black & white version
Enhancing Student Mobility
In A Digital World
Sharing Experiences In
An Enlarged Europe
EDITORS J. HAYWOOD - University of Edinburgh,
A. METTINGER - University of Vienna & UNICA President
Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe
Réseau des Universités des Capitales de l’Europe
Enhancing Student Mobility
In A Digital World
Sharing Experiences In
An Enlarged Europe
This publication is the Proceedings of the SUMIT Conference entitled
“Enhancing Student Mobility In A Digital World: Focusing On An Enlarged
Europe”, University of Warsaw, 11-12th October 2007. The SUMIT Project
(SUpporting Mobility through ICT) was a collaboration between UNICA,
Brussels Education Services, the University of Warsaw, and the University of Edinburgh. It was part-funded by the European Commission Directorate
General for Education and Culture under its Socrates Programme.
Editors : J. Haywood, A. Mettinger
Octobre 2007 - ISBN/EAN: 978-90-9022635-4
Graphic design: [email protected]
A Word From The Unica President
Introductory Word Of The Vice-Rector Of The University Of Warsaw
Facts & Figures
Enhancing Student Mobility In A Digital World
Role Of ICT Instruments In The Management
Of The Decentralised Erasmus Activities
Dorota Rytwi ´ ska
Enhancing Student Mobility In A Digital World:
Sharing Experiences In An Enlarged Europe – Croatian Example
Student Mobility At Sofi a University: Tendencies And Perpectives
Mobility And IT Support At Vidzeme University College
Digital Tools In Service Of Mobility –
From Local Case To National Perspectives
How ICT Is Used By Erasmus Student Network
At The University Of Warsaw.
Enhancing Student Mobility By A Web 2.0 Platform:
The Erasmus Student Network Experience
Christof Devriendt, Peter Vanhee, Antonio De Marco, Andrea Pescetti
University Of Warsaw Library E-Resources And
Information Services For The Academic Community
Ewa Kobierska-Maciuszko, Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez
Virtual Orientation And Online Peer Support
For Incoming Exchange Students At Laurea
The Sumit Project And The Bologna Process
Jolanta Urbanikowa, Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez
Working Group Reports
Conclusions And Summary
The editors wish to express their thanks to all who contributed to the Warsaw conference and the production of this book. We especially wish to acknowledge the contribution of:
- Baranovic, Mirta – Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing,
University of Zagreb, Croatia.
- Bogdanov, Tsvetan – International Relations Department,
Sofi a St Kliment Ohridisk University, Bulgaria.
- Cantero Gonzálvez, Noelia – Brussels Education Services, Belgium.
- Derkowska-Rybicka, Ewa – International Relations,
Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland.
- Devriendt, Christof – Erasmus Student Network, Brussels, Belgium.
- Haywood, Jeff – Information Services, University of Edinburgh,
- Kobierska-Maciuszko, Ewa – Central Library, University of Warsaw, Poland.
- Laudy, Anna – Erasmus Student Network, University of Warsaw, Poland.
- Putnina, Iveta – International Relations,
Vidzeme University College, Latvia.
- Rytwi ´ska, Dorota – Foundation for the Development of the Education
System, LLP Erasmus National Agency, Poland.
- Saviaho, Raisa – International Relations, Laurea University of Applied
Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
- Wojciech, Tygielski - Research And International Relations,
University Of Warsaw
- Urbanikowa, Jolanta – University of Warsaw, Poland.
Special thanks for their contribution to the SUMIT project and the running of the Warsaw Conference are acknowledged to UNICA (Arthur Mettinger, Kris
Dejonckheere & Sarah de Heusch), Brussels Education Services (Koen Delaere),
University of Warsaw (Dorota Kazinska and Sylwia Salamon) and University of
Edinburgh (Denise Haywood). We also thank the following chairs of the Workings
Group for their input: Alina Grzhibouska (University of Latvia), Leszek Rudak (University of Warsaw) & Chantal Serman (Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris3).
A Word From
The Unica President
As president of the UNICA network I am very proud to introduce the publication “Enhancing Student Mobility in a Digital World: Sharing
Experiences in an Enlarged Europe”.
In this publication you will fi nd the presentations, the conclusions and recommendations of the seminar organised October 2007, in the framework of the “SUMIT”- SUpporting Mobility through ICT-, project.
This project, funded by the EC through a Socrates Complementary
Measures grant, aims to support the objective of 3,000,000 Erasmus
Students by 2011 through the setting up of a seminar highlighting and exchanging best practices on virtual aspects related to mobility during three stages: before, during and after mobility.
As an institutional network of excellence of UNIversities from the
CApital Cities of Europe, UNICA has developed a goal oriented approach aiming at academic excellence and at being a driving force in the development of the Bologna process.
The network provides a forum in which member universities refl ect on the demands of strategic change in research, education and university policy. Therefore I am very happy that UNICA can concretely contribute to the making of the European Higher Education Area (E.H.E.A.) together with the University of Edinburgh, Brussels Educations Services and the
University of Warsaw, a very active member of the network for many years and the host of the seminar.
From its start UNICA has aimed to facilitate the integration of universities from Central and Eastern Europe into the E.H.E.A. and counts many Universities from these countries amongst its members. UNICA offers a fertile soil to strengthen the links with universities in the new member states and the candidate countries, which is a key
factor in balancing the mobility fi gures for incoming and outgoing students within the E.H.E.A. The issue of attracting more students to the new & candidates countries was discussed with enthusiasm at the Warsaw Seminar, and I am convinced that you will fi nd excellent suggestions and guidelines in the conclusions of this publication. Therefore, I would like to invite you to visit the UNICA website
(www.unica-network.eu) where you will fi nd the e- version of the publication “Enhancing Student Mobility in a Digital World: Sharing
Experiences in an enlarged Europe”. We also invite all stakeholders of the mobility process to post constructive remarks and suggestions to [email protected]
The results of the SUMIT project and its seminar will be widely disseminated within the 41 UNICA member Universities and sent to the Socrates National Agencies, other networks and partners.
I would like to express my gratitude to all those who contributed to the success of this interesting and vibrant seminar. First I would like to mention the partners of the project, the University of Warsaw for the excellent organisation, the University of Edinburgh and Brussels
Education Services for their extremely valuable contribution and, last but not least, the participants to the seminar, coming from universities from all over Poland, EU Members State Countries and Candidate
Mobility allows students to improve their personal skills and to increase their employability. By creating opportunities and improving the quality of mobility - including ICT - universities offer a unique platform for students to contribute to the shaping of Europe’s future.
Prof. Dr. Arthur Mettinger,
Vice-Rector University of Vienna
& UNICA President 2004-2007
Of The Vice-rector
Of The University Of Warsaw
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my satisfaction that the seminar “Enhancing student mobility in a digital world: Sharing experiences in an enlarged
Europe” took place at the University of Warsaw, which is one of the most active European universities in the fi eld of student mobility and works hard and successfully on the ICT implementation and development.
Mobility which is so often and widely discussed is the key to individual development and it also has a profound infl uence on the changes taking place in higher education. It infl uences not only individuals, but also study programs, research, social, cultural and linguistic aspects of education and economy. Without international cooperation, which in the XXI century means also both virtual and “traditional” mobility, a university cannot aspire to be an active and important actor in the
European higher education and research area.
The Mission and the Strategy of the University of Warsaw (UW),
Lisbon and Bologna goals form the base for the University activity.
Being aware of the importance of the period 2007-13 for its development UW gives priorities to:
- the development of innovative educational products in order to meet the growing demands of the market - particularly at cycles 2 and 3, post-diploma studies, lifelong and e learning, with stronger focus on teaching in foreign languages,
- the increase student and staff mobility as a key tool for personal development, enriching the learning and research experience, improving knowledge transfer,
- the promotion of EHEA through active participation in multilateral projects, thematic networks, joint degrees and initiatives at regional and international level,
- the pursuit of the University mission within the society in order to give wide access to knowledge and acquisition of skills to all who are entitled (incl. students from rural areas, disabled persons, adults) by increasing the number of open events/lectures delivered by experts and/or through Internet courses (Centre for
Open and Multimedia Education),
- fostering UW-industry cooperation e.g. by means of the New
Technologies Centre (CeNT) and the University Technology
- the improvement of the electronic University System for Study
Support (USOS) ensuring high quality modern management, teaching process and mobility,
- the full implementation of comprehensive and effi cient QA system in teaching and research.
Please fi nd hereafter most basic data on mobility at the University of Warsaw, which provides the general overview. However, numbers don’t count for everything – there is still lots of information on UW mobility to be disseminated. E.g. the University of Warsaw has been chosen by the European Commission out of a competition of 2.500 higher education institutions taking part in the Erasmus programme in 2000-2006 and has been awarded one of 20 Erasmus success stories in Europe.
Let me please emphasize once again that all the above activities focused on student and staff mobility and internationalization of research requires overall development of computer tools and positive approach to the so-called digital world. I wish all the participants of the seminar as well as readers of this publication to get inspiration for the digital development at your institution and workplace.
With kindest regards,
Vice-rector For Research And International Relations
University of Warsaw facts & fi gures
The University of Warsaw (UW)
PL WARSZAW01 – Erasmus University Charter 45834 Extended www.uw.edu.pl; www.bwz.uw.edu.pl
1. University of Warsaw in fi gures
University established in 1816
Public university, the largest in Poland
65 462 students (full-time: 30 755, part-time: 25 878, PhD: 2 255 & postdiploma: 6 574 ), including over 1400 international students in 2006
3015 faculty members, including 849 professors studies in 34 fi elds of arts and sciences
19 faculties and 24 independent research and didactic units
12 degree programmes in English in American Studies, Business
(MBA, International MBA, International Business),
Economics (Development Economics, International Economics,
European Finance and Banking), European Studies, International
Relations, Philosophy, Political Science and Psychology
Courses in foreign languages
The State Accreditation Committee and the University Accreditation
Committee attestations of all the study fi elds
European Language Label for the Centre of Foreign Language Teaching and the Chair of Sinology
USA Federal Student Financial Aid Program – Foreign School certifi cation
The best Institution of Higher Education in Poland 2007 according to several press ranking lists (Perspektywy, Polityka,
3. International cooperation
3.1 > 159 bilateral agreements with universities from 49 countries (2006)
3.2 > Erasmus agreements with 292 partner institutions from 25 countries (2006)
3 2 5
5 5 2
3.3 > UW’s experience in Erasmus 1998-2006 :
- 4500 outgoing and 1500 incoming students, 650 TS fl ows, 8,4 million
- In 2007 the University of Warsaw has been chosen by the European Commission out of 2.500 higher education institutions as one of 20 Erasmus success
stories in Europe taking part in the Erasmus programme in 2000-2006
3.4 > UW’s participation in the EU Framework and Development Programmes in 2006
- 5 and 6 FP Programmes – 77 projects
- 3 Centres of Excellence in physics (CESSAR, CEMOS) and computer modelling (MAMBA)
- 3 Networks of Excellence in physics (METAMORPHOSE, NEMO) and economics (DIME)
- Marie Curie Training Site in Physics
3.5 > Member of numerous scientifi c, teaching and managerial associations and networks, among others:
European University Association (EUA), UNICA (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe), HUMANE (Heads of University Management
& Administration Network in Europe)
4. ICT at the University of Warsaw
IRK – Internet Registration of Candidates for studies
ELS – electronic student ID being a student ID, library card and bus ticket in one
USOS – University System of Study Support and USOSweb
(website for the system)
HMS – Human Management System
USNJO – University System of Language Provision
E-learning at COME – Centre for Open and Multimedia Education
VTLS/Virtua Library system
Mobility In A Digital World
Jeff Haywood, Information Services,
University of Edinburgh, UK [email protected]
Recent developments in European
The past 10 years have seen substantial changes in many aspects of European Higher Education, both as a consequence of policy and practice decisions by the member states of the EU itself and also as a result of pressures and developments from beyond Europe.
In the fi rst group of ‘change drivers’ we can identify the political instrumentalist agenda for change (‘modernisation’) of European HE as a means to ensure that it adequately supports the vision for a ‘knowledge economy’ able to compete at the highest levels in the global economy. Resulting from this vision have come various actions and programmes designed to achieve this goal, through harmonisation of the diversity of degree structures of the individual states (‘Bologna
Process’); establishment of a common Higher Education Area, including a Research Area to coordinate developments and support; creation of a mechanism to facilitate mobility of students and lifelong learners through a transparent educational credit scheme (ECTS), and a Supplement to the degree or diploma that makes clear the knowledge and competences attained in the graduate’s
curriculum (Diploma Supplement). The importance of mobility of learners and workers in the expanding Europe as a means to ensure that best value is gained from their skills and for their intrinsic personal development has been repeatedly emphasised, and support programmes have been put in place and strengthened to maximise uptake and minimise disincentives and barriers. In higher education the most important of these actions is the Socrates Erasmus Programme begun in 1987. Although the Erasmus Programme is a very important support for exchange students, and has become a ‘shorthand’ name to describe this type of short-duration, credit-bearing study visit by a student to a university in another country within an existing degree programme, it is important to remember that many such visits take place by students outside the Erasmus Programme, funded by themselves or other agencies (so-called ‘freemovers’ ).
Recently, the recognition that there will be limits to the extent that these physical mobility measures can overcome some barriers to student mobility, for example family commitments, combined study and employment, especially amongst the increasing percentage of older students, has resulted in an emphasis also on ‘virtual mobility’ (VM). The EC e-Learning Programme states: “Development of existing instruments, in particular those concerning virtual mobility as a complement and reinforcement for physical mobility (virtual Erasmus); recognition and validation schemes (based on ECTS); information and guidance services, and any other synergies between virtual and traditional models.”
VM takes advantage of developments in e-learning to enable students to take courses or modules at another university as part of the degree programme in their
‘base’ university. Although presently limited in scope as experience of such education is explored by universities and their teaching staff as well as by students, it offers a route to expansion of international education in the near future. Most work is currently at Masters degree level, and the Erasmus Mundus Programme directly supports some of this developmental activity.
Beyond Europe internationalisation of higher education is also high on the agenda of all developed countries to gain income and expand influence, and of importance to developing countries as a route to enhancing national skills and knowledge. Commercial education providers are filling gaps in provision by traditional universities, and due to their flexibility and agility are often at the leading edge of innovation, especially in distance education.
Cheaper world travel has enabled more independent student mobility in addition to the support schemes offered by national governments, and as a consequence the number of students in Europe who hail from beyond its boundaries has risen substantially, and come to represent a vital income stream for some universities and countries. Such students have choices in where to study and so high quality educational and support provision is essential to maintain recruitment.
An excellent introduction to all these topics, plus links to the EU sources can be found at the Europe Unit website at: www.europeunit.ac.uk/home/index.cfm
Digital technologies in universities
One of the most obvious changes in higher education to an outside observer taking a snapshot view of universities 20 years ago and today would be the pervasiveness of information and communications technology (ICT).
Clearly some universities have embraced ICT more enthusiastically than others, but even in universities with low central and systematic management of ICT, individual faculties and departments have adopted technology in its various forms, especially email and websites. All recent surveys agree that uptake is widespread [2,3,4]. These developments are global and refl ect wider changes in the permeation of technology throughout almost all aspect of society and everyday life. Computers of various types are everywhere, and staff and students spend much of their time working and studying with and through them, as well as using them for social communications and information gathering. Mobile phones are in extensive use, and many now interface with the internet, bridging the gaps between the fi xed or laptop PC, the network and the mobile user.
