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E-xcellance +: cross sectoral valorisation - Project Card


 
Excellence+

E-xcellence +: cross sectoral valorisation

EU Program
LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME 2007-2013
Contract
EAC/61/2006
Duration of project
24 months (October 2007 – September 2009)
Scientific Leader
Prof. Maria Amata Garito

EXCELLENCE+ PARTNERS

First Contracting partner
European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU)
Nederland
Partners
University of Oulu
Finland
Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL)
Nederland
The Open University (OUUK)
United Kingdom
International Telematic University UNINETTUNO
Italy
Accreditation Organisation for the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)
Nederland
Estonian Information Technology Foundation (EITF)
Estonian
Hungarian e-University Network
Hungary
Swedish Agency for Networks and Cooperation in Higher Education (NSHU)
Sweden
Spanish National Distance University (UNED)
Spain
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Belgium
Cztech Association Of Distance Teaching Universities
Cztech Republic
University of Hradec Kràlovè
Cztech Republic
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Slovak
State educational Institution of Higher professional education “Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI)”
Russian Federation
Distance Learning University Switzerland
Switzerland

EXCELLENCE+ SUMMARY

Objectives
In the E-xcellence project under the E-learning Programme 2004, a quality benchmarking assessment instrument was developed that covers the pedagogical, organisational and technical frameworks with special attention on accessibility, flexibility and interactiveness. The instrument is supplemented by a full on-line manual. This is all fully available under the "creative commons license" at http://www.eadtu.nl/e-xcellenceqs.
The EUA-evaluation report on the E-xcellence instrument, January 2007,highlighted the following : "By modelling the E-xcellence tool on the needs and interests of institutions and giving them a choice of modes with different degrees of intensity, the tool incorporates what has been endorsed on the European level as good practice in external quality assurance processes. Moreover, by developing a set of benchmarks for the European level to build its tool on, the E-xcellence project has contributed toward building a European dimension for the specific field of e-learning".
With E-XCELLENCE+ we want to valorise the instrument at the local, national and European level for the higher education and adult education sectors. Further, within E-xcellence +, we want to broaden the implementation and receive feedback for enhancing the instrument.
The E-XCELLENCE+ consortium consists of expert representatives from open universities, traditional universities and assessment and accreditation bodies in higher education and adult education already covering 13 countries and reaching out to the rest of Europe.

Approach
To further introduce E-xcellence in the European HE system, we will cooperate closely on the national level with involvement of assessment and accreditation bodies who cover the national higher education and adult education institutions. Therefore, in all participating countries we will organise local workshops and training seminars for universities and assessment and accreditation bodies on the subject of quality improvement of e-learning performance and integrate this approach at university level itself as well as with the quality assurance agencies.
In the countries that already have a strong involvement of quality agencies we will implement the E-xcellence instrument in cooperation between the universities and the assessment and accreditation bodies. This cooperation will be a pragmatic exploration and fine-tuning of the current E-xcellence instrument to the contextual national setting and policy frameworks. All this to integrate the E-xcellence instrument in the institutional frameworks and the national policy frameworks.

In addition to promotional activities and implementation the sustainability of the instrument is further to be guaranteed by:
 

  • Regular updating of the instrument and manual and yearly publication of revised version
  • Adding good practice exemplars to the manual from the partner organisations and connected European organisations in the field of e-learning -Expanding a European network of experts
  • Connection with other European organisations in the field of e-learning
Partners
ADTU, OULU, OUUK, OUNL, NSHU, EITSA, Hungarian e-University Network, UNINETTUNO, UNED, NVAO, KU-Leuven, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Cztech Association of Distance Teaching Universities, University of Hradec Králové, Universitäre Fernstudien Schweiz, MESI.

 

EXCELLENCE+ DETAILED DESCRIPTION

European universities are in a process of creating a European Area of Higher Education through better access, quality, competitiveness and attractiveness. Improving e-learning will ultimately support the Bologna objectives (“e-Bologna”), since it will become a core approach in most courses and curricula: create better access to European higher education at all levels and in all domains both in mainstream and in continuing education, ensure co-operation between universities, raise the competitiveness of European universities.

By supporting processes of improving e-learning performance E-XCELLENCE+ enhances the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning and will certainly have an overall positive effect on lifelong learning in Europe by improving quality assurance in higher education, improving mobility in higher education and stimulate innovation.

The target group:
The target groups can be subdivided as follows:
 

  • Academic institutions: in need of improved e-learning programmes and proven qualit
  • Institutional self-assessors: in need of extended quality assessment system with e-learning specific criteria
  • Course designers: in need of improved course and curriculum design by using the E-xcellence manual and good-practices
  • Assessors already involved in national assessment systems for conventional provision: in need of extended quality assessment system with e-learning specific criteria
  • Students: in need of improved programmes on accessibility, flexibility, interactiveness and attractiveness as well as proven quality
Justification the duration of your project/network: The project is build on a consortium of which half already is acquainted with the E-xcellence instrument. The other part needs to be further informed and trained in using the tool. Only after this preparation phase and institutional awareness raising the next step can be taken to involve other universities and assessment and accreditation bodies nationally. For the final integration of the instrument in the institutional and national policy frameworks you need to take time for clear communication and showing the first results of the local tests.
The indicators: 1) - For promotion and awareness raising:
  • Overall European awareness raising on the importance of quality assurance in LLL and especially e-learning. Measured by overview of activities, conference proceedings, overview of publications articles and papers published by our consortium
  • Project website promotion. Measured by number of visitors and partner institutions links on their website.
  • Participants at local events in 13 countries
  • Participants at European events
2) - For implementation:
  • national and regional fine-tuned E-xcellence instrument applications
  • E-xcellence implementation reports
  • Enhanced e-learning performance at a follow up report
3) - For sustainability
  • Institutional integration the quality assurance in e-learning by E-xcellence. Measured by actual inclusion in institutional QA-strategies
  • Integration of quality assurance in e-learning in the national policy frameworks. Measured by actual inclusion in quality strategies of external (conventional) assessment and accreditation bodies
  • Establishment of E-xcellence exploitation plan and protocol for network of experts
  • Updated and revised version E-xcellence instrument and manual 2008 and 2009
  • Adding good practice exemplars to the manual from the partner organisations and connected European organisations in the field of e-learning
  • Connection with other European organisations in the field of e-learning

JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROPOSAL
European universities are in a process of creating a European Area of Higher Education through better access, quality, competitiveness and attractiveness. Improving e-learning will ultimately support the Bologna objectives (“e-Bologna”), since it will become a core approach in most courses and curricula: create better access to European higher education at all levels and in all domains both in mainstream and in continuing education, ensure co-operation between universities, raise the competitiveness of European universities.

Our framework of reference is the Bologna process Berlin 2003 – Bergen 2005
In the Berlin Ministerial Communiqué of September 2003, “the need to develop mutually shared criteria and methodologies on quality assurance” was stressed. The Berlin Ministerial Communiqué emphasised the importance of the institutional level of quality assurance by stating that “… consistent with the principle of institutional autonomy, the primary responsibility for quality assurance in higher education lies with each institution itself and this provides the basis for real accountability of the academic system within the national quality framework.” “ (Realising the European Higher Education Area” Communiqué of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher Education in Berlin on 19 September 2003)
The Bergen Communiqué of May 2005 further underlined the predominant role of institutions in developing and assuring quality. Moreover, it stressed that internal quality processes need to be complemented with external mechanisms, with the later building upon the former.
(The European Higher Education Area -Achieving the Goals Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005)
The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, which were adopted by ministers in Bergen, endorsed these principles and explicitly stated that external quality assurance needs to be “fit for its purpose and [to] place only an appropriate and necessary burden on institutions for the achievement of its objectives.”
(ENQA report on Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. Helsinki Finland, February 2005)

 

EXCELLENCE+ AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

Objectives
1. To contribute to the development of quality lifelong learning and to promote high performance, innovation and a European dimension in systems and practices in the field
2. To help improve the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning available within member-states
3. To support the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practice for lifelong learning
4. To encourage the best use of results, innovative products and processes and the exchange of good practices in the fields covered by the lifelong learning programme, in order to improve the quality of education and training.
Specific Objective
To ensure that the results of the Lifelong Learning Programme are appropriately recognised, demonstrated and implemented on a wide scale
Description:
E-XCELLENCE+ will therefore further promote, disseminate and implement the results of the former E-xcellence project under the European elearning programme (DG EAC). It builds on the policy frameworks worked out under the Bologna Follow-Up Group (Berlin, Bergen, London) as E-XCELLENCE+ promotes co-operation in quality assurance for the higher education sector specifically regarding e-learning aspects of education.
The main objective is to improve the quality of e-learning performance in Europe by integrating the E-xcellence instrument in the institutional frameworks and the national policy frameworks. This project supports processes of improving e-learning performance by self-assessment, on-site assessment and accreditation.

By supporting processes of improving e-learning performance E-XCELLENCE+ enhances the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning and will certainly have an overall positive effect on lifelong learning in Europe by improving quality assurance in higher education, improving mobility in higher education and innovation.

Quality Assurance in higher education
E-xcellence offers a supplement to the quality in higher education process by focussing specifically on e-learning related criteria. It leads to educational improvement and supports innovation and contributes to the development of quality lifelong learning by enhanced accessibility, flexibility, interactiveness and attractiveness of lifelong learning available within member-states.
By promoting E-xcellence we promote high performance, innovation and a European dimension in systems and practices in the field of improved e-learning performance.
By modelling the E-xcellence tool on the needs and interests of institutions and giving them a choice of modes with different degrees of intensity, the tool incorporates what has been endorsed on the European level as good practice in external quality assurance processes.

Moreover, by developing a set of benchmarks for the European level to build its tool on, the E-xcellence project has contributed toward building a European dimension for the specific field of e-learning.

Mobility in higher education
Quality assurance in higher education is a fundamental aspect of continued internationalisation. The Berlin Communiqué recognizes the distinctiveness of each country’s arrangements but looks towards some better alignment in order students and other stakeholders can be confident about comparability and equivalence across the European higher education area. This will facilitate mobility and place mutual recognition or credit transfer on a more secure footing. The quality of e-learning in higher education is however not integral part of the current internal and external quality assurance systems. Still missing are the QA specific to e-learning like:
 

  • criteria based on ease of access
  • new forms of interaction (students and staff)
  • flexibility, personalisation and other pedagogical aspects that are more relevant to e-learning

Innovation in higher education
The valorisation and implementation of E-xcellence will contribute directly to the development of innovative approaches in education by presenting examples of good practices and excellence level benchmarks as reference for improvement in lifelong open and flexible learning.
As benchmarking is an instrument based on dialogue it will also indirectly contribute to innovation by increased exchanges of ideas and expertise. It leads to educational improvement and supports innovation and contributes to the development of quality lifelong learning by enhanced accessibility, flexibility, interactiveness and attractiveness of lifelong learning available within member-states.
This project will elaborate further on quality assurance and accreditation as a response to the identified needs of the Bologna process and in line with the preferred approach. It has been our challenge from the start to contribute to the work of other quality agencies by seamlessly supplementing aspects specific to e-learning to the quality assurance strategies on the institutional and national level.

