[Air-l] MISSIONl newsletter

Diana Andone diana at ldrum.opendrum.utt.ro
Tue Aug 19 01:58:04 PDT 2003

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MISSION (Multi-Integrated System Support for Improved ODL Networking) is 
a 2 years project developed under Socrates - MINERVA European Union 
Program. The project intends to strengthen the relationship and 
co-operations in PHARE ODL study center network: inside - between 
centers and outside -between center and ODL institution and universities 
in EU.

About the project
Editorial - The ICT Skills and Learning Preferences of Europeans
ODL in Romania
ODL in Lithuania
ODL in France
New courses

Issue 1, May 2003

MISSION Web-site  ( http://mission.pu.acad.bg/en/index.html  
<http://mission.pu.acad.bg/en/index.html%C2%A0> )
Course catalogue of tasters  ( 
http://www.dec.pg.gda.pl/pro/socrates/prometheus/manager/mission/index.php )
Counseling service on-line  ( 
http://www.dec.pg.gda.pl/pro/socrates/prometheus/manager/mission/index.php )
Database on existing ODL staff training programmes ( 
http://www.dec.pg.gda.pl/pro/socrates/prometheus/manager/mission/index.php )
ODL Glossary ( http://stoner.phys.uaic.ro/idesc/glossary/ )
HR-Development Programme for ODL Centres

Diana Andone    diana at mail.opendrum.utt.ro 
<mailto:diana at mail.opendrum.utt.ro>

About the project
Mission project aims to strengthen the links between the CEE PHARE ODL 
Centres - recently established by the support of the PHARE Multi-Country 
Programme for Distance Education. At the same time it aims to improve 
the effectiveness and long-term stability of collaboration between 
EuroStudy Centres (coordinated by European Association of Distance 
Teaching Universities - EADTU) and PHARE ODL Centres. As a more generic 
objective, it focuses on enhancing the awareness of ODL as the most 
effective, innovative and flexible methodology for supporting the 
European dimension of Life-Long Learning.
The typical beneficiaries of the MISSION project are expected to be: HRD 
policy makers and decision makers, ODL providers, course developers, ICT 
application developers, management staff and academics of universities 
working in dual/mixed mode education systems, staff developers and 
advisers, evaluators, distance learners all over Europe.
Establishing a central, multi-lingual (13 languages) WEB portal and 
electronic network based on ICT (e-newsletter, discussion groups, course 
catalogue, staff development and mentoring, etc.) is a core activity of 
the project. In addition to the advanced electronic tools and resources 
that will be available for a global audience . Specific staff 
development programmes for ODL Centres and Strategic plans for the 
sustainability of ODL networking in Europe will also be major outcomes
.    Web-site   http://mission.pu.acad.bg/en/index.html  
.    Course catalogue of tasters  
.    Counseling service on-line  
.    Database on existing ODL staff training programmes 
.    ODL Glossary  http://stoner.phys.uaic.ro/idesc/glossary/
.    HR-Development Programme for ODL Centres (URL link)
.    Newsletters  - link la arhiva
.    Publications


The ICT Skills and Learning Preferences of Europeans

Nine in ten Europeans think lifelong learning is important. But only 58% 
said they are able to use a computer, and very few think on open and 
distance learning to improve their skills. These are some of the results 
of a recent Eurobarometer Survey describing the learning patterns of 
The survey, called "Lifelong learning: a citizen's view" , ( 
<http://www.cedefop.eu.int/download/current_act/4025_en.pdf%C2%A0> was 
commissioned by the Directorate General Education and Culture with the 
assistance of CEDEFOP http://www.cedefop.eu.int /. It was carried out 
between 15 January and 28 February 2003 in the 15 Member States, Norway 
and Iceland, and entailed more than 18,000 face-to-face interviews.
ICT and scientific/technological skills are not high on citizen's agenda

Almost everybody (over 90%) agrees that reading, writing and arithmetic 
are the most useful skills in all areas of life. At the same time, under 
half consider that using the internet (48%), foreign languages (45%) or 
scientific - technological tools are important skills in personal life, 
although these ICT skills are judged to be more important in working life.