Summarising the major uses of ICT in universities and colleges, we see these types of developments becoming more common, and in some cases essentially ubiquitous:
> Learning and teaching with technology (e-learning);
> Digital libraries (e-journals, e-books, online databases & help);
> Integration of digital databases holding staff, student and course records;
> Portals as single gateways to digital resources;
> Email as a major or the dominant communications channel;
> Single/reduced sign-on to authenticated systems
(eg to portal, email, library);
> Secure off-campus access to restricted resources (eg via VPN, proxy);
> Websites as a major or the dominant method of information provision.
The majority of students still study in a campus setting, although now with such a signifi cant level of technology-supported education that the expression
‘blended learning’ probably describes the experiences of the majority. However, the ability to release education from the constraints of the campus and the timetable through the use of technology, whilst maintaining communications as well as distribution of information and learning materials, has enabled increased development of distance education by single courses and degree programmes as well as whole universities. These experiences are likely to feed back into and re-shape mainstream on-campus education over time.
The digital student 2007
Uptake of technology by students, especially young adults, has outstripped that of almost all European universities, and ICT is systematically used by them as an integral part of studying (and socialising) irrespective of the use made of it by their university. Recent studies show that there is substantial commonality in uptake of, and attitudes to, ICT by higher education students in developed countries [2,5,6]. We can summarise the young adult student in Europe in 2007 as a user of:
> Laptop/PC/internet om a variety of locations;
> Lots of sources of digital information, possibly in preference to physical sources;
> Chat, email, sms, blog, social network software (eg friendster, myspace, youtube);
> Mobile phone, usually internet-capable – less commonly ‘smart phone’ or PDA.
Care must be taken not to generalise this profi le too far. It is clear that older students (who make up an increasing fraction of the university population) are less technology-confi dent or exploratory, and some young adults are relatively technophobic or techno-conservative. Despite this caveat, we know that students are online for substantial periods and would also like universities to provide high quality information online. They value reliability and predictability in this respect, and would like their interactions with universities to be fast and seamless, that is without the need to interact with several different agencies and departments to achieve a solution to their ‘request’. In practice, as most of us are aware from our experiences in dealing with our own and other universities, higher education has some way to go to achieve these goals. In the light of the importance being placed on virtual mobility for European students, and the need to understand the experiences of current students in their use of ICT in their studies, we and others have taken the opportunity of EC funding to explore some aspects of this area.
Project – physical mobility as a proxy for virtual mobility
As noted above, at present there is very limited opportunity for experiencing education at another university through virtual mobility within European traditional universities. This is especially true at fi rst degree level where most student exchange takes place. In addition, the special case nature of the online courses offered so far tend to be the result of special efforts by the faculty or department, and by the university.
The greatly increased reliance on digital technologies by universities and students affects all on-campus, traditional study students. The library, learning and teaching, communications with teachers and administrator have increasingly digital components, and in universities which have progressed furthest along this ‘digital path’ electronic methods may have surpassed traditional methods in some areas of work. Many students now rely on a digital identity to enable them to access materials and services, make heavy use of IT facilities on campus and from home or residence, use email for communication with the university etc. This use of ICT is not uniform across higher education, with some universities having made greater progress than others, and the introduction of services and facilities is strongly infl uenced by local fi nances, culture and needs. Thus whilst at one university students may never have used a portal or a web interface to access their own record on the student system, select courses for the next semester or access reading lists and lecture notes, at another all of this may be done electronically and taken for granted. As a consequence, students transferring between universities may fi nd marked differences in expectations of them, and for the universities it raises challenges for some to give visiting students fast and automatic digital rights/routes/support. Handcrafted solutions will work for small numbers of visitors but break down for larger numbers, and suffer from some severe drawbacks if they are too slow. In the past a student could physically go to lectures and tutorials without having completed registration or gained an ID, but she cannot do this in the digital realm due to authentication barriers.
If we do not (or cannot) automate and simplify our services to traditional visiting students, virtual mobility on anything other than a very small scale will be diffi cult to implement.
In the VICTORIOUS Project we explored the experiences of students and universities in their use of digital services and facilities before, during and after a physical exchange visit to see how well they both were prepared for the demands that substantial virtual mobility would bring. We did this by interviews, surveys, investigations via the internet and explorations of the provision and intentions at our own universities.
Enhancing student mobility in a digital world
It is easy to offer up an unbalanced view of the experiences of students in their visits to other universities by reporting an excess of problems over the successes, and so although there clearly were for many students technology-related problems of various kinds, a balanced summary is appropriate at the outset. Most universities were substantial users and providers of good ICT facilities and support, having made great progress over the past few years in moving from complete reliance on traditional methods involving paper forms, face-to-face interactions, physical visits during opening hours etc to provision of electronic methods of business and academic processes. Students valued these efforts and, although for some moving from lo-tech to hi-tech education was a kind of ‘culture shock’, generally wished to see them become widespread alongside high quality personal interactions. They did not see these as mutually exclusive. The great majority of students enjoyed their visit to another university in a different country, learned self-reliance, made local friends etc, even when some aspects could have been managed better.
The student perspective
Some key messages emerged from the surveys and interviews that we carried out with students who were currently making or had been on study visits. These were that in general information in host universities for visiting students was generally not well organised or presented, and was often only in the local language and so rather inaccessible to those who had not yet been able to take language courses (often these courses were just before or in the early phase of a visit). Technical information about IT facilities and services were problematic, especially for those with lower IT skills and knowledge. There was too little focus on visiting students to enable them to fi nd information of most relevance to them. Course choice was often hard to navigate. Home universities were also often less than effective in preparing students for study in another country, and especially the ICT aspects of this, for even though many students had travelled
and used the internet this is different to studying away and for a prolonged period.
The variation in level of ICT facilities and delays in getting access to them due to slow processing of IDs was a common negative comment. Students in their home university tend to have a network of peers for support, but may lose this when on a visit to another university, and are therefore less well supported than local students overall.
In general students showed great resourcefulness in overcoming barriers, using internet cafes etc to gain access to the internet if the university provision was poor or slow, and looking back to their home university online services (eg library) if the local provision was signifi cantly less good than they were accustomed to.
They would resort to such methods as sharing passwords etc to ensure that they could circumvent problems of unresponsiveness of university services.
The university perspective
It was clear that some universities provided very well for visiting students, making contact at a very early stage, giving them IDs, login/passwords, access to services well in advance. Interestingly international offi ces appeared to be rather unaware of the challenges of ICT for visiting students, leaving this area to the IT services, library etc, rather than taking the lead. The other services tended to have little awareness of visiting student issues, feeling that their provision of information and services was adequate for all students. An example of this is in the area of induction, which is often targeted at newly-arrived local students and may not be offered or considered for those who arrive during a degree programme or may run infrequently and be too late for short-term visitors. It would appear that libraries not uncommonly have their own ID and authentication management, and these are often based upon physical presence of students to register and may not be very responsive to need.
Incoming students were generally better served than outgoing students – there was a degree of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ in operation, particularly for the support services of the university such as library, IT and student records.
Preparation of students prior to visits was generally not well-developed, with little information about study away from the university, and this despite the emergence of distance education on many campuses. However, awareness of the problem was clearly rising, many universities were beginning to experiment with online support to students before they arrived and after they left, and the issues of language support plus targeted information in more than one language were being addressed.
The sample of universities we surveyed had mostly either started some exploratory work in the area of virtual mobility or were planning for this, and these were also the universities with good online provision to students of all types already.
We have very limited knowledge of the intentions of those universities that still had some way to go in making digital services routine and widespread.
Some recommendations for action
The VICTORIOUS Project developed a set of recommendations for the major stakeholders in the student exchange process. For universities these included providing good, structured, up-to-date info which is quite straightforward to carry out; making easier enrolment and registration, ideally pre-arrival; offering specifi c training and support for use of digital services and collaborating across internal bureaucratic ‘borders’ between services to ensure a joined-up approach and sharing of knowledge.
For students and their associations we recommended more thinking about the planning of visits or virtual participation, and collecting and sharing experiences and solutions locally and internationally and making local student associations more aware of the needs of visiting students.
For the European, national & regional agencies, it would be a great help to intending exchange students if there were a single search option for course/programme information; a single digital identity system for students (and staff) so that they could be more easily registered at their host university, coupled with
easier Internet access across Europe (eg expansion of EduROAM), and fi nally help to the HE sector to remove current digital barriers.
Taking the next steps - the VM-BASE Project
We have been working to take forward some of the recommendations of the VICTORIOUS Project through another EC-funded project called VM-
BASE which is focussed on online support for students before and after a visit, either physical or virtual. We are developing a set of materials and resources;
> Orientation guidelines for students;
> Codes of good practice in designing pre-selection tests for students;
> Blue print for preliminary courses for students preparing for a physical Erasmus exchange;
> Guidelines on assessment and evaluation tools;
> A study on a Virtual Alumni Association for Erasmus students;
> A manual on ‘good-practices in e-coaching’;
> A manual with validated procedures and recommendations for blended mobility activities at institutional, network and
These will be available towards the end of 2008.
As student physical and virtual mobility increases across Europe it will be essential that all the stakeholders in the process (students, student associations, universities, education agencies and governments) solve the outstanding and emerging problems that exist to a smooth and effective experience for all. During this SUMIT seminar we are exploring some of the context of student mobility, with a particular emphasis on expanded Europe, and seeking to share and disseminate experience and good practice from some of the key players in the student mobility arena. With goodwill and well-focussed efforts I believe that we can make substantial progress in the coming years.
2. EUROSTUDENT DATA, www.eurostudent.eu/abt2/ab21/eurostudent/report2005/
2. SEUSISS REPORT (2001), www.intermedia.uib.no/seusiss/index.html
3. OBSERVATORY ON BORDERLESS HIGHER EDUCATION, www.obhe.ac.uk/resources/surveys.html
4. UCISA STATISTICS 2005, www.ucisa.ac.uk/activities/stats/stats05.htm
5. DUCAUSE SURVEY OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS & ICT 2007, www.connect.educause.edu/library/abstract/theecarstudyofunderg/45075
6. SPOTPLUS REPORT 2003, www.spotplus.odl.org/
This chapter is based signifi cantly on the fi ndings and discussions that took place within two EC-funded projects, VICTORIOUS (www.victorious-project.org) and VM-
BASE (www.europace.org/rdvmbase.php). I wish to acknowledge the contribution of the members of these projects to my thinking in the area of student mobility and digital/virtual mobility.
Role Of ICT Instruments
In The Management
Of The Decentralised
Dorota Rytwi´ska, Foundation for the Development of the Education System – LLP Erasmus National Agency, Poland
Europe is just celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Erasmus programme which was launched in 1987. In the period 1995-2006 it was a part of the SOCRATES programme. Since 2007 it has been implemented under the Lifelong Learning
Programme. Poland joined the programme in 1998. In its fi rst year, 1426 students from 40 higher education institutions went abroad for a study period. Nowadays we have more than 200 HEIs holding an Erasmus University Charter and more than 50,000 ex-Erasmus students. In the period 1998/99 – 2006/07 Poland spent around 90 million euro for all decentralised activities (student grants included).
Generally Erasmus is perceived by students very positively. There is a great degree of enthusiasm and high level of demand to have a study period abroad.
From the very beginning of Polish Erasmus the number of fl ows has been increasing. With no doubts Erasmus has positive infl uence on development of individual grant holders and institutions.
Certainly there is no (simple) recipe for an Erasmus success story at a university or national level. Having the right persons for the job is not enough. To monitor
cash fl ows, observe trends, react properly and in good time, reliable tools are essential. We also need to know how to use the capacity offered by the tools.
To understand the scale of Erasmus we should have a quick look at some statistics. In the very fi rst days of Erasmus several thousand students went abroad for a study period. Since that time the number has been growing, to over 150,000 per year. Annually around 2,000 HEIs sign fi nancial agreements summing to a total value of 200 million euro. Are the 3 million fl ows by 2012 feasible or not? As a matter of fact the main load is borne by HEIs. They need software suiting their needs and databases gathering information on Erasmus students at all stages – before going abroad, during the stay and after return. Usually the tools don’t have to be highly innovative. However it happens that some of us do not make use of the basic potentials offered by a popular software.
In Poland e.g. in the year 2005/06 a group of 30 HEIs implementing the biggest number of outgoing fl ows encompassed 70% of all student outgoing fl ows and spent 76% of the total budget. The remaining 30% fl ows was delivered by 163
HEIs. In the same year Polish HEIs spent nearly 20 million euro, which is 99.89% of the total budget. There is no answer to the question to what extend the unspent money resulted from a “human factor” or maybe “lack of proper tools” was decisive. The number of persons sent abroad by particular universities varied considerably (from 1 to 793 persons). The major part of participating universities sent abroad between 1 and 25 students (98 institutions), while only 24 universities sent abroad more than 100 students. All the statistical information should be easily accessible in a well organized database.
As far as plans for the future are concerned so called “LLPLink” should be mentioned. It is a tool being developed for the needs of the Lifelong Learning Programme. LLPLink will be a common information system to handle the needs of submission, evaluation, selection, contractualisation, management, and reporting for projects under all decentralised actions of the Lifelong Learning Programme. It will run on “local” databases (installed at all National Agencies) and they will exchange data with a central database of the European Commission.
A specifi c part of this project is the availability of electronic forms (for applications and reporting) that can be submitted on-line and from which the data is transferred to each National Agency database. Thus this brand new tool will lead to reorganisation at institutional, national and European level. It may take all of us some time to get used to the novelty.
Regardless of any centrally-developed IT tools, institutions participating in
Erasmus use their own systems. For example, our Erasmus agency has developed an Access database for managing fi nancial agreements with HEIs. We also use on-line tools prepared for collecting data from our HEIs on different activities
– applying for funds, interim and fi nal reporting. The on-line instruments are also very practical for registration for events, and collecting information from students on their foreign experience. Data from student questionnaires is transferred to GISE (exchange of information between Erasmus students). Any future
Erasmus student looking for fi rst-hand information can visit our web site and browse the database by a key word such as country, city or host institution, etc.
Generally speaking on-line tools save much work and time because data once inputted is transferred to a common database and there is no need to re-write the data. However, in the case of GISE, mainly due to free text sections, each questionnaire is individually accepted by NA staff, which is rather time consuming but it does let us know student opinion on very many issues connected with their Erasmus experience. On-line tools require advance planning and precision.
A computer programmer must know well in advance the fi nal shape of a given document in order to meet our expectations.
Next year we are going to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the participation of Poland in the Erasmus Programme. Thinking about the future we hope for further development of the Programme, so that the distinct value of the Erasmus study period remains an opportunity for students.
Mobility In A Digital World:
Sharing Experiences In An Enlarged
Europe – Croatian Example
Mirta Baranovic, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia.
