Open Apps is the UOC's online environment that brings together innovative and successful experiences from the university in education and management and shares them in open access so that other institutions, users and developers can make use of them.
Open Apps offers you,
- Teaching and management solutions and the documentation for implementing them.
- The code of the UOC applications, which are open source so you can develop, customize and improve them.
- The chance to participate by making comments and suggestions on the experiences available in the environment and sharing how you've used them.
Discover Open Apps and access the UOC's know how!
From its inception, the UOC has developed and tested methodologies and technologies for finding solutions to meet the teaching and management challenges posed by its community of students, lecturers and management staff.
As part of an innovation programme (http://www.uoc.edu/) of the UOC's Support and Transfer Office (OSRT) (http://www.uoc.edu/), Open Apps is the result of this know how brought together as a virtual store of the successful experiences tested by the university. These experiences comprise a diverse range of products—including applications, management services and teaching procedures—but they all share one common characteristic: Owing to their innovative nature, they can be efficiently applied to other institutions by other users.
The Open Apps portal aims to foster, within and outside of the UOC, the free use of the innovative applications and experiences created by the university. The specific objectives of Open Apps are to:
- Compile in the one environment all the UOC's teaching and management innovation along with the documentation required to implement and develop it.
- Spread the UOC's innovation and teaching model within and outside of the university.
- Help transfer knowledge and improve educational environments.
- Establish a framework for undergraduate and postgraduate final degree projects.
- Create a network of external collaborators.
Skills are key to productivity and Europe needs a radical rethink on how education and training systems can deliver the skills needed for the labour market. To meet this challenge the European Commission launched on 20 November 2012 a new strategy called Rethinking Education. This strategy, developed with the JRC's contribution, encourages Member States to take immediate action to ensure that young people develop the right skills and competences and find a rewarding job.
The JRC's Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL), managed by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), has contributed to the setup of this strategy with co-authored studies providing:
- country analysis that summarise the performance and policy reforms of the Member States, providing essential elements to monitor the implementation of the country-specific recommendations within the Europe 2020 strategy.
- the education and training monitor, a new analytical tool that provides a comprehensive overview of the core indicators on education and training systems in Europe, enabling the comparison of progress as well as the identification of the immediate challenges for Member States.
The JRC has also been involved in the new benchmark proposed by the Commission on foreign language learning. Developed in collaboration with the Directorate General for Education and Culture, it is based on this year's European survey on language competences. This survey assesses pupils' knowledge of the first and second foreign languages at the end of lower secondary education.
The survey provides, for the first time ever, empirical evidence on the ability of young Europeans to communicate across borders, their attitudes, expectations and exposure to foreign languages, as well as teaching methods and approaches in this field.
The "Rethinking education" strategy calls for stronger focus on developing transversal skills and basic skills at all levels, especially entrepreneurial and IT skills, and for the full exploitation of new technologies, in particular the internet. It also states that adequate funding is needed to build world-class vocational education and training systems and increase levels of work-based learning. Moreover, it calls for improving the recognition of qualifications and skills, including those gained outside of the formal education and training system.
The new foreign language learning benchmark proposed by the Commission aims that by 2020, at least 50% of 15 year olds should have knowledge of a first foreign language (up from 42% today) and at least 75% should study a second foreign language (61% today).
This year’s edition took place from 26-29 November 2012 under the title: “Rethinking skills: A civil society perspective”. Both EUCIS-LLL and its members presented public hearing, workshops and conferences around this topic during that week.
EUCIS-LLL thanks all participants of this year’s edition for their presence and contribution to the success of the LifeLong Learning Week 2012! A big thank you to the members that organised an event in the framework of the LifeLong Learning Week and to those that attended the events.
Find the pictures of all events on our FaceBook page! We will also post the reports and presentations of all events very soon on our webpage.
Europe has many hundreds of higher education institutions, renowned as centres of excellence around the world. However, higher education systems have traditionally been formulated at the national level. Increasing European integration is changing that, with the development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) helping to reinforce the attractiveness of higher education in Europe.
The EHEA is a region with a world-class knowledge base and cutting-edge research facilities in internationally-renowned centres of excellence. This is what attracts hundreds of thousands of foreign students each year to study in Europe.