 

EXCELLENCE+ RESULTS

Result 1: Development of suitable infrastructure (analysis, mechanisms, methodologies and practical tools)....
Result 2: Transversal action at European level (by sector, theme or user group)
Result 3: Promotion of “exploitation” activities within key existing regional/European/sectoral networks....
Result 4: Action to develop and embed a European strategy on exploitation of results, supporting studies,....
Result 5: European-level activities to promote active exploitation of results....

* Result 1: Development of suitable infrastructure (analysis, mechanisms, methodologies and practical tools) to facilitate exploitation of results.
E-XCELLENCE+ clearly addresses this objective by setting up a structure of collaboration to implement and valorise the E-xcellence instrument and manual.
This collaborative infrastructure consists of the direct stakeholders, expert organisations as well as the actual implementation bodies on assessment and accreditation. Exploitation of the results will be a combination of updating, fine-tuning and actual implementation.

* Result 2: Transversal action at European level (by sector, theme or user group).
The E-xcellence instrument supplements existing systems of quality assurance with e-learning specific issues. It offers a European-wide set of benchmarks, independent of particular institutional or national systems, and with guidance to educational improvement. It therefore can be used by various sectors, themes or user groups. It addresses directly the higher and adult education sector at the European, national and institutional level including stakeholders as the assessment and accreditation bodies.

* Result 3: Promotion of “exploitation” activities within key existing regional/European/sectoral networks with the aim, in particular, of promoting a virtuous circle between policy development and practical experience, in support of the open method of coordination (OMC) under the Lisbon agenda.
The instrument of benchmarking is building on dialogue. We have created the benchmarks to stimulate dialogue in a collaborative process. The collaborative infrastructure under E-XCELLENCE+ will create an environment of learning from each other. The benchmarks are in fact representing numerous best practices that can differ from country to country. Feedback on the E-xcellence instrument is integral part of the instrument improvement. At the various local events we will promote local institutional implementation. These events are workshops on implementation and include training of the user-groups; the institutional self-assessors as well as assessors already involved in national assessment systems for conventional provision.
Together we will come to a wide implementation of the instrument according to an agreed methodology. The methodology is European but has the flexibility for local and national variations. E-xcellence as a European open source instrument can than be integrated in the institutional and national policy frameworks with on-demand support from the European E-XCELLENCE+ consortium.

* Result 4: Action to develop and embed a European strategy on exploitation of results, supporting studies, demonstration projects and methodologies; Activities to test and develop ways of embedding the results of projects into policy, defining and presenting mechanisms to link projects, programmes and policies.
The project focuses on integration of the instrument within the national policy frameworks and with direct involvement of assessment and accreditation agencies. A strategic approach on promotional activities is foreseen at the European, national and local level.
Further, actual implementation is foreseen in all 13 countries by training of assessors and if necessary by fine-tuning of the instrument.

* Result 5: European-level activities to promote active exploitation of results (conferences, seminars and other exchanges between products and potential new users). Specific priority will be given to action to apply results within existing networks (not funding for network start-up or running costs).

 

EXCELLENCE+ IMPACT

Short Term Targets In the short term consortium related stakeholders are directly approached on promoting quality assessment by benchmarking in e-learning. This will be a high impact exercise with exchange of experiences, expertise and training sessions in 13 countries.
The short term targets whereas dissemination is concerned, are based on (experience) statistics EADTU gathers, when propagating information through its extensive network of contacts. Its member base now counts 23 members and thousands of contacts. It is comprised of renowned lifelong open and flexible learning universities and consortia of traditional universities from over twenty different countries, serving off-campus and on-campus target groups with accredited quality.

Long Term Targets This section should provide details relating to the impact that your consortium would hope to have beyond the end of the funding period. This should take into account any “cascade effect” anticipated as a result of, for example, the training of trainers and educators, conferences and seminars, policy papers and studies, the development of new curricula and methodologies. The long-term targets may therefore have a different profile from the short-term targets.
The target groups can be subdivided as follows:
 

  • Academic institutions
  • Institutional self-assessors
  • Assessors already involved in national assessment systems for conventional provision
  • Course designers
  • Students
In the long term all target groups mentioned above are served by an institutionalised approach on e-learning quality assurance that is updated regularly and extended with new exemplars of good-practices. By supporting e-learning improvement also businesses European wide will in the long-term be served with offers of well accessible quality lifelong learning education.

Sustainability Key actions for securing the sustainability of the project results over time are presented below.

1. The E-XCELLENCE+ consortium seeks structural embedding of the project deliverables into current practices i.e., courses and curricula. This is done so by staff working with the developed deliverables of the project.

2. Distribution of good-practice examples for using E-xcellence , are distributed among the (other) EADTU members, herewith facilitating the possible usage or adoption of developed deliverables, or elements hereof, by universities outside the E-XCELLENCE+ consortium.

