therich research tradition about the interaction between language andculture, and more in particular the research on visual communication(advertising, intercultural communication, semiotics) which rejects theassumption that visual communication would simply escape culturaldifferentiation. In Jansen & Lambert (1995) the authors conclude in a state of theart overview on language policy versus language management, that thenaive belief in the existence of perfect communication and theassumption that all partners in international (virtual / distance education)networks have the same goals, expectations and competences must berejected. In fact, the diversity of goals, expectations and backgrounds isoften the very reason why people like to study in a trans-nationalcontext. Any assumption of homogeneity leads to the opinion thatmisunderstanding is an accident -instead of an inevitable component ofany communication - for which language is largely responsible. Such aperception implies that the overall view on communication is highlymechanical and not culture-oriented. Therefore, language policies shouldbe replaced by language management, which precisely aims at avoidingmechanical solutions and replacing them by solutions based uponobservation, options, goals, strategies. Virtual societies - including the virtual instruction networks -represent a new kind of society. They can be characterised as societieswhere the relations between members become mainly, if not only,possible through (verbal and other) communication. In their study onthe language component in virtual networks Cammaert, Lambert andVan den Branden (Cammaert et al. 1997) analyse the languagecomponent in traditional networks in order to establish whether itsfunction can be transferred into virtual networks as well. Most traditionallearning networks (e.g. learned societies) originated as national networks,as part of the educational establishment, and gradually becameinternational by accumulation of national networks. Most of thempromoted a “lingua franca” policy in that larger international contacts(meetings, conferences) were using a common language or somecommon languages (with translation), but bilateral meetings would usethe language(s) of the partners involved. The larger the extension, the 169
  • 72. more languages may be used simultaneously. Similar approaches wereundertaken by UNO, UNESCO and - the most extreme example - theEuropean Union in which all official languages or member statesbecome automatically official languages of the Union itself (Fishman1993). The progressive way in which these societies evolved had itseffects on the language issue too. As well-established networks with highesteem, these societies were approached by candidate members, whowere prepared to pay the price of entrance in accepting its languagepolicy. In fact and comparable to inter-human relations in colonialsituations, this policy was often not questioned by the new-comer,neither reflected upon by the network management. With the shift ofpaternalism to democracy, the implicit opinion of new partners ininternational networks is nowadays tending to the idea that realpartnership is incompatible with one sided domination. The question oflanguage(s) can (and should) be integrated into the general negotiationsbetween partners, to become part of the general management, which bydefinition implies the possibility to adapt the decisions and options tonew needs and situations. What counts for the traditional networks is also valid for virtualones. A strategic planning of activities is needed, taking into account thepractical aspects: are there any reasons for planningmonolingual/multilingual activities? Who decides, and what might be theconsequences of the fact that x decides (instead of y)? Who has to use, atwhich moment, which language, where and with what aim? Languagemanagement thus also involves a form of Human ResourcesManagement, and it is wrong to imagine that language can/could ever beunproblematic, even in so-called monolingual societies (Janssens et al., inprint; Lambert, 1998).B. 2 Indications for Language Management in VirtualInstruction Networks The following indications can be made:• All partners have to agree on the language policy to be followed. This matter has to be discussed explicitly before the instruction starts and on an equal basis among the partners. The conditions for efficient communication should be clear to all of the partners from the start, and the partners commit themselves to respect170
