Institutes to lead EU
e-learning projects

1 Sep 2005

Three Institutes of Technology have been awarded funding as lead partners under Minerva, the EU’s open and distance-learning programme. This will be the first time these particular institutes will lead projects under Minerva, which is promoted in Ireland by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The announcement coincided with the start of a two-day international seminar, entitled Learning in the Digital Age, at Dublin Castle today.

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) will lead projects in conjunction with partners in Turkey, the UK, Latvia, Finland, Romania and Spain under Minerva 2005.

WIT will take as its project the Continuing Professional Development for Construction Management. It is aimed managers in the construction industry who wish to upskill and would like this training delivered to their home or office. Partners in the project are Fachhochshule Karlsruhe, Germany; Instanbul Technical University, Turkey; Multimedia Instructional Design, Waterford; and The Nottingham Trent University, UK.

In its project, DIT will look at integrating theory and practice in a virtual and real-learning environment. The aim is to integrate real and virtual-learning environments in the development and delivery of projects in fine art and visual communications design. Partners are: Art Academy of Latvia, Riga; Middlesex University, London; and Taideteollinen Korkeakoulu, Helsinki (School of Art Education).

Teaching Undergraduate Programming Using Learning Objects is the title of ITT project, which aims to address the challenges faced by novice programmers by providing them with an innovative learning tool. Project partners are Dublin City University; Institute of Technology Blanchardstown; Romanian Society for Lifelong Learning; and System Training Centre, Seville.

In addition, a number of other Irish institutions – DIT, Cork Insitute of Technology, University of Limerick and University College Dublin – will join in projects led by organisations from other EU member states.

At the Minerva conference earlier today, HEA chairman Michael Kelly said there were now approximately 1.5 million students in the EU involved in distance education and technology, particularly internet technologies, were transforming the learning experience.

“A lot of institutes are blending traditional learning methods and new technologies. The ultimate goal is to combine the best of both options to create a learning environment where students can thrive.”

By Brian Skelly