People think they need a broader range of skills in working life than in 
personal life, and this is specially the case for using ICT skills.

Some 50% of people does not feel confident on key ICT skills

Almost everyone in the European Union thinks that they can read, write 
and do arithmetic, but only 58% of respondents said they could use a 
computer while half of them said they could not use Internet and 60% 
said they could not use foreign languages.

The lack of ICT skills is especially marked in Greece and Portugal with 
two-thirds of respondents claiming they could not use a computer. Around 
70% of respondents from Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom said they 
could not use foreign languages. On the other hand, people from Nordic 
countries and Luxembourg are much more likely to think that they possess 
knowledge and skills across the full range.

Gender differences are more marked for felt competence in using 
computers (65% of male and 52% of female respondents) and in using 
scientific/technological tools and equipment (53% and 28%respectively).

These results suggest that many citizens are aware there is room for 
knowledge & skills development of their part.

The majority of citizens think they learn best in informal settings

European citizens consider that their learning experiences are most 
profitable in non-formal contexts, for example doing activities at home 
(69%), getting together with other people (63%), during leisure time, 
(51%) learning informally on the job or in local learning 
centres/libraries. Formal learning settings (such as schools, 
universities and colleges) as a recent and relevant learning context 
were mentioned by only 17% of respondents. It is also worth noting that 
distance learning channels and learning experience abroad (as part of 
exchange programmes) are among the least-favoured learning settings.

Few people think about open and distance learning to improve their skills

When people think about how to improve or update their professional 
skills, only 12% of respondents think about open and distance learning 
and related channel, and a mere 5% choose secondment or excahnge abroad.

Why people consider learning in future? Social and personal reasons 
outweigh work-related motives

The main reasons for future learning are to achieve more personal 
satisfaction, increase general knowledge (31% each), do a job better 
(27%) and obtain a qualification (20%). Again, a hard kernel of 14% 
spontaneously reply that they would never want to take up learning again 
- but not a single Danish respondent said this, as opposed to at least 
20% in Belgium, Greece, France and Austria.

Main obstacles to lifelong learning: time and money

Although people recognise the personal and social benefits of learning, 
they underline that lack of time due to job and family commitments is an 
important obstacle. In general, money represents a major obstacle: half 
of the respondents said that they would pay nothing under any 
circumstances. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that people are 
ready to make a financial contribution if they judge the benefit to be 
an exclusively personal one. They do not see work-related learning as 
only their responsibility.

Individualised and flexible learning options could be effective 
incentives. People mention diverse incentives, but most common are 
flexible working hours (21%), individualised programmes of study and 
personal choice of methods of study (20% each). This suggests that 
implementing lifelong learning effectively must find ways to enable 
people to combine activities in ways that suit them practically and 

This article is inspired from the article 'About E-learning' at 
http://www.elearningeuropa.info/ .

The most significant factor in the development of ODL technologies in 
Romania is the PHARE Multi-country Programme for Distance Education, 
running in the period 1997-1998. Within the program, a network of seven 
ODL Study Centres (DESC = Distance Education Study Centres) and a 
National Contact Point (NCP) at the Ministry of National Education were 
established. The centres were founded in the main Romanian cities: 
Bucharest (2 centres), Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Timis,oara, Sibiu, Bras,ov. 
The staff involved in the development and organization of these centres 
was trained in ODL technologies, the centres received financial support 
for equipment purchase and funding to develop original ODL courses. In a 
final stage of the Phare programme, 70 students were trained with a high 
quality ODL course, LOLA (Learning about Distance Learning). At the same 
time, the European Commission financed many other ODL programmes within 
the TEMPUS scheme, targeted especially to Continuous Education.