  • 73. these conditions. This means that never any language should be used that has not been agreed upon initially; if this does occur, the mutual confidence between the partners is likely to be under reconsideration and, if not, to get damaged. Changes in the linguistic constellation should only be made if they are accepted unanimously by all partners.• The management of languages should be built into the general communication strategy, which in turn should be based on the principle of feedback. The principle of integration entails that this discussion is part of the general discussion on the aims of the instruction programme: what do the partners want to achieve with it, and what audience does one want to reach? This discussion should be as open and multilateral as possible. In accordance with this, other decisions should be made, for instance about the additional learning resources, about who will be involved, when and for what, etc. This is bound to have a positive effect on the whole organisation process, which can thus be made more efficient and harmonious. In addition, the use of languages can be used as a marketing strategy towards new audiences.• Special attention should be paid to the efficiency of the language in telecommunication in the multicultural environment: the mixture of use of common language(s) for trans-national communication and local language for internal communication; the provision of translation (e.g. in internet communication or simultaneous translation in videoconferencing); the dubbing and subtitling of pre-recorded instruction; etc. The development of speech production programs, which is just one of the aspects of the mediatisation process, deserves our full attention, not just because of its practical implications, but also because in its very basic principles it redefines the borders between language and discourse.• It is very important that the actual functioning of these and other principles is systematically monitored in real life situations by independent observers (researchers). A constant observation of the conscious and unconscious difficulties that occur in multilateral and multilingual communication is an absolute condition for preventing irritation and conflicts. For this purpose, sophisticated descriptive models have to be worked out (within frameworks such as descriptive translation studies, sociolinguistics, communication studies and the like). Possible scenario’s might be (Sánchez- Martínez, 1997): 171
  • 74. • Satellite broadcasted session + interaction via videoconference. At this setting we deal with a multipoint and potentially multilingual communication. Although the number of languages involved may be high (e.g. 8 or 9 in a course with 12 universities), it is preferable to reduce the number of them to three or four, after making sure that the majority of participants are competent enough in two or maybe three of these languages. The moderator can adopt the better mastered language among participants. Each site is provided with booths and the interpreters translate both ways from each site. The possibility of providing a centralised interpretation service is not disregarded whenever technological facilities assure good image and sound quality. The translators participation in the process of designing and managing the contents and communication strategies of the course might be important to guarantee accurate and smooth translation.• Video lesson + live satellite interaction + videoconference. This modality combines asynchronous communication (videotaped lesson), where subtitling or dubbing might be used according to the local tradition, with an interaction in real time.• Multipoint videoconference. This scenario provides the opportunity of visualising more than one participant, e.g. dividing the screen in windows in which each site (up to four) can be shown, thus facilitating the interpreters role to either focus on each speaking subject or to display the reactions of his interlocutors. Taking into account the number of languages used in such multipoint conferences and the cost of interpretation, European projects might consider to budget these costs, rather than to reserve interpretation costs for translation of written products and reports.• A videolesson followed by an audio-conference. Undoubtedly this is the cheapest solution for a multipoint interaction in virtual courses. Here we might provide an asynchronous translation followed by a consecutive interpretation, however this normally raises serious difficulties for efficient communication due to the lack of any visual contact plus the double consumption of time required by the consecutive translation - especially when it is two-way - with as a consequence fatigue and boredom of the audience.• Computer conferencing. The virtual classroom could be confined to a computer screen when172
  • 75. lectures and sets of questions are distributed and discussed upon in mailing lists, newsgroups or real time “chat” forums. In these settings multi-lingualism is also an option whenever there are previous agreements on the languages which can be used. Automatic translation can provide a valuable aid to comprehend e- mail messages, at least at its first encoding level. In any case, all decisions on language management, technologicaldesign of communication scenarios as well as pedagogical strategiessuitable to the new learning environment, must take into account thefinal user needs and expectations, including the linguistic ones. Thisimplies flexibility in the communication management and a rigoroussurvey on partner profiles. 173