The University of Zagreb is intensively working on preparations to accept students coming from foreign universities, in order to be ready for application to the Erasmus programme. University of Zagreb International Co-operation
Offi ce has started negotiations about the building and adaptation of information systems present at the University, to simplify the communication with potential incoming students, to enable acceptance and integration of students into local community and to foster communication with students after the completion of their exchange visits. An analysis of the existing systems had been performed and the necessary revisions and enhancements have been identifi ed. It has been concluded that it was of utmost importance for an incoming student to be included into information systems and services of the hosting university so that he or she can prepare already at home for the future study and for the sojourn in a new environment.
Information systems related to higher education in Croatia
The Ministry of science, education and sports of the Republic of Croatia has initiated and fi nanced the development of integral information systems related to higher education . They are the Information system of students’ nourishment and the Information system of higher education.
1. Information system of students’ nourishment (ISSP)
1997 saw the start of development of the Information system of students’ nourishment with the aim to increase the students’ quality of life. Every student obtains an identifi cation card, similar to a credit card, entitling him or her to enjoy subsidised nourishment in any contract restaurant. The system contains record of students and their level of rights to subsidised nourishment. A subsystem aimed at restaurants supports menu defi nitions and it traces the students’ consumption. Restaurants in all the cities with higher education institutions are included, so that a student even when out of the current home city can enjoy subsidised meals.
2. Information system of higher education (ISVU)
In 2000 we started the development of the Information system of higher education with the aim of integration and standardisation of all the data concerning studies and students’ activities in Croatia . The system’s backbone contains the set of curricula of single higher education institutions. Multilingual description of curricula is supported , they are presented on the Web (www.isvu.hr), they can be exported to standardised XML documents and used for various purposes. The curricula are published on Internet in Croatian and in English. Student matriculations, enrolments in academic year or semester and enrolments in single courses are recorded in ISVU. The achieved student’s results are recorded for each course and fi nally also the data about completion or graduation theses and respective examinations.
Through the ISVU interface aimed at students, they can enrol on educational programs, to the courses, to review information about their activities and achievements which are stored in the database, like grades, status of the enrolled courses, tuition fees paid, their personal schedule, etc. Using this interface, students can instantly obtain printed certifi cates for different purposes and students’ records in different languages. There is an ATM-like device called Studomat aimed for interaction with students. Using the Studomat, a student can also apply for examinations, consult the schedules and results of single examination phases, select the topics or the mentors for their completion or graduation theses. The system is integrated with the Information system of students’ nourishment so that following the enrolment into an academic year, the student’s data and level of rights to subsidised nourishment are transferred.
For communication with other systems in the country, offering corresponding services like health insurance, subsidised public transportation, etc. certifi cates are requested on Studomat and printed on the computerised kiosk within the higher education institution. Certifi cates for scholarships and for applications to study abroad can equally be obtained in English. After the study completion the student receives diploma supplements in Croatian and in English.
e-Index (a smart student card) completely substitutes for the paper booklet containing all the important student’s academic data. e-Index can be used for students’ identifi cation on lectures, to allow them enter the laboratories, libraries, dormitories or other restricted-access academic premises. It provides the authorised access to Internet and some data bases; it enables payment of some services etc.
4. Information infrastructure
The Croatian Academic Research Network CARNet in co-operation with the University Computing Centre (SRCE) provides to all the members of the academic community in Croatia access to network infrastructure as a base for a number of advanced services. The broadband network offers fast data transfer, stability and quality of service. CARNet is a support to the modern concept of lecturing.
The system of videoconferencing rooms enables distant learning and it signifi cantly helps to demanding research projects and international co-operation. All the CARNet users can access the Mobile CARNet service featuring advanced technologies like HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE and GPRS. Though the project named StuDOM
the students in dormitories in Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Zadar and Varaždin have free Internet access.
Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI) within the system of science and higher education in Croatia ([email protected]) provides electronic identities to control the access to various services. The [email protected] system, developed and maintained by SRCE, encompasses all the Croatian institutions of science and higher education.
Information systems in higher education on institutional level
The University of Zagreb is still far from being integrated. It consists of 33 higher education institutions, where each of them is a separate legal entity, independent in its management of information infrastructure and correspondingly, as an aftermath, on different institutions different levels of ICT infrastructure and support are present. University of Zagreb provides for the incoming students both: the ICT infrastructure developed on the country level, and the local institutional infrastructure. As an example of this institutional infrastructure, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing can be mentioned here because its solutions are transferred to other faculties and therefore it can be expected that in near future all the University institutions would achieve approximately that level.
The backbone of the institutional infrastructure at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing is e-Campus as an integrative institutional point. Its purpose is to unite the whole information and e-learning Faculty infrastructure and to present different sources of information and knowledge as an integrated space. The central part of e-Campus is a contents management system Quilt
CMS. The system is integrated with a few Learning management systems (LMS) like the Faculty-developed AHyCo, then Moodle, as the currently best Open
Source solution and WebCT as one of the best commercial systems. Through the new authentication and authorisation infrastructure [email protected] integration with the Library is achieved. The integration with ISVU is solved through
Web services and standardised XML documents. For each course one can create a whole Web (sub)site, with the possibility to open an unlimited number of new pages with their own structure, own design and system of user authorisations. Detailed information on any course can be thus provided, course pages can be organised containing, as a rule, information for students, a forum, and repositories of fi les and links. All the announcements to students are sent by email after subscription to single pages. All the information can be also accessed through standards like RSS, RDF, OPML and others. The feature of the contents of majority of pages is that they are created by more than one person.
Any student, lecturer or employee becomes a potential editor or writer of his or her part of the information and educational space.
Figure 1. Information fl ow
UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB -
XML documents electronically signed
Rooms & ICT - infrastructure
- forums, chat, ...
- Learning materials
- e-Learning systems
At the students enrolment in a higher education institution in Croatia, ISVU is the fi rst place where information on students is stored and after that, it is sent to, or exchanged with all relevant information systems, like the students’ subsidised nourishment information system, institutional portal, library, e-learning system, ICT-resource management system, etc. Compendious information from a student’s record is transferred from ISVU to the student’s smart card (e-Index).
Figure 1 represents the basic information fl ows between foreign universities and the University of Zagreb, based upon standard electronic documents and the integration of information into the existing information systems.
ICT support to students’ mobility
A high quality ICT infrastructure can signifi cantly improve the students exchange processes. The communication proceeds through the International Co-operation Offi ce, whereby the main goal after signing of the learning agreement is to integrate the incoming students. Integration of the system of the
International Co-operation Offi ce with the information systems within Croatia shall enable a smooth integration of incoming students into the information space of a certain faculty, equally as it proceeds nowadays with domestic students.
At present, some of the functionalities needed to support students’ mobility are already implemented in ISVU and in other institutional information systems.
Development of additional functionalities, e.g. multilingual user interfaces for
Studomat, applications aimed for International Offi ce of University of Zagreb and procedures for exchange of information between the universities are to be realised.
On the European level, special attention has to be paid to interoperability among universities, or standards to enable exchange of information in the same manner, regardless of the universities in question. For that purpose, electronic documents are to be defi ned, based on XML as a standard language for data exchange among heterogeneous systems. Communication among universities, and accordingly the students’ mobility, will be substantially improved and facilitated due to exchange of electronically signed standardised documents (curriculum, student record, learning agreement, diploma supplement, etc.), accepted on the European level. Last but not least, the price for development of applications to support the students’ mobility through data exchange will decrease signifi cantly because for each necessary function, a single program or service will suffi ce; regardless of with how many universities the exchange proceeds.
1. BARANOVIC, M., BORCIC, M., HUNJET, D., KALAFATIC, V., KRANJCEC, D., MESARIC, J., PEH, B. (2003),
Iinformation System of Higher Education in RH (in Croatian). Zagreb, www.isvu.hr
2. KALPIC, D., BARANOVIC, M., MORNAR, V., KRAJCAR, S. (2001), Development of an Integral
University management System. Proceedings of International Conference on System
Engineering, Communications and Information Technologies, ICSECIT 2001. Punta Arenas.
3. BARANOVIC, M., ZAKOSEK, S., BRKIC, L. (2001), The Model of Multilingual Student Administration
System. Proceedings of The International Workshop on Global Data Modeling in the New
Millennium. Yokohama, 2001. 24-34.
Student Mobility At
Sofi a University:
Tendencies And Perpectives
Mr Tsvetan Bogdanov,
International Relations Department,
Sofi a St Kliment Ohridisk University, Bulgaria [email protected] a.bg
A short History of Sofi a University
St. Kliment Ohridski
The Sofi a University “St. Kliment Ohridski” is the fi rst school of higher education in Bulgaria. Its history is an embodiment and a continuation of centuries of cultural and educational tradition in our country.
Organized education activities in Bulgaria date back to the second half of the
During the period of the National Revival a new idea for opening a School of
Higher Education was born. The authority of the School of Higher Education grows with the cultural and educational mission it acquires after the Liberation of 1878. Classes began on October 1, 1888 almost unnoticed by the public. This is the birthdate of Bulgarian university education. Year by year the Sofi a University turns into an academic and scientifi c center on the Balkans which is a fully developed academic institution with European prestige. Today the Sofi a University
“St. Kliment Ohridski” is the largest and most prestigious higher educational and scientifi c center in the country.
In the new academic year on October 1, 2007 Sofi a University has re-established the Medical Faculty in the University’s structure.
Sofi a University
Sofi a University is turning into an active equal partner of the European institutions for higher education. The evolution of the European practice in this relation is really impressive. SU starts the Programme in 1999 with 15 outgoing students. The number of the applicants in the selection only for the last academic year is 365, the approved are 216, and the realized student mobilities are 186. The successfully leaded policy for attracting of foreign students includes the development of Bachelor and Master Programmes for teaching students in
English and French in different fi elds if study.
Tendencies – positive initiatives
I would like to note some typical trends for the last academic years. The fi rst considerable trend is the augmentation of the number of incoming and outgoing Erasmus students. In 2002/2003 the outgoing students are 67 compared to the current academic year 2006/2007 when the number is 186. During the years their number grows from 67 to 109, 137 and 144 to 186.
The other trend is the increase of the number of the incoming Erasmus students being 14 in 2002/03 to 70 in 2006/07 academic year. This is fi ve times more foreign students than in the beginning. As a consequence of the increased number of student mobilities we can note another trend of increase of the fi nanced months of mobility of the National Agency being 493 in 2002/03 to 1044,5 in
2006/07 academic year, as the real amount of fi nancing increases during the years from 202 904,00 Euro to 522 250,00 Euro during the current academic year. Thanks to the successful collaboration with the Finance Department of Sofi a University we succeeded to increase the assimilation of the fi nances according to the fi nance agreement with the NA from 90,70% in 2002/03 to
116,01% in 2005/06 and 137,51% during the current academic year. That exceeded vastly the planned fi nances of 379 781,00 Euro for 2006/07 academic year by two additional transfers, given by the European Commission for education at foreign partner universities for students from our university. As a result from the successful work of the team that administers the Erasmus Programme at
Sofi a University is the extremely positive trend during the last two academic years, by attaining of maximum monthly grant at the amount of 500 Euro for all of the countries.
Development of Student Mobility from 1999 to 2007
The sociologists like to say: “Where are we?”
Sofi a University is in the leading position regarding the number of outgoing Erasmus students, which is two times more than the other universities in Bulgaria. Only for the last academic year the results of SU exceed those of some big universities in
Bulgaria for their whole period of participation in the Programme from 1999 to 2007, including students with severe disability or exceptional special needs and zero grant student.
Prospects of growth in the LLP 2007-2013
Today’s Life Long Learning Programme, with is variety of instruments for supporting interuniversity cooperation, modernization and exchange, and is far more than just a machine for Student Mobility in a Digital
World. But students will always be in the heart of the Programme. And its success is due in no small measure to the student association and Erasmus administrative staff in European Universities, whose members strive tirelessly
to help each new generation of Erasmus students prepare effectively for their study abroad and to fi nd their way in the new educational and social environment and dimension.
I’m glad to inform you that in this moment in Sofi a is taking place a twoday National Meeting dedicated to the new aspects of the LLP/Erasmus
Programme. This meeting is organized by the Bulgarian National Agency, with the participation of all LLP Coordinators of the Bulgarian Universities.
Mobility And IT Support At
Vidzeme University College
Iveta Putnina, International Relations,
Vidzeme University College, Latvia.
Vidzeme University College is a regional higher education institution offering professional study programmes at college, bachelor and master levels.
It was established in 1996 and has been a state accredited university since 2001.
As it was founded through the initiative of regional municipalities, it has strong orientation towards regional development and ensuring all types of education for local people. At the same time the vision is to develop as one of the most innovative regional centres for academic education and research in the Baltic Sea area. At the moment Vidzeme University College offers 7 undergraduate programs in the fi elds of Tourism, Business Administration, Information Technologies, Political Science,
Communication and PR and Foreign Languages, 3 postgraduate programs - Tourism
Administration, Public Administration, and Sociotechnical System’s Engineering as well as distance education in Tourism and Business administration. In year 2007 there are 1360 students, 58 full time lecturers and 75 general staff members. The general information on the university can be found at its webpage: www.va.lv/en
Statistics on mobility fl ows
During 2006/2007 there were 38 students who went to study abroad in the frame of Erasmus program and 33 students did their internships in foreign companies. In total 71 student went abroad for educational experience representing 5,3 % of all the university students. The increase in mobility fl ows has been substantial during years 2000 – 2007. In 2000 fi rst students applied for
Erasmus scholarship and in total 22 students went abroad. During eight years the increase has been more than triple. Although in some academic years a lot depended on applications for Leonardo da Vinci internship projects and the opportunity to write projects, which were approved, in general there has been a tendency for interest in mobility to increase every year.
As international internships can be considered as the most challenging activity of an international offi ce, in this publication the main attention is paid to issues related with organisation of practical training abroad. For Vidzeme University
College this means preparation and coordination of 33 mobile students who gained practical work experience abroad in 2006/2007. The largest part of students went to Spain; the second popular country was Slovenia. Several students went to Greece, Germany, UK, Bulgaria, and Austria. There were one student in the Netherlands, Ireland, Estonia, and France.
IT support for internships
Similar activities are applied also to organise studies abroad therefore this information can be generalised to other mobility activities. In order to inform university students on mobility possibilities the following activities are carried out: sending emails and placing advertisements in intranet, using posters and fl yers, meetings with students, very important source of information is faculty and students who have already been on Erasmus or Leonardo da
The main aim of using intranet is to inform students while they are in home university on various opportunities, which are offered by Erasmus program, and to support while they are studying abroad. In Vidzeme University College there have been created two sections for information on international activities:
• News section - online platform for pacing the current announcements about international internships, application procedure, database with companies and their requirements; possibility to change and update information;
• Document section – guidebooks available online for students at different stages of their mobility, starting from the fi rst step when students are just thinking about going abroad, preparing for leaving, while working in another country, coming back and writing reports. In order to help students to inform about their country the presentations on the university and country are available.
The aim of information on the webapge is to inform the university students about international activities in general and what kind of programmes the university is participating in, another very important role is to get the feedback from previous
Erasmus or Leonardo da Vinci students on their experience and suggestions. The international offi ce has developed the online questionnaire to gather the information from the students and to use it for mobility promotion for other students who are just thinking for going abroad. The questionnaire consists of 37 questions and they represent topics as general information on the placement, preparation before going abroad, the level of internship comparing to internships in
Latvia, how this period changed student’s personality, life abroad, respondent’s contacts. The answers are compiled in a database and published in the same webpage. Everyone can see comments and read about different countries, universities and study programs. The possibility to see all the answers online is very important for future Erasmus students because they can compare and analyze different options and have personal references from other students. Thus even reluctant students may get an insight into mobility and get their fi rst motivation to proceed with “personal internationalisation”.
