The impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on higher education has technical, pedagogical, cultural, legal, and institutional implications, transforming teaching and learning but also research and international collaboration practices. Different forms of ICT-enhanced learning have been emerging over the past decades, bearing important benefits in terms equity and quality of education for universities, students and society.
Within this context, eLearning is intended as learning enhanced by the use of digital technologies as a mean for supporting formal learning through academic programs as well as non-formal learning, continuing education, and outreach to society.
Concurrently, Open Education bears the potential to improve equitable access to high-quality education, through the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and open practices, and to enhance cooperation by allowing learners, educators, researchers and institutions to create, share and discuss content with peers from all over the world. The conjunction of these concepts is important to improve the quality of higher education in the Mediterranean region, to broaden access to education, and to alleviate costs for educational institutions and for students, including the increasing diversity of learners. Most importantly, thanks to eLearning and Open Education, knowledge is able to travel far more easily across borders greatly increasing the value of and potential for international cooperation.
UNIMED, building on recent projects in this field such as OpenMed, has launched the SubNetwork on eLearning and Open Education, with the aim to contribute to ongoing online learning developments, and to support our members in their efforts to further enhance and promote innovation in teaching and learning. The SubNetwork will engage with university departments, academics, researchers, librarians, practitioners and learning technologists, primarily related to the following areas: e-learning infrastructure, e-learning methodology and pedagogy, blended learning, innovation policies and strategies, online learning environments and tools, learning analytics, improvement of learning experience, Open Educational Resources and MOOCs, digital literacy, game-based learning, virtual classrooms and laboratories, virtual exchange.
– Gathering and sharing information directly from the main actors in the sector in the whole Mediterranean region in order to create new networks and partnerships and develop joint projects;
– Collaboratively carrying out studies, analysis and research papers on the issue,
– Organising international events (workshops, seminars, and conferences, webinars, trainings, summer schools) to improve the flow of knowledge and exchanging experiences between researchers and scholars;
– Building capacity of faculty and managerial staff to use eLearning and Open Education approaches, through online courses and through a series of seminars for university professors members of the SubNetwork.
– Supporting the development and implementation of eLearning and Open Education institutional policies within its members.
The Workplan of the SubNetwork is based on 5 areas of action:
1. MAPPING: Gathering information from the main South-Mediterranean actors and experts in the sector
1. Encouraging the dialogue and the mutual exchange of information in order to create new partnerships and develop joint projects.
2. Organising international events (workshops, seminars, and conferences, performances, summer schools) to improve the flow of knowledge and exchanging experiences between researchers and scholars;
3. CAPACITY BUILDING: Building capacity of faculty and managerial staff on eLearning and Open Education approaches, through online trainings and seminars for University professor’s members of the Sub-Network.
4. RESEARCH: Carrying out studies, analysis and research papers on the issue
5. NETWORKING AND PROMOTION: Promote the SubNetwork and cooperate with stakeholders and initiatives in the field, in order to contribute to its research and innovation activities.