Last modified on 1 October 2016, at 13:23

UNINETTUNO - case study

Preliminary remarks

Scientific contents of the following module were designed and realised by Prof. Maria Amata Garito and are under copyright.

Institution

File:Revica Logo UTIU.jpg

Name of the University: Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO

Acronym: U.T.I.U.

The University website is: http://www.uninettunouniversity.net

The Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO (in English: International Telematic University UNINETTUNO), recognised with the Ministerial Decree of the 15 April 2005, is a non-state telematic university that issues academic titles legally acknowledged in Italy, Europe and in the Mediterranean Countries. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is promoted by Consorzio NETTUNO which has been operating the field of distance education since 1992. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and Consorzio NETTUNO represent a single NETTUNO System.


The present

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO takes origin from the experience of Consorzio NETTUNO and benefits from its know-how that was acquired in over 15 years of practice in the field of distance education and e-Learning.

Consorzio NETTUNO was established in 1992 in the form of a non-profit association, promoted by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, and it united 43 Universities to important companies such as Telecom Italia, IRI, RAI, CONFINDUSTRIA with the purpose of realising Distance University Degree Courses.

When established, the UTIU took advantage also from the European Project Med Net’U, the Mediterranean Network of Universities, from which it derives a marked Euro-Mediterranean characterisation. UTIU internationality is fundamental characteristic that which permeates all didactic and research activities and the academic ones as well.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is based on a close cooperation with traditional universities, Italian ones and also European, of the Arab World, of the United States, Latin America ones and at present it is concluding new agreements with universities of China, Russia and Africa. The alliance of university institutions of many countries of the world allows supplying wider and more diversified offers as it regards the teaching staff and the subjects and educational contents as well.

The main didactic tool is the Internet-based learning environment http://www.uninettunouniversity.net , the first portal in the world where teaching and learning are carried out in four languages: Italian, French, English and Arabic.

The institution is structured upon an International Centre, Faculties, University Degree Courses and Technological Poles. The Technological Poles are located in Italy and also abroad; they are facilities at the students’ disposal equipped with all technologies needed to follow the distance teaching courses, participate in training activities by videoconference and they represent an actual meeting-point to host face-to-face exams sessions, meetings and seminars with professors and tutors.

The management bodies are: the Board of Directors, the President, the Rector, the Academic Senate, the Faculties Councils, the Board of Evaluation, the Board of Auditors. The University is authorised to issue study titles legally acknowledged in Italy and abroad for: first-level degrees (bachelor’s degrees), specialisation degrees, research doctorates and master’s course.

The University’s educational offer (5 Faculties and 7 University Degree Courses) was designed and implemented taking into account the Bologna Declaration (3+2) and is structured according to the ECTS credit system.

The quality of the educational paths offered by UNINETTUNO is assured by the presence of professors and researchers coming from the most prestigious international universities and of professionals coming from the industrial world capable of transferring knowledge, experience and professionalism to all those who aim at enhancing their own professional and cultural background.

For academic year 2008-2009 5 faculties and 8 three-year university degree courses are implemented:

  • Engineering Faculty (Civil Engineering, Information and Communication Engineering and Management Engineering);
  • Law Faculty (Legal Expert in Development and Internationalisation of Enterprises);
  • Economics Faculty (Economics and Business Management, Management of Tourist Enterprises);
  • Psychology Faculty (Psycho-social Disciplines);
  • Literature Faculty (Cultural Assets Operator).

Beside these courses, the University has obtained the acknowledgement of further four University Degree Courses (“Gazzetta Ufficiale” nr. 107 of the 10th May 2006), yet not already implemented for 2008-2009 academic year:

  • Communications Sciences Faculty (Communication Sciences);
  • Economics Faculty (Business Administration, Economics of Cooperative Enterprises and of Non-Profit Organisations);
  • Engineering Faculty (Telecommunication Engineering)
  • What is the institution's annual budget?

The budget for 2008 of NETTUNO System is 11.133.554,00 EURO; of this amount 7.090.672,00 EURO is for Consorzio NETTUNO and 4.042.882,00 EURO is for the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO.

  • How many students does the institution have (a) in total? (b) as full-time equivalents?

The students enrolled in the university degree courses of NETTUNO System are 12,000 approximately. All students (100%) of the Telematic University are full-time students.

  • How many staff does the institution have (a) in total? (b) as full-time equivalents?

Total staff members: 66; among which 95% are full-time staff.

  • What is the institution's "business model"? (a) public (b) private (c) consortium (d) national programme. If (c) or (d) above, list the other partners (or the members) and for each briefly describe its role.

The “business model” of NETTUNO System is based on the double mode of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, including a single great “non-state” and non-profit university; and on that of Consorzio NETTUNO which, in terms of organisational and structural model, is consortium of traditional universities and companies.

The UTIU is characterised by a strong and decided international vocation and orientation that allowed it to rapidly become part of the context of the European higher education institutions, developing a significant strategic alliance with the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Given the great importance that the objective of internationalisation has in UNINETTUNO’s development strategies, it is useful to summarise its main phases and make reference to what is more diffusely reported in the introduction.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO takes origin form NETTUNO - Network per l’Università Ovunque model (operating in Italy since 1992) and from the success of the European Project Med Net’U - Mediterranean Network of University (2002-2006), funded by the European Commission in the framework of the EUMEDIS Programme and coordinated by NETTUNO - Network per l’Università Ovunque and which saw the participation of 11 Mediterranean Countries (Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Greece, France, Italy, Morocco and Syria).

The main result of the Med Net’U Project is the realisation of networked structure based on transmitting and receiving bi-directional satellite technologies, connecting 11 Production Centres and 31 Technological Poles, at the Mediterranean Partner Universities’ sites. Thanks to this network, the only of this kind existing n the Euro-Mediterranean Area for distance education, today all partners can produce, broadcast and receive educational contents, through Internet via satellite and on television, on RAI NETTUNO SAT 1 as well, that, since many years has been broadcasting academic lessons of the Engineering degree course in Arabic, English, French and Italian.

The Consortium was established in 1992 and included 3 universities and 5 companies. In only three years it passed from 3 to 24 Italian and foreign universities and today there 43 of them: Politecnico di Bari, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino and the Universities of L'Aquila, Bologna, Camerino, Cassino, Florence, Genua, Lecce, Milan, Modena, Naples "Federico II", Second University of Naples, Padua, Parma, Pisa, Rome Tor Vergata, Salerno, Siena, Turin, Trento, Trieste, Viterbo "La Tuscia" and 11 Technological Poles.

In addition, we should highlight the priorities that the NETTUNO System gave to itself as business models:

  • Quality of the video professors, selected among the best ones of the Italian and foreign universities;
  • Quality of the educational structures achieved thanks to full professors, regular and associated ones, recruited through selection procedures. These professors are hired by contract in accordance to agreements established with the universities they belong to, as envisaged by the ministerial regulations now in force. So doing, we have formed a stable teaching staff, bound to represent, also in the future, the focal element which assures the quality of the educational paths and that of the recruitment of researchers and tutors;
  • Quality of the computer-based platform, realised on basis of the already developed and continuously checked didactic and psychopedagogic model;
  • Accurate selection, targeted training and continuous coordination and monitoring of the tutors;
  • Realisation of Technological Poles and didactic facilities in cooperation with Italian and foreign traditional universities and with public and private bodies;
  • Development of cooperation relationships with foreign universities for the realisation of distance training courses and the issuing of joint degrees, more specifically focused on the realisation of a Euro-Mediterranean network stably linking UNINETTUNO to the best universities of the Mediterranean countries;
  • Considerable investments in international-level research work and in initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the distance teaching methodologies.
  • What percentage of the institution's students are based outside the home country?

The students who reside abroad represent 20% of the total and come from: Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Nigeria, Netherlands, Russia, United States of America, Switzerland.

In particular, in the Engineering Faculty 85% of the students enrolled are of foreign nationality.

  • Describe the institution's approach to virtual mobility.

The NETTUNO System has a long experience in the field of virtual mobility and of cooperation in the framework of national and international programmes starter up since 1994.

Virtual Mobility actually represents a significant opportunity for distance university for offering its own students an international experience and contributing to the Bologna process.

In the framework of the activities of Virtual Mobility, the University received the accreditation for the Erasmus University Charter – EUC – which supplies that general framework within which to carry on all European mobility activities which the higher education institutions can carry on within the Erasmus Programme and it represents for the University the will to engage in mobility programmes.

The priority in this field is a better integration of the virtual dimension within physical mobility by assuring the quality and the systems of reciprocal acknowledgement of the Bologna process. The objective is that of encouraging the development of European programmes of exchange and cooperation building on the existing European cooperation structures and giving the operational tools (ECTS, European Community Course Credit Transfer System) a new virtual dimension.

In recent years, the University has taken part in several specific projects in the field of virtual mobility in the framework of the e-Learning Programmes of the European Commission. These projects are: HEAL - Higher Education E-Learning courses Assessment and Label; REVE - REal Virtaul Erasmus Project; E-MOVE, An Operational Conception of Virtual Mobility; VENUS - Virtual and e-mobility for Networking Universities in Society.

  • Describe how the institution manages its "brand" (a) in general and (b) in respect of any e-learning aspects.

Most of the University’s brand is managed through the website, advertising campaigns and by establishing agreements and partnerships.

For its advertising campaigns, the UNINETTUNO System and the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO in particular utilise the main tools of web-based communication exploiting the 2.0 system and through its presence on thematic sites and forums. In addition, many articles and papers are published on the most important newspapers and specialised magazines. After a careful study of the target audience and a profiling of the ideal/typical user, the University has opted for these two tools since they are the most appropriate and suitable to get to the target (coverage and pressure). The goals of the advertising campaign are:

  • Dissemination (increase and enhancement) of the knowledge and visibility of the institutional look of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and of its model by the target audience
  • Strengthening the knowledge of the educational offer (degree courses, vocational training courses, language, master’s courses)
  • Highlighting the advantages offered by the distance teaching mode and of the specific characters of the UTIU model (satellite channels, lessons in four languages, bookmarks).

Due to strategic reasons, the advertising camping is carried out in the period where the choice of the university path is decided (end June – November); the budget to purchase spaces is not set in advance, but it is used each time according to the sale of promotional spaces and to the actual needs.