  • 76. Bibliography Askar, P., Yavuz, H., & Koksal, M. (1992). Students perceptionsof computer assisted instruction environment and their attitudes towardscomputer assisted learning. Educational Research Volume, 34(2), 133-139. Barrera, A. (1993). Distance learning : the challenge for amulticultural society. Focus (Fall), 4-14. Cammaert, G., Lambert, J. & Van den Branden, J. , 1997. TheLanguage Component in ODL, in Sánchez-Mesa Martínez, D., Lambert,J., Apollon D., & Van den Branden, J. (eds.) 1997. Crosscultural andLinguistic Perspectives on European Open and Distance Learning.TRANSCULT I. Granada: University of Granada Press. Challis, K., & Johnston, R. (1994). Two cultures: the influenceof academic discipline on staff perceptions of teaching and learning.International Journal of University Adult Education, 33(2), 15-28. Collis, B., Parisi, D., & Ligorio., B. (1995). Becoming moreflexible: issues confronting the adaptation of courses for Trans-European Tele-learning . Twente: University of Twente. Commission of the European Communities (1995). TheMultilingual Information Society. Communication from theCommission. Proposal for a Council Decision on the Adoptation of aMultiannual Programme to Promote the Linguistic Diversity of theCommunity in the Information Society. Brussels: Commission of theEuropean Communities. Dixon, M., & Blin, F. (1993). Issues in instructional design forCAL : problems and possible solutions, Learning technology in theEuropean communities (pp. 725-733). Dordrecht: Kluwer AcademicPublishers. CRE (1996). Restructuring the University. Universities and theChallenge of New Technologies. Geneva: Association of EuropeanUniversities (CRE). Evans, T., (En)countering globalisation: Issues for open anddistance education. In: Rowan, L., Bartlett, L. & Evans, T. (Eds.) (1997).Shifting Borders. Globalisation, Localisation and Open and DistanceEducation. Geelong: Deakin University Press Fishman, Joshua A., 1993. Ethnolinguistic Democracy: Varieties,Degrees, Limits, Language International 5(1), 11-17. Huber, L. (1990). Disciplinary cultures and social reproduction.European Journal of Education, 25(3), 241-261.174
  • 77. Jansen, P., & Lambert, J. (1995). Language and/as interculturalstrategy in Open Distance Learning. In J. Van den Branden (Ed.),Handbook of cultural factors in use of Technology LearningEnvironments (pp. 26-90). Heverlee: EuroPACE 2000. Janssens, M., Lambert, J., & Steyaert, C. (in print). Vertalen entalen leren in het meertalige bedrijf: organisatie-metaforen (Translationand language learning in the multilingual company: organisationmetaphores). Knapp, K. (1990). Common market, common culture ?European journal of education, 25(1). Lambert, J. (1998). The Trouble with Language in ODL: State ofthe Art, Options, Strategies. In: Szücs, A. & Wagner, A. Universities in aDigital Era. Transformation, Innovation and Tradition. Roles andPerspectives of Open and Distance Learning. Proceedings of the 1998EDEN Conference. University of Bologna, Italy, 24-26 June 1998. Morley, D., & Robins, K. (1995). Spaces of Identity. Globalmedia, electronic landscapes and cultural boundaries. New York:Routledge. Sánchez-Mesa Martínez, D., Lambert, J., Apollon D., & Van denBranden, J. (eds.) 1997. Crosscultural and Linguistic Perspectives onEuropean Open and Distance Learning. TRANSCULT I. Granada:University of Granada Press. Van den Branden, J., Devoldere, P., & Tilley, K. (1993).International aspects on the use of Cable TV for education . Leuven:Mediatek. Van den Branden, J. & Lambert, J. (in press). Cultural andLinguistic Diversity: Threat or Challenge for Virtual Instruction. In:Feyten, C. & Nutta, J. (Eds.) Virtual Instruction: Issues and Insightsfrom an International Perspective. Tampa: Libraries Unlimited/TeacherIdeas Press. Weatherlake, S. (1995). Course design for a multicultural society.In D. E. Sewart (Ed.), One world, many voices. Quality in open anddistance learning (pp. 186-190). Milton Keynes: International Council forDistance Education and The Open University. 175
  • 78. An Economic Analysis of Virtual Mobility Claudio Dondi President, SCIENTERThe author is much obliged to the other members of the SIG, whocontributed to the initial discussion on the issue: Alexia Boninsegna,Maya Eisner, Nicolás Pérez de la Blanca, Christel Claeys, Knut MidtunC. The purpose of this contribution This contribution explores the changes to the main assumptions ofcosts and benefits of Open Distance Learning that are brought about bythe emergence of virtual mobility (VM). As a trans-national andcommunication technology based model it is certainly part of the broadODL area, but substantially different both in terms of critical costs andbenefits from “classical” distance education. In fact the concept of virtual mobility adopted in HUMANITIESis related to physical mobility and to the value of inter-cultural exchangethat takes place when a person is moving to a different nationalenvironment. Virtual mobility does not apply only to students, but alsoto workers and anyone interested in inter-cultural communication notnecessarily dependant on travelling and living abroad: the use ofcommunication technology is therefore vital to implement the “virtual”dimension of the concept. Within the HUMANITIES project some constitutive elements ofvirtual mobility were identified: ♦ Trans-national lectures and/or learning materials ♦ Cross-border recruitment of students ♦ Intensity of communication flows ♦ International accreditation of achievements ♦ Multilingualism ♦ Complementarity to both physical mobility and conventional teaching.176