In 1998, the Ministry of National Education has accredited the NCP, the 
seven Phare DESCs and the DESC established later at the Babes,-Bolyai 
University, and started to elaborate decisions to implement the new 
educational system in Romania. The Ministry allowed the ODL educational 
programmes for initial formation (faculty level), for Continuing 
Education, and for any kind of short term training, establishing a 
number of quality rules. Many ODL programmes have been started since 
1998, but the relaxed system of quality certification of these 
programmes was quite controversial.

Partially, the problem was solved at the end of year 2000, by a decision 
of the Romanian Government concerned with the quality of the ODL 
programmes in the universities. A new Commission was created within the 
National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation: the Distance 
Education Commission.

The commission elaborated Quality Standards for Distance Education 
Programmes offered by the Romanian Universities in March 2001 and, since 
then, all the ODL programmes dedicated to the initial formation at the 
university level were authorized only by this Commission.
ODL programmes in Romania
Since 2001, the mentioned ODL Commission analysed some 150 ODL complex 
programmes and authorized about 70% of them. All the authorizations were 
given only with an annual monitoring procedure. Recently, the concrete 
procedure was approved by the Council of the Romanian National Council 
for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation.
We estimate that, in Romania, at the beginning of the year 2003, there 
were about 50,000 students enrolled in about 100 ODL programmes 
organized by some 20 Universities (both State and Private Universities). 
Most of the ODL students are interested in training in Economics, Law, 
Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Public Relations, Communication, 
Journalism, Psychology, Pedagogy.
The ODL programmes are in an unwelcome competition with a new 
educational system which is allowed by the Romanian Law of Education, 
named Reduced Frequency System (RFS). Although RFS is defined as a 
system derived from the ODL technology, it allows an organisation of 
studies much more alike the traditional ones than the ODL system. The 
National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation and the 
Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (new name of the Ministry 
since 2001) decided that the ODL Commission should evaluate the RFS 
programmes as well. New criteria have been elaborated for these 
programmes and the evaluation will start in March 2003.

Permanent and Continuous Education using ODL technology
ODL programs are organized by Universities at graduate level, as well. 
Recently, the Teacher Training National Programme was re-organized and 
is also allowing the use of ODL technology. However, although ODL 
technology is best suited at this level, the number of students is 
significantly smaller than those mentioned in the previous section. This 
is mainly due to the financial aspect. At the post-university level, the 
number of students is much smaller and consequently these programmes are 
not financially efficient. Since all the programmes should finance the 
costs from student's taxes, the small scale ODL programmes are not 
encouraged. This might not be the case though with the new teacher 
training programmes which are financed by the state and promise an 
excellent future.
One should also mention that many ODL centres developed within the 
TEMPUS and PHARE programmes have organized an association (ASTEC) that 
planned to be involved in the development of high-quality ODL 
programmes, mainly at the graduate level and continuing training.

 >From dLearning to eLearning
A substantial debate within the Romanian ODL community is focused now on 
the subject of the use of new IT technologies in the existing and new 
ODL programmes. This could be formulated as the evolution of the ODL 
programmes from the traditional distance education system (that could be 
named dLearning) to ODL programmes that are using extensively the new 
educational technologies based on computers linked to the Internet, 
known as eLearning. The ODL Commission has recently elaborated the 
minimal rules for the use of eLearning in ODL programmes. The standards 
and recommendations of the Commission are concentrated on the use of 
electronic Learning Management Systems (LMS), but references are also 
made to the Content Creation Tools (CCT), Student Management Systems 
(SMS) and in a smaller degree on the Accounting Systems (AS). When using 
the eLearning technology, the organisers of the ODL programmes are 
required to fulfill a number of minimal criteria, such as, equal access 
for all the students to the technology in the study centres, training in 
the new technologies both for students and staff, proper guidance when 
using the facilities of a LMS. The web-based courses should be, from the 
pedagogical point of view, at least of the same quality as the printed 
study material, but they should include as much as possible the 
facilities offered by the technology, as hypertext and multimedia. When 
the student is a beneficiary of an eLearning environment he/she should 
clearly see a quality improvement of the services offered by the 
organizing institution.
However, although there is a strong will to implement at least LMS 
platforms, yet there is no clear strategy at the national level on this 
issue. Some universities are developing their own LMS platforms and 
other are willing to use commercial LMS, like the well known WebCT and 
As we see it now, the future of ODL in Romania, as in all other 
countries, will be more and more based on eLearning technology. The 
accessibility to computers and Internet is rapidly improving, which 
makes this prevision more likely. The most important obstacle will be 
with high probability the limited capacity to produce high-quality 
eLearning materials.