Increasing mobility and links between national higher education systems serve to reinforce this attraction. Foreign students coming to Europe can see for themselves the amazing diversity available to them (both inside and outside the university), while taking advantage of the smooth transferability of coursework, qualifications and research opportunities.
The international conference "Tuning in the World: New Degree Profiles for New Societies", which took place in November in Brussels, focused on degree profiling and analysed how new profiles (e.g. teachers and engineers) are developed in Europe and other regions of the world to respond to specific social and economic demands using the tuning approach.
The conference provided a wide range of information on the different tuning initiatives in Latin America, Africa, Russia, the United States of America and Japan and revealed the similarities and the differences in the degree profiles that they are currently developing in different parts of the world. At the closing of the event Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "Tuning started as an attempt to solve a strictly European problem. It has become a methodology that can be adapted to different higher education structures in very different cultural context. The commitment of the universities, the associations and the national authorities involved is the key to the continuing success of this initiative."
The Conference was co-organised by the Tuning Academy, a joint initiative of the University of Deusto (Spain) and the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), and the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission and convened around 600 people from all over the world. The participants were representatives from universities in Africa, Latin America, Russia, Central Asia, Thailand, USA, Canada and Japan, as well as scholars from European universities involved in the initial tuning process, tuning experts, higher education associations and Member State agencies present in Brussels, Embassies, Foreign missions and Commission services.
8. Training Partner Support Meets Multicultural Business Environment
Different business cultures and variations in company size from one country to another, as well as different learning and teaching cultures make the roll-out of courses very challenging. Furthermore, the need to deliver each course in the mother tongue of the participants makes it difficult to achieve the economies of scale.
The regional training partner has to be able to establish an open and firm relationship and dialogue with the local company management. It is necessary to have both parties communicating and planning the training together in order to understand what country-specific adjustments must be made in the training content. This increases the usefulness of the training. The risk is to make the training too country-specific and thus forget the overall picture i.e. harmonising the project business.
Too strong and wilful leadership in local customer organisation can make the implementation of the concept difficult. There is a risk that the training designed is not what they (country managers) think they need most. The training was intended to support the change management of the company. The training was to soften the adaptation of new ways of doing business. Resistance to the change direction can make them doubtful not only of the new concept but also of the training.
It is of utmost importance that already before the training starts, the country managers and the local champions (local owners of the concept) are committed to the new concept and procedure. Not only should the lingual translation of the Company’s new concept be ready before training in each country, but also the localisation should be finalized (by company in-house professionals). This cannot be overemphasised because we found lack of localisation being one of our major challenges during roll-outs.
The maturity of the business practices and normal cultural aspects in doing business can bring unexpected challenges to the delivery of the project. Issues that are easy to implement in one country can become difficult obstacles in another country. This requires a lot of time and energy from the regional partner and project management, if the difficulties had not been anticipated in time. A good understanding of the local business culture and open-mindedness to face unexpected challenges rising from e.g. resistance or misunderstanding of concepts are of great help when overcoming unexpected challenges. Continuous support for the regional partner from the central project management is a necessity. The best, and perhaps the only way, to ensure the quality of the training adaptation to the local level is to work only with subcontractors (local universities and training organisers) with whom you have had a long experience in collaboration. A long collaboration in training partnership with the customer makes it possible to acquire adequate and honest feedback for the training delivery abroad. Project management and the steering group are able to re-engineer a process control system on the run.
In our case, the major project management challenge came from the demanding roll-out schedule. When managing training carried out in 15 countries during 24 months and based on a concept designed and tested during a pilot phase in a couple of countries and re-engineered in every new country, you need to be active in keeping each partner updated on new amendments to the concept and content. It is also essential that your partners are flexible and ready to change their preliminary plans for delivery when the next generation concept is released. Download the Document.
Distance Learning Students: Should we use Technology or Pedagogy to Overcome Work and Life Obstacles?
The project SKILL2E aims to equip students on international work placements with intercultural competences. The model proposes a double loop learning cycle in which a shared online diary using guided questions is used for reflection. Preliminary results illustrate how this collaborative approach is conducive to the development of intercultural competences.
The SKILL2E project has three major objectives:
- Equipping graduates with transversal skills required to communicate effectively in today’s and future multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary workplace.
- Strengthening communication between universities and enterprises in providing a model for mutual knowledge transfer in the context of intercultural competence.
