VCSE Guidebook/Enlargement of the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe/Promotional framework and communication strategy/“Active” communication strategy: VCSE Central Demonstration Workshops

From VCSEwiki
< VCSE Guidebook‎ | Enlargement of the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe‎ | Promotional framework and communication strategy
Revision as of 17:24, 31 August 2017 by Admin (talk | contribs) (added Category:VCSE Guidebook using HotCat)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

4.2.2. “Active” communication strategy: VCSE Central Demonstration Workshops

An “active” communication strategy refers to specific efforts to research, target and engage particular individuals and institutions. This is demanding in that the following steps are required:

  • (1.) Extensive desk research is required to find suitable potential partners who are motivated to participate actively in the grass-roots activities of VCSE. Through experience during the project, partners evolved criteria for whom to target. The potential partners should:
    • be actively involved in developing and/or teaching of courses in the area of environment and SD;
    • have an active interest in e-learning;
    • be keen on giving their students the opportunity of international experience through virtual mobility;
    • be, if not directly involved in teaching, in a strong enough position to function as an intermediary to promote the VCSE ideas in their home institution
    • be willing to collaborate on a quid-pro-quo basis, without substantial external funding;
    • be flexible with regards to the formal arrangements needed for international collaboration in education;
    • have the potential to offer e-learning courses in English-language that represent a meaningful addition to the current collection of VCSE-courses in terms of knowledge (topics) and/or competences;
    • represent countries or regions not yet included in the VCSE, so as to culturally diversify VCSE.
  • (2.) Tailoring information to specific interests to engage the potential partner’s interest to improve the chances of their accepting an invitation to a Central Demonstration Workshop
  • (3.) Engagement and follow-up to retain enthusiasm and encourage a commitment to the project

One of the major tools for the enlargement of the VCSE was the development of Central Demonstration Workshops. These were conceived as an opportunity to bring together targeted individuals who would have an interest in the VCSE activities. The objective was to not only present the VCSE, but also give workshop participants a “hands on” experience by giving them access to the on-line courses during the workshop. The main “ingredients” of the Central Demonstration Workshops (CDW) are the following:

  • introduction to the VCSE project: objectives, vision, commonalities and diversity in approach to SD and ESD. Ideas, literature and policy background underpinning the project
  • benefits of e-learning for SD
  • course introductions
  • roles and requirements of new partners
  • administrative issues – registration, accreditation and certification of students
  • presentations by potential new partners
  • discussion on expectations, questions

The Central Demonstration Workshops have evolved through experience and the following points to take into consideration or integrate in the workshop include:

  • discussion on the framing concepts of VCSE: what “Sustainable Europe” means in terms of shaping the project activities and the consortium’s diverse understandings of ESD and how they implement these in their courses
  • discussion with potential partners on their understanding of ESD
  • outline the relevance and benefits of e-learning for SD as we cannot assume a common degree of experience or commitment to e-learning
  • symmetrical presentation of course information and a move away from live on-line course exploration, due to technical difficulties, to using screen shots
  • including space to clarify institutional issues such as contractual relationship/memorandum of understanding
  • clarification on the subject of Intellectual Property Rights
  • discussion on sustainability of courses: strategies to embed VCSE courses into curricula
  • in terms of the target audience, either those already engaged in ESD activities with an interest in the potential of e-learning or those in a strategic position at their university so as to be able to motivate conversion of face to face courses to on-line

The Central Demonstration Workshop strategy for enlargement has been successful: all new VCSE members joined after their attending a CDW and receiving follow-up contact. Twenty-seven guests invited as potential partners attended the two CDWs and Final Dissemination Conference (8 additional invited-guests in the FDC), and as a result twelve have joined (or are currently under the process of joining) while another five have expressed their interest to potentially become partners. With a final event yet to come (Graz, January 2009), we can anticipate a further small increase in these numbers by the end of the project. However, the partnership acknowledges that the key to success of the VCSE does not lie in numbers but in the degree and quality of the cooperation it facilitates both among staff and students, which is what the next section addresses.