This multilateral telecollaboration project which started piloting in October 2013 involves 8 European universities, and has been set up and is being run by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation, a young organization based in the Netherlands which has been set up purely to promote virtual exchange.
University of Padova
Dominant form of language production:
This project has been set up by an organization, not a university, and they take care of the technical side of things, the facilitating and coordination of the project. It would be impossible for individual teachers to set up a project of this scale, though aspects of the model could be adopted in a smaller scale project. The organization s intentions are to evaluate the project and to seek funding to offer the project and set up new projects of this nature, and offer them to universities as a form of outsourced telecollaboration.
How long did the project last?
This is a 16-week pilot project which started in October 2013 and ends in February 2014and is divided into four periods. Each period addresses a core theme.
How was the project organized?
In each week, different lectures are presented by participating universities. These catchy, inspiring lectures will invite students to engage in an interesting discussion. This discussion between the participants from different countries takes place online using a unique web-based video-conference tool. These discussions are hosted by professionally trained facilitators.
At the end of the project two students from each university are selected to go to Brussels to present the results of the research to members of the European Commission.
How were the students assessed?
Sharing Perspectives send university co-ordinators a weekly report with a record of their students’ presence, assessment of each student’ s participation in the dialogue sessions and in the survey research.
Students are also required to write a final evaluative paper.
Each participating university is then free to consider this as part of their own assessment. At the University of Padva, for instance, the reports and final paper are taken into consideration by the project co-ordinator who then has an oral interview with the students and decides on a final mark and the awarding of 6ECTS.
Video lectures are available on the project website
What worked well?
What did students think of the project?
Students who completed the project were very enthusiastic about it. They saw it as an opportunity to get to know and share their views with European peers, to develop online communication skills, research experience through designing and analysing the surveys and more information about the situation in Europe and different perspectives on the crisis.
A couple of students said it was perhaps too long, and repetitive in parts.
What challenges did you face?
It was quite challenging finding funding in order to participate in the project. It was also not so easy to recruit 12 students from the Department of Political Science where the project was initially intended for. The project had to be promoted on the INternational Relations website in order to complete the available places.
What did the teachers think of the project?
Apart from those who made the recorded video lectures, teachers were not really involved in the project as everythign was run by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation. There was just a meeting at the beginning of the project and one at the end with all participants, and availability of a lecturer for support and troubleshooting.
What kind of institutional support did you receive?
At the University of Padova we received a small amount of funding to pay the university multimedia centre for their support in creating quality video lectures. Cmela, the university multimedia centre helped in making the recordings and uploading them.
The International Relations office publicized the course on the university website, so it was widely visible to students from all university faculties.
A couple of degree courses (for instance MA in European Studies) included this project on the optional courses students could take and obtain 6 credits for participation.