All Socrates Actions except Erasmus
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also Comenius 1 for Northern Ireland, Wales, North-West England, West Midlands and South-West England
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Fax : (44) 28.9023.7592
UK- Socrates Erasmus Council
UK-Kent CT2 7LR
Tel : (44) 1227 76.27.12
Fax : (44) 1227 76.27.11
SIBIS results provides a unique and representative single source of reliable data on current and medium term aspects in the Information Society domains across the EU member states, Switzerland, the USA and 10 candidate countries. The data has been gathered trough representative surveys of the population and of decision makers in establishments in these countries carried out in 2002 and 2003.
‘Digital literacy’, ‘Learning and training’ and ‘Digital divides’ are the topics of relevance to eLearning which the project addressed in some depth.
The latest products from the SIBIS project are the following:
1. SIBIS Pocketbook 2002/03: Measuring the IS in the EU, the Accession Countries, Switzerland and the US (June 2003) (211 pp.) , 10.5 x 29.7 cm.
The SIBIS PocketBook gathered a lot of useful statistics and indicators related to the following areas: Basic access and usage, Information security, eCommerce, eWork, eGovernment, eHealth, Digital Literacy, Learning and Training, and Digital Divides. Some 84 figures provides a lot of information while some comments helps to understand and interpret the data.
2. SIBIS eEurope Topic Reports (June 2003) on:
· Telecommunications and Access
· Security and Trust
· Work, Skills and Employment
· Social Inclusion
3. SIBIS Benchmarking Highlights 2002: Towards the IS in Europe and the US, (May 2003); (71 pp.), 10.5 x 29.7 cm.
- to establish and spread network
- to liaise about the changing role of radiography and to stimulate and promote convergence towards higher standards in radiographic practice and education
- to encourage the involvement of the University sector
- to work with the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT) and the European radiographic professional bodies in the identification of the differences and commonalities in curricula requirements for initial and continuing radiography education
- to promote discussion and the exchange of ideas for the improvement of teaching methods
- to encourage the development of life long learning including role expansion and development
Institutions in Europe engaged in the initial education of radiographers and institutions which provide continuing education and training including practice development in the use of specialist imaging modalities
-to establish and expand website
-to establish three working groups: I. European dimension of radiographic education. II. Teaching & Learning. III. Development of CPD and role expansion
-to organise and report on 2 conferences held in conjunction with the ISRRT
- HENRE website
- information brochure/directory
- 2 Annual conference reports
- report on the teaching and learning methods
Main objectives in the TN project are: improve quality in education; enhance its European dimension; foster co-operation, dialogue, exchange of information and experience between Institutions and other sectors of society; increase mobility and improve transparency and credit recognition (Diploma Supplement; recognition for teachers); adopt a system of easily readable and comparable degrees (ECTS); move towards the adoption of a two-tier degree; move towards the establishment of a single quality accreditation system and unified criteria for quality assurance; promote a knowledge-based society (lifelong learning, ICT in learning and teaching); increase the attractiveness of the European Area of Higher Education in Geodesy, Cartography and Surveying; move towards the adoption of a common frame of reference for degrees.
The activities planned to achieve these objectives are: organisation of partners in Working Groups; data gathering by means of questionnaires, surveys, consultancies, searching in internet or other sources; debates, forums and workshops to analyse information and come up with results.
Communication among members will be done mainly by e-mail, telephone, fax, some meetings and eventually video-conferencing. Dissemination activities will be based on newsletters, pamphlets, reports, a network website, e-mailing.
The target groups envisaged are Deans of Faculties and education policy makers, teachers and researchers, students and administrative staff in Faculties, interlocutors from the private and public sectors.
The Open Consultation develops a set of key questions to be answered. Among them, the contributors are asked to give their opinions on what areas of eEurope 2005 Action Plan enjoyed significant progress since 2002, and what areas need a increased attention. The remaining obstacles to wider use of public and private services, or the main consequences of enlargement on eEurope 2005 are among the proposed questions
eEurope 2005 Action Plan was launched in June 2002. It sets out the targets to be achieved by between 2003 and 2005 to promote the development of a knowledge-based economy in Europe. e-learning is one of the key action areas of eEurope 2005, together with Broadband, Security, eInclusion, eGovernment, e-Health and e-Business.
e-Learning in the Field of European Women’s Studies: a History in Case Studies<br><font color="#888888">
Being positioned within the Institute for Media and Representation in the Arts Faculty, this programme is particularly sensitive to issue related to the Information and Communication Technologies. For the last eight years, the Women’s Studies programme has systematically worked on the ICT’s according to a carefully laid out and systematically implemented scheme:
a. ICT as a tool for communication;
b. ICT as a pedagogical and learning instrument;
c. ICT’s as a research object.