The past

  • Give a narrative description of the institution's history since its foundation, concentrating on key dates, recent years and any e-learning issues.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO was born in 2005 from NETTUNO - Network per l’Università Ovunque model (operating in Italy since 1992) and from the success of the European Project Med Net’U - Mediterranean Network of University. With the Med Net’U - Mediterranean Network of Universities), funded by the European Commission in the framework of the EUMEDIS Programme and coordinated by NETTUNO - Network per l’Università Ovunque and which saw the participation of 11 Mediterranean Countries (Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Greece, France, Italy, Morocco and Syria) the following results were obtained:

  1. The design of two common curricula in the Engineering area according to the lines indicated in the Bologna and Sorbonne processes (three years of basic studies plus two specialisation years);
  2. the production, in four languages (Arabic, English, French and Italian) of all the modules of the degree course in Information and Communication Engineering and in Mechanical Engineering;
  3. the training of teachers, tutors and technical staff strictly related to the competences and skills needed in distance education;
  4. the realisation of networked structure based on transmitting and receiving bi-directional satellite technologies, set up at the 11 Production Centres and 31 Technological Poles, at the Mediterranean Partner Universities’ sites: it is the only bi-directional distance teaching network existing n the Euro-Mediterranean Area;
  5. e) the development of an didactic platform based on Internet via satellite, in four languages – the only one worldwide Arabic, French, English and Italian – and the availability on the satellite channel, RAI NETTUNO SAT 1, of an area entirely devoted to the broadcasting in four languages of the videolessons realised by the professors of the universities of the Arab World and of Europe.

On the 14th March 2006, it was inaugurated a Technological Pole of UNINETTUNO, at the site of the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training in Rabat, in Morocco. In this structure the Government of Morocco uses the distance computer-literacy courses, realised with the Med Net’U Project and aimed at training the executives of the ministries in the use of the new technologies.

On the 15th June 2006, it was inaugurated a Technological Pole of UNINETTUNO at the Helwan University’ site in Egypt, just as a starting-point, and nearly 40 students are enrolled in the Computer Engineering Degree Course of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and they have already successfully passed the exams of the first year. The Egyptian professors were trained by our professors to be able to follow the student as tutors and jointly with our professors the carry on the exams face-to-face and by videoconferencing.

On the 26 October 2008, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic and of the highest officials of Egypt, was undersigned a historic academic agreement between the first Egyptian e-Learning Distance University, the EELU Egyptian E-Learning University, and the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO. By a special provision the Egyptian Government allowed the Egyptian students enrolling to UNINETTUNO courses to get the acknowledgement of the Egyptian – Italian joint academic title.

External environment

  • What is the institution's funding from government as a percentage of annual income?

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO does not benefit from funding supplied by the Government, but its revenues are mainly based on the fees paid by the students. The rate of funding coming from the Government is equal to 0%.

  • Describe the way that funding is provided for institutions in the institution's country, or state that it is the same as for other institutions in the country.

The Government funds only public universities through by supplying resources coming from the Fondo di Finanziamento Ordinario - FFO - Fund of Ordinary Funding). The shares are defined according to a complex mechanism of calculation which takes into account many variables among which the most important ones are: the number of enrolled students, the number of graduates per academic year, the average ECTS credits acquired by the students.

Private universities can receive some direct funding from the Government established annually by the financial planning bill.

  • Describe the legal status of the institution.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is a non-state university, legally recognised and authorised to issue academic titles having legal value in Italy, in Europe and in the Mediterranean countries.

  • List the language(s) that the institution uses for instruction with the percentage of students studying in each. (Bilingual study can also be included.)

The University courses are delivered by means of the Internet-based learning environment (http://www.uninettunouniversity.net), designed and developed by the University in a multilingual format: both contents and interface are available in Arabic, French, English and Italian.

The foreign students represent 7.3% of the total enrolled students. Among these ones, nearly 85% attend courses in English and Arabic; the reminder 5% follow courses in French.

“This cooperation among the Universities represents a cultural initiative allowing to democratise knowledge and that opens the way of global labour and of the dialogue among the new European generations and of the Arab World” (M.A.Garito, 2002)

  • Describe any specific cultural issues that affect the institution's students or state that that it is the same as for other institutions in the country. Mention any features relevant to e-learning.

In Italy’s recent history the university system has been affected by significant reforms started already with the appearance of the Republic during the first after-war period, when the rigid system imposed by Fascism was reformed and was sanctioned the right to university autonomy granted by art. 33 of the Constitution, published on the 27th December 1947 and recognising to higher cultural institutions, universities and academic the right to give themselves autonomous rules.

A second important phase of reforms of the organisation of the Italian universities took place at the beginning of the Sixties with Maranini-Miglio project of reform, implemented in 1969 and whose organisational format was left mostly unchanged up to the new cycle of reforms starting at the beginning of the Nineties and going on between the two millennia.

The phase of renewal of beginning Nineties represent a veritable divide among the university system know up to that time and the developments produced with the opening to the new multimedia systems for higher education. By the Law n° 341 of the 19th November 1990, was realised the “Reform of the University Educational Rules”, by means of which were launched significant innovations as it regarded the universities educational autonomies, the teaching and research personnel, tutoring and scientific-disciplinary sectors.

By the end of the Nineties, a strong drive for transforming university toward a “European model” was given by the reform introducing the Universities’ autonomy. It is the Law nr. 127 of the 15th May 1997, enforced by the Decree of the Minister of the University and Scientific and Technological Research n° 509 of the 3rd November 1999, by which the study courses were redesigned introducing the so-called “3+2” structure, based on the Anglo-American model. The aim was that of harmonising all the European educational systems by inter-governmental treaties concerning the homogenisation of university cycles according the “3+2” structure, an aim established by the Sorbonne agreement undersigned in 1998 among Italy, France, Germany and United Kingdom and with the Bologna agreement of 1999 with the other countries members and satellite countries.

1999 Bologna Process represents an important phase of the harmonisation path of the higher education systems at European level. In short, the objectives of the Bologna Declaration are:

  • Creation of a European Higher Education Area;
  • Worldwide promotion of the European Education System;
  • Harmonisation of the European University Systems.

In Italy, as anticipated in the previous paragraphs, further to the approval of the law n° 341/1990 on the restructuring of the university didactic rule (university autonomy), public-private consortia were established for distance teaching universities.

In April 2005 the “Moratti-Stanca” Decree about “the criteria and procedures for accrediting distance education courses of the state and non state universities and of higher education institutions enables to issue academic titles, was enacted”. This act concretely implements the institution of the telematic universities, authorised to issue academic titles.

In Italy distance education courses are established and implemented by state and non state universities and make use of computer-based and telematic technologies in accordance with the technical requirements indicated by the “Moratti-Stanca” Decree. These universities have to be organised “according to the most advanced computer-based and telematic technologies and are aimed at issuing academic titles envisage by laws currently in force”.

  • Describe the external quality assurance and/or accreditation regime affecting the institution, or state that it is the same as for other institutions in the country. Mention any features relevant to e-learning.

In order to evaluate and assure the high quality standards to the Italian university system, in compliance with the Law n° 370/1999 it was established a National Committee for the Evaluation of the University System. This Committee is an institutional body of the Ministry of the University and Scientific and Technological Research having the tasks of: establish the general criteria to evaluate university activities; prepare an annual report on the evaluation of the university system; promote experimentation, the application and spreading of evaluation methodologies and practices; identify the nature of the information and data that the boards of evaluation of the universities are required to transmit; implement an annual plan of external evaluations of the universities’ or of the individual training structures; carry on technical evaluations based on the proposals of new state and non state university institutions in view of the authorisation to issuing titles having legal value; prepare reports on the implementation status and on the planning results; prepare studies and documents on the situation of higher education, on the implementation of the right to study and on access to university study courses; prepare studies and documentations for establishing the criteria of allocation of the share of readjustment of the fund for university ordinary funding; carry on consulting, preliminary, evaluation activities; identify standards, parameters and technical rules, also as it regards the universities’ specific activities and projects and proposal presented by these ones to be transmitted to the Minister.

According to the above-mentioned regulations, the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO appointed its own Board of Evaluation, composed of experts in evaluation procedures coming from the academic environment and from the non-academic one as well. The Board is engaged in evaluating the training and administrative activities and carries on regular surveys on the students’ opinions.

The UNINETTUNO System is deeply committed in assuring the quality of its educational paths and to the guidelines referring to QA established at European level. In particular UNINETTUNO joined E-xcellence Project and later on the E-xcellence+ Project (that are both coordinated by the EADTU) that promote cooperation in quality assurance in the field of higher education, in particular as it regards the use of e-Learning. In this framework it used the tool devised for these projects to assess some of the courses delivered within the degree courses in order to identify the possible integrations of this tool and spread its use as a valid support for auto-evaluation of the didactics.

  • Describe the approach to credit transfer with other similar institutions.

The students who enrol to the UTIU can apply for the acknowledgment of ECTS credits resulting from professional activities and for certified past study paths, even if they have not been completed.

The Faculty Council assesses the certification submitted by the student and checks the consistency of the study path selected and establishes the final acknowledgement of the credits.

In addition, the Board of Directors, can deliberate as it regards the acknowledgement of the ECTS credits for specific professional categories.

The Acknowledgement of the ECTS Credits has to be requested by submitting a specific application to the Rector.

  • List the main associations that the institution is a member of, with a note as to the relevance of each to e-learning (if any).
  • Politecnico di Torino

Subject: the agreement establishes a mutual scientific cooperation relation and the willingness to use their laboratories to carry on research activities on shared programmes, the possibility to deliver joint academic titles as it regards the Engineering Faculty.

Concluded on the 16th May 2006.

  • University of “Roma Tre”

Subject: in this agreement it is mentioned the possibility of jointly designing and realising university courses, master’s courses, high-specialising courses and distance retraining courses in specific scientific-disciplinary sectors, of using the “Piazza Telematica” of Roma Tre, and also to deliver joint academic titles for research and training purposes.