Lithuania has been making significant progress in its efforts to reform 
its economy and society. There is a wide spread agreement that the 
development of its human resources through the expansion and innovation 
of the education system using information technologies is a cornerstone 
for further economic and social transformation and the attainment of a 
primary economic policy goal of integration into the European Union. 
Within this context, the upgrading of the skills and knowledge is essential.
The government and educational sector have determined that distance 
education has enormous potential to meet this challenge and significant 
policy groundwork has been laid for the development of an advanced and 
comprehensive distance learning system.
ICT in higher education in the context of life long learning is one of 
the main research and development priorities in every country. The 
encouragement of life long learning and the successful use of ICT in the 
learning process should expand all the time if its aimed on the ground 
of collaboration and dissemination of good practice.
Higher education institutions should also join, stimulate and recognize 
ICT based educational initiatives. Hopefully higher education 
institutions will participate actively in life long learning while 
employing modern ICT not only as a part of a context in various 
subjects/programmes but also for the dissemination of education and 
teaching. Moreover, it is expected that higher education institutions 
would train future researchers and experts and act as mass training 
The education itself became quite an important good and new technologies 
allow choosing a place for learning despite of time and pace.
Besides the improved accessibility of education and training, ICT could 
also improve the quality of education. Thus why it is so important that 
higher education institutions would pay a huge attention to the quality 
while creating ICT based education. Institutions should take more pains 
for the use of possibilities provided by new technologies - not only to 
ensure that education would become independent from time and place but 
also that the content would be provided in such ways that stimulate 
students' motivation. ICT enrich education with new methods. We mean 
learning not teaching. We have in mind active, participating learner. 
And as it was already mentioned, technology is for the satisfaction of 
requirements that aims are accomplished. In the learning process the 
technologies themselves should become an impulsive force.
As new technologies have been employed in education only recently there 
are not many researches analyzing how those technologies could be used 
for the improvement of education quality. So it is very important that 
higher education institutions would expand research activity about the 
use of ICT in education. Those researches must be spread widely along 
with good cases and the best practice.
Traditional research universities are in the period of transition and 
can create a new environment for higher education. Universities have to 
become 'service universities'. The main goal of such universities is to 
be recognized as providers of knowledge-based services to their regions 
and the whole society. Considering the traditional teaching process in 
Lithuania ODL should be designed on a basis of the present 
infrastructure of universities and colleges while accumulating academic 
potential and evaluating real needs for ODL courses.
ODL provides the possibility to organise a more flexible study process, 
and this provides the possibility for students to manage their time in 
the most effective way. Kaunas University of Technology (more 
information http://www.ktu.lt ) is using the advanced computer 
technology and related opportunities while taking part in the ODL 
development project, as well as initiating new projects.
To create an ODL system, we need to establish:
1. The system of training and professional development for organizers, 
lecturers, consultants and tutors of contemporary distance education 
2. The system of encouragement for developing and re-establishing 
distance education programmes and formal distance studies modules.
3. The system of quality evaluation and quality assurance for distance 
education programmes.
4. The support system for the participants of distance education programmes.
5. Developed computer network and other means of telecommunication 
adjusted to distance education.
6. Legal basis for distance education.
7. Effective funding mechanism for the ODL system.
KTU Rectorate, the Senate and the whole academic community pay much 
attention to the implementation of these objectives.