Analysis of Vidzeme
Mobility Strengths and Weaknesses
As the university has been participating in mobility programs since 1999 when they were introduced in Latvia the mobility traditions are quite strong.
Integration of the international mobility in day-to-day activities of the university should be mentioned as the positive factor which helps in promoting going abroad for students and faculty. Outgoing mobility is the key strength concerning the international activities. This way students are aware of the possibility to go abroad and will be more likely to accept the challenge of exchange studies in partner universities abroad. Trustful partners play also important role to keep the tendency of increasing the numbers of mobility participants. As the university has had cooperation with some of them for eight years then conclusion on common issues can be reached very easily. Knowing partners and keeping active contacts determines the success of mobility substantially.
The discussion of weaknesses in mobility should be started with incoming mobility which similarly to other new EU member states is much lower than outgoing mobility. During next years the university should motivate the teachers to offer increased number of courses in English in order to motivate other university students to come for exchange experience. However the negative attitude from the state and national legislation which protects the national language and requests that all the study programmes in state universities are provided in Latvian is a needless burden for universities initiatives to become more international. This fact could also partly explain the reason of faculty reluctance in changing the proportion of courses taught in Latvian and English and increasing the role of courses in foreign languages in the study process. In order to improve the quality of outgoing mobility defi nitely there should be higher academic staff involvement in monitoring and counselling international mobility. The international offi ce can provide the necessary practical arrangements however the academic outcomes from exchanges can be infl uenced only by academic staff. Taking into account the experience during participation in Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci programs the next step would be to change the idea of providing information for the students, because the current situation could be described as reaction on information lack, not providing it ahead. For a modern international offi ce the last option should be a case.
Future developments for mobility support
There could be two aspects which matter in order to develop successful mobility support system:
> Technical solution.
As to content than the main idea is to give the answers to the questions before they arise, predict the situations, train the students and play simulations, at the same time giving the possibility for students to give their contribution in supporting mobility activities. For the technical part the main task will be to decide on effective IT systems in order to avoid activities which can be undone due to technology use for helping with coping with daily tasks, e.g. document preparation, agreements, reports, updating contacts etc. To make the decision it is important to evaluate the benefi t of each programme and possibility to interact with other systems.
Another factor is human resources needed for implementing international activities. The task of international offi ce managers is to keep their staff permanent as much depends on personal contacts, previous arrangements, experience and the way how international activities are organised.
Human resource policy is as important as modern technologies we want to use. A regional, small university is much more fl exible, at the same time it depends a lot on individuals who often perform a wide range of activities for mobility implementation.
To sum up, a small university can be an important player in the international mobility fi eld if the benefi t of fl exibility work out and speed of adapting new approaches and technologies is higher even with sometimes limited resources.
1. ANGRESS, A, MATTHIESEN, G. (2007) University-Enterprise Cooperation: Building on
New Challenges From Past Experience, Project Report. www.eu.daad.de/imperia/ md/content/eu/lllp/veranstaltungen/university_enterprise_web.pdf
2. KEMENY, G.(2006) GENERATION, Dissemination of Results and Best Practices for Raising the Profi le of Erasmus Mobility, Final Report. Budapest: Tempus Public Foundation, 15-18
Digital Tools In Service Of
Mobility – From Local Case
To National Perspectives
Ewa Derkowska-Rybicka, International Relations,
Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland.
University – international dimension
The Nicolaus Copernicus University was founded in 1945,but the scientifi c traditions in & date back to the period of the Renaissance when an
Academic Gymnasium was set up in our town. In 1945, thanks to the efforts of professors from the disestablished Polish universities in Vilnius and Lvov, the
Nicolaus Copernicus University was in a position to inaugurate its activities with four faculties: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural
Sciences, the Faculty of Law and Economy, and the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Today Nicolaus Copernicus University is the biggest and most comprehensive university in northern Poland. The academic community of the university comprises over 46,000 people. There are about 37,000 students studying in 15 faculties, 50 departments and over 100 specialisations. Among over 4,000 employees there are more than 2,000 academic teachers, of whom over 400 are professors. All the faculties, except for the Faculty of Theology, are entitled to confer doctorate and
postdoctorate degrees. Every year ca. 8,000 students graduate from the University with diplomas and master’s degrees. In total, this year the University has awarded over 120 000 diplomas in higher education.
Units such as Alliance Francaise, British Council Library, Jean Monet Centre of European Studies, European Documentation Centre, MBA course, Polar Research Station at Spitsbergen and 10m diameter radio telescope in the Rep. Of South Africa should also be mentioned when speaking about our international dimension.
In October 2004, a fusion of two universities: the Nicolaus Copernicus University in and the Ludwik Rydygier Medical University in Bydgoszcz took place.
Due to such union, one university with two campuses located in respective towns was founded.
The Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz has currently about 4,000 students who have access to the well-equipped student laboratories, Main Library, reading rooms, study rooms and a bookshop. This well-known centre for medical education provides courses at 3 faculties, 7 departments and 6 specialisations.
Nicolaus Copernicus University has developed extensive international cooperation within nearly 60 agreements of mutual cooperation with foreign institutions.
Our faculties have been involved in over 130 international cooperation schemes as
Tempus (over 40 projects), ESF, NATO, EU Framework Programmes and many other research projects. We have participated in SOCRATES/ERASMUS since the very beginning in Poland, i.e. 1998/99.
Mobility – achievements and diffi culties
In the years 1998-2006 nearly 1500 students went out and the number was growing continuously from 49 to 300 last academic year. As for destination countries, Germany, France,
Italy and Spain are the most popular from 24 partner countries. Studies in Finland,
Norway and Sweden were also quite popular.
The number of in-coming students changed from 7 in 1998 to 83 in 2006/07. German,
French, Spanish and Turkish students are the most numerous. They are well taken care of by a network of faculty and departmental co-ordinators and by the International Programmes Offi ce assisted by Erasmus Student Network. The University provides: university accommodation, courses of Polish, courses in foreign languages, mentors, Orientation Weeks, social and a rich integration & cultural programme.
The following ICT facilities are available at central university level: web site in English, an electronic Survival Guide, on-line application form, on-line accommodation form, contact via e-mail, excel databases, discussion list, on-line evaluation form.
As far as teacher mobility is concerned the interest from our faculties is slightly lower than the opportunities but the tendency is growing. Last year 53 academic teachers went to universities in 14 countries, the most popular of which were
French and Lithuanian partner institutions.
Leonardo da Vinci
10 pilot, thematic and staff mobility projects have been completed within LdV
Programme as well as 3 student mobility projects. These were centrally coordinated by the International Programmes Offi ce. In total 74 students performed placements abroad in most cases as optional internships with the exception of monuments restoration programme where the placements were compulsory.
The benefi ciaries provided certifi cates from employers and Euro-Pass was not applied. Two students were received in frames of foreign mobility projects and
NCU was acting as intermediary organisation.
Obstacles & diffi culties
Nicolaus Copernicus University belongs to the top 10 Polish Universities that organise nearly 50% of mobility fl ows. A question may be asked why we consider the situation unsatisfactory if the numbers and achievements are so spectacular?
Let us consider the number of in-coming students (ca. 80) vs. the number of outgoing students (ca. 350) and the number of student places (over 580) in 2007/08.
These numbers show two undesirable effects: not only a gap between the number of in-coming and out-going students (which is a typical effect for Polish universi-
ties) but also a gap between opportunities available (number of exchange students according to Bilateral Agreements) and the number of students interested and recruited. This, again seems to be quite typical for universities all over Europe, which means that certain “saturation” effect has been achieved and increasing mobility will not be an easy task at all. As for out-going students, more information should be needed and more support at the stage of decision making. Much more can and should be done in the area of in-coming students. Solutions should be sought in order to respond to the following questions: In the perspective of the position and future development of the University – Is it a MUST or a NEED to enhance international mobility. And if so –
> Can this be done and in which way?
> What are the most serious and urgent tasks?
> Where are the biggest reserves?
> What tools should be applied?
Mobility – ICT for further development
Three areas of activities can be distinguished in the fi eld of mobility management: administration at organisational level, administration at academic level and academic teaching and learning.
Below I will present the three issues in the context of available ICT tools.
Administration & organization
The task comprise provision of information to home and foreign students, registration of candidates, maintaining contact before and after arrival/departure, matching with Polish students (ESN), keeping records of visiting students, management of Erasmus grant.
This is done by the International Programmes Offi ce (IRO or similar units at other universities) and simple commonly available ICT tools are used as www, e-mail, discussion lists, spread sheets, databases. What could be improved is e.g. e-organiser, serial correspondence generator or deadline reminding system. Commercial products are available and advertised e.g. at the occasion of big international events as EAIE Information Market. This can be a solution rather for new institutions or for those determined to change their hitherto software to new systems.
I would rather recommend continuous development of the existing solutions, customising available software and adapting it to actual needs.
Also in my personal opinion except for ICT more staff and higher wages will also be most welcome to improve the situation. This can improve the quality of our offi ce work and student service but will have no major direct impact on the number of exchange students.
In order to improve the quality of academic organisation an existing tool can be recommended – the University Study-Oriented Support System – USOS.
This software has been developed since the TEMPUS project “NET” coordinated by the University of Warsaw in 199-2001. Several Polish universities adopted the system and nowadays ca. 40 % of international mobility is completed within the institutions participating The system is complex and bilingual – several documents can be printed in English. It requires an ORACLE licence and institutional subscription fee is charged.
Here are the services it offers:
> On-line registration of candidates
> Management of recruitment process
> Delivery of electronic student ID & library cards
> USOS-web that comprises directory of courses-study offer in Polish and
English, including ECTS information, subscription to classes, including token system in case of foreign languages and gymnastics
> Support of teaching process – exams, proofs, marks, comments
> Provision of Transcript of Records and Diploma Supplement
> The system also enables:
> Control of teachers workload and payments
> Quality assessment
> Directory of European HEIs
> Electronic version of diploma works and directory
> Lecture hall reservation
> Location and orientation within campus (when linked to Google-up)
The Computer Centre of the University of Warsaw is now working on the development of a specialised package “Erasmus recruitment” and it is our hope it will also be available for other user universities.
As results from the above a very good ICT tool already exists, is available at leading
Polish universities and it is only a matter of how effi ciently it can be applied for the purpose of mobility. Full and correct implementation will improve visibility of the study offer, will stimulate the faculties to revise their potential, present it in a compatible way and submit on time (which means well before the students arrive). This will help incoming students prepare their learning agreement. Moreover the necessary documents can be generated automatically (e.g. transcript of records).
Teaching and learning
In this chapter MOODLE will be presented as an example of a teaching&learning platform. It is a cost-free and easy to learn tool which enables application of modern teaching methods so highly appreciated by nowadays students. This makes it of great value for mobility purpose. At Nicolaus Copernicus University MOODLE is maintained by the University Centre for Modern Teaching Methods where every staff member and every student can complete his own project. Software, qualifi ed staff assistance and technical equipment is made available at no charge. MOODLE can be used for:
> ODL courses or to support classical class work
> Publication of all kind of educational materials
(sound, video, interactive, transmission)
> Communication (message board, individual students or groups, admission and subscription, discussion for a, chat in real time, video conferences)
> Assessment (questionnaires, quiz, multiple choice, open questions, time limit, statistics and full control by the teacher)
> Central university platform or faculty platforms
> Special platform can be set up, e.g. Erasmus
Extensive implementation of MOODLE (or a compatible platform) should be widely and strongly recommended. It will increase the study offer and make it more attractive for foreign students. It will facilitate communication for academic purposes and provide better, open and immediate supervision of the teaching process.
Enhancement of international mobility has become an urgent task of major importance for universities in the perspective of the new LLP. Except for the well known and ever present problem of time (more staff) and money (translation, extra courses, additional remuneration of teachers, equipment, motivation bonus, more staff again), ICT tools are indispensable for increasing the number of exchange students and improving the quality of service and teaching. However, ICT impact is not equal in every aspect. To the best of my professional experience I dare suggest that mobility factors can be increased by ca. 5% by new ICT in administration, by
10% due to complex digitalisation of student management and by as much as 80% in the area of academic issues, including e-learning and ODL methods.
How ICT Is Used By
Network At The University
Anna Laudy, student of Polish Philology at the University of Warsaw,
President of Erasmus Student Network University of Warsaw [email protected]
My name is Anna Laudy, I am a fourth year student of Polish Philology at the University of Warsaw.
I have been an active ESN member for three years and since June 2007 I have been the president of my section.
In my presentation I would like to show you how ICT is used in ESN UW section, problems we face everyday, ideas and some solutions.
I would like to tell you briefl y how my adventure with ESN started.
One day when I was surfi ng the Internet I came across the main website of the
University of Warsaw and I read an advertisement searching for Mentors. I had no idea what the Mentor Programme was. I got curious and that is how I found the ESN page.
I learnt that the Mentor Programme means helping and assisting foreign students.
To become a Mentor you are requested to fi ll in a special application form and send it to the Mentor coordinator. Moreover, you have to write a brief motivational letter explaining why you want to join the project.
At fi rst I was taken aback by so many formalities. Later did I realize how important it was. ESN is not a big company so we cannot interview all candidates in person, talk to them face to face to assess if they are eligible for the position.
Therefore the Internet is so irreplaceable and the most convenient, fastest way of recruiting new candidates, so it cannot be denied that such an application is the only means to check the student’s suitability and determination to take direct responsibility for the foreign guests and international students community as a whole. Moreover, these are students who know best how the university functions and can give exchanged students the most exact information, also about unsaid rules.
The online registration form for Mentors is on our website www.esn.uw.edu.pl, in the bookmark Mentor. The prospect candidate has to give such information as: name, email, the faculty, the country of origin of the future Erasmus buddy.
And, of course, short motivational letter is required. All things considered, one has to conclude that it is the most effi cient way of gathering data.
Unfortunately, there is another side to the issue. We don’t have a special system which would match suitable Erasmus-Mentor partners.
Nowadays, the coordinator must deal with hundreds of application alone. She has to go carefully through each application and check the preferences before choosing the right candidate. This task is time-consuming and tiring.
It would be great if we could create and introduce a system which would simplify the process and save the coordinator’s precious time. Using such sophisticated technology would enable the coordinator to scan the number of applications and automatically cross-match the requirements, interests and so on against the data base. It would produce accurate matches within seconds.
Unfortunately we are short of IT students or fans in our section. Most people who are involved in ESN projects are language, culture, history, law students who are not very familiar with IT. Apart from that there is a huge personnel turnover among Mentors. People responsible for different activities usually stay in ESN no longer then a year, so new-comers must learn everything from the beginning. If they are enthusiastic enough we can develop if they are not there is no progress.
The goal should be to store the knowledge about ESN performance inside
ESN repository and pass it on from generation to generation to make our work easier. Lessons learned from experience need to stay in the network in order not to make the same mistake again, we should work more effectively and manage the knowledge we have to our benefi ts.