3. By offering the E-xcellence instrument and manual under a Creative Commons licence a larger community is addressed to assure product sustainability over time.

4. By integrating the E-XCELLENCE+ portal into the larger EADTU portal and associated (existing) structures, would create a more sustainable model for retention of web traffic to the E-XCELLENCE+ portal and would create a more sustainable model for management of its content.

5. By including a feedback procedure of implementing the E-xcellence instrument and recommendations of improving the tool.

6. By (early) strengthening of the local, regional and national involvement. Sustainability and usage of end product is increased through involvement of the stakeholders in an early stage of project. All partners have a clear responsibility in compiling names of organisations that can be targeted or who already are willing to participate in the process. Partners will explicitly detail their local promotion and valorisation, regional promotion and valorisation, and national promotion and valorisation 7. By establishing a network of experts for updating and sustaining the instrument also after closing the project.

8. Specific (pilot) regional approaches to cooperation/valorisation targets.

9. European actions.
  • Keeping close cooperation with the European University Association as partner in the E-xcellence development project.
  • Involving ENQA in further promoting quality in e-learning in higher education on the European level and with their members locally.
10. Incorporation into systems and practices
  • By integration of the E-xcellence instrument in the institutional frameworks.
  • By integration of the E-xcellence instrument in the national policy frameworks.
11. Valorisation event
  • The aim of this event is to present the results of the project, and the actions that lever the results in terms of sustainability. An active (high-quality over high-quantity) engagement and discussion is foreseen with invited stakeholders. The event provides a platform for sharing “best-practice in quality assurance in e-learning”, and an opportunity to investigate potential cooperation with other initiatives going on.

 

EXCELLENCE+ ROLE OF UNINETTUNO

UNNINETTUNO will organise a local event on E-XCELLENCE + and organise a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses.
 

EXCELLENCE+ WORK PROGRAM

WP1: General project management
WP2: Promotion and awareness raising
WP3: Institutional frameworks
WP4: Implementation
WP5: Sustainability
WP6: Quality and evaluation plan
WP7: Dissemination

WP1: General project management

The aim:
Main aim is to work in a constructive and motivated consortium towards the objectives set. EADTU as coordinator will operate in a clear communication and coordination setting that is results oriented. The various partners under the consortium will be guided and motivated to involve as much as possible their specific expertise and experience as well as their specific role in the project.

Activities:
For WP1 the following activities are planned:
 

  • WP1.0 : Project kick-off meeting
  • WP1.1 : Overall planning and coordination of the project, reporting activities, communication with the consortium, monitoring of progress
  • WP1.2 : Financial monitoring and budget management
Phasing:
October 2007 – September 2009 (24 months)

WP leader:
EADTU

WP2: Promotion and awareness raising

The aim:
The aim of this work package is the overall promotion and awareness raising of the importance of quality assurance in lifelong learning and especially in relation to e-learning. EADTU developed a promotion and publication plan for the project. The promotion and dissemination plan comprehends an overview of the activities that support communication to raise awareness and interest for the E-xcellence instrument and the E-XCELLENCE + project. The promotion plan foresees activities to identify the different target groups, objectives of dissemination, explanation of strategies and a palette of promotional tools like leaflet, Website, (Conference)Posters, publications, local events etc.
Most importantly is the strategy on addressing the right target groups, meaning the institutional self-assessors as well as assessors already involved in national assessment systems for conventional provision as well as course designers, deans and rectors. The consortium and the coverage of EADTU and related networks will guarantee a broad presentation throughout Europe.
We believe that dissemination should be based on a European dimension with specific national/local interpretations. Dissemination will therefore be a clear indicated task per partner in the partner agreements.

Activities:
Foreseen categories of promotional activities:
  • WP2.1 Overall promotional activities at European, national and local level
  • WP2.2 European, national and local seminars with practical workshops in all participating countries
  • WP2.3 Attendance and presentation at corresponding conferences and events European wide
Phasing:
October 2007 – March 2008 (6 months)

WP leader:
Tallinn University

WP3: Institutional frameworks

The aim:
The aim of this work package the integration of E-xcellence in the institutional frameworks of the universities. This involves an approach of including E-xcellence in the internal quality assurance systems.

Activities:
For WP3 the following activities are planned:
  • WP3.1 Institutional introduction: including European kick-off event (Febr. 2008)
  • WP3.2 Tool testing at institutional level
  • WP3.3 Fine-tuning of the instrument by institutional teams
  • WP3.4 Actual implementation (assessing 3 courses or the institutional level), integration of the instrument in the institutional frameworks, integration of the instrument with national policy frameworks
A (sub)planning of activities for each work package is presented. It includes the stated sub-activities within each work package, the partners taking part, as well as the duration of the activities.

Phasing:
February 2008 – April 2009 (14 months)

WP leader:
OUUK

WP4: Implementation

The aim:
The aim of this work package is the actual implementation of the E-xcellence full-assessment instrument at the institutional level with involvement of universities and external assessment and accreditation bodies. This to fine-tune the instrument to the national systems, integrate these in the institutional and national policy frameworks and receive feedback for further enhancing the instrument.

