European and Latin American Consortium for IST Enhanced Continued

Document Sample
European and Latin American Consortium for IST Enhanced Continued Powered By Docstoc
					                    FINAL TECHNICAL REPORT
                                      Executive summary




  European and Latin American Consortium for IST Enhanced
Continued Education in Environmental Management and Planning
                                      PROJECT NUMBER
                                        ALA/2002/048-740




                                     Leader of the Consortium
                                 Institute of Environment & Resources
                                   Technical University of Denmark




                               Period: 01-10-2003 – 30-09-2006
                          Date of Contract termination: 30. September 2006




                                                     This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European
                                                     Union. The content of this publication is the responsibility of the ELAC
                                                     Project Partners (represented by the Coordinator E&R-eCentre, DTU)
                                                     and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union




 Demonstration Projects             Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142
                                                                             Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                   October 2003 – September 2006



Acknowledgement
This report has been produced as part of the ELAC project, which is one of the 19 demonstration
projects selected for funding under the @LIS Programme of the European Commission Directorate
EuropeAid.

The ELAC project partners and individuals involved in the work covered by this project gratefully
acknowledge the support received from the @LIS-Programme and the European Commission for
enabling the implementation of this successful collaborative endeavour.

The ELAC project started on 1 October 2003 and concluded on 30 September 2006, representing
three years of excellent collaboration and results.




                                               Project Manager
                                     Institute of Environment & Resources
                                       Technical University of Denmark




                                        Author: Niels Thygesen




        Demonstration Projects          Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 2
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



Preface
This is the Final Report the ELAC project under the EU’s EuropeAid Programme @LIS. The report
is based on data and reports provided by partners, as well as direct observations from the Project
Manager. All relevant documentation can be found in the Virtual Collaboration Environment (VCE)
established for the project at the following website: www.elac.dk or www.elacvirtual.net.
The objective of this report is to organise and consolidate the extensive documentation and
information available on the sub-project activities and outputs. At the same time the intention is to
publish and publicise the availability of this information to a wider audience through the VCE. This
report covers the entire duration of the operation, from 1 October 2003 through 30 September 2006.
The structure of the report follows the format provided by the Commission. The report is
supplemented by a number of annexes, which include documents, websites or reports that make up
deliverables from the project (more detailed information regarding documentation is provided in
section 1.3).

Project Overview and Context
Summary
The ELAC project has sought to improve the quality and accessibility of education in the key field
of Environmental Management and Planning by developing innovative and multilingual courseware
through an Information Society Technology (IST) based education programme.
The overall objective of the ELAC project has been to demonstrate how IST-based approaches
within universities in a cross-cultural environment and within a multidisciplinary field can improve
and enhance the quality and accessibility of education within the context of university programmes
and life long learning (continued professional development) and knowledge dissemination and
interaction with stakeholders and the civil society.
Main Activities
To achieve the above, the project implemented a platform that applied the latest web-based
technologies that enabled the deployment and development of an innovative and multilingual
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and Virtual Collaboration Environment (VCE). This platform
is an Internet based web-portal that is open source and thus adaptable and can be easily replicated.
Appropriate, innovative and varying learning approaches and methods have been be applied for the
implementation of IST-based courses and project work in the field of Environmental Management
and Planning. The project aimed at using IST as a catalyst for change and for development of
problem- and action-oriented learning approaches and methods. It also aimed to further develop
curricula and methods within Environmental Planning and Management taking into account cultural
diversity, problem areas in the participating countries and social and economic conditions.
Courses were developed, implemented and run within the VCE/VLE, which was also used as the
basic communication and collaboration tool. This process, along with the exposure of promoting the
availability of these cross-cultural, multidisciplinary courses, has served to demonstrate how IST
can enhance the learning process as well as effectively disperse its availability to a larger audience,
in particular those outside the formal education and training setting.




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 3
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



Expected Results
It was envisaged that the successful implementation of this project would stimulate further
development and collaboration that would make this initiative sustainable beyond the lifetime of the
project. An important element to achieving this success has been in ensuring that institutional and
administrative procedures were put into place at the participating universities so as to embed IST-
based approaches into the existing education structure. Additionally, the existence of local
expertise, infrastructure and eLearning-tools after the project enable the work to continue.