I have just tried to present the methods of recruiting Polish students to our organization. Now I would like to explain how it works with Erasmus.
The Mentor coordinator is given by International Relation Offi ce a list of foreign students. Our coordinator sends each Erasmus information about Mentor
Programme and invites them to join and take advantage of it. All Erasmus who express their interest and willingness to participate in ESN by sending an email to us are accepted.
Mailing List -
In The Section
Now a little bit about communication in my section. We use yahoo groups to communicate with each other.
To provide the information fl ow we have set up different discussion groups and
mailing lists, dedicated both to Erasmus and Polish students. We offer mailing list for: Mentors, ESN members, Erasmus to take advantage of sharing their expectations, problems and exchanging different solutions. So both ESN members and Erasmus can choose either to join the group and check the posts while logging on yahoo site or subscribe on our mailing list and get the posts as email messages directly to their mailbox.
For example, this year one of the most vital problem is accommodation. More than 300 Erasmus students have arrived to study at the University of Warsaw.
The cooperation in fi nding accommodation and fl atmates helps to create and strengthen Polish-Erasmus society.
There is also a special mailing list called esn.news dedicated to Polish ex-Erasmus and other Polish students who are interested in our projects.
The mailing list is also one of the means to inform the students about our upcoming events and future projects. Unfortunately, I have noticed that the mailing list is most popular with the users at the beginning of each term. In midterm there is a rapid decrease in being interested in the information we send. Erasmus stop reading our emails, treat them like a spam. Conducting a survey on such behavior is recommended because it might help to fi nd the reasons of lack of interest.
Information and invitations to students are mainly sent by mass distribution.
For those who are not responsive to general information, the logical step is extend special invitations in order to overcome the barriers and get students more involved.
Maybe we should invite incoming students with computer skills to get directly involved in our projects. Such students would enrich our website with issues vital for Erasmus. As they know better their society from within. They would not be just member protagonists of stories they can share and comment on, but also contribute to a colourful and extremely useful database of Erasmus experience. For all the reasons they would demonstrate how by merging different cultures we can create stronger community.
They could help us create the ESN sections’ bulletin, a broad monthly bulletin with all kind of information. It could also collect trips and future events indirectly dealing with ESN matters. Another publication could be the ESN newsletter. This would contain very compact and easy-to-read information on ESN matters as well as messages from our sponsors, external events that concern our subscribers, ESNers as well as people interested in receiving news from our network.
All those initiatives, which I have just mentioned, have already been implemented on the international level by the International ESN Board in Brussels.
In my section we could encourage Erasmus to take part in such projects by giving diplomas or certificates in recognition for their involvement, which can be an additional asset in their CV.
For example, last year we undertook an interesting initiative and invited
Erasmus to make a fi lm promoting ESN organization among Polish students.
As we all know, movies are very attractive and eye-catching so such fi lm could tempt students to record their own experience in a host country and broadcast it on the Internet. As a consequence, it would increase the use of Internet by ESNers and strengthen the relations. Our ESN advertisement starring
Australian-Polish and Italian Erasmus is on our site and you can also watch it on YouTube.
Talking about ICT usage we cannot forget about
Tandem - an innovative method of learning and teaching languages.
Its dual aim is to enable foreign language learning and promote transferable skills. Tandem learning involves a partnership of two native speakers and both should benefi t equally from the exchange.
Last year I was the Tandem coordinator so I know this issue personally. Once again the Internet is the only tool to recruit the candidates. The future Tandem partner fi lls in the online application form.
We faced a common mistake – students forgot to give us their email address and consequently we couldn’t contact them. Therefore recently we have improved our form so that the fi eld with the email address is obligatory and the application cannot be sent without this data.
Another obstacle, we often have to deal with, is lack of other required information. For example: preferred language, mother tongue. Our coordinator has to do everything on her own checking each application. On average, there are more then 500 applications. You can imagine how time-consuming it is. So once again, as I have mentioned before talking about the Mentor Programme, we don’t have any special tool which would match two partners automatically.
Another problem worth mentioning concerns lack of willingness of incoming students to participate in the project. The vast majority of the candidates are Polish students. I found there are 3 main reasons of such situation.
Firstly, even though the amount of foreign students is increasing every year, it is not suffi cient to provide each Polish candidate with a Tandem partner. Secondly, the information about Tandem project hasn’t been popularized enough.
We need more publicity. Finally, I have been asked by a few Erasmus students whether participation in Tandem is rewarded with ECTS points because at some universities Tandem is recognized as a normal lecture. It is not like this in Poland so the fact has discouraged some students.
For all the reasons, we still need to improve the application to make all the procedure more effi cient and less time-consuming. Moreover, we should publicize
Tandem especially among incoming students.
We could also try to implement e-Tandem project, it means Tandem at a distance using electronic media such as email, Skype, telephone, video conferencing. It’s very convenient method of learning – you don’t even need to leave your home.
It would be benefi cial for both University of Warsaw students – incoming and outgoing. Polish as well as Erasmus students would have a perfect possibility to learn the basis or to improve the language of the host country before arriving at the university.
At the University of Warsaw there is such a procedure that each Polish ex-Erasmus student is asked to fi ll in a survey assessing and estimating their stay abroad. The main aim of it is to collect information about the host university and what problems can be encountered (language barrier, accommodation, culture clash, ECTS points recognition). All the surveys are in paper form and they are kept in the International Relation Offi ce. This is the only source of information for prospective Polish exchange students besides official publications.
In my opinion this method of collecting data is out of date, ineffi cient and for most inconvenient. I have been told that there have been some attempts to implement online survey for coming back students but due to their lack of involvement and willingness the idea failed.
But now it is high time to change the existing situation and take advantage of IT tools. I have noticed that there is a great need for such information fl ow. It would be benefi cial if my section possessed such data to share it with future Polish exchange students.
All Erasmus students at different universities claim that they have encountered problems with registration for chosen courses.
Previously, it usually began in the fi rst week of October for both Erasmus and
Polish students. Erasmus coordinators helped and supported the incoming students with choosing the suitable course.
Starting from this academic year 2007/2008 the registration at each faculty is online and have already begun in June. So Erasmus students had no opportunity to subscribe for preferable courses at that time.
Of course, the incomers are guaranteed places at each faculty but they can register on preferable classes only after arriving at the University of Warsaw.
And there is a problem with PE and foreign languages courses. Since Polish students have already subscribed for them in June there are few places left for Erasmus.
In my opinion such situation puts foreign students in disadvantageous position.
As I have mentioned before this is the fi rst year when the online subject registration has been introduced. I strongly believe that the system will be adjusted also to Erasmus students’ needs.
ESN UW Future
Plans For Improving
In The Section.
I wonder what more we can do as ESN for the incoming students.
I think that experience, impressions, problems and diffi culties which have been faced by Erasmus in previous years can be valuable and informative for future incoming students. ESN UW is considering setting up a special data base which would store information concerning accommodation – rental, dormitories; tips on lectures and lecturers; exams, personal comments and advice in order to collect the Erasmus experiences sent by old and new Erasmus people from all over
Europe. Every account should not only be a simply textual report but designed as a multimedia presentation giving writers the possibility to attach pictures, audio and video, run a blog, upload media fi les.
In order to have real and useful information about Erasmus home and destination, the entire system could be empowered with geo-location technology giving the possibility to enter in great detail the home and destination places. It will give the students the chance to build a community of ex-Erasmus students sharing their experience on a common platform. Former Erasmus could be called Erasmus ambassadors to target potential Erasmus students.
The community members will be granted access to the ESN website as a tool for promoting the ESN image.
ESN sections should improve their websites. As I have observed lately there is lack of strong links between the different levels of ESN. Therefore we should:
> keep current structures but improve online participation
> adapt the current structure to the new needs.
> foster the creation of similar network in other areas
Therefore ESN International has already begun to implement a new system called
“Satelite” which will harmonize resources and distribute information.
We should identify emerging trends of ICT systems that will shape the future of university and
The development of ever more sophisticated techniques for communication and surveillance would increase the likelihood of better and more effi cient performance of our ESN section which could result in much better managing ESN sites on the Internet, more transparency and collaboration among universities, teachers and students.
Enhancing Student Mobility
By A Web 2.0 Platform:
The Erasmus Student Network Experience
Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Project Manager, Belgium; [email protected]
Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Project Leader, Belgium;
Antonio De Marco,
Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Project Leader, Italy;
Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Project Leader, Italy.
This paper describes the development of a high quality information platform by the use of Web
2.0 technologies to support and enhance student mobility in higher education. It discusses the success of social networks and the role of universities. It describes the current developed projects by the Erasmus
Student Network and how they can be considered as the key-elements in the creation of this platform. The paper ends with an example-project applied to the
20th anniversary of the Erasmus Program.
The introduction of this paper is fully based on the outcomes from the Victorious project. The Victorious project, Student Mobility in a digital world,
was an inter-university co-operation project partly funded by the European Commission under the eLearning Program. From January 2005 to February 2007, nine universities of the Coimbra Group shared their experience and expertise, worked together to better understand the issues of virtual student mobility in Europe.
Students are now moving physically more than ever to take courses in universities in other countries, supported in part by schemes such as Erasmus, which has ambitious targets for expansion. Students are also studying in a more place-independent mode, using the web, email, internet phones etc to get access to learning materials, staff and peers, and doing this from a widening range of locations.
In general, information provision by universities towards visiting students is weak. It is hard to fi nd, often in the local language and there is insuffi cient focus on the needs of the visiting students.
Most university International Relations Offi ces consider that they have good websites, although this is not the view born out by the student data.
Several sources of information about student mobility exist, although no single source has comprehensive coverage for every student. As a consequence, there is a clear sign that universities need to signifi cantly reconsider their information provision strategies. For some universities there needs to be greater clarity about what the university provides and what it expects students to provide. The student organizations can help them in this by providing websites creating a social network that offers peer-advice, enabling students to share experiences and providing solutions.
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-for-profi t international student organization. Our mission is to foster student mobility in Higher Education under the principle of Students Helping Students.
We are 12.000 members from 251 local sections in 34 countries working on a volunteer base in Higher Education Institutions.
In this framework and with this purpose, ESN strives for a world in which increasingly more young people will be in the condition to access, either by moving or by staying at home, the opportunities of personal growth offered by an international experience in Higher Education.
This means that prospective and current exchange students have to be provided with all the necessary information and tools for
> choosing the destination that fi ts the most with their interests and personal development;
> applying properly and in the due time for scholarships and for any other possible fi nancial support;
> being integrated in the society and the culture of the hosting city, also by terms of linguistic tools and social opportunities;
> succeeding in the academic aims of their stay
> evaluating their exchange experience and having their evaluation considered and appreciated by the competent institutions, in order to foster and infl uence the evolution of the exchange programs and policies;
> helping, in turn, other students to succeed in their exchange study and in overcoming the same diffi culties and challenges they experienced.
Therefore ESN considers it as a common goal together with universities to create a high quality information platform, where all the Higher Education Institutions support the principle of students helping students. It will allow students to fi nd their way to mobility and to internationalization, and all existing and possible threats and obstacles to mobility are annihilated.
The Role of
Facebook is this year’s big net phenomenon, it has 30 million users worldwide, but Myspace is even bigger with 100 million users. The reason of
this success is easy to understand. It is a simple extension of what people have always loved to do: talking with each other, advising each other and sharing their experiences.
Nowadays students have been empowered by these Web 2.0 technologies. They can blog, produce and publish videos, share photos and experiences. It enables them to make their own commentary, share information and advise their peers.
The time has come to empower the students with the tools to contribute. Universities need to implement online student networks to improve both their internal and external communication and to deepen their relation with the student. The student is eager to participate, willing to contribute as well as to receive.
Online student networks allow students to communicate with each other, give each other advice and support, and produce meaningful content that is important to them. These networks can provide the tools for the students to become content producers and close the gaps to fulfi ll the real needs of the students.
The content does not come from the universities alone, it also comes from the students themselves, and their peer-to-peer interaction is a major portion of the content. This information provision by peers is vital, as many students leave their normal support network behind when they go study abroad. Most students rely on their peers to help them make decisions regarding their studies. The collection of data from both universities and students would allow offering both formal and informal information to intending visitors. If this is the way that students today are choosing to access their information, then this is a reason why universities have to give it to them.
ESN strongly believes that the current developed projects by ESN: ESN Satellite,
ESN Galaxy and ESN Identity can be considered as the key-elements in the creation of this high quality information platform.
In what follows we will briefl y discuss the current projects that are developed by ESN and in the next paragraph we will elaborate on how these projects can become the basic ingredients in developing new information provision strategies for universities.
The ESN projects are meant to provide a possible solution to the current ESN on-line situation. Most of the section websites are not well built and they do not offer enough services for the visiting students and do not fulfi ll the basic needs of the section. Another important point is that the ESN on-line community, in spite of the ESN spirit, is an isolated community: within it no knowledge and/or practice is shared and this in turn produces two main disadvantages:
> sections spend resources to implement the same range of services for Erasmus students;
> information collected at the local level, useful to the whole network, is not shared and it is diffi cult to reach.
ESN Satellite Project
All ESN sections have, on a different scale, the same basic needs: all of them need to advertise their events, to spread information to students, to let Erasmus students sign up for activities, to give a professional image to potential partners; and almost all of them would like to have a nicer website, easier to update and maintain.
Since the needs of every ESN section are similar, re-implementing the same tools in every website is a loss of time; the fi nal aim, thus, was to build a website template with a set of instruments and content management tools that is ready to use and that the sections can download and install in their web spaces in few minutes.
This is the reason why ESN Satellite (Fig. 1) was born, in March 2006: to give every section the opportunity to use a free, nice website template that ordinary, non-technical section members can update in an extremely intuitive way. ESN Satellite is packed with features (news with comments, events calendar, partners list, customizable photo gallery, private areas for registered users, automatically updated news from ESN International) and you have full control on what you decide to activate for your section. It is also designed to be completely interoperable with the very popular Drupal content management system: this allows anybody to extend ESN Satellite with new features by installing one of the hundreds of freely available Drupal modules.
The template is also useful for all the community living inside the ESN network like Working Groups, Organizational Committees of International Events or
National Platforms, Fun(d)raisers Coordination, Alumni Community, etc…
Having a look around the current ESN websites we can have an idea about what kinds of tools an ESN web site can contain. Just to point out some of them an ESN web site can provide:
> Content Managing System to easily publish and maintain content;
> Events System to publish events and easily manage online subscription;
> Members/Card Owners Registration;
> Local Infocentre to upload and share useful documents;
> Housing and Hospitality System to help Erasmus students to fi nd a place or simply hospitality in other ESN members’ house;
> Job Offers System to help Erasmus to fi nd a job in the host country;
> Buddy System to implement the Students Helping Students ESN principle;
> Mailing Lists to reach ESN members;
> Forums, Photo Gallery, Chat, etc… to empower the sense of community through ESN website members.
Figure 1 - Example of ESN Satellite
Now, one year after the development started, ESN Satellite has been an astonishing success: more than 60 sections are adopting it as their default website and the number of installations is steadily increasing. Moreover, ESN Satellite is becoming the standard platform for ESN event websites, regional platforms or other international meetings. ESN has a big community of ESN
Satellite administrators who share solutions to common problems and the
ESN Satellite documentation is growing with instructions and tips.