Concluded on the 25th October 2007

  • University of Palermo

Subject: in this agreement it is mentioned the possibility of jointly designing and realising university courses, master’s courses, high-specialising courses and distance retraining courses in specific scientific-disciplinary sectors, of using the laboratory research of the University of Palermo and also the Technological Pole for research purposes and to deliver jointly academic titles.

Concluded on the 7th October 2008.

  • Scuola Superiore della Pubblica Amministrazione Locale (SSPAL)

Subject: delivery of study grants to young researchers.

Deliberation of the SSPAL of the 18th December 2006

  • Istituto di scienze della Tecnologia e della Cognizione (ISTC) del CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche)

Subject: this agreement establishes a mutual scientific cooperation aimed at enhancing the common research activities as it regards language and communication, globalisation and cultural diversity, scientific and technical information, sciences, techniques and society, technologies applied to face-to-face and distance teaching and learning processes, of virtual libraries.

Concluded on the 20th October 2008.

  • List the main international partners of the institution, in the order of strategic importance, with priority given to collaborations involving e-learning.
  • Partnership Agreement with the EELU – Egyptian E-learning University

Subject: this agreement established a mutual scientific cooperation relationship aimed at jointly designing university degree courses, master’s courses and highly specialising courses and vocational re-training courses, sharing curricula, study programme, and teaching methods.

Concluded on the 26th October 2008.

  • Agreement with Helwan University, Cairo (Egypt)

This agreement is about the scientific and educational cooperation with the state University of Helwan that can rely on 18 faculties and 50 research centres and that has reached high prestige thanks to its engineering faculties. In addition, this agreement envisages the possibilty for Helwan University students to enrol to the degree courses produced by UNINETTUNO and also the possibility to co-produce further degree courses and master’s courses they are both interested in. Thanks to this agreement it was established a Technological Pole at Helwan University and it is envisaged the delivery of joint academic titles with a double title.

Concluded on the 15th June 2006.

  • Agreement with the Université Publique de Tunis El Manar (Tunisia)

This agreement is aimed at mutual cooperation targeted to the analysis and use of UNINETTUNO distance teaching models and the implementation of a Technological Pole. The Université de Tunis El Manar is a state university whose main aims are education and training. It has over 45000 students and it is one of the most important of the country.

Concluded on the 10th May 2007

  • Agreement with the University of Malta

This agreement concluded with the representation of Malta University in Italy, the Link Campus Foundation, is about the study and research work aimed at the dissemination and implementation of distance university degree courses, master’s courses and training and re-training courses paying specific attention to the subjects related to the specific studies targeted to accountants and labour consultants. The University of Malta is the first foreign university authorised to operate in Italy. The agreement aims also at cooperation between the Parties for the establishment of Technological Pole at Link Campus’ site.

Concluded on the 18th May 2007.

  • Agreement with the Université Virtuelle de Tunis

This agreement is aimed at mutual cooperation targeted to the analysis and use of UNINETTUNO distance teaching models and the implementation of a Technological Pole. The Université Virtuelle de Tunis was established in 2002 operating in the field of distance education and training.

Concluded on the 24th August 2007

  • Partnership protocol with the Institut des Sciences de la Communication du CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique – France)

This Protocol is aimed at scientific cooperation in the field of language and communication, political communication, globalisation and cultural diversity, scientific information, sciences, technologies applied to teaching and learning processes etc.

Concluded on the 8th July 2008.


  • Scientific Partnership with the EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities)

Subject: the EADTU is an international organisation which represents the most important distance teaching universities of Europe and also national networks of the organisations operating in the field of distance education and e-learning. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is a member of the EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities) and develops research activities with them.

Concluded on the 27th October 2006.

  • Scientific Partnership with the EMUNI Centre - University Centre for Euro-Mediterranean Studies

Subject: EMUNI is a university centre, based in Portorož, Slovenia, whose statutory objectives are to promote cultural exchange among the Euro-Mediterranean countries by sharing knowledge, higher education and research; to promote networking among the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area; play a significant role in favour of socio-economic and environmental sustainable development. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO signed the Letter of Intent and the Foundation Charter and, in addition, it is member of the Academic Senate of the EMUNI University. At present, an important Master’s course delivered by the UTIU is being held also with the contribution of EMUNI: it is the Master’s course in Euro-Mediterranean Cultures and Policies.

Concluded on the 25th May 2008

  • Scientific Partnership with the ICDE - International Council for Open and Distance Education

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) supplies a global network for the organisation of the whole world that operate in the field of distance education. The main objective of the ICDE is to promote intercultural cooperation and mutual understanding among different cultures enhancing learning strategies and flexibility of the educational models to spread them in global basis. The ICDE is recognised by the United Nations (UNESCO) and since it is a Global Umbrella Membership Organization in Online, Flexible and Blended Learning, is one of the most reference structure at global level as it regards distance education and online training

  • Scientific Partnership with the Anna Lindh Foundation

The Anna Lindh Foundation is an international organisation for the promotion of a network among the organisations of civil society that work for enhancing dialogue among the Mediterranean Countries. To this end, the Foundation keeps open communication channels with the governments of the Euro-Mediterranean Association. The Anna Lindh Foundation mission is to unite people and organisation of both shores of the Mediterranean Sea contributing to enhance a peaceful dialogue and mutual understanding. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO supports and is member of the Foundation playing a role and giving a contribution to realisation of the statutory aims.

  • Scientific Partnership with E.P.U.F. - Euromed Permanent University Forum

The E.P.U.F. - Euromed Permanent University Forum is a network representing 37 Euro-Mediterranean Countries working in favour of internationalisation in its widest meaning. The main objective of the Forum’s activities is to contribute to the establishment of Euro-Mediterranean Area for Higher Education and Research, following the lines promoted by the Bologna Process. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is among the signatories of the agreement for the establishment of the Forum and it promotes its scientific activities.

Concluded on the 11th October 2006.

  • Scientific Partnership with ELIG - European Learning Industry Group

European Learning Industry Group (ELIG) an open industrial group whose members share search for solution to problems dealing with eco-systems applying innovative tools in line with the 21st century evolution. ELIG tries to promote innovation in learning, in knowledge creation and in spreading it all over Europe. More specifically ELIG’s mission is aimed at the following issues: give innovative inputs to the policy makers at European, national and regional level. In addition, ELIG presents itself as a communication tool between research and market, highlighting the most innovative developments and trends in view of sustainable progress in favour of the respect of eco-systems and of the stakeholders and of the market as well. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO contributes to the dialogue and internal exchange among the members of the Group and to the research of innovative channels and tools to share knowledge thanks to their know-how and through its network (2008).

Concluded on the 27th February 2008

  • Scientific Partnership with EuroPACE

EuroPACE is a European non-profit association of universities, educational institutions and of their respective networks. It main objective is to promote web-based e-Learning for the purpose of virtual mobility, to internationalise higher education, to create and share knowledge and lifelong education. To this end, EuroPACE develops, prepares and manages web-based e-Learning projects in the framework of international, national and regional programmes in close cooperation with its members; it participates in e-Learning projects managed by its partners supplying administrative, technical and logistical support.

  • Centro Ecoeducation Celestin Freinet di Quito (Ecuador)

This agreement is aimed at mutual cooperation for the study and use of UNINETTUNO distance teaching models and at the establishment of Study Centre in Ecuador. The Centro Ecoeducation Celestin Freinet of Quito is one of the most prestigious bodies in the field of education in Ecuador and was realised thanks to the cooperation of Italian humanitarian activists.

Concluded on the 10th October 2008.

Strategy

The guidelines that led and are still leading the UTIU development and which represent the strong points of the International Telematic University are:

I. Internationalisation

II. Innovation (research and development)

III. Relations with traditional universities

I. Internationalisation

The strong point of the UTIU development is surely represented by the fact of having succeeded in rapidly getting and developing to an international level concluding significant agreements with Mediterranean countries and agreements with the universities of the United States, Ecuador, Europe, Slovenia and Moscow. The agreements with the Mediterranean countries follow the success of Med Net’U. The Med Net’U Project most important result is the realisation of a technological network, based on a bi-directional satellite Euro-Mediterranean network connecting 11 Production Centres and 31 Technological Poles at the Mediterranean partners’ sites. Thanks to this network, the only of this kind existing n the Euro-Mediterranean Area for distance education, today all partners can produce, broadcast and receive educational contents, through Internet via satellite and on television, on RAI NETTUNO SAT 1 as well, that, since many years has been broadcasting academic lessons of the Engineering degree course in Arabic, English, French and Italian.

In addition, here are the further important results:

  • The development of an didactic platform based on Internet via satellite, in four languages – the only one worldwide Arabic, French, English and Italian – and the availability on the satellite channel, RAI NETTUNO SAT 1, of an area entirely devoted to the broadcasting in four languages of the videolessons realised by the professors of the universities of the Arab World and of Europe.
  • The design of two common curricula in the Engineering area according to the lines indicated in the Bologna and Sorbonne processes (three years of basic studies plus two specialisation years).
  • The production, in four languages (Arabic, English, French and Italian) of all the modules of the degree course in Information and Communication Engineering and in Mechanical Engineering
  • The training of teachers, tutors and technical staff strictly related to the competences and skills needed in distance education.

In order to build on and extend the results obtained and the political-institutional consent generated by the Med Net’U Project the partners, the Ministers and the universities of the Euro-Mediterranean Countries, decided its development into multilingual distance teaching system. This was achieved during the Informal Meeting of the Ministries of Education on “Creating a Euro-Mediterranean Area for Higher Education”, that took place in Catania on the 6-8 November 2003 and in the Catania 2 Conference “Euro-Mediterranea Area for Higher Education and Research” that took place on the 18-19 January 2005, where it was decided to realise the system of the Euro-Mediterranean Distance University with the purpose of establishing a Euro-Mediterranean Area of Higher Education:

More specifically, in the Informal Meeting of the Ministries of Education on “Creating a Euro-Mediterranean Area for Higher Education”, that took place in Catania on the 6-8 November 2003 and in the Catania 2 Conference “Euro-Mediterranean Area for Higher Education and Research” that took place on the 18-19 January 2005, it was decided to realise the system of the Euro-Mediterranean Distance University with the purpose of:

  • Accepting the students’ enrolments to the distance university degree course in Computer Engineering realised with Med Net’U at the partners’ universities;
  • Realise new university degree courses in the fields of: economy of tourism, management, international comparative law, archaeology, Arabic and Italian languages and cultures, management of healthcare services and territory management;
  • Implement master’s courses in the fields that are most demanded in the labour market;
  • Implement short vocational training and retraining courses both as it regards trainers and teachers training a various levels and to prepare for the competences that are required by the global market of labour and linked to the educational needs of the countries involved.