Organisation
The project was organised into a number of subprojects, as shown in the diagram below.
Figure 1.1: Structure of the ELAC Project




Approach
Each sub-project had a specific objective and role to play in the project and all the sub-projects
were interrelated, requiring a high degree of organisational management and communication
between sub-projects. The ambition has been to ensure that competent teams developed at each of
the Latin American Universities enabling them to continue the work, using the expertise gained by
the interventions from experts within each of the sub-projects; but also very much through working
together locally, regionally as well as internationally.
Training programmes, workshops, hands-on development sessions, on-line collaboration and on-
line meetings have all served as mechanisms to enable the transfer of knowledge and creation of
local teams working together as a cohesive multidisciplinary group. These local groups were
enhanced by the fact that there were other similar groups within the region that could support and
supplement their efforts. These groups also functioned as catalysts for expanding the impact of the
work realised by this project.
Finally, it should be noted that the driving force in the project was the design of on-line
Environmental Courses at Latin American Universities meeting the unique needs identified in each




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 4
                                                                            Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                   October 2003 – September 2006



country and the relevant expertise available at the universities, as well as the strive for building
sustainable institutional structures.

Partners
The project consortium was made up of 8 partners in 6 countries, each with a specific role, as
presented in the following tables:
Table 1.1: Project Partners
 Nr. Partner Name                                                          Acronym    Country
 1.    Technical University of Denmark                                     DTU        Denmark
 2.    Aalborg University                                                  AAU        Denmark
 3.    Lancaster University                                                LU         United Kingdom
 4.    Universitat de Barcelona                                            UB         Spain
 5.    Universidad Nacional                                                UNA        Costa Rica
 6.    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua                          UNAN       Nicaragua
 7.    Universidad Centroamericana                                         UCA        Nicaragua
 8.    Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Azcapotzalco                   UAM        México

Table 1.2: Role and Function of European Universities
 Partner                          Acronym Role and function
 Technical University of Denmark DTU        SP 0 Project Management
                                            SP 1 Continued Education
                                            SP 2 IMS
                                            SP 3 Content Development
 Aalborg University               AAU       SP 4 Learning Approaches (Co-managed with
                                            UB)
 University of Barcelona          UB        SP 4 Learning approaches (Co-managed with
                                            AAU)
 Lancaster University             LU        SP 5 Implementation of Courses: 5.2 Evaluation

Table 1.3: Role and Function of Latin American Universities (SP 0-5 all subprojects)
 Partner                           Acronym Role and function
 Universidad Nacional              UNA       SP 5 Implementation of Courses. Implementation
                                             at own university
 Universidad Centroamericana       UCA       Implementation at own university. Regional
                                             coordination.
 Universidad Nacional Autónoma UNAN          Implementation at own university
 de Nicaragua
 Universidad Autonoma              UAM       Implementation at own university
 Metropolitana – Azcapotzalco




        Demonstration Projects        Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                   page 5
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



Structure of documentation to the Commission
The project participants have spent a great deal of time in documenting the results and
achievements of the ELAC project, which have resulted in the following reports or documentation:
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 1: Continued Education Facilities (CEF)
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 2: Information Management System (IMS)
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 3: Content Development
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 4: Learning Approaches
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 5.1: Course Implementation
     ELAC Final Sub-Project Report – Sub-Project 5.2: Evaluation of the Development of the
     Learning Approaches
The Latin American partners have all been participating in the documentation of ELAC project and
have constantly been feeding in data and information to the SP coordinators. In addition the Latin
American Universities have produced the following reports:
         ELAC Final University Technical Report: Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana –
         Azcapotzalco, Mexico (UAM)
         ELAC Final University Technical Report: Universidad Centroamericana Nicaragua (UCA)
         ELAC Final University Technical Report: Universidad Nacional Costa Rica (UNA)
In addition to the relevant reports, additional documentation has been uploaded in the VCE
(www.elac.dk and www.elacvirtual.net).

This present report thus document the results and achievements related to the Grant Contract, and
thus follows the structure given by the Commission.