Paradoxically enough in a centralised country as France, there is no 
open university as such but every university or institution of higher 
education has its own activity with respect of the Technologies of 
information and communication linked with distance education. We have to 
distinguish between "old" centres of distance education which started in 
a correspondence way in the sixties and new ones which appeared after a 
call for tender of the French government named "digital campuses.

1. Centres of distance learning.
Created to supply the need of education in the different subject 
(humanities, law, sciences) 27 centres located in traditional 
universities are organised in a consortium named FIED ( Fédération 
interuniversitaire des enseignements à distance).( 
www.telesup.univ-mrs.fr <http://www.telesup.univ-mrs.fr> ). They share 
both a web radio ( http://audiosup.net.u-paris10.fr ) and a T.V. on line 
( www.canal-u.education.fr <http://www.canal-u.education.fr> ). The 
number of registered students is 38,000.Teachers and tutors are working 
on a overtime basis paid by hours done. This is of course a very 
difficult situation as the Ministry has not yet decided what would be 
the counterpart in terms of services of an "on line" work. Most of the 
courses are paper based or linked with audioor video cassettes but are 
slowly put on line

2. CNED :National centre for distance education.
CNED was created during the second world war for pupils who were not 
able to attend classes at elementary level. After the war, it enlarged 
its scope in offering college level as well as training at higher 
education level for the teachers who were preparing competitive exams 
for a better position. Then CNED offered courses in name of universities 
which wanted not to have the task of managing the dispatching of the 
documents to the students. CNED entered different digital campuses as an 
operator and a facilitator because of its internal multimedia resources 
As such, CNED is a partner of many a campus at higher education level. 
CNED has 350,000 registered students from elementary school to 
university level (with 150,000 students in joint cooperation with 
traditional universities) ( www.cned.fr <http://www.cned.fr> )

3. CNAM : National conservatory for art and handicraft.
This foundation goes back to the French Revolution and was designed to 
save the know-how in all handicraft and art available at the end of the 
French "Ancien regime". This institution is now offering a whole set of 
vocational training for technicians to become engineers. The lectures 
are given outside the working hours, at night or during week ends. There 
is a centre of CNAM in each region , each being autonomous regarding its 
own way of teaching but the diplomas are given by the Paris centre and 
are recognised as national diplomas. CNAM is offering more and more on 
line courses through its own learning content management system named 
"pleiade". 80,000 adults are currently registered in a life long 
learning process. ( www.cnam.fr <http://www.cnam.fr> )

4. Digital campuses
The French government initiated a call for tender two years ago to 
promote on line courses which were available within the different 
universities. Up to now 67 campuses are running as described below( see 
the site: www.formasup.education.fr <http://www.formasup.education.fr> ):
Sciences and techniques : 18 projects
Medicine and health : 15 projects
Humanities and social sciences: 9 projects
Training techniques and methodology in information and communication : 8 
Law, economy and business administration : 8 projects
Interdisciplinary : 7 projects
Most of them linked a small number of universities and the CNED as a 
technical facilitator. They are designed to offer on line courses ending 
with a diploma. They are modularised and are credited according to the 
ECTS system.
5. Other.
Most of the institutions of higher education are linked with the 
government through a contract in which a component of e-learning is 
visible. The commitment of the different actors is variable and some are 
well ahead like the technical university of Compiegne ( www.utc.fr 
<http://www.utc.fr> ). Others are re-organising their multimedia centres 
in a service offered to the students for a personal training. It's a 
sort of extension of the old computer based training through the use of 
the net. Interactivity can be both on campus or on line with tutors. A 
network of those centres is organised and is named RUCA ( 
www.ruca.univ-lille1.fr <http://www.ruca.univ-lille1.fr> )