In implementing the political will, expressed by the Mediterranean Governments and referred to above, the Italian Ministry of the University and Scientific Research, Ms Letizia Moratti, with the decree of the 15th April 2005 established the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, transforming Med Net’U from project to system.

With the Declaration of the Catania 3 Conference “Euro-Mediterranean Area of Education and Research” undersigned on the 29th January 2006, the 14 Ministers of the Euro-Mediterranean participating countries agreed on the need of “strengthening a distance learning system, by expanding the results attained through the “Med Net’U” project, in order to encourage the widest possible access to education and training in a perspective of lifelong learning” having recourse to this end to the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO. During the Catania 3 Conference itself, the Italian Minster of Education and Research, Ms Moratti, jointly with the 14 Ministers of the Mediterranean countries inaugurated the first academic year of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO.

Below are summarised the activities carried on by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO in execution of the decisions made in the 1,2 and 3 Catania Conferences:

  • Conclusion of academic agreements with the University of Helwan and Cairo University in Egypt, with Yarmouk University and the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Jordan, the Université Virtuelle de Tunis and the Ministery of Education and Training of Morocco SEFT - Secrétariat d’Etat chargé de la Formation Professionnelle du Maroc); agreements ratified by the Ministries of Education, University and Research of the countries concerned, to make the academic title issued by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO valid also in the Mediterranean countries that signed the agreement;
  • Inauguration, on the 14th March, of a Technological Pole of UNINETTUNO, at the site of the Secretariat of State for Vocational Training in Rabat, in Morocco, using the distance computer-literacy courses, realised with the Med Net’U Project and aimed at training the executives of the ministries in the use of the new technologies;
  • Inauguration, on the 15th June 2006, of a Technological Pole of UNINETTUNO at the Helwan University campus, in Egypt, for the realisation of a Computer Engineering degree course of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO with nearly 40 enrolled students who have brilliantly passed the exams of the first year. The Egyptian professors were trained by UNINETTUNO professors to carry on the tutoring functions. The final exams are carried in the presence of Egyptian professors jointly with the UNINETTUNO ones, both face-to-face and by videoconferencing; as said before, the Egyptian Government, by a specific provision, allowed that that upon completion of UNINETTUNO courses is issued to the Egyptian students a joint, Italian and Egyptian academic title;
  • Collaboration with these two Egyptian universities to jointly design and produce the contents of the distance courses related to the fields of Economics, Management, International Law, Tourism, Cultural Assets, beside the vocational training courses, meeting the employment needs of the new labour markets aimed at supplying the skills for immigrants to the European countries, both the professional ones and the linguistic and general cultural ones;
  • A significant agreement, that was very recently signed with the Egyptian E-Learning University (EELU), on the 26th October 2008 in Cairo, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, Mr. Giorgio Napolitano and the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research of Egypt, Mr. Hany Helal, thanks to which Egypt establishes the first Internet-based distance university of the country, designed and realised according to the model of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO. The two telematic universities will jointly realise university degree courses, master’s courses, highly specialising courses and vocational training courses. They will share curricula, study programmes, teaching methods. The best professors of the Italian, Egyptian, European and Arab World universities will be involved into the project. In order to start the activities they will use UTIU portal http://www.uninettunouniversity.net, the first portal of the world where teaching and learning are carried on in four languages: Italian, French, English and Arabic.

Other relationships linked to the internationalisation process have been developed with other countries. In particular, here we can mention the agreement with the EMUNI Centre that established the Euro-Mediterranean University in Portorož, Slovenia. With this new Euro-Mediterranean University they developed an agreement to make UTIU develop e-learning courses in this university. At present the Euro-Mediterranean University, based in Slovenia, has already funded UTIU master’s course in Euro-Mediterranean Cultures and Policies and has already put at disposal the sites where all the 24 students enrolled to the master, coming from various Mediterranean countries, can attend a training period at the end of the distance delivery.

The UTIU is the only Italian telematic university that has been accepted to join the EADTU (European Association of Distant Teaching Universities) with which it is carrying on an international project aimed at identifying European quality assessment standards for e-Learning (E-xcellence Project) and of the ICDE (International Council for Open and Distance Education). Many others agreements with international institutions can be found in the list of the agreements.

II. Innovation

The problem we faced when designing UNINETTUNO teaching and learning model was to create a distance education structure that, while meeting the educational needs of students, would take account both of the evolution and development of information technology and the results of psycho-pedagogic research. The cognitive and connectionist theories are the theoretical basis for implementing the whole process of distance teaching and learning within the didactic cyberspace of UTIU portal.

UTIU innovation in terms of process and system results from the outcomes of research programme developed up to now with Consorzio NETTUNO. The results of the realised research project represented the theoretical basis of the evolution of the psycho-pedagogic and didactic model that led to the realisation of the new distance teaching and learning model applied to the UTIU and recognised by the international scientific community. Also the 9 UTIU research project funded by the European Commission allow to innovate face-to-face and distance teaching and learning processes. The new projects (further details can be found in the section of this report devoted to research) are aimed at creating a distance education system based on the use of the cognitive and connectionist theories. The aim is that of creating, in applying technologies to the teaching and learning processes a balance between the technical-engineering components and the cognitive, cultural and educational ones that specific of the information technologies. These projects involve many international level experts in several disciplines (technicians, computer scientists, pedagogists, learning psychologists, experts in various languages). The research activity carried on by the UTIU is, at the same time, theoretical-experimental, pure and applied.

The objective is to make the outcomes have positive effects on the theories that are related to the learning processes, on teaching methodologies, on distance interaction relations. From the economic viewpoint, the results could also supply the starting-points to develop new models of e-Learning, but also new technological applications with positive effects for the ITC industry.

In addition, the UTIU has already concretely realised significant innovations linked to:

  • Organisation models of the university structures;
  • Models of organisation and delivery of the didactics (flexibility, availability, support to the learning processes);
  • Teaching and learning models;
  • Professors’ and students’ roles;
  • Evaluation procedures.

III. Relations with traditional universities

The UTIU, as amply said above, takes origin from Consorzio NETTUNO, an Italian association of distance university including 43 Italian and foreign universities partner of consortium and which delivers university degree courses based on a blended didactic model.

Such an origin has greatly helped the collaboration with traditional universities and has allowed the UTIU to endow itself since the very beginning with academic staff of highly scientific quality. All UTIU professors, both those who realise the videolessons and the didactic contents to be included into the didactic cyberspace of UTIU portal, and the professors in charge of the specific courses and the area professors and also the members of the scientific committees and today the Deans and the members of the Academic Senate, and the members of the Technical Organising Committee and today the Board of Directors are all full professors; more specifically, UTIU Board of Directors is composed of 4 Rectors of traditional universities. These relationships allow the UTIU to deliver high-quality educational services and to develop research project with traditional universities. Many full professors of the Politecnico di Torino, of the University of Roma Tre and of the University of Palermo will soon have a double appointment including the UTIU. These universities put at disposal physical structures such as laboratories for research and training activities, libraries, rooms equipped with personal computers and classrooms to carry on the students’ face-to-face exams. In addition, the professors of these universities who are engaged in delivering the UTIU educational services are developing also UTIU university and faculty research programmes.

In several of the agreements concluded with traditional universities they identified forms of cooperation also leading to the delivery of joint or double academic titles, as it results from the details referring to the agreements included into the present report. (see paragraph 1.2 “Relations with other Universities” to get the list of the agreements and conventions in force). In addition, all the professors and tutors of the UTIU are trained to the new profile that these should acquire to become video professors and teachers enabled to realise contents to be included on the Internet in a hypertextual and multimedia mode and to follow online the students’ learning progress. These skills allow the professors to bring about innovation also to traditional teaching processes.

Finally, the UTIU, thanks to the relationships that it established with many European and Euro-Mediterranean countries can facilitate the internationalisation of traditional universities.

  • Describe or provide a document describing the current e-learning strategy.

The psycho-pedagogic model of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO was realised by Maria Amata Garito and it is the outcome of her research work and experimentation of the results developed since 1993 with NETTUNO - Network per l'Università Ovunque.

The research projects involved many international level experts in several disciplines (technicians, computer scientists, pedagogists, learning psychologists, experts in various languages). The results represent the theoretical bases upon which were realised the new organisational models of the distance teaching and learning system and of the new psychopedagogic and didactic models. The model is giving adequate answers to the qualitative and quantitative educational demands of the information society and to the need for flexibility, diversification and internationalisation of the teaching-learning processes; it is acknowledged by the international scientific community, as it results from the various publications and already has significant effects on the theories related to learning processes, teaching methodologies, distance interaction relationship. The cognitive and connectionist theories are the theoretical basis upon which the whole teaching and learning process is carried on in the “Didactic Cyberspace” area of the Internet portal http://www.uninettunouniversity.net (usable in four languages: Italian, English, French and Arabic).

The use of new technologies allowed modifying not only the teaching-learning process, but also the physical structures where this process goes on. The classrooms have been replaced by open structures, the Technological Poles, where technologies allow to set up a flexible and self-managed training process which has modified the roles and functions of the professors and of the students.

Below are outlined their main characters:

PROFESSOR

  • He changes his role becoming that one of teacher-mentor, advisor and guide;
  • From solitary professor to member of a learning group;
  • From professor who controls the educational situation to active participant together with the students in the teaching-learning process;
  • From transmitter of knowledge to “designer” of the students’ learning experience;
  • He only plans the initial pattern of the student’s work encouraging a greater ability of self-guidance;
  • He is more responsive to the students’ learning styles;
  • He promotes discussions re-proposing questions coming from the individual students to the group or to other students;
  • He privileges questions that involve an open answer and that stimulate the students to think in a creative way, establishing correlations among ideas and information that are apparently un-related, resisting to the temptation to give answers, stimulating and helping the students to discover the right answer by themselves.