  • 79. With respect to ODL at large, virtual mobility includes all formsthat are communication intensive and run at international level. NETWORK ED COLLABORATIV VIRTUAL E LEARNING CLASSROOM TUTORED SELF- MANAGED LEARNING It excludes classical forms of distance education based onindividual study and periodic interaction with a tutor. In this contribution costing of VM will be analysed first, thenbenefits will be examined and a broader discussion on the meaning ofeconomic analysis in this area will be introduced, to finally suggest arelatively simple three-step approach for decision making. The issue ofcomparison of VM with “classical” distance education, withconventional lectures and with “physical” mobility will often be utilisedto mark relevant differences in economic terms and to provide elementsfor decision making.D. Costing Virtual Mobility Virtual mobility, defined as in point A of this contribution,changes many of the established ideas on the economics of distanceeducation. By building much more on person-to-person interactionthrough communication technology than on study of learning materials,it tendentially makes investment costs decrease and running costsincrease compared to the tutored self-managed learning model so typicalof open universities in the ’70s and ‘80s. In this way the schemerepresenting the costs of virtual mobility gets nearer to that ofconventional education (low investment costs, high running costs) andfurther from that of classical distance education (high investment costs, 177
  • 80. low running costs). The picture gives a very rough idea of what is expressed above. cost Conventional EducationTotal Virtual Mobility Break even point Classical Distance Education N° of learners Of course every case has to be studied carefully and no general conclusion on where break even point4 (the number of students upon which VM becomes more cost efficient than lecture–based education) is to be found, can be made without an analysis of the specific model of virtual mobility that is adopted in a given situation. However, the following table may summarise the main differences in costing virtual mobility as opposed to classical distance education. VIRTUAL COST NATURE CLASSICAL D.E. MOBILITY Higher Teaching time Lower Lower (but may Learning materials Usually Higher become higher) Higher Telecommunications Lower Higher (but not Equipment costs Lower (not necessarily) necessarily) Usually much higher Tutoring time Lower Higher (not always) Start-up meetings Usually Lower 4 The picture is drawn to exemplify the concept, it does not want to suggest that there is only one possible break even point. 178
  • 81. It must be said that the most relevant component of investmentcosts in VM – the initial equipment of lecture rooms and eventuallylearners’ houses – is not always to be considered as specifically attributedto VM: computer classrooms and networks may already be available atuniversities as well as at home for other purposes than VM initiatives. Insuch favourable situations one can certainly conclude that the break evenpoint is considerably lower than in the case of classical distanceeducation. The same is not true when all the technological infrastructurehas to be bought and installed (but even in this case additional uses ofthe same infrastructure should be considered to allocate the real share ofinvestment cost to VM). Concerning running costs, it can certainly be argued that relativelyinexpensive communication means exist and that the amount of teachingand tutoring time does not necessarily have to grow in comparison to“classical” distance education, but the quality of VM to a large extentdepends on the intensity of communication among learners and betweenlearners and teachers/tutors placed in another country. Another cost factor arises as a result of the recommendation that,especially before starting electronic communication, groups ofteachers/tutors and (when feasible) learners’ groups meet“conventionally” in one place to set the “communication commitmentspirit” that is hard to achieve at a distance if the interested parties do notknow each other before. This very valuable recommendation is likely tohave a significant incidence on the cost of VM. Finally, and to clarify any possible misunderstanding on the realdistance that separates the costing model of VM from those of