Throughout the various stages of the implementation of this ambitious programme, the support of the European Commission has been crucial. The development of e-learning in the field of Women’s Studies in Europe, from the earliest stages – with the introduction of ICT-supported learning and experiments with ‘virtual classrooms’ – to the current stage – with a full range of practices and a variety of ODL courses available and under construction – is a tale of collaborative and joint activities within the European framework. Utrecht University played a leading role in these, as the initiators and coordinators of different European partnership projects in the field of Women’s Studies, many of them involving e-learning aspects.
Given this background, in this paper we present a historical account of the development of e-learning projects through concrete case studies of joint European projects, funded by the Socrates programme and coordinated by the Women’s Studies programme at Utrecht University. Because they bring together in a wide range of project partners significant expertise in the field, these projects account for the theoretical, methodological and practical developments in e-learning in all its practices and possibilities, starting from the specificity of the interdisciplinary and multicultural traditions in Women’s Studies in contemporary Europe (For a clear example of this approach, see the recently published teaching manual in European women’s studies: Thinking Differently, edited by Gabriele Griffin and Rosi Braidotti, London, Zed Books, 2003 on behalf of the Socrates Thematic Network ATHENA). All the projects presented involved colleagues from many partner universities in Europe, who brought together not only their academic expertise and experience from their home universities and other projects, but also the strong wish to focus on new educational developments and to evaluate their use for Women’s Studies. There was a shared starting assumption about both the positivity of the new ICT as teaching tools, but also about their potential to open up new and highly useful pedagogical practices and teaching methodologies in the field of gender education.
We will present four projects, starting with CyberNOISE, an e-learning experiment carried out in the context of the NOISE European Summer School in Women’s Studies. Via the work undertaken in the context of ATHENA, the Socrates Thematic Network for Women’s Studies, on the use of ICT in Women’s Studies education – which is of a more reflective and methodological nature – we arrive to the first jointly developed e-learning course in European Women’s Studies, Gendering Cyberspace. Finally, we look forward to future developments, and present our plans and expectations for the future, which are taking shape in the plans for a new Minerva project, entitled ‘@gender’. In the conclusion, we will draw out the main points emerging form this long list of experiences and attempt a critical assessment.
CyberNOISE started as an experiment with a ‘virtual classroom’ as an integrated part of the programme of the annual NOISE European Summer School in Women’s Studies from multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives .
This started as early as 1996, with an on-line workshop session during the Summer School in which both Summer School students, and external students in different locations in Europe, participated. CyberNOISE remained closely linked to the NOISE Summer School, in its content as well as in its structure. The course used digitalized and visualized teaching materials. The main aim of CyberNOISE was the double approach of the simultaneous use of ICT as a tool in teaching Women’s Studies to virtual students, and at the same time integrating reflection on the process and the meaning of this use of new information and communication technologies for teaching and learning and for contemporary society as such in the programme.
Gradually, CyberNOISE evolved into a pilot ODL course which of-campus students could follow simultaneous with the on-campus Summer School students. At this stage, coordinators and teachers observed the need to integrate the CyberNOISE experiences with theoretical frameworks developed in the field of ICT in Women’s Studies, and reflection on issues of methodology and structure specifically for ODL teaching. This need was translated into an application for an autonomous ODL project in Women’s Studies: this was to become the later ODL course ‘Gendering Cyberspace: Multimedia and Multicultural Gender Studies in Europe’.
ATHENA: The use of ICT in Women’s Studies education
In the project period September 1998 – October 2001, the ATHENA working group focusing on the use of ICT in Women’s Studies education could present, among other outcomes, a manuscript for the book ICTs in Teaching and Learning Women’s Studies. Perspectives and Practices in Europe, edited by Sara Goodman, Gill Kirkup and Magda Michielsens. The study included an investigation of the way in which ICTs are used in Women’s Studies courses. The focus was on the relationship between the three ‘players’ in this field: teachers, students and ICTs. The aim was to document and evaluate, but also to stimulate and guide, the use of ICTs in feminist educational practices at university level, including a discussion on the meanings and impact of the new technologies in this context. Furthermore, the working group wanted to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge, skills and experiences for teachers using ICTs in Women’s Studies courses, with the aim to further the developments in the field and to disseminate findings and results to the Women’s Studies community.