STUDENT

  • He becomes the “manager” of his won learning process in terms of space and time;
  • He acts as member of a virtual learning group engaged in cooperative and collaborative tasks giving his personal contribution to the interactions of the group:
    • Analysing the subject and contents from different perspectives;
    • Formulating precise questions and trying to identify correct answers;
  • He recognises the importance of acquiring appropriate (individual and collaborative) learning strategies;
  • He learns how to interact on the network with individuals having a different culture and social experience ;
  • He learns to transform theoretical skills into practical abilities, shortly said he transforms himself from a passive receiver of knowledge to an active constructor them and into a solver of complex problems.

Distance learning didactic modes

With the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO the various didactic-pedagogic possibilities of the various media available are integrated and on this basis it is realised an open and flexible learning environment which allow to:

  • Open, also at distance, new communication relationships between students and professors, promoting the shift from unidirectional communication (typical of the first distance teaching models) to a bi-directional communication, also in real time;
  • End the one-way transfer of knowledge and open a new communication line allowing the students to access dynamic knowledge that he can enrich and made available to others;
  • Use through Internet via satellite the Pc as the focal point of a system in which the contributions of the various media converge allowing to realise a true integrate and “open” multimedia model. The PC allows to directly conveying from the university to the student’s home or to the workplace lessons, multimedia products, databases, tutoring support, practice work and evaluation systems.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO proposes a didactics envisaging synchronic teaching/learning modes where there is unity of time, but not of space in the teaching and learning process and diachronic ones, where the educational and training process is no longer linked to the unity of time and space.

Diachronic mode

Above all, it’s necessary to underline that this method offers the highest degree of flexibility: the lack of spatial-temporal limitations allows the student to learn at his/her own pace and at times of his choice. The lack of limits of space also allows the student to use didactic materials in every possible context: at home, at work, at the study centres – according to his or her needs. Therefore, optimal learning is fostered.

Different aspects of learning are included in the diachronic method:

  • symbolic-reconstructive learning
  • learning by doing
  • collaborative learning mediated by written work on supportive technologies.

In the first two methods, man and machine interact: the student uses the Internet-based didactic portal, in particular the area related to the Didactic Cyberspace where he finds also practice work: exercises or virtual laboratories. Interaction is carried out through the use of technologies that are based on writing: forums, e-mail. The written text, since it has the advantage of being pre-planned, structured and consequential, allows to:

  • Keep a database including all the material produced allowing for subsequent consultations;
  • Manage autonomous space for thinking and free consultation of the materials produced.

These tools, leading to the overcoming of space/time limits, create the condition for building a “virtual community” and to trigger networked collaborative learning processes.

Synchronic mode

In the synchronic method, the development of new technologies has brought with it a particularly significant innovation. Telecommunication has made it possible to initiate interaction in real time without needing the participants to be present in the same place. Time unfolds simultaneously for all, but place is no longer a necessary condition.

The synchronic method, therefore, allows collaborative learning to be carried out through video-conferencing, conference calls, and Internet chat rooms. In these virtual spaces it is possible to trigger an interaction in real time without needing the participants to be present in the same place. Time unfolds simultaneously for the whole teaching and learning process, but the unity of place is no longer a necessary condition. The forms of interactivity which are implemented by the Web-based videoconferencing systems and therefore with the virtual classrooms, also that on Second Life, are similar to those that can be started up in real classroom where the teacher asks questions, the students answer, developing collaborative learning and linking automatically the training material to the learning processes.

The Internet-based didactic portal

Internet for teaching and learning

The Internet via satellite didactic platform of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO allows the building of a new psycho-pedagogic model that is characterised by the shift:

  • From teacher’s central role to the student’s central role;
  • From knowledge transfer to knowledge creation;
  • From integration between practice and theory;
  • From a passive and competitive learning to active and collaborative learning.

This psycho-pedagogic didactic model is characterised by the highest degree of flexibility for the student. By this model the student can build his own learning path in function of his educational needs and of his skill-level. A learning environment developed in such a way does not limit itself to offer rigidly pre-established courses, but it offer dynamic contents that can be enriched by other contents existing on the web.

In these activities the students are helped by lists of websites, selected by professor and tutors. Actually in the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, the student is at the centre of the educational process; however he is guided by the new profile of the professor=>telematic tutor who has the task of supplying the tools needed to facilitate the networked learning and communication process in a synchronic and diachronic way.

In the Didactic Cyberspace the students actively participate in the creation of their own learning paths and can implement two interaction models:

  • With professor => telematic tutor
  • With the intelligent system.
Learning environments in Didactic Cyberspace

The Didactic Cyberspace reflects the needs for flexibility and adaptability of the learning path that eliminates the isolation of the individual favouring an active involvement in the learning process and in the educational development.

The learning environments represent an open and flexible tool and allow the protagonists of the learning process, students, professors and tutors to:

  • Create new bi-directional distance communication relations in real time;
  • Realise dynamic contents that can be enriched by other contents, already existing in the web;
  • Integrate different types of media;
  • Non-linear organisation of the information;
  • Customise the learning systems and therefore:
    • Adapt the system to the single user’s needs;
    • Develop cooperative and collaborative learning among the students’ and the professors’ learning communities;
    • Possibility of transforming the knowledge into practical abilities and therefore in professional skills.

Therefore, the learning environments on the Didactic Cyberspace allow to:

  • Supply a single point of access to the web (portal) through which access to large amount of resources available on academic training;
  • Supply exhaustive and updated information on educational contents and events, such as study programmes, tutoring, exercises etc;
  • Organise and deliver educational contents in a pre-planned, structured and consequential way;
  • Use new technologies to make information clearer and more readily accessible;
  • Monitor the student’s learning through constant checks, whose results can be consulted by the student himself in order to self-evaluate his own learning process;
  • Put into contact students, professors and tutors using distance communication tools, both in asynchronous and synchronous modes, in order to make information sharing and learning consolidation easier.

The players who can carry on educational activities on the Didactic Cyberspace are: the student, the area professor and the tutor. Each one of those players has a space on the portal (http://www.uninettunouniversity.net), which we call page, from where they can organise their training activities which depend on their specific functions and roles. These activities take place in the Didactic Cyberspace.

These training activities take place in the Didactic Cyberspace where the protagonists of the training process can access only after having entered their “login” and their “password” and after the system has recognised them, students, professors and tutors can access to their own pages. The system allows to access to didactic contents from different places in order to assure different navigation and material utilisation styles according to every users.

The Student’s page

Here the student can find his own customised page where he can:

  • Search and use the educational material available;
  • Communicate with professors and other students in synchronic and asynchrony mode
  • Make exercises to be submitted to the tutor who corrects and evaluates them.

As it regards other activities that are not included in the following areas:

  • Customised didactic planning: it supplies the student a customised study programme and the didactic activities planning referring to each course. Each student finds the planning of his didactic activities, divided into four didactic periods, on the Internet. The inclusion into the online study classes is structured in such a way as to grant the student the possibility of attending two subjects for each didactic period being guided by a professor/tutor. The result of the intermediate assessment that can be checked by each single student also through the tracing of its Internet-based learning processes, which allows the admission to the exams. Getting through the exams of the attended didactic modules allows getting enrolled and included into the classes of the following courses.
  • Learning process check: each individual student can check, for each Internet-based didactic activity, his own self-assessment and compare it with that one given by his tutor. He can check by himself if there some gaps in his learning and develop new learning strategies with the support of the professor/tutor, but also of his own classmates.
  • Agenda (didactic activities planning): it allows displaying the rendezvous fixed by the tutors or by the professor in the Chat-room, Forum and in the Virtual Classroom; it is possible to use the Agenda to include personal memos or ask for the professor/tutor’s support to overcome any learning difficulties.
  • My lessons on TV today: it allows displaying the videolessons programming schedule being broadcast on the satellite television channel for the subjects being currently delivered.

Therefore, the student’s page is the point where the student can find the links to his courses, form the lately accessed lessons for each course to the statistical data related to tracing.

In addition, in his homepage the student can display all the activities of the day and of the week and the link to his whole agenda, to his tutors etc…

The Area Professor’s page and the Tutor’s one include the same functionalities and the same training materials.

Area Professor

More specifically, the Area Professors have the tasks of:

  • Prepare the training material, the lecture notes, the multimedia documents, the tools needed to learning process and the evaluation tests;
  • Directly enter the training material on the his page on the Didactic Cyberspace, classifying it appropriately to be included into the system;
  • Participate in the synchronic lessons and seminars through virtual classrooms.
Tutor

The tutor’s activities, that will be described in more details below, are aimed at supporting the student and at helping the professor in preparing and publishing the training material on the Cyberspace. He organises the online appointments, checks on a regular basis the learning progress of individual students and of class of students by tracing all didactic activities carried on online, supports the educational activities through synchronic sessions – chats and virtual classrooms, and asynchronic – forums – evaluates exercises and the students’ group work .

The tutor’s page

The online page for each Tutor of the subject being taught will communicate his or her availability (dates and schedules) along with contact details (e-mail, telephone and fax number), whilst in addition allowing access to the following areas:

  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Study Programme;
  • Conceptual Map;
  • Inclusion of Didactic Materials;
  • Didactic Planning;
  • Agenda;
  • My students
  • Evaluation and Statistics;
  • Learning Environments;
    • Video Library: Videolessons, Slides
    • Media Library: Books and Articles, DVDs, Bibliographical Reference, Lists of Websites
    • Virtual Laboratory: Laboratories, Exercises
    • Online Tutoring: Chat, Forum
    • Virtual Classroom
  • Videolessons schedule

The Course Study Programme includes the course aims and the contents.

The Conceptual Map of the course includes the titles of the lessons, the structuring of the issues within each lesson and the bookmarks that link them to the educational materials (books and article, CD-ROMs, bibliographical reference, list of websites, exercises, virtual laboratories) related to the various issues treated. In the conceptual map one can see the schedules chat sessions that are linked to the issues of the videolessons and of the related educational materials and it is possible to highlight the issues of a lesson and the main educational materials associated.