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 6
                                                                                 Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                          October 2003 – September 2006



Executive Summary
The overall objective of the ELAC project has been to demonstrate how IST-based approaches
within universities in a cross-cultural environment and within a multidisciplinary field can improve
and enhance the quality and accessibility of education within the context of university programmes
and life long learning (continued professional development) and knowledge dissemination and
interaction with stakeholders and the civil society. The results of the ELAC project are summarized
based on the separate sub-project reports (1-5) and university reports.

Continued education facilities (SP1)
ICT policy development. The ELAC project participated and contributed in the World Summit for
Information Societies (WSIS), Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005. In addition the ELAC project was
active on the regional and national level participating in national committees developing eLAC
2007-13 - a Regional Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean on how to develop the Information
Societies in the region. The ELAC project proposed the inclusion of a Line of Action related to
eEnvironment, which eventually was adopted in the regional strategy as the Goal 9 and article 20 on
eEnvironment. Today the National Focal Point for eEnvironment in Nicaragua is the ELAC sub-
project 1 coordinator at UCA Nicaragua. The above mentioned supported the development of ICT
policies for each Latin American University – in some cases even the university development plan
was altered as a result of ELAC.

Institutional development. All universities have established Continued Education Facilities (CEF),
but with different organisational level (Central, Division, Department) given the traditions of the
University and an assessment of best option. The CEF is supported by an ICT policy, a business
plan, a course catalogue, and a work plan for the unit. The staffing of the unit has been established
or is in the process of implementation. The table indicates the institutional setting, including new
units supporting continued education and pedagogy.

Institutional structures applied in project implementation
                                          System                                                        Level
 Partner       Counterpart institution                     Level CEF          eLearning/Pedagogy
                                          Support                                                       pedagogy
 UAM,                                     Central                             Office of Virtual
               Economic Department                         Division                                     University
 Mx                                       Unit                                Education
               Faculty of Science,
 UCA,                                     Central                             eCentre Innovation
               Technology and                              University                                   University
 Ni                                       Unit                                and Collaboration
               Environment
 UNA,                                     Central
               CINPE (Department)                          CINPE              UNA Virtual               University
 CR                                       Unit
 UNAN,         CINET (Research                                                CINET (Faculty of
                                          Department       Department                                   Department
 Ni            Center)                                                        Education)

Two universities (UNA Costa Rica and UAM Mexico) have established dedicated units with the
responsibility to support the whole university on eLearning and pedagogy. UCA Nicaragua has
established a unit with the task to promote the development of eBased courses (including continued
education), innovative teaching and collaboration in general. UNAN has integrated both Continued
Education and eLearning/pedagogy at the Department level.

The approach to institutional capacity building was addressed specifically early in the project and
very hands-on by explicitly identifying the various stakeholders to the immediate project
implementation, and their motivation drivers. The interaction with the university management was


        Demonstration Projects           Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                       page 7
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



initiated early in the process, as well as the interaction with external stakeholders. The approach
applied for institutional development is indicated in the figure below.

The combined bottom up and top down approach of the ELAC project




Evaluation (SP5.2)
The approach applied in the ELAC has been a combined bottom up (SP2, 3, 4, 5) developing
technologies and capacity for course delivery and a top down (SP1) approach for institutional
development (policies, organisational structures etc.). The success of this approach has to a large
extent been influenced by Lancaster Management School and their approach to “Evaluation”. The
Lancaster approach and the results obtained have been described in a separate report. The Lancaster
approach (called procedural principles) is defined as collaborative, integrated and formative
(iterative). In addition the Lancaster approach has been to comprehend the various levels of the
project developments and results meaning an institutional development model best can be described
as circular with the results and actions of the various sub-projects as producers and Lancaster
facilitating the process of reflection. The various target groups both internal (IT specialists,
pedagogy, scientists, administrative personnel university management) and external (students,
professionals, even politicians) has been one of the major challenges to manage in the project, and
the Lancaster team has helped this process of self reflection and iteration. The terminology applied
for this activity could be phrased “Action Research in processes leading towards human resources
and organisational institutionalisation”.

