Interview with Cristina Mussinelli, Project coordinator of the PROACCESS project
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- 2007 Visitas
After the eLearning Programme closed down the EACEA Agency interviewed the coordinators of some of the projects that were funded by this programme. You can read here the answers given by Cristina Mussinelli, project coordinator of PROACCESS: Building processes to accessible content in education
How did the project improve possibilities for eLearning?
The project targeted people with special needs: visually impaired people. We tried to better understand their problems in access to information in a wider range. It was a valorisation project within which we prepared a lot of documents and materials that will raise awareness on the problems of visually impaired people and that could be useful for publishing houses to understand the specifications of books designed for people with special needs.
What do you think was particularly successful about the project?
The deliverables of the Project, always available on the website are very practical and very easy to understand for market of publishers. Besides that there was a very good collaboration between project partners and we achieved to bring together all stakeholders concerned by problems of visually impaired people.
In your training and professional experience, what has created a barrier? And what are the problems you have faced?
The biggest problem was in production process, because there are a lot of techniques and new ways of producing content that should be involved in eLearning value chain. This has a strong impact on the actual workflows and specific strong investment especially in staff training is needed. Also legal issues were needed to be solved, which is a very complicated procedure.
Another important problem was at the financial level, because it is important to find how to achieve sustainability of creation of materials for visually impaired people, as those materials are very expensive to produce. In many countries there are specific public investments as it considered a social issue.. As a result, it's important that all stakeholders should be involved in the process and cooperate.-
Why is the use of new technologies important for learning today? What in your opinion is the added value offered by the technologies in comparison with traditional learning?
Use of new technologies in this field is growing, since people using the traditional accessible Braille or enlarged characters print versions are now asking for digital versions. Especially young people use the new technologies, so ICT should be involved in the trainings.
What impact has the eLearning programme and project had on the lives of beneficiaries/target groups?
The main focus was to create awareness on the problem of visually impaired people, so we didn't have any direct effect on their lives as it's a long and complicated process. But we tried to make the information widespread and bring together different stakeholders such as publishers, production suppliers and specialist organizations of people with impair disabilities. Very importantly, we achieved to make all these people more conscious of the overall problems and helped them to achieve a more shared vision on possible solutions.
What were the impacts of the project for the educational or wider community in project countries and in EU policy?
We provided to European Commission a lot of clear information about the problems of visually impaired people. At this point, the European level partnership between European Publisher Federation and Italian Federation of Publishers was very important for transferring the information and experience gained in the Project.
How did the inter-European scope enrich the project?
In addition to the members of project consortium, we also worked with other partners from Germany and United Kingdom that were involved in projects for visually impaired people. Experiences from different countries made us develop different approaches in finding new solutions.
In what ways were the dissemination activities successful?
We organized many events such as seminars, training courses, presentations in different conferences, newsletters. Besides that, a specific meeting with European Commission was organized. In some cases publishers and production suppliers started to embed accessibility issues within their production process. At institutional levels the awareness to focus not only on web site accessibly but also on print material accessibility grew considerably
What are the most important lessons you have learnt? What are therefore your key messages (max 3) for the future use of ICT in learning?
- Involve all the interested stakeholders and create a mutual understanding taking in consideration all their points of view.
- Focus on practical solutions based on the strong knowledge of the specific environment provided by the stakeholders
Access the DOSSIER: eLearning programme 2000 - 2006: The Legacy to learn more about the eLearning programme