The Didactic Planning section depends on the number of academic credits, as relates to the amount of work the student does. All of the subjects of the Degree Courses at the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are delivered in module formats that have a predefined duration according to the number of academic credits attributed to the course, as has been illustrated before. In the Didactic Planning section, the Area Professor will indicate the approach and delivery timing as to his or her teaching programme, the parameters regarding academic credits and other information relative to the teaching subject.

The Exam Guide specifies and displays the exams dates.

The Agenda is the tool that follows the student during his academic path with the purpose of helping him to schedule his work, supplying a calendar of online events and proposing to the students training materials according to the path established by the student himself and also by the tutors and by the professors who support him. In particular the Agenda:

  • Displays online events such as seminars, interviews and synchronic lessons by chats or in the Virtual Classroom, asynchronic more-in-depth study sessions, collaborative learning sessions scheduled by tutors and related professors on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule;
  • Divides automatically on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly) the contents that the student has to study more in depth, divided according to courses that the student has selected in order to support him along his learning path
  • Indicates the papers and the evaluation tests that the student will have to develop including information concerning the required knowledge to carry them on and the timing and the modes that are envisaged to carry them on
  • Highlights the relevant institutional events, as the dates of the exams and deadlines for enrolling

Through the agenda the tutor/professor can set up a series of online events indicating the date and time of the event and its typology. The events can be scheduled according to the educational calendar and to the students’ availability and can include synchronic training events by chat or virtual classrooms, online assignments on forums, collaborative group activities, online seminars with experts. The new event entered by the tutor is automatically displayed on the “online agenda” of the students who refer to that specific tutor to make them book it in time.

In My Students area the organisation in classes that belong to the modules of each tutor are displayed.

Evaluations and Statistics

Organisation in classes

The organisation of students in classes allows to promote cooperation activities among the students themselves and at the same time to enhance the effectiveness of the tutors’ monitoring. Actually, the management of the classes of students gives the possibility to share activities such as the assignment of exercises or scheduling of the learning objectives; in addition, re-creating a learning social context, gives a significant motivation support to “distance” students.

Tracing and reporting

The student’ activity, during all the phases of his learning path, is checked by the system which keeps a record of all his training performances. The information stored in such a way are put at the tutors’ disposal to enhance and increase the effectiveness of their interventions aimed at solving the learning problems through constant monitoring; to the professors’ disposal to complete the final evaluation process that will have to take into account the results of the intermediate tests proposed to each student, and also quantitative data on the use of the training material; to the students’ disposal to check their own progress and, through a self-evaluation process, to adjust their rhythms in order to attain the training objectives.

Learning environments

Video Library

The Video Library includes all the digitised videolessons and their related slides. The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO digitised videolessons are:

  1. contents modularity that allows the student to access to specific level of competence;
  2. indexing of the subjects that favours hypertextual navigation; indexing will also play the role of a cognitive map showing the student the different training paths and this way becoming a cognitive tool useful to strengthen memory and stimulate hypertextual navigation.
  3. bookmarks that play an essential role: they are graphical icons that will blink and turn on during the lesson to lead the student in an hypertextual way to the information included in the:
    • Practical exercises and the Virtual Laboratory to integrate the theoretical knowledge acquired with practical work through a “learning-by-doing” learning process;
    • Training material linked to the videolessons;
    • Media Library for more-in-depth study to be carried on using the texts stored into the database
    • Virtual Classrooms where, both synchronically and diachronically through videoconferencing, chats, video-chats and discussion forums he will be able to:
      • Access to collaborative and cooperative online with other students;
      • Start a dialogue of a Socratic kind with the professor that can support and help him during his training process;
      • Interact with the other actors of the educational process coming from other cultural and linguistic contexts with a view to learn in global and not in a local perspective;
      • Fully investigate a specific subject in websites that were selected by the professor.

Through the fruition of the digitised videolessons, a possibility will be given not only to start symbolic-reconstructive learning processes, linked to the classical linear mode of teaching, but, thanks to the modular organization of contents, to the indexing of subjects, to bookmarks, the student will be able to develop hypertextual and multimedia learning processes that will allow to enrich and improve the meta-cognitive strategies, that will favour the customisation of the learning processes and will thus allow to promote active, constructive and interactive learning processes.

The videolessons developed a new teaching and learning model.

New teaching models

The new model proposed involves a changing of the university teachers’ traditional competences. Actually, the professors have to learn how to deliver courses on television, to design multimedia products, online exercises and materials to be put on the website ant to guide the students along their self-learning process using non-traditional tools, methods and technologies. The professors have the double function of teaching through the Internet, but at the same time of delivering a learning support activity through the Internet. The have to realise new kinds of books. The professors have the double task of teaching through television and the Internet, but, at the same time, they have to supply a support to learning through telecommunication networks and technologies.

The use of a tool such as television change traditional didactic communication. In the new didactic model, the professors have to learn a new way of explaining, synthesising and presenting his knowledge to a virtual student in order to trigger a critical and reflective learning process. The videolesson requires a specific preparatory work and, in order to exploit all the potentials of the tools, the professor has to work with a team of technicians and experts in language of image. We calculated that each hour of videolesson requires from twenty to thirty hours of preparatory work. This, of course, develops in the professors new communication skills and the use of new languages that area used also to store the results of their own research work. This new training experience has an impact on the way they deliver their lessons also in their traditional academic courses.

In the videolessons the professor teaches in an interactive way, asks questions to the students, the students answer, they interact with the professors, but also among them and jointly develop collaborative learning processes.

New learning models

With regard to the development of learning, it is important to note that the study strategies set up during the use of the digitised video lessons allow setting up a learning process where it is the student who masters time. Actually, the student, through some controls appearing on the screen, such as play, stop, fast forward, rewind, volume level, the student can watch and watch again parts of the videolessons as many time he wishes to according to his needs; he can pause to think and see if he needs to consult further sources, he can see again what he has already seen to enhance his long-term memory; he cans see other parts of the video that can have interesting connections with other material and other sources. These are not only technical functions linked to the modes of use of the videolessons, but they area also meta-cognitive strategies that can facilitate self-evaluation of one’s own comprehension activities. During a traditional lesson it is not always easy to stop the professor to make him repeat what has explained, it is not practically possible to stop to reflect or consult other sources. These new tools of knowledge memorisation allow overcoming the limit of simultaneousness of the teaching-learning process that takes place in the traditional training process. This allows to make the whole process more flexible and to trigger new interactive learning processes. The student, besides having the possibility to customise all his study paths, can interact with different materials and realise a multimedia and hypertextual study strategy; he can organise the stored knowledge using different registers such as text, sound and pictures; he can interrupt viewing the videolessons to consult databases or texts available in the virtual library; he can try practical activities in the laboratory to see if he can transform his theoretical knowledge in practical abilities; he can navigate the Internet to enrich the subject with information that can come from different cultural and linguistic settings, or interact with other students and experts on the subject by means of forums and chats (Garito, 1998). More specifically, a complete hypertextual learining is realised. Many authors having a cognitive and connectivity approach agree on defining the hypertextual technologies as a tool capable of favouring a new kind of learning. since there exists a substantial analogy between the network of links typical of a hypertext and that of the working of the human mind, meant as a neural network. Hypertextual learning guides the student in his explorative dynamics by proposing to him a non-linear type of knowledge that is made up of plots and connections among nodes. In this way a learning strategy, whose main features are the following, develops:

  • An associative and non-linear form of organisation of the information;
  • The presence of diversified and alternative paths that can be freely selected and viewed;
  • The presence of multimedia data: texts, pictures, audio, animations, videos, laboratory experience, discussions.

In addition, hypertextual learning promotes autonomy and makes the student become also author since it give him the possibility to realise navigation paths of his own among the nodes of knowledge proposed and to choose the level of detail and analysis he aims to reach.

Actually, the student is given a learning environment that stimulates exploration and discovery, a tool to “learn how to learn”, to develop new learning strategies, to enhance cognitive processing.

The customisation of the learning paths gives also the possibility of incremental access by the student at different levels of knowledge. In this sense, hypertextual learning can be considered as a flexible process since it respects the different learning styles and allow for a targeted use in function of pre-requisites and of students’ past knowledge.

Thinking is above all creating interconnection among the elements of knowledge: therefore, the Internet-based platform of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO stimulates a learning of network of concepts rather then scattered pieces of information ore sequences. In addition, the perception of protagonism favours an enhancement of the student motivation and consequently a decrease of the cognitive effort.

File:Modello videolezione.jpg

Media Library

The Media Library contains training materials (Learning Objects) connected to the videolessons – for example study sheets, films, images, diagrams, animated material which are all gathered under an Intelligent Bibliographic System. The elements that make up the Media Library represent in-depth study materials connected to the contents of the video lessons. They can be associated with a topic, a series of topics, an entire video lesson, a series of video lessons or the entire course. The objects that make up the Media Library are categorized as follows: books and articles, DVDs, bibliographical references and lists of websites. The in-depth study materials developed in an ad hoc fashion by the Tutor (or by the Area Professor) for the students of his own class and those study materials sent by students and selected by the Tutor (or Area Professor), as they refer to a specific class of students. In the Media Library the student can access to training materials linked to the videolessons, always organised through hypertextual links to the subjects of the lessons.

Virtual Laboratory
On Line practical Exercises

In this section online interactive practice work is included. Their implementation allows the video professors to link the theoretical aspects treated in the video lessons to the practical aspects illustrated of the issues treated by the same videolessons by carrying on exercises, solving problems, preparing papers or real-time simulations. The possibility of posting online exercises by professors and tutors coming from several universities allow the Internet site of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO to dispose of an ever-increasing number of online educational materials.

Virtual Laboratory

Thanks to virtual laboratories it is possible to overcome several limits. In the first place, that one of materiality: modify any object in digital way, offering countless options and possibility to practise; possibility of learning, put virtually into practice what has been learnt, test new techniques before putting them into practice. Through telematic networks the same virtual environment can be simultaneously shared by several users (teachers and pupils, guides and viewers). The concept of space, as a physical entity, also no longer applies, and it is possible to display the subject under study in any time and at any place.

