E-learning

Centralised Support to the Network of Higher Education Reform Experts (HERE)

Technical Assistance Missions (TAM)

 

Name of Expert

Eva Seiler-Schiedt, Michael Gaebel

Date of Visit

28 10 2015

Themes

e-learning

Objectives of the visit

According to the TAM request, the objectives of the visit embraced the following objectives:

  • To gain good knowledge about the experience of the EU with online-courses design and development.
  • To establish good understanding of the goals and outcomes of the implementation of online courses in Europe.
  • To have an idea about the necessary infrastructure for establishing an online-courses educational system in the institutions of higher education in Jordan.
  • To evaluate the use of online-courses education in higher education and compare it to traditional education in the institutions of higher education in Jordan.
  • To discuss possible paths of cooperation between the national higher education institutions in Jordan and the EU in the field of online-courses education.

Format of the activity (seminar, training, etc)

Seminar

Brief description of activities conducted

  • Presentation on e-learning developments in Europe and institutional responses, focusing on blended credit bearing learning for degree purposes
  • Case study University of Zurich
  • Presentation on MOOCs
  • During each activity, there were time slots dedicated to questions and discussions.

Participants targeted 

Around 60 academics from 4 different universities in Jordan, with different disciplinary backgrounds (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering incl. computer science, natural sciences).

The seminar was chaired by Prof. Dr. Thafer Assaraira, Ph.D.,

Vice-president for International Affairs and Quality Assurance, and Dr. Mouhammd Al-kasassbeh,

associate professor at Information Technology Department.

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Main ‘take-aways’ from the perspective of the expert

  • Achieve a clearer terminology and a clear understanding of different types and approaches towards e-learning within institutions in Jordan: this is a problem shared by universities everywhere these days. Rather than creating a taxonomy, it might be useful to have precise descriptions of ICT based learning activities.
  • Need to develop conceptual, strategic approaches. This has also been emphasised and demonstrated through a presentation from a host university, and in the discussion contributions of many other participants. This should also assess the actual needs for using e-learning, rather than being based on technical feasibility: how could ICT benefit the actual students? Is it intended to reach out to other profiles of students (working students, lifelong learners)?
  • Any implementation would need the buy-in of staff and students. In particular in the beginning, it would have to reply on staff members who are interested and committed.
  • Build institutional frameworks that support e-learning: e.g. regarding to staff (extra) workload for e-course development  it would require the adaptation of institutional policies and provision of reasonable incentives; but also resources such a digital library access.
  • Changing media use and implication for academic and professional careers: course work and curricula should emphasise book reading, as a concern is that student read less books than in the past. On the other hand, it has to be considered that much more as previous generations, they have to learn how to cope with and select from a mass of information sources. While students are technic savvy, teaching has to strengthen their ability to use ICT and the internet for academic and professional work. It would also have to gradually enhance their learning mobility. An issue has been addressed is e.g. the inclusion and exclusion of smart phones – depending on the context.
  • Prospects for developing courses, and possibly also MOOCs in Arabic, to be shared among institutions has been addressed, but not discussed into detail.
  • Economic aspects: there was a discussion on whether and how e-learning could help to save costs and provide more learning opportunities. The workshop could explore this only to a limited extent.