In their book, the panel presents in-depth reflections upon a number of e-learning case studies in the field of Women’s Studies, by experts and users in the field. The ongoing exchange and discussions during this period proved to be very profitable for both the joint project, and the individual projects and courses involving eLearning that the working group participants were involved in. The time-span gave the participating teachers the opportunity to follow developments in a number of Women’s Studies courses over a period of three years.
Out of the case studies, the evaluations and the theoretical framework used, the working group arrived to a methodology which they translated into a step-by-step manual with recommendations for the use of Internet and other forms ICT in Women’s Studies teaching. Pointing at potential dangers and risks, and highlighting new possibilities and ways to gain the best results through strategic use of ICTs in education.
Gendering Cyberspace: Multimedia and Multicultural Genderstudies in Europe
Following on the experiments with the CyberNOISE virtual classroom in the context of the NOISE Summer School, a selected number of partners developed an Internet based ODL course, using new media and Information and Communication Technologies. ‘Gendering Cyberspace: Multimedia and Multicultural Women’s Studies in Europe’, was taught in August-October 2000 and, in an updated version, in August-October 2001.
The programme also built upon the experience and implement the results of another Socrates funded programme, Diotima - Development of European/Comparative ODL Gender & Politics Programme Package. The guidelines for developing transculturally sensitive and user-friendly educational ODL material developed within the Diotima project were applied in the development of the Gendering Cyberspace course. Because the Diotima project combined ‘traditional’ ODL education with the use of ICT, Gendering Cyberspace extended the guidelines of Diotima with guidelines for the development of transculturally sensitive and user-friendly educational ODL using the latest Information and Communication Technologies.
The main aim of this European partnership project was the development of an intensive Open and Distance Learning programme in the field of interdisciplinary and multicultural Women’s Studies in Europe, using new media and Information and Communication Technologies. The plan was to develop an ODL version of the already existing and successful ‘on-campus’ summer school programme in this area. The ODL version of the summer school aimed to overcome barriers to physical mobility such as financial, social and geographical circumstances, while allowing for the necessary interaction between learners and tutors through optimal use of interactive technologies.
The simultaneous teaching of an ODL version and an on-campus version of the same programme allowed for a thorough evaluation of the pedagogical and methodological implications involved in both lines of teaching. The second aim of the project, therefore, was to evaluate the educational practice of new media and Information and Communication Technologies in the ODL programme. The effectiveness of the interactive media was investigated and compared by the effectiveness of the traditional interaction in on-campus education. In this, the evaluation considered the specific pedagogical and methodological needs for teaching Women’s Studies and the needs of students from different cultural backgrounds. This provided the project partners with a valuable account and recommendations on the usefulness of new educational and technological developments in both ODL and on-campus settings, in line with the activities of the ICT working group in ATHENA, the Socrates European Thematic Network for Women’s Studies. This working group produced a manual on the use of ICT in teaching Women’s Studies, focusing on the specificity of the student population in Women’s Studies programmes and courses – mostly female students, from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds – starting from insights in the field of feminist pedagogy.
The target usergroup for the ODL course were post-graduate (MA) students from the partner institutions and other institutions of higher education, as well as professionals in the field, from Europe and the rest of the world. The programme was especially profitable to students from universities with a lack of courses in the field of Women's Studies, for adult learners in general – precisely because of the advantages that are specific to ODL training – and for teachers in need of re-training in the constantly developing field of Women’s Studies. The project tried to meet the needs of regionally marginalized women in Europe. Distance education methods can be particularly helpful to improve access to higher education for women, who often still have financial, social and/or geographical barriers to participate in on-campus education – provided that they can access to the necessary equipment.
The pedagogic scope of the project was two-fold: both the educational use of Information and Communication Technologies, and the pedagogical approach of interdisciplinary and multicultural teaching - grounded in the historical and cultural traditions of European feminism and women’s movements - were central in this project.
The comparative methodology and the European dimension added through this project to the existing, participating Women’ Studies programmes, is of vital importance for the ongoing development of the current field of teaching and research in Women's Studies in Europe. At the same time, each partner institution contributes its cultural specific approach to teaching multicultural perspectives in Women's Studies. The course thus provided coherent basis for exchange of knowledge in this unevenly developed, but fast growing field of study.
The programme rests upon an interdisciplinary approach, based on the experience of the project partners. In the choice of methodologies in Women’s Studies, it chose a pluralistic approach, emphasising the diverse cultural and theoretical traditions emerging from European histories and cultures. Historiographies of women's cultural and scientific traditions are addressed in a systematic manner.