ESN Galaxy Project
Every ESN Satellite website mainly contains two kind of information:
Community Information: every kind of content that makes the community stronger (forums, guestbook, photos, etc…);
Helpful Information: useful information with helping purpose (housing system, job offer, info about the host city, etc… ).
A signifi cant part of the helpful information could be really useful also outside the local context: just think about an ESN member looking for a house in a new city or a group of ESNrs that wants to have some information about ESN events of a city they are planning to go to.
A way to achieve this is to share this kind of information by collecting it at the local level. In this way the local sections become a source of helpful and useful information for the whole network in sharing events, house and job offers, mentors and so forth.
All the collected information will be kept, in a centralized way, in the ESN Galaxy databases with several strong benefi ts for the entire network, such as:
> local websites become a source of knowledge and information for the whole network;
> it will be possible to have an European wide search through the ESN resources;
> information collected could be used for statistic purposes;
> having a huge amount of useful information could help in searching for sponsorship/partnership.
Figure 2 - The ESN Galaxy
The ESN Galaxy (Fig.2) was born out of the following vision: creating a real network, with a fast and automated information fl ow between sections using a graphical, intuitive representation of the entire Erasmus Student Network.
The ESN Galaxy (www.galaxy.esn.org) website displays a map of Europe (using
Google maps) with balloons for every section in the Galaxy (potentially every
ESN section): by clicking on a balloon you browse through the upcoming events of that section, links to “more information” pages, local news, local partners and contact details.
Moreover, it is absolutely effortless for a section to join the ESN Galaxy: all ESN
Satellite installations can be enabled to automatically transmit news, events and partners to the ESN Galaxy, so everything will appear there with absolutely no need of work but the initial registration. Even non- Satellite websites can be confi gured to appear in the ESN Galaxy as long as you make specifi c RSS/iCal feeds available.
The ESN Galaxy enables also better and more effective communication from the international to the local level: ESN Satellite can optionally be enabled to automatically display a box with the latest news from ESN International, so that information about important ESN projects like the ESN Survey can appear on a dedicated box on the section homepage without any intervention from the section.
ESN Identity Project
The third project, ESN Identity, is to empower the sense of community by making the network stronger. Now, in fact, the different ESN online communities are like islands in the ocean. If it is important to share useful helping information it is, maybe, even more crucial to foster the contact among the members of the network.
To allow this, an ESN member needs to be able to access all the websites of the network with the same username and password, if the local administrator allows it, with an improvement of the sense of community.
Having access to all the network websites with the same authentication codes means to move the fi rst steps into the creation of a unique personal identity within the network (Fig. 3).
Extremely fi ne-grained access control policies will allow every entity within the
ESN Identity to access exactly what is needed by its role: a section president, for instance, will be able to change contact details of his own section but not to see details or members of other sections.
The main idea behind ESN Identity is that everyone in ESN can access the different online Satellites with his username and password; his role will automatically be recognized by the system and he will be given privileges to perform actions on this Satellite as his role permits (most actions will be directly implemented, some actions will need approval by the relevant responsible persons in ESN).
This project will make ESN stronger by using the potential that can be found inside the network: the sections and their members. It will allow members within the network to actively contribute to the knowledge and information within the Network.
What is ESN? Such a short a question, yet up to now it was so diffi cult to answer.
You could answer; it is a huge network: dozens of countries, hundreds of sections, thousands of members; but honestly numbers are far insuffi cient to describe it.
Words can already enjoy a much greater success: volunteers, students helping students, national representatives, fostering mobility; but still not enough to convey the meaning. Today, thanks to the ESN identity project, it is possible to tell the external world what ESN is in concrete, beyond numbers and words, because all sections and all members belong to the ESN Galaxy. Every single individual receives his unique balloon within the ESN Galaxy (Fig. 4). It shows the world that ESN is about sections and about members, not represented by a number but by Satellites and Unique Individual profi les.
Figure 3 – Personal Profi le Figure 4 – Where are you
According to the role within ESN Identity ESN members also get access to the ESN
Supernova (Fig. 5) website. This is a pan-European website which aim is to make the work of ESN International transparent, presenting the international board, the national representatives, the working groups and the webteam. Members of those bodies receive the possibility to blog on their work within the network, to share fi les and to manage working groups.
Figure 5 – ESN Supernova
20th Erasmus Project
In the year 2007 Erasmus Program celebrates its
20th Anniversary. By this celebration ESN wanted to show the importance of the academic mobility to all the European citizens and demonstrate that by the meeting of other cultures we can create a better Europe for the future.
The main activities of the event were:
> Erasmus conferences everywhere
> mobility bus visiting the organized conferences
> website project to share Erasmus and exchange experiences
The main aims of the project were:
I. To promote Erasmus and exchange to local students and to encourage more students to go abroad
II. To make the European citizens understand the importance of mobility and of
III. To create a cultural exchange of stories and experiences between students from different backgrounds (different countries, cultures, socio-economic background, physical ability, gender etc) by publishing some of their stories on a online platform.
To support these aims of the project ESN made a website, where former Erasmus students could upload their personal living story (Fig. 6). They could share their experience with others, by writing their Erasmus story, uploading videos and pictures. In a second phase these experiences where used to promote Erasmus by creating a platform where everybody could read these stories by going to the
ESN Galaxy. Every experience was given a unique identity and balloon inside the
Figure 6 – Example of Experiences on Website and ESN Galaxy
According to the words of Ján Figel’, European Commissioner in charge of Education, our goal should be to have this kind of platform where you would be able to consult over 3 million experiences by 2011.
A high quality information platform: dream or reality? We strongly believe that with the rise of the new technologies and the developed projects by ESN we are getting very close to reality. It should be a common goal of a strong group of universities and a strong student organization, such as ESN, to make it reality. The described tools allow universities to create their own information platform, fulfi lling all needs of incoming students
(using Satellite technology) and offering both formal and informal information. These technologies also allow the creation of a more effi cient way of information and knowledge sharing and a systematic development of e.g. a central database of courses (using Galaxy technology). Moreover these technologies also enable the students to share their experiences and advice their peers (see 20th anniversary project).
The main lesson for universities is: students are eager to participate and willing to contribute. A modern University should not only be the creator of information but also the facilitator and mediator of information. Universities need to create the environment where students are stimulated to contribute with their own information and knowledge. Students must be treated as co-information providers. If we build them a platform from which they will benefi t, they will use it.
We need to offer them the technologies to fulfi l their needs and to provide solutions to their not yet known problems.
Universities that will have a high quality information platform and universities that will be supported by a strong community of actively contributing students will be the ones being most successful in attracting new students in the future.
After all the “word of mouth” is still the most trusted and powerful source of information!
1. www.esn.org ESN institutional website
2. www.galaxy.esn.org ESN Galaxy website
3. www.supernova.esn.org ESN Supernova website
4. www.drupal.org Drupal website
5. Final Report of the VICTORIOUS Project: STUDENT MOBILITY IN A DIGITAL WORLD; www.coimbra-group.eu/victorious/
6. White paper; Enabling the Social Company by Steve Outing; ENTHUSIASTGROUP, www.enthusiastgroup.com/
7. Tim O’Reilly: “What Is Web 2.0 - Design Patterns and Business
Models for the Next Generation of Software”, available at www.oreilly.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html
8. The Enterprise 2.0 Conference: Web 2.0 Continues Its Move to The Workplace;
Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Blog; www.web2.socialcomputingmagazine.com/
University Of Warsaw
Library E-resources And
Information Services For
The Academic Community
Ewa Kobierska-Maciuszko ’s presentation,
University of Warsaw, Poland
Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez,
Brussels Education Services, Belgium
The University Library is one of the three largest collections of scholarly books in Poland. Not only does it function as the University’s main library, but also as a public library. It contains domestic and foreign works from each of the disciplines of the arts and sciences studied and taught at the University, with collections in the humanities and social sciences most thoroughly represented.
The Library numbers approximately 2,400,000 volumes, including more than
1,500,000 books, 600,000 volumes of periodicals, early imprints, manuscripts, graphics, musical scores, maps, and microfi lms. As a whole the Library regularly serves more than 100,000 readers, with more than 1,100,000 items accessed and lent annually.
The Library was established at the founding of the University of Warsaw in 1817, acquiring such collections as those of the Warsaw Lyceum, the private libraries
of King Stanisław Poniatowski and Stanisław Kostka Potocki, as well as libraries from suppressed monasteries.
The collection of rossica is extremely valuable and is one of the largest in the world. The Library likewise possesses a large collection of Polish and foreign periodicals, newspapers, and administrative documents, with an especially impressive collection of the Warsaw press and underground periodicals from years
Since the late fall of 1999, the Library occupies a state-of-the art building at the distance of two blocks from the main campus, at the Powisle district where it is supposed to play the role of the anchor of the emerging new campus. Construction of a new library was begun in 1995, fi nanced by the Foundation of the University of Warsaw. Its over 40,000 square meters are able to house over
4,000,000 items, of which approximately 200,000 are now on open stacks. There is room for over 2,000,000 items on open stacks, and the shelf arrangement system is Library of Congress Call Numbers.
The Library currently occupies four overground levels of the building: level 0, inaccessible to users, contains closed stack, acquisition, and a conservation lab; level 1 - Reference Department and Circulation Desk; level 2 - main Reading
Room and Current Periodicals and Microforms Reading Room; and level 3 - special collections. Most of the levels’ 1 and 2 surface is open stacks; individual study cells, seminar and exhibition rooms are at various locations. The Library is equipped to provide working place for 1,000 simultaneous users, and the computer system allows 256 simultaneous sessions.
The Library’s façade, inviting scholars with giant copper plates with fragments of great writings in various alphabets, has already become one of the city’s landmarks.
In 1992, thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foudation, the Library purchased, together with several other Polish academic libraries, an automated integrated library system (VTLS). Since then, the Library has coordinated shared cataloguing in Poland, and its Center for National Union Catalogue acted as a bibliographic utility serving ca. 60 research libraries. The University online catalogue is a WWW-searchable pool of one million records from the main library and selected departmental libraries. Their number is supposed to increase.
The University Library ensures network access to approximately 50 CD-ROM databases. Extensive access to full-text journals by leading publishers is being organized in various consortial settings to become operational in 2000. The
Library’s Reference Center is responsible also for several other networked or local sources of information for and about the University.
Warsaw Library’s new building- basic information:
- Total area: 61.000 sq meters
- Library area: 41.510 sq meters
- Overground levels: 4
- Underground levels: 2
- Storage capacity: 4.000.000 vol.
- Seats for readers: 1.000
- Library staff: 270
- Computer network: Windows 2003/XP/NT, Linux
- Library system: VTLS/Virtua
- Library system server: SUN Fire v490 Solaris 10
Technologies in the Library:
In the Computer Room patrons may use computers with text editors, our online catalogue and
Works may be printed, saved on diskette, or sent by e-mail.
Connection to the Internet with portable computers
As of October 14, 2002, the Library offer its patrons the possibility of connections with the Internet via portable computers. Computers may be used on designated stands in the area Philosophy. Psychology. Religion. Education. With these connections patrons may use, for example, full-text journal databases (with access to about 20,000 journals), to which the Library subscribes.
Available only from the University of Warsaw net computers (identifi cation through computer’s IP), the Library offers periodicals from different fi elds: both natural and applied sciences; mathematics; economics, sociology, psychology, and other social sciences; medicine; culture; and others. Different Internet databases are also available. A-to-Z service gives library patrons one comprehensive online list of titles they can access at UWL. Users can quickly fi nd and link to journals, searching by keyword or browsing an alphabetical list by title or subject.
This historical part of the University of Warsaw Library collection contains approximately 300,000 items of different origins, publication forms, and of great artistic value. Within this collection are true treasures of Polish and European cultural heritage. These constitute our Library’s initial holdings, when it was founded in 1817, as the Royal University of Warsaw Library. Naturally, the traumatic history of our country, city, and University has left a profound mark on our
Library collection. Today our collections of early imprints, prints, manuscripts, maps, music, and ephemera comprise the unique source of knowledge used by researches from every branch of science and humanistics.
Selected items from the Library collection, scanned and recorded on CD-ROMs, are available in the Current Periodicals and Microforms Reading Room. Some of them are also available online, in the ULTRANET or in the Internet. All CD-ROMs are available in our online shop.
Remote Access Service
As of February 1, 2002, the Library offers Remote Access Service (RAS) to employees and students of The University of Warsaw. This service provides access to the University of Warsaw Library’s electronic resources from home computers. It is available to those with a valid library card and a telephone connection with Internet.
Upon registering, RAS users will receive an individual login and password. Patrons are temporarily connected to the University of Warsaw Library Net; they can use electronic resources to which the Library subscribes.
Information literacy at the University of Warsaw Library:
The following online training courses are offered and can be consulted online:
> How to use library and Information Technologies facilities (training for beginners): www.moodle.come.uw.edu.pl/course/category.php?id=14
> How to use e-journals (training for graduate students): www.buw.uw.edu.pl/en/index.php?option=com_content&task= view&id=117&Itemid=85
The Library’s policy regarding information technologies follows the guidelines adopted at European and international levels:
> Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities: www.oa.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html
> IFLA’s three pillars and World Summit on the Information Society Declaration of Principles: www.ifl a.org/III/ThreePillars-compact.pdf
> LIBER: www.libereurope.eu/what
Virtual Orientation And
Online Peer Support
For Incoming Exchange
Students At Laurea
Raisa Saviaho, International Relations,
Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Good orientation to the host country, its culture and host Higher Education Institution (HEI) ensures a successful exchange period for the visiting student. This article introduces the virtual orientation and guidance Laurea provides together with the students’ union LAUREAMKO for incoming exchange students. The development from only orientation to online peer support and guidance is described together with fi rst experiences and fi ndings for challenges and further development. It all aims towards a well orientated exchange student and successful student exchanges at Laurea.
The orientation and guidance provided for incoming students concentrated previously on informa-
tion at the web pages and in welcoming letters, personal advice given usually by e-mail, and the tutoring and orientation that took place once the exchange student had arrived to Finland. A supportive e-learning study unit on Finnish language, culture and society was also available. Despite of the study unit’s availability to exchange student online prior to their arrival, it was not used much.
Reason for this might have been its study orientated outlook and diffi culties with recognition of study points at home HEI.
The orientation did not include interaction apart from the personal advice, which was mostly between a single exchange student and a student tutor, or an exchange student and one of Laurea’s international coordinators. Same questions were asked by different exchange students from student tutors and international coordinators at the same time, creating excess workload. More importantly, the advice shared was only known by the two communicators and exchange students could not learn from each other.
Aiming for better
Although no major problems were experienced with the previous orientation, Laurea wanted to provide better service for incoming exchange students and try to reform students’ expectations to better match the reality they are facing upon arriving to Finland. The overall target of the development is well orientated incoming exchange students and a successful learning experience for both the student and Laurea. This translates to shorter adjustment time for the students, especially with practicalities that consume much of the student’s concentration and energy, and is therefore anticipated to result better academic performance /1 .
Other important objectives for the improved orientation are minimising the overlapping work of personal advice, ensuring good quality information also during holidays, and introducing the incoming exchange students among each other and with local student tutors. The last of these is very much sought after by exchange students themselves /2 .
