vrijdag, september 08, 2006

Oslo and Stockholm

Oslo and Stockholm where the universities that sent out very thought-provoking (and excellent English-speaking) presenters for the first European Sakai Days (ESD). Susanne Koch from Oslo University talked about three tasks that we have as the Europeans within the worldwide Sakai community:
1. Identify European challenges and ideas about pedagogy and education; these can be derived from the Bologna process and EU's Lisbon process
2. Ask ourselves seriously: "Does the Sakai framework currently or potentially help us better than, say, Blackboard, and why?" So, for example how well does Sakai support lifelong learning and other things.
3. And if and when the previous questions are answered positively, then we should ask ourselves: "How do we format, maintain and cultivate the network?" One thing that Susanne mentioned (and that was also said at our Euro BOF in Vancouver), was that we could try to apply for EU funding. The complete presentation by Susanne can be found online.
And after this very interesting talk by Susanne, there was even a more interesting one by Frerik Oldsjö from Stockholm University. He really gave us a thorough insight in the Bologna process and the pedogical implications. Fredrik made very clear that the Bologna process will result in a pedagogical shift in our educational systems for higher ed! The purpose of Bologna process (which started in 1998) is to create one European Area of Higher Education (EHEA). And don't be fooled: this is not a EU endeavour. The Bologna process has been ratified by 45 European countries! There are ten operational goals, all revolving around comparability, compatibility and transparancy of the systems for Higher Education.
One of the most mindboggling things that I heard is that this whole process essentially means that there should be focus on learning outcomes and assessing these, instead of content. Or take this consequence: much more focus on (peer) feedback!
Fredrik very neatly had translated the Bologna process into some basic requirements for a VLE / LMS or CMS:
1/ should at all times be possible to have an open dialogue over time
2/ full integration of online and offline activities
3/ discussion / dialogue between all involved
4/ summative and formative assessment -> combine in portfolio, but also basic simple assessment tools (!)
5/ seperate group discussions (threads, visual structure), fora, blogs, chat etc
6/ inspiring and secure (socialization): they need to get to know their peers, present themselves to the group
7/ the teacher (the tutor) should have tools that allow for getting a picture of the learning process.
Fredrik's presentation will be online shortly hereafter. I recommend it!
So, all in all I really liked both contributions a lot!

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