Activities:
For WP4 the following activities are planned:
  • WP4.1 European kick-off event (Febr. 2008)
  • WP4.2 Training of assessors in participating countries. Addressing the institutional self-assessors as well as assessors already involved in national assessment systems for conventional provision. Analyses of direct applicability of the instrument at national and regional level If necessary, fine-tuning of the tool.
  • WP4.3 Actual E-xcellence implementation in 2 countries on 3 course/ universities with involvement of assessment and accreditation agencies, according to procedure: http://www.eadtu.nl/e-xcellenceqs/default.asp?page=fs_procedure
  • WP4.5 Broad presentation of results (EADTU European conference Nov. 2008 and EADTU/ICDE world conference: June 2009 Maastricht)
Phasing:
February 2008 – April 2009 (15 months)

WP leader:
OUNL

WP5: Sustainability

The aim:
An implementation or valorisation plan is included in this proposal. The objective of valorising the project is to enable its results to become “sustainable”. When the project comes to its end, its results should still be available for usage by different groups. The proposal includes a strategy to enable usage i.e., implementation of the project results after termination. Such valorisation strategy aims to fulfil the objective of general post-project usage of project results.
To establish the impact of the project, partners within the project are stimulated as much as possible, to quantify their responses on promotion materials and measure the actual implementation of the Quick Scan as well as performed full-assessments. Also the actual integration in the institutional frameworks as well as the national policy frameworks will be evaluated. Also the feedback received will be processed in updated and yearly revised version of the tool. Responsible for this is “the network of experts” that will continue after the project has finished as an entity within EADTU.

Activities:
For WP5 the following activities are planned:
  • WP5.1 Regular updating of the instrument and manual and yearly publication of revised version
  • WP5.2 Connection with other European organisations in the field of e-learning
  • WP5.3 Adding good practices to the manual from the partner organisations and connected European organisations in the field of e-learning
  • WP5.4 Setting up of network of experts
Phasing:
October 2007 – September 2009 (24 months)

WP leader:
OULU

WP6: Quality and evaluation plan

The aim:
A dedicated quality management plan is included in this proposal. The quality management plan is to ensure that monitoring of the project is performed adequately and accurately. It identifies procedures, criteria and resources for monitoring the project. It also deals with the evaluation of the progress of the project, risk and issue management, and with internal and/or external evaluation of the deliverables in comparison with the needs of the target group(s) and sector(s) and of the potential users. Quality management ensures that the project stays on track with the scheduled deliverables and within the budget. Project processes will be monitored for effectiveness and project risks will continuously be addressed. Project status reports are generated to indicate status and make recommendations. Such items addressed are: overall project, project staffing, project expenses to date, deliverables of current reporting period, deliverables of upcoming reporting period, project communications, project risks, project issues, change requests, and project quality activities. Corrective actions are taken if so called upon. The quality assurance manual is to spearhead effective cooperation and communication between the partner institutions and accordingly is to help signal any possible conflicts that may arise between partners.
Internal Evaluation is covered by the core group partners (EADTU, OULU, OUNL, OUUK)and in compliance to the interim and final report of the project. External evaluation is covered by the ENQA member assessment and accreditation body NVAO and partly by the KU-Leuven.
This way the evaluation involves all 3 major stakeholders: open universities, traditional universities and assessment and accreditation bodies in higher education and adult education.

Activities:
For WP6 the following activities are planned:
  • WP6.1 Quality management and monitoring
  • WP6.2 Updating quality assurance manual
  • WP6.3 Final evaluation and project appraisal
Phasing:
October 2007 – September 2009 (24 months)

WP leader:
EADTU

WP7: Dissemination

The aim:
A dissemination plan is included in this proposal. EADTU and partnership will systematically disseminate project results to policy advisors, staff and students within (and outside) universities, and other more regional stakeholders of interest.
Performance measurement will as much as possible include numbers of web-portal hits, responses to mailings, visitations at conferences, presentations, information requests. Most decisive information will of course be coming from universities and assessment and accreditation bodies using the E-xcellence instrument.

Activities:
For WP7 the following activities are planned:
  • WP7.1 Local and institutional promotion
  • WP7.2 Regional promotion
  • WP7.3 National promotion
  • WP7.4 International promotion
Phasing:
October 2007 – September 2009 (24 months)

WP leader:
EADTU

 

EXCELLENCE+ PARTNERS DESCRIPTION

European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) (NL)
EADTU is Europe’s leading representative association of distance education and e-learning. Its member base now counts 25 members and is comprised of renowned universities and consortia, dedicated to lifelong open and flexible learning and consortia, from over twenty-one different countries, serving off-campus target groups with accredited quality. Members of EADTU are universities which are dedicated to off-campus target groups, using distance teaching methods and systemic study guidance, mostly in regional study centres as well as organisations including consortia consisting of universities with mainly mainstream on-campus students but also give priority to offering education for off-campus students. The European structure of EADTU is extensive and levers direct liaisons with academic officers on the local level. EADTU has a clear responsibility for leadership. Over the past years EADTU has taken the role of coordinator and valorisation for different European projects. The EADTU network is excellent for this purpose: it covers the European Union and most of the Central Eastern European Countries (CEEC). EADTU took upon itself the transnational role of promoting Lifelong Open and Flexible (LOF) learning and the strengthening of programmes for lifelong learning, e-learning, quality assurance and accreditation processes.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
The EADTU, is amongst others responsible for the General project management, the Quality and evaluation plan, Dissemination and Implementation, as work package leader. EADTU further has an integral cooperative commitment with all relevant sub work packages of the project and the collaborative tasks ahead.