Information Management System (SP2)
A fully operational IMS implemented and tested. Based on a needs assessment, the following have
been provided by the sub-project:
    •    Home page representing the interface of the project;
    •    Learning Management System (LMS);
    •    Virtual Collaboration Environment (VCE);
    •    Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
The mentioned systems are all in Open Source software, and thus can further be developed. Some
of the software components are continuously developed and resources from the Open Source
Community have been charged to further develop these. ELAC has used resources to develop
feasible interfaces between the mentioned software and other software tools applied in the ELAC
project.


        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 8
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006




The Learning Management System (LMS) has been installed at all the universities and capacity in
system administration and capacity to operate and maintain the system have been established and
institutionalised. The LMS also serves as a platform for a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for
development of courses. The Virtual Collaboration Environment (VCE) developed has proven
useful in project management and coordination, and an effective communication tools which has
been applied in different contexts. The VCE has e.g. been used to facilitate the reporting and
documentation process. The VCE concept is expected to be applied in future cooperation among the
partners, e.g. by establishment of new project initiatives.

The necessary network connections and hardware to support the SP2 objectives have been
identified, procured and integrated in an existing organisational structure of the Latin American and
European Universities.

Learning Approaches (SP4)
The use of ICT in the learning process. The use of the LMS has been organised different from
university to university giving a wide range of examples on how ICT can be integrated into the
university curricula. The LMS has had different functionalities and been used for various purposes
from as mere document management system and an announcement system to the students, to the
use of the LMS as the course delivery system combined with face to face interactions, while other
applied the LMS as full distance learning vehicle with external participants. It is expected that all
participating universities will further develop this use of the LMS in their teaching programme.

New learning approaches. The mere fact of digitising material have forced teachers to reorganise
and rethink their traditional teaching - and to focus more on student perception, and the learning
process. The interaction with the Europeans (especially with Aalborg University and University of
Barcelona, SP4), where project and problem oriented learning is an integrated part of the curricula
has been affecting approaches to teaching. The challenge has been to combine the virtual media
with new teaching methodologies – and introduce this into different cultures. These approaches
applied have led to a change in communication between teacher and students and has focused
teaching more on dialogue and project/problem oriented learning. The focus thus has changed from
teaching to the learning process. That was the big challenge, which has instigated new learning
approaches for the project participants – the European and the Latin American partners. During the
process of project development the university teachers emerged from being students (building the
appropriate knowledge of eLearning) to be teachers on an eBased course themselves, which have
enabled the teachers to be innovative in the learning methodologies applied. It is expected that all
universities will continue to use ICT as complementary to traditional teaching. Some universities
will develop actual distance learning programmes. Others again are expected to cooperate on
continued education courses and programme.

External stakeholders and future client for continued education (SP3 and SP1)
The possible external stakeholders were identified early in the project through either an assessment
of environmental needs and requirement related to stakeholders groups, or by holding stakeholder
workshops targeting potential clients in continued education. The initial stakeholder analysis was
undertaken primarily to identify relevant course subjects for the pilot courses.
Following the initial stakeholder analysis a questionnaire was prepared and recommendation
prepared on how to approach the stakeholders. Some of the recommendations of the survey drawing




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                 page 9
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



on the expertise from the 4 Latin American Universities have been introduced in the course
catalogue and business plan, as appropriate for the given institution.

Figure below presents the activities leading to an identification of the relevant stakeholders in
relation to continued education matching own competence at each Latin American University

Matching environmental relevant subjects with own competence




Content Development and Course Implementation (SP3 and SP5.1)
The Content Development part of the ELAC project has focused on development and
implementation of a number of courses at each of the Latin American universities. In this way a
total of twelve course titles (pilot courses) were selected at the four LA-Universities during the
project period, to be given special attention from the project. The course titles covered a broad
subject area:

 - Integrated Watershed Management                   - Application of Integrated Watershed
 - Environmental Management Systems                    Management as an Instrument for Local
 - Economic Valuation of Environmental                 Management
   Impacts: Theory and Applications                  - Knowing our Watersheds
 - Environmental Law and Management                  - Awareness about Environmental Education
 - Environmental Management in Business              - Environmental Statistics
 - Economic Instruments for Environmental            - Information Management and Natural Disasters
   Management                                        - Environmental Auditing

A group of teachers were attached to each course as course developers. They were supported in the
course development by groups of IT-specialists (SP2) and pedagogues (SP4) at each university and
staff from the EU partners in SP3 (content development) and SP4 (Learning approaches). The result
was nine continued education courses and three regular university courses that were implemented
directly for the target participants. The courses were in most cases taught as blended learning
courses, with partly online and partly teaching in class. The teaching methodology were to a high
extend shifted from the usual lecture format to more problem based learning and group work. Many
of the online tools provided by Moodle were used in the courses; especially the collaborative forum




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                page 10
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



and links were used in all courses. Virtually all possible assessment methods were used in the
courses.