Virtual reality is developing new learning models that will tend to shift human cognitive doing at all levels: from the re-constructional-symbolic mode to that of the motor-perception one and, furthermore, it opens up fields of knowledge to the motor-perceptive mode that were before only accessible to the re-constructional-symbolic one. The Virtual Laboratory of the International Telematic University UNINETTUO appears as a true environment where the student will be able to put into practice the abstract principles learned during the theory lessons, activating a learning process of the “learning by doing ” type. In this respect, the Virtual Laboratory of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO is an integral part of the lesson since it makes possible to immediately link with the direct experimentation of what is illustrate by the professor whenever the student wishes so.

Also the exercises put at the students’ disposal have been included into the Cyberspace in order to make the completed by the students and submitted to the tutor to be evaluated; so doing the student is constantly supported and guided in the analysis of the procedures carried on and of the mistakes done and by the feedback of the intelligent system and/or telematic tutor. The goal is to create a powerful synergy in the virtual laboratory so that theoretical learning and practical problem-solving co-exist in the correct ratio and fully integrate each other: the student will be able to think about his experiences in the learning environment, and the abstract principles described by the teacher become motivated, are made operative and can be committed to memory thanks to the problem-solving activities.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO learning environment gives the student an absolutely active role; all the training materials are put made available for this purpose. The student is not left alone, but he is guided by an expert tutor. This is the reason why the portal has a special area called online tutoring.


Online tutoring

This is the real interactive synchronic portal section. Inside this section real tutors/teachers assist students in the virtual classrooms by means of chat, also audio and video, correct their papers, guide them to overcome learning and psychological difficulties, linked to distance student issues. Tutoring is structured in classes of 20 or 30 students, 20 for the Engineering Faculties and 30 for the other Faculties. In general, the telematic tutor will give students cognitive support:

  • Giving information on the structure of the course and its aims;
  • Giving user-students an evaluation and feed-back on the work done and the skills acquired both during the learning process and at the end of the course;
  • Developing study skills such as critical skills and meta-cognitive learning strategies;
  • Encouraging the anchoring of the new skills and knowledge to other knowledge and contexts;
  • Facilitating access to technologies and materials that the users students will use during the course.

The tutor will have to:

  1. Encourage the structuring of knowledge exchange networks, in a complex system, comprising telematic tutors, students and technologies, which is capable of working better than the sum of the single parts
  2. Select the didactic material in order to guarantee access to information in an adequate format and level for the skills and knowledge of the various students. The resources will have to be grouped, perhaps in databases organised by level of complexity, in order to guide people who are not used to navigating (Garito 2000c).

The telematic tutor‘s role takes place by different didactic scenarios: “one-to-one” and “one-to-many”.

“One to one” scenario (learning in a single mode)

In this scenario, by means of videochats, chats, e-mail, the telematic tutor assists the student during his exploration of the different environments, giving a constant evaluation of his didactic progress, whenever the student wishes to. The telematic tutor, by means of interactive dialogues of the Socratic style, will help the student to analyse his own thinking and to discovers and correct not only his mistakes, but also their causes. The telematic tutor will have certain special functions, borrowed from specific experiences in the field of distance tutoring, such as:

  1. Support to student motivation
    • Mobilising and maintain motivation
    • Creating an open and positive atmosphere
    • Compensating the social requirements of the user-student
  2. Help on the content of the course
    • Connecting the contents with previous knowledge
    • Solving problems in the course contents
    • Stimulating the application of these contents in professional life
  3. Development of study skills
    • Promoting a critical sense
    • Developing learning styles and cognitive strategies
    • Helping to auto-regulate study and training
    • Promoting awareness of contextual learning factors
    • Introducing the student to the use of new technologies (e-mail, chat, videoconference, the Internet)
  4. Evaluation/feedback
    • Informing the user-student of his/her progress
    • Preparing the user-student for his/her exams
    • Helping the user-student to develop realistic self-evaluation skills(Garito 2000c).

“One to many” scenario (collaborative learning mode)

In this scenario, by means of real time videoconferences and off-line forums, the telematic tutor organizes and structures collaborative learning sessions, to promote interaction among the different actors of the educational process. The telematic tutor will actively direct the work of the groups. The telematic tutor has to:

  • Organise group objectives clearly and precisely in order to prevent participators from wasting their energies on insignificant interactions and activities;
  • Define specialised tasks and assign them to the various members;
  • Clearly define the personal responsibilities of each member;

Particular attention must be paid to the group objectives, which have various specific functions. The tasks will be selected so as to offer a stimulating but not impossible challenge in order to activate motivation and stimulate the sensation of self-effectiveness. In particular, the tasks must be complicated enough to:

  • Allow each participant to make his/her own contribution to the achievement of the objective;
  • Ensure the participants realise that the group has greater skills and resources than the individual members.

The tutor must support the student motivation by encouraging the creation of an open and positive social environment. The type of environment that is planned to be created must stimulate reciprocal co-operation and help between students, allowing everyone to express himself and participate. In particular, he/she must pay attention to the social processes taking place in the group in order to ensure that these are directed towards:

  • Social aims in order to stimulate social activities and behaviour;
  • The adaptation of individual needs;
  • Ensuring equal opportunities for all the participators to achieve the objective.

The establishment of learning communities will encourage participations in the various groups to combine their skills and attempt to reach a common and shared objective. In this way various cognitive processes will be activated:

  • User-students will have to explain their reasoning and understand that of other people. This will “force” them to formulate their thoughts clearly and highlight any shortcomings in communication. They will therefore have to carry out a specular task of decoding other people’s thoughts in order to achieve a further process of communication clarification.
  • During social interaction, it is very probable that a “cognitive conflict” will arise. This will oblige user-students to explain and review their basic concepts when they come into contact with information they didn’t know beforehand, perhaps contradictory, proposed by the other group members.
  • There is a cognitive challenge in co-operation where user-students attempt to defend and argue their points of view with the other learning partners. These challenges stimulate them to look for new arguments to supporting their view, and promote acceptance of other people’s ideas when their arguments are recognised as being valid.
  • With co-operation, people also learn that criticisms are aimed at ideas and not at people and this fact stimulates a feeling of respect towards the others and confrontation training that is seen as a moment of growth.

Learning therefore becomes a social process that promotes affective and motivational dynamics:

  • Group study supports the motivation of its members, helping them to overcome difficulties. Various research projects have shown how the level of self-esteem in groups is greater than in individuals because it is stimulated by the other members.
  • When a learning group realizes that collective success depends on the success and work of everyone, the willingness to provide emotive and didactic support grows, as does self-esteem.
  • Thanks to shared efforts and different contributions, the activities of the group encourage students to demonstrate that the subject and the objective they are pursuing are of great intrinsic importance, thereby increasing enthusiasm and self-esteem.

As regards his/her relationship with the organisation, the following will be required of the telematic tutor:

  1. Must have a thorough knowledge of the characteristics of telematic environments, especially those encouraging collaboration and learning, i.e.:
    • Offering a welcoming social environment;
    • Concentrating the attention of students on the problems of shared understanding;
    • Encouraging exploration;
    • Encouraging connectivity to ensure that students follow the logic of their reasoning;
    • Giving pride of place to group rather than individual work.
  2. Will give the organisation feedback on the opinions of the students concerning the course in order to allow the organisation to make improvements to courses and interaction methods.
  3. Will collaborate with the other institutional roles in order to redefine the role of the teachers who will have to introduce specific elements for distance collaborative environments into their activities:
    • Preferring to reply to student questions rather than asking them and encouraging communication between students during the search for solutions;
    • The teachers will act as guides and tutors, providing as much personalised feed-back as possible and becoming real and proper promoters of knowledge.

In short, the telematic tutor in his new function should:

  • Play the role of teacher-director that designs learning scenarios and who, later on, cooperates with his “students” to create and educational path that should take into account different styles of learning;
  • Supply the students not only with theoretical and conceptual tools, but also tools that could allow them to transform knowledge into practical abilities, then into professional skills;
  • Promote, thanks to the “virtual laboratories”, the integration between knowing and being able to do;
  • Develop models of sharing knowledge with the other users of the Network promoting collaborative learning processes;
  • Play the role of somebody who orientates and facilitates and give everybody the necessary tools to help the student find the information he needs on the Net and avoid his getting lost in the Web Hyperspace;
  • Promote socialization models on the Net between distance students and teachers communities.
Forum and Chat

This area is devoted to Communication Services (diachronic and synchronic): Forum and Chat allow teachers and students to share opinions, ideas and information about different subjects linked to distance courses. Forum and chat help to in setting up perfect virtual Learning Communities. Forums allow a major interactivity thanks to the organisation of three macro-areas: Student’s Forum, Teacher’s Forum and Subject Forum. All macro-areas have, inside, a generic forum, devoted to socialization, to inquiry about the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and to signal of any miscarriage found during navigation. Forum has been though with the intention to involve users in sharing information about exams, texts an practices and to exchange institutional material or self prepared material. Forum represents a direct way of communication, encouraging and developing discussion, setting up a continuous increasable library that remains at student’s disposal. Inside Student’s Forum area, thematic forums have been set up, divided and named according to different University Degree courses interested. In Teacher Forum area, specific forums have been set up directly from teachers that has also a role of administrator together with the tutors. The Subject Forums are characterised by their didactic and deepening function. The Chat has been divided into macro-areas: a general “Room” and “Rooms” divided per each Learning Centre, per video-professors and per local telematic tutors/teachers.

  • What is the percentage of students
    • taking courses wholly or largely delivered by e-learning

Percentage: 100%

    • taking courses where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is "significant" (i.e. has an impact on staff or students)

Percentage: 100%

    • taking courses where the where the amount of institutionally supplied/guided e-learning is insignificant? In each case comment on the answer.

Percentage: 0% All the degree courses of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are delivered by distance mode; the only activities carried on face to face are the exams.

  • Give the percentage of the institutional budget that e-learning represents. Comment on how it is measured including the assumptions made, whether it is appropriate and any trends.

The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO delivers only distance teaching courses, therefore 100% of its institutional budget is devoted to the realisation of distance activities.

Structure

  • Describe the institutional structure, preferably supplying an organogram.

File:Organigramma.jpg

  • Classify the e-learning support model as (a) hub (b) distributed (c) hub and spokes (d) complicated (e) non-existent. Comment on the choice.

