UNINETTUNO strategic guidelines
The strategic guidelines that led and are still leading UNINETTUNO’s development and which represent the strong points of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are:
Innovation and Research
Relations with traditional universities
Relations with the business world
UNINETTUNO’s international development was largely enhanced by the fact that it utilises the Web as its main tool for promotion and course delivery. This familiarity with the technological generations helped the recruitment of students coming from 128 different countries of the world; this natural impulse towards the globalisation of education was attentively supported by agreements entered with the universities of various countries of the world, particularly with those of the Arab World.
Two key factors of UNINETTUNO’s internationalization model, based on cooperation and on the active involvement of its partner universities, led to its international success:
The design of a learning platform, that is unique worldwide, in 5 languages (Italian, English, French, Arabic and Greek), which is the outcome of Med Net’U European Project, previously set up for delivering educational contents in several languages;
The decision of not relying on the mere “translation” of contents designed and produced by Italian lecturers, but, on the contrary, to involve the best lecturers coming from international universities, selected by Mixed Scientific Committees according to their scientific excellence in their own scientific field, for preparing contents and producing the videolessons, each one in his own native language.
UNINETTUNO’s strategic objectives as it regards internationalization are:
a) Enhancement of its multilingual educational offer
UNINETTUNO’s objectives are to complete the production in the English language for the degree courses in Economics and Psychology, to start foreign language production of the modules of the courses in Communication and Literature for which a strong interest was noticed both in the Mediterranean as well as in the European area and at international level in general and produce new second-cycle (master-level) degree courses in the multilingual mode, increasing multilingual course offer by 40% among the courses running for all degree courses.
b) Further development of the relations with the Arab World
UNINETTUNO plans to enter into new agreements with the universities of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia in order to consolidate its leadership in the Euro-Mediterranean Area designing shared study programs by applying the model already tested with the Helwan University, envisaging the harmonization of the study program currently running at the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, based on the Bologna/Sorbonne Process and that of the foreign universities that do not adopt the ECTS standard. A strategically important objective will be to concretize the framework agreement entered with the Al Alkawayan University of Ifrane, in Morocco and the training institute Pianodam Formation of Casablanca envisaging the realization of the Telematic Euro-Mediterranean University (TEU). The TEU Consortium was warmly welcomed by the Moroccan Ministry for Higher Education and Research; it plans to develop a distance educational offer for Moroccan and African countries students based on UNINETTUNO psycho-pedagogic model and on its e-learning platform, as well as on the distance educational offer that is already available in the Arab, French and English language on the portal on: www.uninettunouniversity.net
c) Development of initiatives for shared study programs in regions aside the Euro-Mediterranean one
UNINETTUNO’s objective is to enhance cooperation relations with already partnering international institutions, such as the Global Science University of Somalia, the NGO Minerva of Tiblisi, Georgia, the Open University of Hong Kong, the Chinese YANTAI University, the Chinese Shadong Institute of Business and Technology for the realization of shared curricula, beside looking for new institutional partnerships in other countries of the world to widen the horizon of the University’s internationalization perspective.
d) Development of the cooperation relations with LSBF/LCCA
In September 2013 the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO started an international academic cooperation partnership with the "London School of Business and Finance" (LSBF) and the "London College of Contemporary Arts" (LCCA), entailing the delivery of new post-graduate master’s courses in English. UNINETTUNO’s objective, beside promoting and developing the currently running joint master’s courses, is implementing an area devoted to master’s courses dealing with issues linked to digital economy meeting the educational needs emerging from the current labor market in the economics field with the additional aim of leading these master’s courses to acquire the status of second-cycle (master-level) degrees.
e) Further development of MOOCs and OERs (Open Educational Resources) initiatives
Since spring 2014 UNINETTUNO is a member of the Executive Committee of the OpenUpEd Project. The Executive Committee deliberates on the applications by new institutions, on the qualitative and methodological control and work in close relation with executives of the European Commission responsible for the Open Education Program in order to establish quality standards for European MOOCs. Seen the success gained by the initiatives that were launched, UNINETTUNO’s objective is to further develop its offer of MOOCs aimed at the vocational training and retraining of students who are already in the European job market.