New courses

Politehnica" University of  Timisoara - Timisoara Distance Education 
Study Centre (link la www.utt.ro <http://www.utt.ro> ) is running 2 
college level degrees in "Audio-Video and Multimedia Technologies' and 
"Applied Informatics" using Open and Distance Learning methodology. The 
courses in Romanian are for 3 years and they count for college engineer 


At the Annual General Meeting held at Rhodes, Greece, on 18 June 2003, a 
special resolution was passed by the members that the name of the 
The new name intends to reflect the response of EDEN to the emergence 
and consolidation of eLearning and its flexible integration in the 
activities of the Association. It is in the meantime also emphasizing 
the continuity of experience with the professional background of open 
and distance learning. The change will at the same time safeguard the 
existing corporate image and identity, but also carry important message 
about accommodating in EDEN the ongoing innovation. The new name is also 
shifting in the wording the focus from education to learning, which is a 
very contemporary message, and without the change of the well branded 
abbreviated name, introduce the information and communication technology 
2. EDEN New President and Executive Committee members elected at the AGM 
 In view of the expiry of his term of office in the EDEN Executive 
Committee, Dr. Erwin Wagner has retired and gave over the presidency at 
the Annual General Meeting on 18 June 2003.
The AGM has unanimously endorsed the nomination of Ingeborg Bo as the 
next President of EDEN from June 2003.
As their term of office expired, the following members of the Executive 
Committee completed their serving in the Board: Erwin Wagner, 
Universität Hildesheim, Germany, EDEN President , Sarolta Zárda, Számalk 
Education Ltd. Co., Hungary.
Based on nominations for the vacancies received from members, Dr. Ulrich 
Bernath  from Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Center for 
Distance Education, Germany and Dr. Albert Sangra  from UOC - EduLab, 
Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Spain had been elected as new 
members of the EDEN Executive Committee by the AGM.


EDEN 2003 ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 15-18 June 2003, Rodos Palace Hotel, 
Rhodes, Greece
THE QUALITY DIALOGUE -Integrating Quality Cultures in Flexible, Distance 
and eLearning

IASTED International Conference
IASTED International Symposium on WEB-BASED EDUCATION  (WBE-2003)
June 30 - July 2, 2003, Rodos Palace Resort, Rhodes, Greece


E-COMM-LINE 2003, September 25-26, 2003, Bucharest, ROMANIA


    ICETA-2003: 2nd "International Conference on Emerging 
Telecommunications Technologies and Applications" and the 4th Conference 
on Virtual University, Kos(ice, Slovakia, 11 - 13 September 2003


EADTU Annual Conference Madrid "E-Bologna" progressing the European 
Learning Space
Madrid, 6 - 8 November 2003


    European Conference on e-Learning, Glasgow, Scotland, 6 -7 November 2003


Online Educa Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 3 - 5 December 2003


"Supporting the Learner in Distance Education and E-Learning"
The Third EDEN Research Workshop jointly offered by EDEN - European 
Distance and E-Learning Network and the Centre for Distance Education at 
Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
4-6 March 2004, Oldenburg, Germany


This newsletter is edited by the team of Politehnica" University of  
Timisoara - Timisoara Distance Education Study Centre (link la 
www.utt.ro <http://www.utt.ro> ) through a MISSION  Socrates - MINERVA 
EU Program.
More news is available at our website, where you can also find archive 
news, course catalogue, a glossary, and information about ODL in CEE. Go 
to ( http://mission.pu.acad.bg/en/index.html  
<http://mission.pu.acad.bg/en/index.html%C2%A0> )
If you no longer wish to receive information about MISSION and ODL, 
please send an email to mission at opendrum.utt.ro  
<mailto:mission at opendrum.utt.ro%C2%A0> with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject 
If you have received this mail through a friend and would like to 
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mission at opendrum.utt.ro <mailto:mission at opendrum.utt.ro> with 
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