classicaldistance education, the support by quality learning materials is also veryimportant in VM activities, even if the core of the teaching/learningprocess takes place in direct interactions between teachers and learners,tutor and learner and among learners themselves. While in somecountries it is likely to find ready and good quality learning materials forclassical distance education, it is not equally likely to find materialsadapted to support collaborative learning that takes place in a VMenvironment: textbooks and articles can obviously be utilised as inconventional education, but their pedagogical qualities are usually notcomparable to those of materials expressely designed to supportautonomous learning. If one wants to build quality into the process of 179
  • 82. VM, a considerable effort should be made to design and build ad-hoclearning materials able to support trans-national learning experiences.This last element can well reverse the initial assumption that cost oflearning materials is lower in VM than in classical ODL, and give a finalstrike to the attempts to prove the relative cost-efficiency of the former. In conclusion, VM of tendentially low quality can be implementedin a very inexpensive way and with moderate initial investment, but thesearch for learning quality may easily bring VM to add the highinvestment cost of classical distance education to the high running costsof conventional teaching.E. Benefits If an analysis of costs reveals to be complex and promisesdoubtful results in terms of comparisons, the analysis of benefits iscertainly more committing but also more determining for the purpose ofdecision making. Compared to traditional lecture-based teaching, VM shares anumber of common potential benefits with “classical” distanceeducation: It may provide quick access to rare expertise or recent knowledgefor a large number of learners; It encourages learners’ autonomy and gives them a broader choiceon what, how and when to learn; It helps capitalisation of “teaching acts” as re-usable learningresources; It gives extra-institutional visibility to excellent knowledge andknow-how developed in a given university; It increases the degree of utilisation of existing technologicalinfrastructure and gives a relevant meaning to the use of technology inteaching and learning; It may enlarge the “customer base” of a university and facilitateinternational promotion as well as acquisition of relevant competenciesand know-how from partner universities; It increases access to high level learning opportunities to peoplewho would not otherwise benefit from them for physical, economic ororganisational reasons;180
  • 83. It helps teachers to reconsider their routine practice and to addinnovative and quality elements in their courses to match the requests ofa trans-national collaboration and of increased usability of teachingactivity. Other benefits of VM relate more closely to physical mobility andare not proper of classical distance education: It helps to develop the habit of inter-cultural communication forlearning and non-learning purposes, so raising tolerance for differenceand inter-cultural awareness; It integrates the students in a collaborative learning environmentwhile keeping the benefits of a structured presence in a universitycampus. As opposed to classical distance education, VM does not risk togenerate the feeling of isolation in learners, because a local group and avirtual trans-national group are visible and interacting. If compared to physical mobility, VM adds the benefits ofproducing intense familiarisation with communication technology andbeing affordable for practically all the students community in Europe,rather than the relatively small minority of students who are presentlyable to benefit from an ERASMUS mobility grant. Finally, within the VM definition various learning approaches canbe integrated, from network-based collaborative learning almost withouta formal teaching function to a methodologically conventional lecturebroadcasted via videoconference: this means that even reluctantacademics may start some experience of use of technology withouthaving to fear losing control of content and presentation quality, and canthen gradually discover the full potential of ICT and ODL in the learningprocess. This “tactical” use of hybrid systems (segments of ODL integratedin conventional classroom-based teaching courses) has in fact beenexperienced in HUMANITIES and has produced very significantchanges in the teaching/learning styles of some universities. In synthesis, the list of potential benefits of VM is quite long andthe belief that one or two of them will really occur may in fact be soimportant to overwhelm any consideration of strictly economic nature of 181