f) International mobility
Starting from the current activities, UNINETTUNO’s objective is to further develop international mobility initiatives adopting the designed cooperation model. Actually, the professors who come to UNINETTUNO in the framework of Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus Programs for a 6/12-month period, beside cooperating in the research activities of the Faculties they refer to, become also the authors of the contents of the degree courses hosting the modules dealing with their scientific-disciplinary sectors, producing contents in the language of the country they come from, thus enriching UNINETTUNO educational offer. This cooperation model, designed and applied by UNINETTUNO for the first time, is highly innovative and is already achieving very good results.
2. Innovation and Research
Since its establishment, the University has been carrying on research activities at University and at Faculty level: consistently with its strategic perspective, one of the main objectives is the enlargement and enhancement of this activity at international level. One of the main R&D strands deals with the technologies applied to learning processes; the achieved results allow UNINETTUNO to always be on the cutting edge both in terms of the functionalities offered by the collaborative software and e-learning platform as it regards the technologies adopted for its development as well as in terms of teaching methodologies: its primary objective is its direct application to the services offered by UNINETTUNO to keep the adopted learning model always up to date with state-of-art technology. To this end research strands dealing with the application of augmented reality to teaching processes and to the realization of 3D learning environments and virtual laboratories were identified and developed. Other research projects are conducted in the framework of each individual Faculty: in this case, the research projects are strongly focused on innovation in the relative scientific-disciplinary fields; research activities are conducted in cooperation with the main Italian (in particular, the relationship with the institutes of the National Council of Research, CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche- offering its laboratories for experimental activities, is ever increasingly intensive and wide-ranging) as well as with international teams, that are mainly connected to the Engineering Faculty (such as UNINETTUNO High Energy with the NASA, JAXA, RIKEN, INFN, CNR and UNINETTUNO – Earth with the INFN, University of Roma “Tor Vergata”, Università of Roma Tre, University of Trento, Politecnico di Torino and the CEA).
UNINETTUNO strategic objectives in the framework innovation and research activities are:
a) Development of University research activities aimed at the constant evolution of UNINETTUNO psycho-pedagogic, organizational and technological models
In order to keep consistent with the history of Consorzio NETTUNO, whose platform actually resulted from its research activities and with the developments put forward by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, the University is also active in a range of research strands dealing with the application of the new technologies to teaching and learning processes and, in particular, it is developing research strands related to the:
Implementation of a model of online university relying on 3D and immersive technologies in which interaction between students and teachers can always take place in real time; on the basis of the already-developed training activities and research activities conducted on the use of 3D technologies for realizing 3D learning environments, UNINETTUNO has already started to develop research projects that will allow the University to develop a 3D University of its own. Given also the constant spreading of wide-band Internet, the University aims at implementing and start running this new model of 3D University within a couple of years;
Another direction for UNINETTUNO R&D activities is aimed at using its learning platform in an innovative way. Fully in line with the current evolution of ICT technologies with Horizon 2020, envisaging the development of a Collective Awareness platform for collective and community purposes and according to the principle of interdisciplinarity on which the University draws on, both at educational and scientific level, it plans to promote and conduct research projects aimed at producing theories and technologies for communicative and deliberative processes allowing users’ communities or users’ communities complex systems, as it is the case of an online university, to effectively and efficiently cooperate and deliberate on issues of common interest.