The current ELAC project has implemented 12 environmental pilot courses, i.e. courses have been
supported and nursed with the help of the international project members in several ways. However,
this is only the top of the iceberg. In November 2006 there were a total of 192 courses displayed in
the LMS of the LA Universities in the project. Not all of the courses are within the environmental
field of subject areas, but all courses have been created based on the ELAC platform at each
university. Today even more courses have been developed.

Sustainability (SP1)
Sustainability has been a built-in and integrated part of the ELAC implementation approach. The
above mentioned institutional structures which have paved the way for development of a number of
tools and mechanisms (ICT policies, business plans, course catalogue, work plans, incentive
schemes, and e.g. plans for human resource development), which will support the new
organisational structures in its development (IT Committee, CEF, eLearning Units etc.). In the end
the sustainability of the ELAC results relates to the commitment of the management of the
participating universities. The ELAC project seems to have reached a level of certain credibility that
commitment to further development seems likely.

Future endeavours
Each university has its own development plan related to an increased use of ICT and is expected to
pursue this along these lines.

The participating ELAC Universities have established a new collaboration framework called
ELACVIRTUAL (www.eleacvirtual.net), which constitutes both a continuation and new approach
to collaboration. In addition most of the ELAC partners have joined a collaboration called
VIT@LIS, where partners from other projects supported by the Commission under the @LIS
programme participate in promoting the Information Society. It is our hope that ELACVIRTUAL
and partners on a bilateral basis can collaborate under this framework. The organisation is still in its
embryo and needs to develop further before the perspectives can be assessed.




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                page 11
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



Annex 1: List of Abbreviations

Partner Abbreviations

DTU                    Technical University of Denmark
AAU                    Aalborg University, (Denmark)
LU                     Lancaster University, (United Kingdom)
UB                     Universitat de Barcelona, (España)
UNA                    Universidad National, (Costa Rica)
(CINPE-UNA)            (Centro Internacional De Politica Economica-UNA)
UCA                    Universidad Centroamericana, (Nicaragua)
UNAN                   Universidad Nicional Autónoma de Nicaragua nucleo Managua,
                       (Nicaragua)
UAM                    Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, (Mexico)

Country Abbreviations

CR                     Costa Rica
DK                     Denmark
ES                     España
MX                     Mexico
NI                     Nicaragua
UK                     United Kingdom




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                page 12
                                                                          Final Report – Executive Summary
Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                                October 2003 – September 2006



Other Abbreviations

CEF                    Continued Education Facility
CMS                    Course Management System
ELAC                   European and Latin American Consortium for IST Enhanced Continued
                       Education in Environmental Management and Planning (Title of this
                       project)
ICT                    Information and Communication Technology (TIC in Spanish)
IMS                    Information Management System
LA                     Learning Approaches
LA                     Latin America
LFA                    Logical Framework Approach
LMS                    Learning Management System
MOM                    Minutes of Meeting
Moodle                 Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Course
                       Management System (CMS) in Open Source applied in the ELAC project as
                       both LMS and VCE)
PMU                    Project Management Unit
SP 1                   Subproject 1: Continued Education facilities
SP 2                   Subproject 2. Information Management System
SP 3                   Subproject3. Content Development
SP 4                   Subproject 4. Learning Approaches
SP 5                   Subproject 5. Implementation of Courses
TOR´s                  Terms Of Reference
VCE                    Virtual Collaboration Environment
VLE                    Virtual Learning Environment
WSIS                   World Summit for the Information Society




        Demonstration Projects       Contract Nr. ALA/2002/048-740/2142                                page 13