UNIVERSITY OF OULU (FIN)
The University of Oulu is one of the largest universities in Finland with an exceptionally wide academic base. Internationally pioneering research is conducted as a collaboration of different disciplines. The fields of information technology, biotechnology, northern and environmental issues have been defined as special research focus areas. The University cooperates closely with industry and commerce, and has broad connections with hundreds of international research and educational institutions.
Six faculties and their departments form a multi-disciplinary academic community that enables diversified studies based on multifaceted research.
eLearnign has been one focus in the development of the univeristy in the past years. Active participation in the Finnish Virtual University activities as other actions to bring ICT into wider use in academic studies from the life-long-learning perspective have produced good results.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
University of Oulu will be in charge of all dissemination activities in Finland as well as work in the core group of managing the developed E-xcellence methods and tools. Oulu is also part of the project core group and leads WP 5.

OPEN UNIVERSITY OF THE NETHERLANS (OUNL) (NL)
The Open University (OU) is Europe’s largest Higher Education Institution. It offers high quality university level education to people based in all countries of the EU and through partnerships, in all continents of the world. The OU supports 5,500 students across continental Western Europe and has a network of 13 country coordinators in major cities across Europe. Through open and distance learning the OU is able to reach people who would otherwise find it difficult to study and train further, but increasingly is teaching younger students who can no longer study at traditional universities, and prefer to combine work with their studies. The flexibility of the Supported Open Learning programme has also encouraged increasing participation from disabled and minority groups. The OU’s mission is to be ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’, and has an established Equal Opportunities policy.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
The Open University were previously involved as a partner in the forerunner to this proposal under the eLearning programme, E-xcellence. The OU will contribute to the project extensive expertise on quality assurance of higher education programmes gained through the activities of its Open University Validation Services division that operates internationally accrediting programmes complying to the standards and norms of UK higher education. Additionally the OU has considerable expertise in the development and delivery of programmes via a range of modes of e-learning.
The OU will lead the workpackage developing the use of the E-xcellence tool by institutions employing the tool at full assessment level for purposes of internal quality improvement processes. In this activity the OU will build on its own experience of internal quality improvement processes.
OU staff members contributing to the project were major contributors to the development of the E-xcellence tool.

The Open University (OUUK) (GB)

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network

INTERNATIONAL TELEMATIC UNIVERSITY UNINETTUNO (IT)
The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, established by Ministry Decree (April 2005) has been realised to valorise and enlarge the telematic didactic system settled by Consorzio NETTUNO (founded in 1992), enlarged at Euro-Mediterranean level thanks to the Med Net’U Project (Mediterranean Network of Universities- Eumedis Programme)in which a network was established among 31 partners of 11 countries of the Euromediterranean area, aimed at designing and realizing university courses at a distance in a multilingual format. With UNINETTUNO, the Universities of the different countries are actually creating shared knowledge networks together and cooperate to deliver multilingual international university degrees at a distance. The courses are completely on-line, delivered trough the learning environment on the Internet (www.uninettunouniversity.net), developed by the University in a multilingual format: both contents and interfaces are available in Arabic, French, English, Italian and Spanish. The University has also two satellite television channels (RAINETTUNO SAT 1 and 2) that broadcast 48 hours at day didactic materials produced by the University. The didactic offer of the University (5 Faculty and 7 Degrees) is designed and realised according to the Bologna Declaration (3+2) and structured in Credits (ECTS).
The University has a long experience in international research programme cooperation started in 1994. A particularly important aspect has been the experience of designing common curricula shared a the European and Euromediterranean level implemented by the LIVIUS (Learning in Virtual Integrated University System) and Med Net’U projects. Since 2003, the University participates in several European project in the Virtual Campus sector of the E-learning programme: HEAL - Higher Education E-Learning courses Assessment and Label, REVE - REal Virtual Erasmus Project; E-MOVE, An Operational Conception of Virtual Mobility, VENUS - Virtual and E-mobility for Networking Universities in Society.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
UNNINETTUNO will organise a local event on E-XCELLENCE + and organise a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses.

ACCREDITATION ORGANISATION FOR THE NETHERLANDS AND FLANDERS (NVAO) (NL)
NVAO was established by international treaty and ensures the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders by means of accrediting study programmes. Apart from its task to ensure the quality of higher education, NVAO contributes to the advancement of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders. In addition, it contributes to quality awareness and draws attention to the distinctive features of study programmes in higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders in national and international perspective. Together with noted foreign accrediting agencies NVAO verifies to what extent their policies are based on the same approach and procedures as those laid down in the Dutch and Flemish accreditation frameworks.
From the outset, NVAO was assigned the task to play an important role in internationalisation. In order to adequately fulfil this international role, NVAO is an active member of international networks in accreditation and quality assurance (INQAAHE, ENQA, ECA). NVAO has its offices in The Hague, and employs some 40 staff.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Having been involved in the founding E-xcellence project, NVAO has acquired a good starting position for playing an active role in implementing the tool developed by E-xcellence. In the proposed project, NVAO will participate in pilot implementation of the tool in Dutch/Flemish higher education, seeking the participation of both internal self-assessors as well as assessors already participating – under the auspices of Assessment Agencies - in external assessment of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses provided in a predominantly non e-learning fashion or in blended mode. In doing so, NVAO will further explore the relationship between E-xcellence’s benchmarking statements and the organisation’s own assessment framework.
In addition to this role in implementation, NVAO will engage in dissemination activities through the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA).