Always as it regards 3D technologies, another research strand deals with the development of a three-dimension environment allowing for laboratory experiences including, in a simulation perspective, a range comprising the simple simulation of experiences, which are reconstructed in a 3D environment, access to actual equipment distributed in remote research infrastructures and laboratories that are remotely controlled;
A specific interdisciplinary research line involving the Faculty of Psychology, Communication Sciences and Engineering deals with the development of a conversational agent playing guidance and educational support tutoring tasks; the objective is that of using the already available huge database, including metadata associated to educational materials and the interactions that have already taken place on the chats and forums with teachers and tutors for the purpose of creating a system capable of extracting knowledge from teacher-student interactions that have already taken place to automatically answer the students’ questions.
b) Research activities dealing e-learning assessment and quality assurance models
In the framework of UNINETTUNO engagement in research and innovation on Quality Assurance in European level, the University keeps on working in the follow-up of Excellence and Excellence+ Projects, the former one developed within the E-Learning European Program and the latter one in the framework of the European Lifelong Learning Program, with the ultimate objective of widening the access to higher education at all level and in all fields both in the mainstream and in lifelong learning, assuring cooperation among universities, enhancing European universities’ competitiveness.
c) Development of collaborations with research centers
In the light of the experiences going on, UNINETTUNO’s objective is to enhance cooperation with CNR and with the Research Centers currently partnering with UNINETTUNO and to identify further possibilities/opportunities of cooperation with national and international Research Centers allowing for an ever increasingly fruitful exchange of educational experiences both as it regards the teaching body, the use of suitable local research facilities and design and implementation of highly innovative international research projects.
UNINETTUNO specific objective is also to implement research activities conducted in synergy with research agencies up to the achievement of +5% of funding received on competitive calls in the preceding three-year period.
d) Third mission
The University plans to continue to make investments, after the success of the project for the establishment of the first spin-off, "MAG", in order to develop start-up/spin-off that are mainly linked to the University’s specificities, such as the development of key software component that have an impact on teaching and learning processes, also in traditional learning environments or the creation of spin-offs aimed at the e-commerce of academic products.
3. Relations with traditional universities
UNINETTUNO was born from Consorzio NETTUNO, an Italian distance university institution including traditional universities. This origin led it to strongly promote cooperation with traditional universities and since the beginning this allowed UNINETTUNO to rely on highly scientifically qualified personnel.
In the framework of the relations with traditional universities UNINETTUNO’s strategic objectives are:
a) Development of collaborations with traditional universities aimed at educational activities
As it regards cooperation with traditional universities UNINETTUNO will keep on making a high quality selection of the professors entrusted with the realization of the videolessons and of the educational contents, selecting Italian as well as of other European, U.S. and Southern Mediterranean universities relying on selection criteria such as the quality of scientific production and relevance to the research activities conducted by the professors.
Additionally, UNINETTUNO’s objective is to continue the exploitation activities linked to the Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus mobility programs in order to enrich its educational offer by making Mixed Scientific Committees select the best lecturers coming from international universities for producing new multilingual academic contents.
b) Development of collaboration with traditional universities aimed at research activities
UNINETTUNO has already entered into several cooperation agreements with Italian and international traditional universities aimed at developing research activities.
UNINETTUNO’s objective is enriching and enhancing cooperation agreements with traditional universities aimed at research activities in view of:
Allowing students, researchers and professors to access to research scientific laboratories, to develop projects aimed at preparing experimental theses or research activities and have the possibility to access to cutting-edge structures, a unique feature in the landscape of Italian (and not only) online universities;
Developing international-level research proposals to jointly apply for European calls within programs such as Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, Creative Europe, MED.
c) Development of cooperation relations with traditional universities in order to design joint curricula
UNINETTUNO developed a model for internationalizing curricula both at European level, based on the use of the ECTS and European Qualification Framework, and at extra-European level, based on a process of curricula harmonization which allows shaping contents of UNINETTNO three-year degrees making reference to four-year or five-year degrees as delivered in the Arab Countries or in Eastern Europe that do not comply with the ECTS system.
UNINETTUNO’s strategic objective is to enter into new cooperation agreements and increase the number of agreements aimed at the delivery of curricula jointly with traditional universities based on its model of cooperation with the Arab World universities and of curricula internationalization that it has been developing.