Welcome to Finland
The development started with renewing Laurea’s external web pages with new information for incoming exchange students. The existing e-learning study unit on Finnish language, culture and society, which was located at an online e-learning platform called Optima, was chosen to host discussion forums and internal information. Using an existing e-learning tool not only made the development easier, but also helps exchange students to learn how to use Optima, which they will need in their studies at Laurea.
The orientation and guidance workspace for incoming exchange students is called Welcome to Finland. It is a password protected workspace that students are given access to with a visitor login and password. Exchange students receive
Picture 1. The front page of Welcome to Finland workspace at Optima e-learning platform.
1/ Thematic interviews with current exchange students at Laurea,
Saviaho, September 2007 and Maiworm & Teichler, 2002.
Feedback from visiting students to Laurea from academic year
2006-200, Garam, 2003 and Krupnik and Krzaklewksa, 2006.
their personal logins and passwords upon their arrival to Finland. The picture below features the opening page of Welcome to Finland.
Welcome to Finland workspace has been divided into sections according to the main practical issues of interest to incoming exchange students:
> Accommodation; information on rental options, times, rent, handling keys, housing rules etc.
> Tutoring, orientation and student benefi ts; information on tutoring and tutor students, arrival days, orientation week, student benefi ts in Finland etc.
> Experiences of former exchange students; advice and experiences of previous years’ exchange students, discussion among the arriving students
These sections include information on the issue and a discussion forum that everyone can use to ask and answer questions. The discussion forums enable students to view messages posted by others and receive much more varied and detailed information this way. Linguistic and intercultural preparation is also important /3 , and the workspace includes a broad section on Finland with information on Finnish culture, society and language, quizzes, links to internet pages and a service guide for international students in Finland.
By providing an online platform for sharing information and getting to know one another, a virtual community can be created prior to the physical mobility. This is a completely new interactive element in the orientation at Laurea. The community offers peer support among the ’exchange students to be’ and the Finnish tutors, and creates a feeling of being welcomed. Feeling welcomed and receiving support prior to the exchange can infl uence the incoming exchange students’ motivation and approach towards the experience positively and relief the anxiety of facing the unknown /4 .
Welcome to Finland acts also as an archive, fulfi lling the object of ensuring correct and good quality information for all incoming exchange students at all times. Previously the differing times of summer holidays within Europe have made the availability for personal advice challenging. A shared platform allows wider participation and is cost affective as it balances and decreases workload thus releasing resources. The online orientation and guidance is also more varied when more people are contributing to the discussion. Below Figure 1 presents the different orientation and guidance phases for exchange students coming to study at Laurea. The virtual orientation and guidance is most important prior to the physical exchange, but use of the workspace is encouraged throughout the exchange.
Thinking of going on an exchange;
Information available at home institution and at www.laurea.fi
Continuing using ’Welcome to
Finland’; sharing it with spring terms’ incoming students
Application and acceptance
-> Access to ’Welcome to Finland’
Orientation week and camp
(by student tutors and god families)
Using ’Welcome to Finland’ to orientate for the exchange, receive guidance and get to know tutors and other incoming students
Figure 1: Example of incoming student mobility process to Laurea when the exchange period is autumn term.
3/ Tempus Public Foundation, 2006.
Thematic interviews with current exchange students at Laurea,
Saviaho, September 2007.
The new virtual orientation and guidance has been in use since spring 2007, and has been successful so far. Exchange students have given positive feedback on the Welcome to Finland workspace. Especially the vast information, open communication and discussion forums have received recognition.
“A LOT of information” and “discussion is good, especially getting in touch with others coming to Finland and with fl atmates” are some of the comments from interviewed exchange students. In the discussion forums students have noticed that they are not alone with their questions. Receiving answers and support has given them a welcomed feeling /5 .
The challenges of virtual orientation and guidance are connected to students’
ICT and language skills, previous experience of different e-learning tools and internet, and view on chatting culture. The interactivity of virtual orientation depends on the activity and interest of the students themselves. A portion of all incoming exchange students have been active users, similarly to the way only a percentage of all students are active students. Inactivity can also be explained by so called ‘digital culture shock’, which refers to the difference between home and host HEI in using digital tools such as e-learning platforms, electronic enrolment and other online applications. Some interviewed students, who had visited Welcome to Finland but had not used it much, explained their inactivity: “we have nothing like this [at home HEI]”. Cultural differences exist also in credibility of guidance. To some students ‘spoken’ information or individual advice is more reliable than written general information, and they look for confi rmation with questions “Do these instructions / rules apply to me as well?” /6 .
Challenges lay also on the other side of orientation and guidance, as the ICT skills and previous experience in using online tools of the people giving guidance infl uence the quality of virtual orientation. A feeling of ‘owning the workspace’ is crucial to user activity, because if you do not feel a workspace (that has been created by someone else) is for you to use, you do not tend to use it. Challenges with the technical application of Optima system, its layout and usability, and with the use of visitor login also create room for improvement.
Welcome to Finland -virtual orientation and guidance is being developed based on the experiences and feedback so far. Changes are made to the workspace layout to make it more user-friendly, and information on studies and study methods at Laurea will be added. Increasing the involvement of student tutors and international coordinators is encouraged, for example student tutors are asked to write introductions of them selves and to participate in giving guidance to incoming students.
Guidance from previous year’s students to next year’s students is an important development area as exchange students tend to seek for advice from their countrymen and other exchange students /7 . Current exchange students have been requested to write about their experiences and give recommendations for the new exchange students from the point of view of their own culture, and also in their native language. Continuance is formed by using the same workspace, thus allowing the new incoming students to view previous discussion and to learn from it.
The development in Laurea’s virtual orientation and online peer support ‘Welcome to Finland’ has proven to have been successful in reaching its goals so far. Despite of this, there is still room for improvement and challenges to face, thus the development work will continue. The virtual orientation and peer support are however here to stay, and will most likely become more popular and an area for further cooperation between Laurea and its international partner institutions.
5/ Thematic interviews with current exchange students at Laurea,
Saviaho, September 2007.
6/ Thematic interviews with current exchange students at Laurea,
Saviaho, September 2007.
7/ Garam, 2003, Krupnik and Krzaklewksa, 2006 and Amillo et.al. 2005.
1. MAIWORM, W. AND TEICHLER, U. (2002) The Students’ Experience, Erasmus in the Socrates
Programme, Findings of an Evaluation Study, ACA Papers on International Coopertation
2. GARAM, I. (2003) Advanced and unusual. Finland as seen by international students and trainees. Occasional Paper, 1/2003, Centre for international Mobility CIMO www.cimo.fi
3. KRUPNIK, S. AND KRZAKLEWKSA, E. (2006) Exchange students’ rights. Results of Erasmus
Student Network Survey 2006, Erasmus Student Network www.esn.org
4. TEMPUS PUBLIC FOUNDATION (2006) Generation – Dissemination of results and best
practices for raising the profi le of Erasmus Mobility, Final report, www.english.tpf.hu/pages/books/index.php?page_id=15&books_id=1.
5. AMILLO, JUNE, FULLER, URSULA, LAXER, CARY, MCCRACKEN, W. MICHAEL & MERTZ, JOSEPH (2005)
Facilitating student learning through study abroad and international projects – ITiCSE 2005 working group reports, www.delivery.acm.org/10.1145/1120000/1113892/p139-fuller.pdf?key1=
The Sumit Project
And The Bologna Process
Jolanta Urbanikowa ’s presentation,
University of Warsaw, Poland
Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez,
Brussels Education Services, Belgium
The SUMIT conference’s /8
title ‘Enhancing Student Mobility in a Digital World
– Sharing Experiences in an Enlarged Europe’ contains words that are in the cornerstone of the Bologna Process and that should make us refl ect upon:
> Student mobility; ICT; Enlarged Europe; Experience; Sharing; Enhancement.
The Bologna Process promotes the preparation of graduates for the European and International labour markets. It enhances academic and professional mobility, the recognition of qualifi cations, skills and competences and personal development. It also educates for and promotes a clear European citizenship, which involves a European identity and the participation in democratic processes.
Student mobility is at the heart of the European policies in the fi eld of Education and it has opened the door to the development of new concepts and provisions.
It implies internationalisation strategies, innovation and modernisation in insti-
The SUMIT conference was held at the University of Warsaw in Warsaw
(Poland) on October 11-12, 2007.
tutions and in processes; it also encompasses curricular reform and quality of provision. Trust and recognition are highly encouraged. Quality is another key element when discussing about mobility. It ensures that mobility fi ts a purpose and it also promotes mobility as a driver of change and not as a mere fact.
It is important to underline that student mobility doesn’t affect the education sector in exclusivity. It promotes European ideals, it responds clearly to Euro-scepticism. It can also pave the way for institutional reforms. It sees
Europe as a place to work and develop careers and creates an open, fl exible, mobile, multilingual and multicultural workforce.
In order to become ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’ (Lisbon European Council 23-24 March 2000) the Commission promotes, among the concrete objectives of education and training systems
‘Increasing mobility and exchanges’ with a view to opening up education and training systems to the world /9 . As mentioned in the last Erasmus Student and
Teacher Mobility Reports (data from the Socrates National Agencies), to achieve the objective of 3 million Erasmus students by 2012 mobility will have to increase an average of 8 % annually. It is an objective that can certainly be attained, however experience shows that mobility, as an instrument, hasn’t reached its full potential in supporting the Lisbon and Bologna objectives and a few challenges remain to be solved:
Funding (average Erasmus grant is 200 EUR).
> Imbalance between incoming and outgoing students: while
UK, Ireland and Spain register a higher number of incoming than outgoing students (for various reasons), countries in
Central and Eastern Europe experience the opposite trend.
> Despite the growing number of mobile students, it represents only a minority of the total student population in Europe.
Some actions that could be implemented include:
> Increase the funding support not only at European level but also as regards the contributions from the national authorities.
> Promote Erasmus as a vehicle for quality mobility in different aspects: recognition (wider use of ECTS), mobility arrangements, proper documentation, linguistic support, social and cultural support, information and communication
> Digital world: it is not a remedy but an essential support instrument as it supports:
> Identifi cation and mapping of what is already available at Higher
> Stocktaking of grass roots initiatives.
> Incorporation into the system.
> Quality enhancement and assurance.
> Empowerment of all students and staff.
> Dissemination of good practices: as for example in the University of
Warsaw and regarding ICT provisions /10 :
> University Study-Oriented Support System (USOS)
> Centre for Open and Multimedia Education (COME)
> University System of Language Provision (USNJO)
> University Library
> Internationalisation at home and virtual mobility.
The SUMIT project provides, in an enlarged Europe, the right forum for discussion of relevant issues as the access to information, pre-exchange of ICT services, linguistic support, post-exchange ICT supported services, mobility as an element of internationalisation strategy, social networking software to serve academic community, the role of the university library, etc.
9/ Communication from the Commission on the Work Programme for the follow-up of the Report on the Concrete Objectives of Education and
Training Systems COM (2001) 501 fi nal and Commission Staff working paper: ‘Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in Education and
Further information about the University of Warsaw and its ICT support services can be found in another chapter on this same publication.
Working Group Reports
During the SUMIT Conference, four Working Groups discussed topics relevant to the subject of ICT in student mobility.
This chapter contains short reports from those discussions.
Working Group 1:
The Group discussed these topics: If a student is still deciding at which university and country to visit, what are the most effective ways to enable them to gain access to such information? Can the 12 new EU countries use ICT-based methods to make themselves more attractive to intending visit students? How might IRO websites and online services help in this process?
What sorts of information should be provided and how (eg websites, through online communities, via past visitors) and in what language(s)?
----> Contributed by Denise Haywood, University of Edinburgh, UK
The group fi rst identifi ed the problems in student mobility facing the new member states of Europe. These included particularly lack of reputation of their countries and/or cities as suitable locations to visit, fi nding partners in an already mature Erasmus ‘market’, and language issues.
Creating a reputation: The view of all the participants from the new or accession states of the EU were that developing a reputation as a good university to visit was diffi cult. It was felt that students tended to choose the country, then the city, then the university and lastly the course and so for small universities outside their capital cities in these countries it was diffi cult to be attractive to students. They had to seek students from wherever they could, and try to offer something different, such as courses that were interdisciplinary and not likely to be available in other universities.
An effective method of encouraging students to visit is to offer courses in English, and teachers of English are usually eager to help to do this. However, it has negative as well as positive aspects, as it adds to the problem of the disappearance of diversity in European languages, and especially those spoken only by relatively small numbers of people (eg Croatian, Latvian). It also may impact on cultural diversity as a consequence.
One risk that all the universities worried about was creating enclaves of Erasmus and other visiting students, isolated from the mainstream of the university and its local students. They felt that this was against the spirit of Erasmus, and also would not lead to good stories and experiences being taken back to the students’ home universities.
All participants felt that students returning with good experiences to talk about was essential to a steady fl ow of visiting students each year. Newer methods to increase this fl ow could be developed on the internet, for example by asking visiting students to write short stories or descriptions of their experiences in their own language and posting these on the university website. High ‘Googlability’ was essential as most students use search engines to fi nd information about potential visit locations. Student stories are more ‘believable’ than International
Offi ce publicity.
The development of online communities such as the developing ESN Satellite website meant that one had to be aware of where these internet communities were and made sure one had the right sorts of materials represented there. Cultivating good relationships with these associations means that the students in them can act as ‘ambassadors’ for your university. To encourage this one has to ‘reward’ them in some way, and methods suggested included giving small amounts of credits towards their studies, contributing to travel costs etc.
Language: It was suggested that students who spend one year on a visit often spend the fi rst semester learning the language (having had little or no knowledge of it before arrival) and the second semester being able to study in it. Thus they may be tactical and take more technical subjects which they can understand more easily in the local language than courses with discourse, or take courses in English. Helping students make these choices, offering ‘crash’ courses in the local language in the summer, or using ICT with ‘strong’ partner universities to establish an electronic buddy or mentoring programme and/or access to selftutoring language courses online were all possible methods of increasing the number of students who might choose to study in the local language.
Finding partners: In the 20 years of the Erasmus programme a rich network of university partnerships has been established, and many universities are not seeking new partners. This is especially true in those countries and cities that are very attractive to students. Thus for new entrants to the Programme, it is hard to make enough good partnerships, even though their universities may be well-established and of excellent quality. Ways of fi nding partners were discussed, and included using face-to-face contacts and working through the contacts of the academic staff of the university to make openings that could be expanded later.
It was felt that in this area ICT had little to offer, as personal infl uence was more powerful. Joining university networks could also be helpful.
Working Group 2:
This Working Group focussed on the student experience immediately before the visit. Once a student has selected a university to visit: What
(IT) services should the university provide before the actual visit begins? Can the university help the student prepare for the visit? Are there any services accessible by the network that would make student’s participation in new activities easier?
----> Contributed by Dr Leszek Rudak,University of Warsaw, Poland
Let us consider a few proposals of services that the hosting university can offer to foreign students before they knock at its door. It is neither a full nor a closed list of possibilities. It is just a couple of examples of on-line services.
1. On-line registration, on-line library registration, university computer network access, e-learning environment access
On-line registration is most important here. However, this service gives rise to a serious problem – apart from the internal infrastructure of the university (if the university does not have a system of electronic registration for its own students it will obviously not offer it to foreign students either) – which is identifi cation.
