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- Rationale, Objectives, Target groups -

The proposed project called ViReC e-Initiative-University Virtual Resource Center based on a Distributed Learning Environment presents an European dimension attempt for changing learning environment through ICT and ODL in higher education institutions. This application incorporates the concept of technology-assisted distance learning that encompasses distance education, distributed learning, virtual/web-based education, synchronous and asynchronous learning virtual laboratories based on real equipment.

According to well-known technology effectiveness framework this project is located in the quadrant A corresponding to an engaged learning and high technology performance.

The direction of change had in view depends on the status existing in different countries, partners in the set up consortium (Germany, Ireland, Romania, and Greece). The strategy of implementing ViReC e-Initiative is based on the universally accepted concept established by Farrell that a virtual education institution is involved as a direct provider of learning opportunities to students and is using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to deliver its programs and courses.

The concrete aims foreseen in this project are:

a) Raising the quality of the educational process by means of ICT initiative;

b) Use of ICT to improve the learning processes at higher education level (undergraduate, postgraduate) as well as Continuing Education;

c) Development and implementation of new advanced technological scheme improving learning process by incorporating real laboratory equipment into virtual laboratories, using ICT means and tools;

d) Consolidating and extension of the already existing bilateral collaborations between partners from the partnership;

e) Promoting a better understanding among educational personnel, decision makers and the public at large of the role and importance of ICT for education;

f) Development and integration of services and systems in different geographic sites across Europe in a global system providing information for teachers, students, administrators, decision makers, learners and new ICT educational methods;

g) An efficient interconnection using ICT means between European universities allowing promotion of Distributed Learning Environment like this proposed by “ViReC e-Initiative”;

h) Superior interdependency between the learning process and high performance technology, like ICT, Focussing on the engaged learning and high technology performance;

i) Setting up an open pool for exchange of ideas and experience related to pedagogical, managerial, teaching, learning, collaboration aspects, as well as the use of ICT in education, facilitating in this was networking of resource centers, institutions, experts, decision makers and project-coordinators;

The main objective of this project is to set up a qualitative learning environment in an academic European network ensuring an open access to improved methods and educational resources, as well as to the best practice applied at partners by outlining an innovative development of ICT-Based educational products.

j) Compliance to the worldwide trend of setting up integrated learning systems.

Categories of persons who will directly use the results of the project are: students (undergraduate, postgraduate, long-cycle, short-cycle), participants in Continuing Education process from companies, employees (requalification, updating, complementary disciplines, reshaping the profession), participants in Adult Education (looking for new specialities, changing to reshape their position in society, wanting to study a new subject etc), teachers, professors, trainers, school managers.

We’d like to point to the possibility to organize distance laboratory activity on real equipment for some disciplines (like Network Management, Networking devices etc) which will enable complying to the curricula requirements even in places where missing the equipment, or to ensure this facility for isolated learners (living at remote sites) or those disabled persons who can not go/attend such practical workshops in laboratories.