- Involving stakeholders at organisational as well as policy-making levels to ensure the impact of the SKILL2E approach beyond the project's boundaries and lifetime.
In order to achieve these goals, the collaboration of universities and enterprises will combine approaches and different findings in the fields of transnational student placements and related intercultural skill acquisition that have so far been isolated. This will be accomplished through a comprehensive training concept with accompanying measures, such as the online communication scenario and cultural mentoring at the enterprise. This action will involve the three relevant interest groups of students, universities and enterprises both actively in the project itself and as the intended beneficiaries.
The chosen approach is independent of both sectors and disciplines. The prototypical implementation of the SKILL2E concept in all of the associated universities and enterprises will facilitate the involvement of relevant institutional stakeholders. These stakeholders range from those who are responsible for the university-enterprise cooperation, to those who are responsible for the curriculum design at all faculty levels, in addition to the policy-makers that need to measure the relevance of the university-enterprise cooperation.
Furthermore, the SKILL2E cultural mentoring concept will improve the transfer of mutual knowledge, increasing awareness of cultural and social issues in the business world. Lastly, it will help balance a theory-based academic approach with practical workplace implications and employability aspects.
To explore the scope for this role we focused on the voluntary sector, which we felt might particularly benefit from such collaboration. We evaluated four representative communities for evidence of their being self-educating (thereby offering the potential for academics to contribute) and for any existing learning dimension, and we found that there was scope for a public-facing open scholar role. We therefore developed detailed guidelines for performing the role, which has the potential to greatly extend the beneficial impact of existing OER, prompting institutions to release new OER in response to the needs of people outside HE. Download the Document.
The public-facing open scholar role, located at the intersection of HE and the voluntary sector, has the potential to greatly extend the beneficial impact of existing OER and to prompt institutions to release new OER in response to the needs of people outside HE, not least of all in the voluntary sector, where resources are often scarce. It is envisaged that a public-facing open scholar, in highlighting the existence of relevant OER repositories and showing how resources might be sourced, could contribute to a community further developing their capacity for being self-educating, self-supporting and sustainable beyond the academic’s interventions. It is also possible that following an initial phase of regular work with a community, a public-facing open scholar may then adopt a lower-key relationship with that community, perhaps using a tool such as Twitter to draw the community’s attention to relevant OER when new resources are released.
However, a challenge to the beneficial impact of this new type of academic may be posed in terms of the time required to perform the role and possible clashes with the demands of paid work for the employing university. We share Weller’s (2011) assertion that the time is now right for universities to start recognising digital scholarship as an important part of academic output, according digital scholarship parity with more traditional outputs such as journal publishing.
Furthermore, we propose that universities should formally recognise the activities of public-facing open scholars in reaching out with OER to the benefit of communities outside higher education, perhaps rewarding such activities through the staff appraisal process or by incorporating this role into the job specification of faculty staff. Should such recognition and institutional support for the public-facing open scholar be afforded, a new role for learning institutions may be on the horizon – that of a ‘benevolent academy’ which takes seriously its responsibilities to civic society. Download the Document.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has recently launched an online interactive map on the global flows of tertiary-level students. The user-friendly tool allows users to visualise both incoming and outgoing mobility flows for over 200 different countries.
Outgoing mobility that is not organised or funded by national governments has been difficult to track and is therefore rarely shown in national statistics. By asking each of the countries participating in its global survey to report the numbers of incoming students by countries of origin, the UIS is able to aggregate the outflow of students from a participating country using the data provided by all the other countries receiving students from the country in question. Although not every country has provided the UIS with incoming student numbers, the UIS has been able to provide countries that are not tracking outgoing mobility with a relatively reliable ‘guesstimate’.
The interactive map is just a step forward to communicate the data collected by the UIS in an easy-to-grasp format. Accompanying the interactive map, UIS provides also quick facts and figures about global student mobility flows such as the top destination countries, top source countries, and an interesting list of countries that have more students studying abroad than at home.
For those who have been using mobility data for analyses or presentations, the new reference tool can be a handy tool. The only inconvenience for a European audience might be that the tool does not allow to aggregate data into mobility flows for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the European Union (EU) or “Europe”. In the UIS database, “North America and Western Europe” form one region and “Central and Eastern Europe” another. This raises a fundamental question: Where is the attractive “European higher education area” in global statistics?