  • 84. the cost-efficiency of VM. Simply some expected benefits may havestrategic value and deserve to be searched at any (reasonable) cost.F. How to make decisionsD. 1. Stakeholders’ views and weighting principles In most decisions on whether or not and how to implement VMseveral actors are involved, each of them bringing a different perspectiveto the weighting of costs and benefits. What can be considered an important cost by the learner (e.g.communication costs from home) may be easily neglected by theuniversity decision makers. The “social cost” of implementing change inteaching and learning habits may be relevant for some teachers and notreally a cost for others. In many cases all interested parties can be consulted before adecision is taken, in some other cases final decision makers should atleast consider how other parties would appreciate the costs and benefitsconsidered fundamental for taking a decision.D. 2. Context analysis The situation of relevant costs and benefits of VM cannot be thesame where a technological infrastructure is already easily available andwhere everything has to be installed. The relative value added of VM seems to be higher for less“central” European countries than for those which anyhow absorb amassive flow of foreign students (UK and France first of all); for thesethe “knowledge export” side of VM is certainly more attractive than the“knowledge import” side, but some exceptions can be found in theHUMANITIES four year experience. These are just a few examples of how the context where thedecision has to be taken may very seriously influence, amongst otherthings, the economic analysis supporting the decision making process.182
  • 85. D. 3. University strategy and key benefits The single most important element in decision making concerningVM seems to be the perception of key benefits directly connected to thestrategic orientation of the interested university: internationalisation ofcurricula, giving sense to past technological investment decisions, inter-institutional alliances, development of new staff rewarding systems,learning methods innovation, may be such important expected benefitsto determine a positive decision before a complete economic analysis isconducted. In fact a quick and intuitive comparison with the present situationor alternative proposals may be the leading force of a decision, as well asthe perception of an urgent “need” to innovate or, in some other cases, asophisticated approach of VM integration in conventional classroomteaching to bring organisational change across an institution. All theseare examples of non strictly economic analysis of benefits that may leadto a positive decision. It must, however, be noted that a similar influence on decisionmaking can be produced by the perception of unaffordable critical costs,such as undesired change in teaching habits of the most consolidated andconservative members of the teaching class, or undesired openness to“not invented here” teaching inputs from foreign universities. These considerations should suggest some caution beforeconducting an extensive economic analysis of VM that may reveal to besubstantially unnecessary if the decisions are rather based on animmediate perception of key benefits or unaffordable costs. 183
  • 86. D. 4. A three-step approach to decision making As a result of the previous considerations of what is reallyimportant in decision making on VM implementation, a three-stepapproach can be suggested for economic analysis: in the first step a non-quantitative macro-analysis is conducted toidentify (without estimating) the main benefits and the main costs of VMin a given context, seen from different perspectives (universitymanagement, faculty, teachers, students, other stakeholders). Stakeholders University Manage- Faculty Teachers Students OthersMain Benefits ment Stakeholders University Manage- Faculty Teachers Students OthersMain Costs ment The first step may already allow a consideration of issues at stakeand a first orientation whether to proceed further in the analysis or justabandon the idea of implementing VM. The second step requires to identify what are the most importantstrategic benefits, to focus on them and to consider if these benefits canmore easily be achieved through other approaches. Depending on whatthe main strategic benefits are, the main comparison will respectively bemade with conventional teaching, with classical distance education or184
  • 87. with physical mobility, in accordance to the general analysis conducted inthe third part of this contribution (chapter C). This analysis (aneconomic comparison focused on strategic benefits only) should beroughly quantitative, but only to the extent required to make thecomparison meaningful. After this phase decision makers should havealready made up their mind on whether VM is a reasonable approach,compared to others, to achieve the strategic benefits that are searched. Only at this stage a third step, consisting in a detailed analysis ofcosts foreseen to implement VM, becomes justified. In fact it must beconsidered that a detailed costing exercise requires time, resources andacquisition of information: it really makes sense only when there is aclear intention to progress in the implementation of VM and costing isdone to