VCSE Guidebook/Enlargement of the Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe/Promotional framework and communication strategy/“Passive” communication strategy: VCSE e-Newsletters

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4.2.1. “Passive” communication strategy: VCSE e-Newsletters

  • Target audiences – new partners (as a way of updating them and keeping them in the loop), potential new university partners, people involved in other virtual campuses, professionals engaged in education for sustainable development, e-learning, competence development, universities/teachers interested in developing on-line courses, student groups for sustainability e.g. Oikos, the European Commission, VCSE partner universities, colleagues and high hierarchy members, Erasmus, Regional Centres of Expertise.
  • The objectives of the newsletter activity include the following:
    • Provide a dissemination tool to publicise VCSE events and raise awareness of the project and to contact and hopefully solidify relations with those who are already engaged in e-learning for SD
    • Reach out to those who are interested in e-learning for SD but currently isolated
    • Provide examples of how university teachers have transformed traditionally taught courses to on-line courses, to inspire others
  • Provide a forum for airing ideas, expressing views and communicating results on why e-learning for sustainability is important
  • content –

o introduction – each newsletter opened with a different approach to presenting the need for VCSE

    • project news – primarily about forthcoming events and joining of new partners
    • life on the virtual campus – interviews with students and course tutors on their motivations for being involved, and the challenges and benefits they experienced.
    • features – area to discuss and present ideas on topics associated with VCSE, e.g. on-line course development, policy context for encouraging virtual mobility and e-learning,
  • mode of distribution – brief and concise email with section/article titles and annotations, links to read full article. Also available on-line in full “unfolded” version

The newsletter has certainly generated interest in the project: after sending out the first newsletter, our monthly rate of unique visitors increased from around 200-300 in January to March to exactly 1005 in June. However, this has not yet had any concrete results in terms of new VCSE partners. The process of researching contacts for newsletter distributions was instrumental in encouraging VCSE partners to seek out contacts and think creatively about who might be interested in VCSE for diverse reasons. The database of recipients is an excellent resource for building up a network or community for e-learning for ESD and could be utilised for future networking. The newsletters can be downloaded on the VCSE Service webpage, at [[1]].