ESTONIAN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION (EITF) (EST)
Estonian Information Technology Foundation (EITF) is a non-profit organisation which aims to assist in preparation of highly qualified IT specialists and to support information and communication technology (ICT) related developments in Estonia. For these purposes EITF established and manages the Estonian IT College, administers the National Support Program for ICT in Higher Education "Tiger University” and coordinates the activities of the Estonian e-Learning Development Centre (ELDC). ELDC manages two consortia: the Estonian e-University consortium and the Estonian e-Vet consortium. Both are cooperation bodies between a) Estonian universities and applied universities and b) vocational schools for implementing e-learning.
Functions of both consortia are:
 

  • 1) Coordination of cooperation between consortium members based on principles of profound studies
  • 2) Increasing the availability of quality education for students and other people willing to learn, for example adults, handicapped people, Estonians abroad and foreign students
  • 3) Educating lecturers of universities to compile and practice quality and efficient e-courses and learning objects
  • 4) Providing lecturers with necessary technical equipment, 5) Improving the reputation of university education in Estonia and creating contacts for cooperation between foreign universities and business circles.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
EITSA will organise a local event on E-XCELLENCE + and organise a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses.

HUNGARIAN E-UNIVERSITY NETWORK (H)
The association represents 19 Hungarian university offering hihg quality ODL courses too. The aim of the network is the support of Hungarian distance education/e-learning in the framework of a national professional organisation. Its objective is to enhance the sufficiency of e-learning, to propagate and utilise its outcomes, to rise national and international cooperation – including the coordination of the activities of training material development/spread and the activities of continuing professional education and distance education network development.
Main activities (relating to the project)
  • a) Representing distance education/e-learning activities of Hungarian higher education in international organisations, forums.
  • b) Based on a model to be developed in the future the higher education institutions founding the association wish to ensure the possibility of cross-teaching among universities, colleges and faculties; the joint use of the toolkit of distance teaching/e-learning; the possibility to continue studies already started in partner institutions and the support of national and international mobility of teachers and students.
  • c) Through its specialised work committees the association contributes to the completion of quality assurance tasks related to the distance education/e-learning activities of higher education; the establishment of European memorandums, principles and expectations proclaimed in standards; local, national and international activities; research, experiments, tests and operation of methodology development of pedagogical innovations and PDT (pedagogy driven technology).

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
The Hungarian e-university network will organise a local event on E-XCELLENCE + and organise a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses.

SWEDISH AGENCY FOR NETWORKS AND COOPERATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION (NSHU) (S)
NSHU is a national agency with the purpose to support all higher education institutions I n Sweden with developing their education. The Agency has also a special responsibility for the Swedish Net University ( a co-operation between 35 universities in Sweden). NSHU act as a promoter and clearing house for the more than 2000 courses/100 programs with 70 000 students given as IT>-supported distance education by the Universities. NSHU funds national and regional projects in ICT, pedagogical development and widening participation. NSHU also support networks for flexible study guidance, web based library support, ICT-councellors etc… economically and technically.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Disseminate the tool to the 35 Universiteis in Sweden that work with distance education. Introduce the tool to the National Quality Assessment agencies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

SPANISH NATIONAL DISTANCE UNIVERSITY (UNED) (E)
UNED is a Spanish public university that provides distance education at national and international levels. It was founded in 1972 to enable priority access to university and further education for all those who, while capable of pursuing higher studies, were unable to attend on – campus classes for work, financial, residential or other reasons. At present, it has a network of more than 60 Centres throughout the country where students have access to all kinds of academic services, including libraries, audiovisual materials, face-to-face tutorials, videoconferencing and a virtual campus (telematic tutoring).
UNED is the largest university in Spain with more than 170.000 students enrolled in its different modalities of education and training. The study offer includes degrees in Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, as well as more than 100 Doctoral programmes, Master degrees, and Professional Development Programmes. The difference between the UNED and the other universities in Spain lies on its geographic dimension (national and international – 16 Study Centers abroad) and on the use of distance methodology and complementary pedagogical tools (Television, Radio, Video and Virtual University Campus). 1.200 full time teaching staff, 4.000 tutors and 1.200 administrative and technical staff make all this happen.

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN (B)
K.U.Leuven is a Belgian research intensive University under the legislation of the Flemish Community, founded in 1425. It comprises 14 faculties which are organising academic degree programmes at bachelor, master and PhD level. All K.U.Leuven courses are integrated in TOLEDO, which is an extensive electronic learning environment consisting of various tools to support students and staff according the central institutional concept of ‘’guided independent learning”’ To make this environment more complete and efficient, the student management system ad the university library will be integrated in TOLEDO. Teaching staff and students are using TOLEDO according to the pedagogical concept of course, in most cases complementary to face to face lectures and seminars.
K.U.Leuven is the largest university in Belgium with more than 32.000 students and about 4.000 staff. Twelve other institutions (‘”hogescholen”’) are associated within the K.U.Leuven Association with more than 70.000 students. The TOLEDO environment is extended to these institutions , which jointly constitute a multi-campus community . The educational potential of this multi-campus is now explored.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
KU-Leuven will experience a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses and consider further use of the E-xcellence instrument.
KU-Leuven will contribute to the evaluation of the project.
Ku-Leuven will contribute to the organisation of a local event on QA for e-learning.