The teaching experience in the intensive ODL course has been fed into the systematic development of joint comparative teaching material and methods in the field of European Women’s Studies, and vice versa. Central to the programme is the effort to provide interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives in each of the themes taught.
The course that was developed in the context of this project, including the learning environment in WebCT, the course structure, the assignments and the teaching material – involving the use of the latest information and communication technologies - contributes to the ongoing joint development of European ODL teaching materials from interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives. This also contributes to the aim of balancing, from a European perspective, the dominance of teaching materials and technological tools from North America.
Gendering Cyberspace was developed as an Internet-based ODL course. Students, after having participated in the course, having done all the preparatory work and reading, and having submitted all assignments and a final paper, were granted 9 ECTS-credits for 240 hours of study. The course consisted of a one-week introduction, three thematic clusters of three weeks each, and a final phase of 4 weeks, during which the students write their final essay. A course outline and reading materials were sent to the students beforehand.
The e-learning environment was built using WebCT, providing the e-learning environment with the following features:
· Student and teacher homepage section for successful disclosure of personal information and interests, pictures, imagery, links to related websites and presentation of individual course assignments.
· User guides for RealPlayer, WebCT, nettiquette and homepage building.
· Glossary for looking up Women’s Studies related terms and theories.
· RealPlayer audio files pointing to RealServer archives for vivid lecturing.
· Chat feature for time-specific workshops.
· Calendar for teacher and student deadline reminders.
· Structured content through clear icons and paths.
· Student tracking feature for tracking and motivating students by tutor.
· Evaluation tools for gathering student comments and suggestions at the end of each theme.
The RealAudio recordings taken from the on-campus NOISE Summer School programme, taught by an interdisciplinary group of teachers in the field of European Women’s Studies, were available online as an integral part of the course. The online course was password-protected and accessible for students, teachers and tutors participating in the course only.
Evaluation and results
Evaluation of the course was undertaken by an experienced independent institute, the IVLOS Institute of Education in the Netherlands, which has a long experience in critically evaluating teaching methods, including on-line teaching. A summary of the results of the evaluation was printed in Volume III of the ATHENA publications . Evaluations ran throughout the whole course time-span through the implementation of on-line questionnaires for all teachers, students and tutors involved. The results of the evaluation clearly show that open and distance learning through the use of ICTs has a number of positive effects and consequences. Importantly, it presupposes another way of working for teachers and attracts another group of students than real-life teaching. In general, students come from a broader variety of backgrounds than on-campus students do. The Gendering Cyberspace ‘class’ contained, among others, for instance women with full-time jobs, mothers who could not leave the house too much for on-campus studying, disabled women, and students with no financial means to travel abroad. For both teachers and students, the ‘feeling part of a class or community’ while teaching or participating in the course, and the continuity brought in by one overall tutor, was of crucial importance for keeping the spirits and motivation high. Since there is not the advantage of a physical classroom setting, active effort needs to be taken to create this sense of community. The uses of audio, chat, homepages and email are crucial in reaching this goal. Students were on the whole very enthusiastic about the interdisciplinarity, the online nature of the course, the European dimension, and the flexibility the course offered in moments of study.
The outcomes of the evaluation were used to improve the on-line course to be able to run an updated and improved version in the year following. The findings, results and recommendation of the Evaluation Report presented by experts of the IVLOS Institute of Education were discussed and implemented during the second project year. Components of the Fourth European Feminist Research Conference which took place in Bologa, Italy, in September 2000, which were available on-line, were integrated. The course was upgraded to a more recent version of WebCT, and a workshop for the participating teachers to optimise the use of this tool was provided by the main tutor of the course, the ICT coordinator. The changes implemented were expected to be beneficiary to the students’ and teachers’ involvement in profiting from the course. In the long run, the results of the evaluation are being used to the benefit of the developments in eLearning in the field of Women’s Studies. The later is currently taking the concrete form of working towards an Open and Distance Learning MA programme in interdisciplinary Women’s Studies in Europe.
@gender is a pilot project constructing a European ‘virtual campus’ in Women’s Studies using state-of-the-art ICTs. The project partners plan to work towards a jointly developed European ODL MA in Women’s Studies, with a special focus on the impacts of the new technologies, digitalisation and ICTs uses and issues of knowledge production, citizenship, ethnicity, globalisation, European identities and (new) media theories.