plan the required resources. Of course, a decision not to proceedcan still be taken but estimation of compensating benefits and newpossible sources of income should intervene at this stage and reduce thispossibility.G. Conclusions The economic analysis of VM is a difficult and time-consumingexercise for a number of reasons, the first of which is the substantial lackof a solid tradition in this field. Nevertheless, a three-step approach to the analysis of costs andbenefits may help to avoid waste of time and to focus on critical benefitsconnected with strategic objectives of universities. Only when the keybenefits are well identified an attempt to estimate costs with a highdegree of precision makes sense. Concerning benefits, it has to be recognised that most of them(internationalisation of curricula, institutional co-operation, meaningfuluse of technological infrastructure, development of autonomy attitudesin learners, development of inter-cultural communication skills, academiccohesion) have certainly an economic value in the long term, but are veryhard to be appreciated in purely economic terms. Economic analysis of VM cannot really be separated fromstrategic, pedagogic and organisational analysis: whatever the level ofsophistication that is adopted in economic analysis, some of the 185
  • 88. important benefits depend on learning quality, organisational and culturaloutcomes.186
  • 89. Bibliography Bacsich P., “Re-Engineering the campus with web and RelatedTechnology for the Virtual University” – Presentation at “flish 97”published in “Learning in a Global Information Society”, Issue 14 & 15,January 1998 Boidin J. M. et al, Les coûts de l’enseignement dans le superieur,Ministère de l’enseignement superieur et de la recherche, Paris, 1993 CRE – Restructuring the University – New Technologies forTeaching and Learning – Guidance to Universities on Strategy, Geneve,1998 Dixon R., Investment Appraisal, Kogan Page, London, 1994 Dondi C. and Turrini M. (Ed. by) “Economics of Flexible andDistance Learning”, DELTA Programme, 1994 Dondi C. and Zucchini I., “Economic and Organisational Issues inthe Trans-National Development and Delivery of ODL Courses”, inResearch Perspectives on Open Distance Learning, SCIENTER,Bologna, 1998 Johnes G., The Economics of Education, Macmillan, London,1993 Orivel F., “Analysing costs in Distance Education Systems: aMethodological Approach”, June 1997 Rumble G., The Costs and Economics of Open and DistanceLearning, Kogan Page, London, 1998 187
  • 90. Conclusions recommendations and strategic optionsThis work summarises the results of several years of practice anddevelopment of a hybrid model of university teaching bringing virtualmobility into traditional face to face courses: the HUMANITIES model.The authors arrive at conclusions that may assist others in finding theirway on the thorny path towards educational innovation through openand distance learning using new information and communicationtechnologies.A number of statements considered by the authors to be highly relevantconclude this work. They are also reflected in the separately published“HUMANITIES guidelines for the implementation of ODL and avirtual mobility approach in conventional universities” intended to assistin a practical way all actors in the field, from university leaders tostudents in defining suitable steps to reach their goals.Concluding statements 1. Implementation of ICT supported education (or ODL sensu lato)has to be a strategic decision in response to the needs and priorities ofthe university and should therefore be able to mobilise the support andco-operation that is essential for the proper development of sucheducation. 2. Institutional leadership, commitment, enabling (pedagogical andtechnical) services, training and reward structures are requested toprepare universities strategically for successful implementation, and toovercome resistance natural in traditional universities. 3. The strategic decisions at university level are essential to createthe right conditions for ODL/ICT implementation. These decisionsneed support at the faculty level and acceptance by individual academics.They have at least two components:188
  • 91. • Readiness to an appropriate pedagogic and didactic, more learner- centred approach;• willingness to invest in infrastructure and personnel. 4. Apart from the very important training component, affectingnot only teachers and students but also tutors, administrators and eventechnicians, on how to use ICT and ODL, the following conditions areessential, with the virtual mobility model in particular:• 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 telecommunications expenses;• language skills (computer languages/natural languages);• language management for course development, delivery and support. 5. Internationally networked spearheads in faculties may play avery important role, also acting as examples of good practice ofintegrated approach involving major parts of universities. 6. Be aware of the fact that internal flexibilisation, making theteaching less teacher/classroom dependent and more learner centred onthe one hand and co-operation in international distance learning on theother require about the same pedagogical and technological support. 7. HUMANITIES works. Its hybrid model of virtual mobility iswell suited for ODL/ICT implementation without major change of theuniversity teaching/learning structure and will therefore be a right choicewhen starting experiments with ODL. 8. Experiences from the HUMANITIES project show thatteachers appreciate its potential of sharing resources. Trans-national 189