CZTECH ASSOCIATION OF DISTANCE TEACHING UNIVERSITIES (CZ)

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Czech Association of Distance Teaching Universities will organise a local event on E-XCELLENCE + and organise a Quick-Scan of 1 or more of their courses.

UNIVERSITY OF HRADEC KRALOVE (CZ)
University of Hradec Kralove is a public university offering bachelor, master and doctoral study programmes. University consists of 3 faculties: Pedagogical faculty, Faculty of Informatics and Management and Faculty of Humanities. The Faculty of Informatics and Management will be responsible for the project activities, as this faculty is more experienced in the field of e-learning. The Faculty of Informatics and Management educates qualified professionals to meet the needs of the region of Eastern Bohemia in commerce, industry, and the retail business. The content of the courses is readily adaptable to the exigencies of the labour market and also to the requirements of the new programmes of studies in the fields of management, economy, information technology, information management, and tourism and leisure management. The Faculty of Informatics and Management has expertise in the field of e-learning and virtual mobility, gained mainly within international projects. Recently a e-learning system WebCT was purchased and implemented. A lot of courses are offered to interested people and institutions within the lifelong learning. A big part of them is offered as distance courses with WebCT support.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
The Faculty of Informatics and Management University of Hradec Králové is evaluated as excellent in the field of e-learning among Czech faculties.
The role of FIM:
  • overall promotional activities at national and local level (publications)
  • national and local seminars with practical workshops
  • attendance and presentation at corresponding conferences and events European wide
  • analyses of direct applicability of the instrument at national and regional level
  • integration of the instrument in the institutional frameworks

SLOVAK UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY IN BRATISLAVA, FACULTY OF ENGEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SK)
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava represents the 2nd largest university in Slovakia founded in 1938. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (FEI STU) is, at present, its largest faculty. Since 1993, the Faculty offers programs leading to a bachelor’s degree (Bc.), and programs leading to a master’s degree of engineering (Dipl.Ing.). About 2,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate and doctoral students are studying at the Faculty today. STU Bratislava is permanently giving attention to the development of the new learning technologies and to the strengthening of the social partnership in education. Since 1995 it has hosted the National Centre of Distance Education and in 1996 established the Distance Education Centre within the framework of the PHARE Multi Country Cooperation in Distance Education Programme. From the beginning the distance education has been understood as the tool for cooperation with our industrial partners and for opening the higher education to diverse target groups. Since 2001 the FEI STU started to build access to their study programmes also via e-learning.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Organising local workshops and seminars for universities and assessment and accreditation bodies on the subject of quality improvement of e-learning performance and integrating this approach at university level as well as with the quality assurance agencies. Implementation of E-xcellence. Mediating information to the Accreditation agency of the Slovak Ministry of Education.

STATE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION OF HIGHER PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION “MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY FOR ECONOMICS, STATISTICS AND INFORMATICS (MESI)” (RUS)
Moscow State University for Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) established in 1932 is one of Russia’s leading higher education institutions in the field of economics, statistics and computer science both for Russian nationals and nationals of other countries. MESI is the leading Russian distance teaching university with overall number of students of more than 150 000. Along with its Moscow campus, MESI comprises 13 branches and about 200 study centers all over Russia (from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok) and abroad (Armenia, Belarus, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan). MESI has 70 years of experience in distance education, over 30 years in computer-based instruction and about 10 years of e-learning practice. MESI is the participant of European integration activities in the frames of Bologna process (joint study programs, academic mobility, European diploma supplement, etc.). MESI has implemented European System of Quality Management and is the first Russian University certified according to ISO 9001:2000 standard.
MESI is the member of: EADTU, EAIE, ICDE, EDEN, IAOE, IASHS, e-University, and IMS Global Consortium. The University is collaborates with leading European distance teaching organizations. The Memorandums of understanding have been signed with most of them.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
MESI will operate on self-funding basis as an associate partner with EADTU to carry out the E-xcellence+ project. MESI will undertake the role of national promotion of E-xcellence by organising and hosting an event on E-xcellence with invitation of universities and assessment and accreditation bodies.

DISTANCE LEARNING UNIVERSITY SWITZERLAND (CH)
The Institute for Research in Open-, Distance- and eLearning was founded in 2005 by the Distance University of Applied Sciences Switzerland and the Distance Learning University Switzerland. It forms the interface between pedagogical requests and the requirements of media and information technology.
The basis of our research and service activities is the concept of the didactical tetrahedron. This concept shows that Blended Learning and Distance Learning have to be seen as an interaction of the four elements: teacher, learner, content and communities. We use quantitative as well as qualitative research-methods like interviews, expert- and online-enquiries, field-observations and document analysis.
Our research focus lies in the following areas:
  • Media literacy and media skills of teachers (esp. Blended Learning Scenarios)
  • Study-success in Open and Distance Learning
  • Arrangements of learning communities
  • Design and development of virtual learning environments
The knowledge transfer is accomplished by a set of annually organized didactical and methodological workshops.

Role of the participant organisation in the proposed project / network
Universitäre Fernstudien Schweiz will operate on self-funding basis as an associate partner with EADTU to carry out the E-xcellence+ project. MESI will undertake the role of national promotion of E-xcellence by organising and hosting an event on E-xcellence with invitation of universities and assessment and accreditation bodies.