VCSE Guidebook/How to organize and implement a Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe/Introduction
This chapter presents the organisational model of the VCSE and its implementation, with a focus on technological aspects. In this context, a Virtual Campus is understood as “a specific format of distance education and on-line learning in which students, teaching staff and even university administrative and technical staff mainly 'meet' or communicate through technical links” (http://www.benvic.odl.org/). The challenge of developing a Virtual Campus that connects Higher Education Institutions across Europe was twofold:
- (1) In terms of the organizational model, the goal was to design the VCSE as an open and flexible network with distributed responsibilities allowing a bottom-up approach of its educational, administrative and technological aspects.
- (2) In terms of the technical realization, the goal was to develop a web portal that (1) can be used in a decentralized way, (2) is sustainable with respect to a long-term operating system and (3) offers a virtual learning platform for new partners as well as gateways to existing courses.
To meet our expectations to set a good practice example that can serve as a model for other Virtual Campuses, two main aspects seemed to be crucial:
- a. The long term vision and sustainability of the project beyond project funding
- b. Low costs, both in terms of investment costs to realize and operational costs to maintain the technical framework of such a Campus