4. Relations with the business world
Thanks to bilateral agreements and joint projects both with trade unions and with professional associations today UNINETTUNO has become a strategic partner for governments and private companies both in Italy and the Mediterranean countries. These initiatives are aimed at enhancing the training level of the workers at the support of the professionalism of businesses on global markets and, where necessary, the specialization, retraining and continuous upgrading of the workers’ skills level.
One of the most relevant initiatives that were carried on in this respect is represented by an agreement undersigned and launched jointly with Telecom Italian, concluded to support laid-off or mobility staff. This agreement provides an opportunity for Telecom Italia employees to enroll in UNINETTUNO degree courses, choosing, with no obligations and regardless of their task within the company, the degree course that best suits their personal talents and interests. This agreement represents a big success in terms of vocational retraining opportunities and access to new employment sectors. The University is planning to apply this model to other companies.
Another agreement is the one entered by UNINETTUNO with CONSEL- Consorzio ELIS for advanced vocational training. CONSEL is a consortium of big companies and universities aimed at promoting integration between the academic and the business worlds. For the Engineering Faculty we realized some curricula that, beside including a theoretical section delivered by the University, include a practical section supplied by the companies members of the Consortium; upon completion of the stud path the student gets a degree and vocational training qualification.
As it regards its relations with the business world UNINETTUNO’s strategic objectives are:
a) Replicate the cooperation model adopted with Telecom Italia
UNINETTUNO is already working to propose cooperation agreements with other companies using the same strategic approach aimed at involving the University-Business-Trade Unions triad for implementing business initiatives aimed at employees’ vocational training and retraining.
b) Definition and shaping of curricula according to the needs of the new employment market
UNINETTUNO’s objective is to further develop educational paths and curricula designed in the perspective of meeting the training needs of businesses and of the employment market in general, also thanks to the cooperation agreement entered with CONSEL – Consorzio ELIS and to the joint analysis and design work carried on with the companies member of Consorzio ELIS.
c) Enrichment of curricula and of research activities with expertise coming from the business world
UNINETTUNO’s objective is to implement a model for exchanging skills and teachers with companies in order to enrich its educational offer with the know-how and experiences given by professionals and experts coming from production and business environments.
d) Design and realization of educational schemes meeting specific company or sector needs
UNINETTUNO’s objective is that of realizing cooperation agreements for the design and implementation of vocational distance training and retraining courses meeting the specific needs of individual companies or associations or international networks.
e) The Skills Portal
According to employment rates estimates in Europe for the next decade the demand will mainly focus on the so-called “white jobs” (education, training, healthcare, social services), on the “green” ones (renewable energies, environment) and on the “digital” ones (digital communication and information, smart cities, use of new technologies); however, estimates also show that the “traditional” jobs will significantly change due to the digital revolution. As it regards Italy, we have to mention other employment sectors showing a positive outlook in terms of employment growth.
In particular, these estimates refers to some types of manufacturing and new-handcraft jobs which will see a significant growth in the sectors that, in our country, are intrinsically stronger and in which we have a competitive advantage compared with many other countries, that is to say in the cultural and tourism sectors.
This framework in which we find the objective of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO of developing an area, on its Internet-based platform, of the Cyberspace devoted to vocational training and retraining aimed at realizing “The Skills Portal”, by applying the psycho-pedagogic theories and models on which the worldwide success of the distance teaching model adopted by UNINETTUNO relies, outcome of 15 years of research work and experimentation of technologies applied to online teaching-learning processes.
Therefore, its strategic objective is that make a systematic use of the cooperation relations that were already started with universities, companies, industries and national and international institutions and further develop what was realized with ASD-STE, UNIDO, San Patrignano on issues such as vocational training and retraining, enhancing the related networks as it regards questions like lifelong learning, continuous training, learning on the job and starting the realization of a portal that can offer continuous, modular training and mapping the skills demanded by the ever changing national and international labor market.