  • 92. collaboration also acts as an eye opener to new possibilities, approaches,examples of good practice or helps to avoid mistakes duringimplementation. 9. Evaluations show that ODL based on ICT is appreciatedspecially 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 their own university;• (on-line/off-line) communication with persons that otherwise would be inaccessible, or hard to be approached;• european dimension (with the enrichment of cultural diversity). 10. In flexible or distance learning the tutor, locally available forguidance, introductory training, tutoring and co-ordination with distantteachers is an essential function.Tutors play an important role in the avoidance of technology drive andlack of personal contacts. 11. Economic analysis of virtual mobility cannot really beseparated from strategic, pedagogic and organisational analysis. 12. When simply judged from the economic cost side, virtualmobility of moderate quality can be implemented at relatively low costs,and with moderate initial investment. However, if high quality is the goalthe initial costs can easily be higher than for classical distance educationand the running costs higher than for conventional teaching, certainly inan initial phase. A more cost-effective perspective remains however onthe longer term. 13. The list of potential benefits of virtual mobility is so long andthe items are so impressive as to strategic impact that in almost anysituation convincing benefits can be found that justify a reasonablefinancial contribution by the university.190
  • 93. 14. A three-step approach to the analysis of costs and benefits mayhelp to avoid waste of time and to focus on critical benefits connectedwith strategic objectives of the university.Only when the key benefits are well identified an attempt to estimatecosts with reasonable degree of precision makes sense. 15. Most benefits are very hard to be appreciated in purelyeconomic terms, but certainly have one in the long term. 16. Each university will need one or more local Resources andStudy Centre structures to assist in the facilitation of change, in theposition of pedagogical, technological and logistical support, and inaction and evaluation research. 17. The added value of networks should be used to constructpowerful, effective and, where necessary, nearby and low-thresholdResources and Study units or structures. 18. The special character of Europe, the opportunities offered andproblems raised by its cultural diversity call for specific approaches,especially for the management of languages that should be well-discussedbased upon observations, options, goals and strategies. 19. Practical methodologies for budgeting and sharing costs (andsavings) among partners and for commercialisation of ready madeproducts should be developed. 20. Attention should be given to re-usability for distribution ofdistance learning products. They can be sold including guaranteed andpaid for amounts of teacher/tutor time to the participant universities forrepetition in next years or to other universities, possibly also outsideEurope. 21. Personal guidance and face to face teaching, well selected as tosubject, teaching method and teacher can hardly be replaced. 191
  • 94. AuthorsDr Maya Eisner & Mrs Roberta Paulin (EuroMedia LINK)Via Gubbio 10I-20122 MILANOTel : (+ 39) 02 58318 842 - Fax : (+ 39) 02 583 16 327Email : eurolin@tin.itMrs Irene Hein (TechNet Finland)Helsinki University of TechnologyLifelong Learning Institute DipoliP. O. Box 8000FIN-02015 HUTTel : (+ 358) 09 451 44 76 - Fax : (+ 358) 09 451 40 60Ms Alexia Boninsegna & Dr Claudio Dondi (Scienter)Via Val D’Aposa 3I-40123 BOLOGNATel : (+ 39) 051 65 60 401 - Fax : (+ 39) 051 65 60 402Email : aboninsegna@scienter.orgEmail : cdondi@scienter.orgProf. Jorgen Bang (University of Aarhus)Jutland Open UniversityNDR. Ringgade 1DK-8000 AARHUS CTel : (+ 45) 89 42 19 63 - Fax : (+ 45) 89 42 11 10Email : jbang@imv.aau.dkDr Peter Floor (Leiden University)P. O. Box 9500 3
  • 95. Stationweg 46NL-2300 RA LEIDENTel : (+ 31) 527 31 36 - Fax : (+ 31) 527 31 18Email : P.Floor@BvdU.LeidenUniv.NLProf. Valerio Grementieri (Associazione Campo)Via Cavour 82I-50919 FIRENZETel : (+ 39) 055 275 77 48 - Fax : (+ 39) 055 238 14 85Email : campo@dada.itDr Jef Van den Branden (EuroPace 2000)Celestijnenlaan 200 AB-3001 HEVERLEETel : (+ 32) 16 32 75 73 - Fax : (+ 32) 16 32 79 95Email : jef.vandenbranden@europace.be4