2. Virtual tours
A virtual tour of the university campus available to students before their visit is one of the most attractive proposals the university can offer to its guests.
Certainly, it will be easier to move around the campus if one can see it earlier in the “virtual world”.
3. General, language and culture „survival kits”, political information
“Survival kits” is a name for short e-courses, presentations, sets of texts and illustrations containing useful information.
> general survival kit, containing: bank holiday days, typical shop opening hours, police uniforms, important phone numbers, tickets for public transportation - kinds and prices, measurements, etc.;
> language survival kit with: main words and phrases (thank you, good morning, where am I?, show me the way to the university, please, etc.), names of foods (bread, apple, salt, etc.), units of measurement (metre, pound, pint, etc.);
> culture survival kit, including: history of the country, historical heroes, artists (actors, painters, writers, etc.), historical buildings, main works of art, top ten pop music hits, etc.;
> actual political information, describing the system of the state, the ruling party, and the head of state, at least.
4. A photo gallery of “VIPs” of the hosting university
This photo gallery may include photos of the Rector, Deans, Professors, Lecturers,
Miss and/or Mister of the University (if any), people (offi cials, students) that will take care of visiting students, etc.
The universities’ offer
The majority of the universities keep pages in a foreign language in its web portals - above all, in English (though there are universities having part of the service in Chinese, too). However, only few of them have special pages for foreign students. Web pages are of “general” purposes mainly. The scope of the portal assigned to student exchange depends on the number of students visiting the institution: the bigger this number, the greater the interest in such students, of course. In each case a web portal is only a place where the student can fi nd the information – but to do so, he must become acquainted with it. And so a new problem arises: how to make students interested in the information about the university, the town and the country before the visit?
Some universities offer on-line registration. These are mainly large universities that have an electronic system for the registration of their own students. Usually they offer a version of the registration adapted to foreign students (usually in English). However, many universities do not have a separate English version well adapted to foreign student’s needs. The registration of exchange students is being made by hand on the base of applications on paper forms, then. An IRO worker enters data into the electronic system. Registration is being made in many universities only after the student arrives at the given place.
Additional electronic services (outside on-line registration and basic information contained in the website) for foreign students, such as language courses or virtual tours on the campus were introduced in few colleges only. The university is also offering access to its electronic resources mostly only after the student physically appears at the university.
Most often the reason given for a small number of on-line services offered to exchange students before their visit is the lack of IRO staff. Probably the problems with fi nancing the preparation and maintenance of such services are hidden here.
Second, no less important reason, is the language barrier, e.g. registration on-line, library training course, campus maps are all prepared in the national language only, so a student from the different country cannot use it (sometimes it is the consequence of law regulations in the country). The language barrier is a most serious problem in student exchange at every stage, not only just before the visit.
The next reason is the organisation of the university. Large universities are often decentralised. This results in spreading duties related to foreign students among different units and then proper co-ordination is missing.
The problem of time is the last essential reason for incomplete electronic services provided to students visiting the university, which I want to mention. This problem concerns the universities from countries, which are new members of the
European Union. Student exchange involving these colleges only started about
3-4 years ago and only recently concerns a large number of students. Hence the need of offering online services for foreign students appeared relatively recently. Time for carrying all the ideas out was very short. Many services are still in the phase of testing or designing and they will certainly come into existence soon.
Working Group 3:
This Working Group considered the following questions: After the visit to another university, what might students reasonably expect to be provided by means of ICT? Continuing information such as that offered to alumni, electronic transcripts supplied automatically, electronic transfer of credits, continuing access to some university services to enable them to look back academically at their period of study visit etc?
----> Contributed by Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez, Brussels Education Services, Belgium
The discussion started with a presentation by Chantal Serman from Paris 3 University in France about a blog supported by the University Department of Com-
munication. Through this tool, students who are or have been abroad can post and comments their experiences. She explained that on September 2006 there were 17.000 students enrolled at Paris 3, out of which 5.000 were international students. The University has over 220 partners being 130 from Europe. According to a survey carried out by the Erasmus Student Network, the three main concerns when dealing with mobility are recognition of study periods, provision of information and fi nancial restrictions. Mobility recognition and fi nancing are to be tackled at national and international levels, however universities should improve the quality of the information provided, both for outgoing and incoming students before, during and after the period abroad and promote initiatives which are design by and for students. The interactive blog presented is meant to provide authentic student’s experience at the host institution. Students appreciate the honesty in personal perspectives, practical advices and helpful fi nancial, academic and cultural information. The blog is easy and free to use: www.erasmusblog.com.
For the time being the blog is monitored by a Paris 3 or foreign student with the support of a Department of communication’s staff member.
In Finland, there is no such centralised support service. It is up to each individual student to create his or her own blog. However there are some initiatives trying to promote more lively forms that students will fi ll out when they are back from their period abroad. Student organisations as the Erasmus Student Network are the ones in charge of supporting initiatives as blogs in Poland.
The contact with the Erasmus visiting students once they are back at home varies from one place to another and it very much depends on the organization and structure of the institution. At Krakow university international students are integrated in the overall system and they don’t depend on the international relations offi ce but on the Vice-Rector for student affairs. It has been proven a better way to integrate foreign students. A similar situation is true in the case of Laurea’s
University of Applied Sciences where there are international representatives in all the faculties and the central administration is staffed with 20 people only.
As for the kind of contact that is provided, some universities send newsletters, include them in mailing lists and/or invite them to different events that can be organised.
Despite problems like lack of motivation, participants agreed that it is very important to keep in contact with the foreign students once they are back at their home institutions:
A/ For the Hosting institution: The student who goes back home becomes a natural Ambassador of the institution abroad, he/she promotes its brand and is a key element for its marketing and internationalisation strategies.
B/ For the foreign student: for personal (contact with friends) and professional
(further research, undertaking other studies) reasons.
It is mentioned that in order to keep the contact, an offer with different services should be presented to the students before they leave. However, what could this offer mean? What should universities include in this ‘after mobility’ package?
Participants agreed to put together in the next coming months a small research project to identify what student expectations towards the hosting institutions are once they have gone. A survey consisting of 5 to 10 simple questions could be drafted and passed it on to foreign students before they leave. This survey would reveal real student needs. The research project should involve not only universities but also student organisations as Erasmus Student Network. It should take into account examples of mobility within the countries signatories of the Bologna process and not only those participating in the Erasmus programme.
Participants will study the possibility of submitting such a proposal under the
Lifelong Learning Programme and present its preliminary results at the following EAIE conference.
Working Group 4:
This Working Group discussed: How might a university fi t the ERASMUS mobility programme into its global international approach and policy?
What is the interaction between student mobility and global international policy? Do the institutions of higher education have several strategies for mobility/ How do the Universities fi t the Erasmus programme into the larger mobility scheme? What is the relation between student mobility and mobility in general?
----> Contributed by Alina Grzhibovska, University of Latvia, Latvia
Different examples of international approach in higher education were presented by representatives from Bulgaria, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Croatia. Some universities had an internationalization strategy even before joining the Socrates program, but some consider that to have an action plan is even more important than a strategy. In Latvia, for example, the number of both incoming and outgoing students increases by 30 % yearly. PhD students are encouraged to be more active than BA students as the benefi ts of doctoral students’ mobility are greater for the university.
Socrates/Erasmus is not the only way to increase student mobility. Bilateral
agreements play still an important role and this type of cooperation between universities is very benefi cial. An example of this is UNICA. Exchanges between network members can also contribute to the internationalization of the institutions of higher education. National and international exchange programs play an important role.
An interesting case was discussed by the University of Zagreb. As Croatia is not yet part of the Erasmus mobility scheme the University of Zagreb has to use other programs and ventures to increase student mobility and internationalization. It has signed many bilateral agreements with foreign institutions of higher education which allows its students to study abroad. It also allocates some funds to support students going on exchange. The University of Zagreb actively participates in the CEPUS program and also makes
use of cooperation within networks such as UNICA or University Rectors’
Student mobility is often seen as the best measure of internationalization.
Universities are trying to increase the numbers of foreign lecturers.
Sending PhD students on Erasmus or other exchange programs can be more benefi cial to the University than sending BA students. PhD students already know what they are interested in and have different reasons to go to another
University (ex. to conduct research)
PhD students’ mobility is lower than that of BA and MA students due to several factors. Firstly PhD students have to publish a certain number of articles and professional works which makes it diffi cult to move to another country. Secondly, most PhD students have certain teaching obligations.
Student mobility cannot be discussed only in terms of students going abroad for part time studies but also for full degree programs. A market approach to full degree programs in foreign languages is clearly visible as most of these programs generate income for the University.
Foreign students studying at a University which participates in the Erasmus program can take part in this program. The conditions for their participation vary from country to country. In Poland and in Latvia there are special programs and funds for students form Belarus. In Estonia the government allocates funds for the education of Estonians living abroad.
Ways to encourage foreign students to come:
> students going abroad are the ambassadors of their university, city and country so they are encouraged to promote their university and convince foreign students to come. An interesting idea from one of the Polish institutions of higher education is that each
outgoing student should encourage at least one foreign student to come and study at his/her home institution.
> offering more programs in foreign languages
> focusing on the incoming students as they will go back home and share their experiences with other students
> individual approach to incoming students (easily accessible information, orientation program, mentor/buddy system)
Another important issue is how does the Erasmus (or other mobility) experience help in the search for a job?
Erasmus students seen as more open minded, independent and willing to learn
Switzerland as an example of student mobility within one country. Students are encouraged to study (for part of their degree program) at an institution of higher education in the canton which has a different main offi cial language. This allows the students to expand their horizons and gain a better understating of the structure and functioning of the country. There are some problems with the recognition of study programs in different cantons and offered in different languages.
What factors affect student’s decision in whether to choose the capital city or a smaller town to study in?
> In smaller towns students expect personal approach, smaller living expenses and less accommodation problems.
> In capital cities students expect better access to facilities, wider choice of entertainment and study opportunities.
How to motivate lecturers to teach in a foreign language?
> larger payment
> going abroad opportunities
> teaching in a foreign language taken into consideration when
deciding on promotions.
> combination of local staff and foreign guest lecturers
> video conferencing
> checking lecturers’ language abilities
Lecturers age might be a problem with the foreign language teaching as some older professors might not be interested in teaching in a foreign language. PhD students should be given the possibility to teach classes in foreign languages.
In some countries lecturers have a high profi ciency of English but sometimes they don’t feel secure enough to teach in that language.
Classes offered in foreign languages are seen as more dynamic by the local students. The presence of foreign students makes the classes more appealing for local students. Taking part in classes with foreign students can encourage local students to travel and take part in exchange programs.
Major obstacles for student mobility:
> students work so they do not want or can not move abroad for a semester or a year
> in some countries as many as 75% of all students are paying students so during their studies many of them work.
Conclusions and summary
Jeff Haywood, Information Services,
University of Edinburgh, UK [email protected]
In the conference we heard about many excellent examples of ways to use technology to support student visits to universities in other countries. Student mobility is an important element of European higher education, and it is excellent that so many European universities are using ICT to enhance the quality of experience of their visiting students. There are three major areas for action:
Raising awareness: We need to do as much as possible to raise awareness in all the ‘actors’ of the possibilities that ICT is opening up. There are various ways in which we can do this, for example through conferences, seminars and newsletters of university networks (such as UNICA, Coimbra Group, and Santander), professional associations (eg the European Association for International Education for Internal Relations Offi ces), local, and national student associations
(such as ESN, ESIB) and government education agencies, especially those closely concerned with mobility (eg national Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci Agencies).
As so much development and innovation in universities is dependent upon the actions of the teachers and their Faculties, it is vital that we raise their awareness of the opportunities and the examples of good practice that exist.
Quality of services: We need to critically examine our universities and their services through the eyes of both our incoming and our outgoing visiting students.
For our incoming students we need to be sure that the information we offer them online is good and fi t for purpose, enabling them to see information about several aspects of university life – the courses and modules they are permitted to take, if they can matriculate and choose courses online in advance of their arrival, the means of access to libraries and IT facilities, what software and hardware is available and what they will need to provide for themselves etc. The University website is where most students begin their search for a university to visit, moving from it to the various services websites. These sites need to be in harmony and relevant – they may also need to present some information in more than just the local language. Some of this information fl ow can be well supported by means of electronic buddy systems etc that make use of ICT for communications between students and/or teaching and administrative staff.
Just as incoming students need to be supported, so do outgoing students. They have to be ready to study for a long period away from their home university supports, possibly in settings that offer much more or much less use of technology.
Attention to this area can reduce the stress of the early weeks of the visit.
Language support: Language remains a problem area for exchange and visiting students. Some excellent progress is being made in the use of ICT to enable students to acquire or practice elementary skills in the local language of their host university. Universities could help their incoming students by making use of these, or pointing them towards external websites that contain teaching and self-assessment materials. The less widely-spoken European languages may require most attention of universities in these countries are to attract substantial numbers of visiting students. The buddy system may be one method of helping students through a friendly peer tutor.
European & national actions: Being creative within individual universities is not diffi cult – there are many examples of innovation to copy or adapt. However, some activities can only be facilitated through national or European level actions. Examples of these are: methods to transfer credits for study automatically between universities, which requires standards to operate to; a single identity to enable students to access facilities (including the internet) at other European universities without the need to register physically at them; and simpler methods to fi nd suitable courses in other European universities. Some progress is being made with these at high levels, but national governments need to strongly encourage their universities to participate in them as soon as they are workable.
Eduroam, which can provide an easy-to-use wireless network across European
HE, is an excellent example of this sort of development. It works well in many universities but has not been implemented yet at the majority.
I am sure that the quality of discussion and presentations at the SUMIT conference, hosted by the University of Warsaw, reinforced our commitment to work together to enhance the quality of experience of all those students who wish travel between our universities to gain wider experience of European academic and social life.
---> e-version of this book on www.unica-network.eu
Enhancing Student Mobility
In A Digital World
Sharing Experiences In
An Enlarged Europe
allows students to improve their personal skills and employability. By creating opportunities and improving the quality of mobility universities offer a unique platform where students gain experience and contribute to the making of Europe. The SUMIT project (Supporting Mobility through Information and communication Technologies) aims to support the objective of 3.000.000 Erasmus students by 2011 in an enlarged Europe. It also envisages showing universities in the targeted countries how ICT can be used to enhance the quality of the student and university experience of exchange, which, eventually, will lead to increased numbers of mobile students. In the following pages, the reader will learn about many excellent examples of ways to use technology to support student visits to universities in other countries.
The present publication also contains conclusions and recommendations
for future practice.
Mirta Baranovic, Tsvetan Bogdanov, Noelia Cantero Gonzálvez, Antonio
De Marco, Ewa Derkowska-Rybicka, Christof Devriendt, Denise Haywood, Jeff Haywood,
Anna Laudy, Ewa Kobierska-Maciuszko, Andrea Pescetti, Iveta Putnina, Dorota Rytwi ´ ska,
Peter Vanhee, Raisa Saviaho, Wojciech Tygielski
AN INITITATIVE OF
Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe
Réseau des Universités des Capitales de l’Europe
“This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication communication refl ects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”
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