This project builds upon the initial knowledge in ODL teaching in Women’s Studies from existing individual courses in a number of partner institutions, including the experiences of the Minerva ODL partnership programme ‘Gendering Cyberspace’. It seeks to use the expertise and knowledge in using ICTs in high-level education and European curriculum building as already collected within ATHENA Network in the working groups on ‘European Curriculum Development in Women's Studies’ and ‘The Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Women's Studies Teaching’, and in the NOISE programme.
@gender, in co-operation with the ICT working group of the ATHENA network, wants to continue to provide a platform for the exchange and consolidation of ideas, knowledge and experience in e-learning in Women’s Studies. It aims to create synergy between the different project partners and to foster the growth of knowledge on ICT and educational practices within the field of Women’s Studies. The two projects will create transversal connections between the different activities that have already been undertaken in this field in different European partnership projects.
The aim of @gender is to create a European on-line ODL MA in the field of ‘Gender and Technology’. The knowledge of the different partners on previously taught courses in ‘Gender and Technology’ (both online and face-to-face) will be integrated in this joint MA programme.
During the project the participating @gender partners will teach 3 online courses to MA students and the experience and knowledge gained from this will result in the development of a framework for the design of other e-learning courses in Women’s Studies, accompanied by a manual for teaching Women’s Studies on-line.
Furthermore, in developing this MA, the @gender partners will be dealing with the problems and possibilities of building such an on-line ODL MA in a European context.
Within the work of the ICT group of ATHENA, the focus will be on the general use of ICT and e-learning within the Women’s Studies community in Europe, and, starting from that expertise, on the further promotion of e-learning as a valuable tool within Women’s Studies. The results and findings will be spread widely through the networks of the partners so as to ensure that a broad audience will benefit.
Secondly, the work aims to implement and assess the use of ICT for gender education throughout Europe and to research and evaluate the means to improve the integration of ICT in Women’s Studies education. Furthermore, the project aims to strenghten the exchange, participation and input by students from different backgrounds and locations through the use of ICT’s.
A jointly created on-line database containing outcomes, reports and resources, and a web-portal on e-learning and Women’s Studies, will ensure wide dissemination of results, expertise and practices of the work of @gender and ATHENA in this field.
From the varied experiences in different projects involving e-learning in the field of European Women’s Studies, we see a series of developments emerging:
Firstly, the introduction of e-learning strongly impacted pedagogical approaches and lead to changing pedagogies and different forms of teaching and learning in the field of Women’s Studies. However, e-learning impacts not only the form, but also the content and the theoretical approaches in the field: stronger synergy between ‘ICT as a pedagogic and learning instrument’ and ‘ICT as an object of research’ is emerging.
Furthermore, through virtual mobility, a wider target group is being reached than was possible by means of traditional classroom teaching only. This includes students from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, as well as students from different educational backgrounds. The latter is linked to another development: links between university education and other forms of training are strengthened, especially through the ties with training centres for women and the network of women’s libraries and documentation centres in Europe. e-Learning proves to be very beneficial for life-long learning, creating possibilities for non-traditional groups of students – including women adult learners and women professionals, as well as students with no access to Women’s Studies education at their home universities – to participate in high-level education in the field of Women’s Studies. We are much looking forward to furthering and integrating these developments in the creation of an ODL MA in Women’s Studies.With special thanks to Laurence Claes and Erna Kotkamp for their input; to Ingrid Hoofd and Mischa Peters, former ICT coordinators in the Women’s Studies programme at Utrecht University, who have been key persons in the initiation, development and carrying out of the projects described in this article. We also thank our project partners in the different projects with whom we developed and carried out the projects, and the educational experts from the IVLOS institute, who were important in the Gendering Cyberspace project.
· Sara Goodman, Magda Michielsens and Gill Kirkup, ‘ICTs in Teaching and Learning Women’s Studies. Perspectives and Practices in Europe’. In: Rosi Braidotti, Ilse Lazaroms and Esther Vonk, The making of European Women’s Studies. A work in progress report on curriculum development and related issues in gender education and research, Volume III. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2001.
· Ingrid Hoofd, Yvonne de Jong en Pierre van Eijl, ‘The development of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) through the use of ICTs in Women’s Studies: the Gendering Cyberspace project case study’. In: Rosi Braidotti, Ilse Lazaroms and Esther Vonk, The making of European Women’s Studies. A work in progress report on curriculum development and related issues in gender education and research, Volume III. Utrecht, ATHENA/Utrecht University, 2001.
· Women’s Studies at Utrecht University
· Gendering Cyberspace
· NOI♀SE Summer School