The e-Learning support model used is both a centralised one (thanks to the Students Secretariats and the Faculty Deanships) and a capillary one (thanks to the tutors who support the students classes for each module of every degree course). The institutional aims and the values that guide the University’s strategic choices and its international dimension and the psycho-pedagogic didactic model used, are reflected both on the organisation of the UTIU on the territory, a flexible and open organisation and on it “internal” organisation capable of putting into practice the programme orientations identified by the governing bodies. The UTIU organisation structure on the territory appears as “network” structure: a Coordination Centre and Technological Poles and Production Centres located on the national and international territory interconnected by telematic networks and also through transmitting and receiving satellite dishes. At present, the UTIU can rely not only on the Technological Poles already set up in Italy, but also on the structures and technologies of 31 Technological Poles and 9 Production centres, set at the universities’ sites and vocational training centres of the Med Net’U Project partners and dislocated in 11 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area, as shown in the picture below:

Poli.jpg

The Technological Pole is a didactic structure equipped with the new Information and Communication Technologies (TIC) distributed on the national and international territory that put at the students’ disposal all the technologies needed to attend distance teaching courses, to participate in the training activities by videoconferencing, take the exams; it has coordination and supervision function of the training and research activities in its respective territory and it supplies a physical place of interaction and meeting among students, professors and tutors. Students who do not dispose of a high-speed Internet connection at home and therefore to all the distance services supplied by the UTIU, can benefit from the services offered by the Pole. Students instead who cannot provide themselves with appropriate equipment (a PC connected to high-speed Internet, also via satellite) set up a receiving workstation at home.

The Production Centres are structures provided with the equipment to realise multimedia educational product (videolessons, online exercises, texts, Internet sites, multimedia products) that are broadcast on satellite television, on Internet via satellite and that are available in the learning environments on the didactic portal, the first distance teaching portal in the world realised in four languages (Arabic, English, French and Italian).

  • Describe in more detail the structure for the e-learning operation and how it maps into the institutional structure

The University’s “internal” organisation was designed and organised in:

  • Organs of government as it regards the definition and supervision of the University’s strategic orientations;
  • Academic structure: Faculties;
  • Operational management system (technical and administrative staff) for the support services related and complementary to teaching and research activities, including seven structures:
    1. Administrative structure,
    2. Personnel structure,
    3. Marketing structure,
    4. Supply of Didactic Services structure (it manages the Students Secretariat, it coordinates the Technological Poles on the territory, it manages the Programme Schedule and the online didactics).
    5. Production structure,
    6. Technological structure,
    7. Research and Development structure.

Faculties

Apart from their institutional tasks, envisaged by the Statute, Faculties have the task of defining the Study Programme, the modes for carrying out practice exercises and exams, the selection of the professors in charge of the video courses, the quality assessment of the educational material realised by the Production Centres located on the national and international territory; the coordination of the tutoring activities, the quality assessment of all educational services delivered by means of the new technologies and connected to each Faculty, promotes the development of research programmes.

Administrative structure

The Administrative Structure is in charge of the management of the General Accountancy, Analytical Accounting, Provisioning and Supplying.

Personnel structure

The Personnel Structure in charge of the human resources management, therefore of the technical-administrative personnel and of the teaching body as well.

Marketing structure

The Marketing structure is in charge of the promotional and marketing activities supporting the development and strengthening of the University.

Supply of Didactic Services structure

The Supply of Didactic Services structure is in charge of ensuring the effective coordination and the operational support of didactic activities, and for ensuring the compliance with the Statute of the Student Services. In particular, this department is in charge of the Secretariat for Students, the coordination of the Technological Poles on the territory, the management of programs schedule supporting the distance delivery of university courses, and the online didactics management. More specifically it:

  • oordinates the activities of the Faculties and of each Degree course or training course delivered at distance;
  • Coordinates the didactic and organisation activities of the decentralised structures of the national and international Technological Poles;
  • Coordinates the production of the videolessons and of their related didactic materials on the Internet;
  • Sees to the training of the professors and tutors;
  • Realises the database systems of didactic materials produced and realises the databases and the satellite and telematic connections between the head office and the various national and international Technological Poles;
  • Manages and prepares the programming schedule of the videolessons on the satellite channels;
  • Manages the Internet-based didactic portal.

The Students Secretariat manages enrolments and the academic career (as it regards all administrative and didactic aspects) of the students. The Esse 3 system allows that these activities take place online in the area devoted to the Students Secretariat on the UTIU didactic portal.

Production structure

The Production structure is in charge of the production and update of all didactic materials, of both the videolessons and of the multimedia didactic materials for the Internet.

Technological structure

The Technological structure is in charge of assuring the full efficiency of the technological infrastructures, with specific reference to the planning of the development of the software platform. The Technological structure manages the UTIU technological structures as it regards both via Internet connections and the satellite networks that allow high-speed connections and also the television channel RAI NETTUNO SAT 1, and the hardware and software technologies, the virtual classrooms and the connections by videoconferencing on the Internet and on Second Life. As it regards course delivery the University utilises the Internet technology and the RAI NETTUNO SAT 1 satellite channel. In addition, the UTIU can rely on a web-based system of Internet via satellite linking the National Centre in Rome with the 31 Technological Poles set up at the universities and training agencies, partner in the Med Net’U Project in 11 Mediterranean countries. This technological structure that allows to interact by videoconferencing with professors and students represents the technological basis working in all UTIU Technological Poles and Study Centres. The model of organisational structure allows the development and realisation of the UTIU psycho-pedagogic didactic model that is enclosed to the present report. Television Channels. On RAI NETTUNO SAT 1 it has been realised the UTITU programming schedule and every day the video courses related to the faculties implemented by the UTIU are aired 24 hours a day. RAI NETTUNO SAT is the first television channel of the world that delivers its contents in 4 languages. All courses are digitised and posted on the Didactic Cyberspace of the Internet-based Learning Environment.

Research and Development structure

The Research and Development structure is in charge of the promotion of the research activities as well as technological, didactic and scientific development.

  • Describe the committees that oversee e-learning (including the rank and role of the Chair in each relevant committee) and their relationship to the organisational structure.

In Italy it is envisaged that in every university it has to be established an Internal Evaluation System of the administrative management system, of the research and didactic activities and the measures adopted to support the right to study. The Board of Evaluation of the University that enjoys operational autonomy and the right to access to all necessary information carries on the universities evaluation actions.

Learning and Teaching processes

Learning and teaching design and delivery

  • Describe how choice of pedagogies and technologies is made for a typical programme that is envisaged to include significant e-learning.

Main didactic tool to access and to use the videolessons, use the didactic material and all the other student’s support elements is the personal computer. Connecting to the UTIU website you access to the Internet-based learning environment which envisages a massive use of e-Learning information technologies. The student has to follow a study programme that is available in the section called Didactic Cyberspace: in the Didactic Cyberspace are available, for each module included in the curriculum, the professors’ pages, the tutors’ pages from which it is possible to access to: videolessons digitised with bookmarks allowing for hypertextual and multimedia link to books, selected bibliographical reference, texts, exercises, virtual laboratories and lists of websites selected by the professors.

The Professor and Tutor’s page is considered as the focus of the didactic activities and is structured according to different learning environments that guide the student along its learning path. According to this model the student can build his own learning path based upon his learning needs and his skill-level and he is at the centre of the learning process, guided by the new profile of the professor=>telematic tutor who has the task of supplying the tools needed to facilitate the networked learning and communication process in a synchronic and diachronic way.

The proposed learning activity allows the shift:

  • From knowledge transfer to knowledge creation;
  • From a passive and competitive learning to active and collaborative learning
  • From the simple to the complex (videolesson and intelligent library);
  • From theory to practical projection (learning by doing in a virtual laboratory);
  • From guided exercises to research on the World Wide Web (Internet);
  • From individual study to interactive dialogue between teachers and students and among students (on the Internet).
  • Describe what scope staff have at delivery stage to refine or in some cases override design decisions made earlier.

The staff, which the student has to refer to, is the professor-tutor. In the website there is an area devoted to direct interactions between students and professor-tutor. In this section actual professor-tutor assist the students through chats, also audio and video, correct their assignments, guide them to overcome any learning or psychological difficulties arising from distance study. Online tutoring is organised in classes, with an advanced system of profiling where the user is recognised unequivocally, allows constant monitoring of the learning process of each individual user/student. Using the chats, video-chats, the professor-tutor, through by means of the Socratic-style interactive dialogues, helps the student to analyse his reasoning process and discover and correct not only the mistakes, but also their causes. Through real-time videoconferences and recorded forums, the telematic tutor organises and structures the collaborative learning sessions to favour the opportunities of interaction among the different actors of the educational process and develops networked socialisation models between communities of distance students and teachers. The professor => telematic tutor plays the role of professor-director, designs learning scenarios and gives the students theoretical and conceptual tools, but also tools that transform the knowledge in practical abilities and therefore into professional skills; it favours the integration between know how to be and know how to do.

Learning and teaching development

  • How much e-learning content is sourced from outside the institution? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful).

The focus of the training activities is the videolessons that are produced in the University site as well as the slides, the exercises and the virtual laboratories: value 1 (equal to 100%) The University professors and tutors produce bibliographical references and lists of websites in-house, but, in this case, they refer also to external materials: value 2 (equal to 80%) As it regards books and articles, we produce them partly in-house and partly come from external sources: value 3 (equal to 60%)

  • Of all e-learning content sourced from outside the institution, what fraction is OER? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment.

In the training practice the staff suggest lists of websites where the students can find OER and this can be quantified by value 2 (equal to 40%).

  • When staff in the institution develop content, is the content (a) owned by them and licensed to the institution, (b) owned by the institution but with some licensing back to staff, (c) owned by the institution but with no licensing back to staff, (d) unclear or disputed IPR position? Whatever option is chosen, provide a narrative describing the situation in more detail.

(c) It is owned by the University, with no licensing back to staff.

In the contracted conclude by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO with the teaching staff it is established that the didactic material supplied by the tutor further to his work becomes property of the UTIU which can use it as it likes best, including its publication within the scope of its educational activities.

  • When content is sourced for a programme within the institution, how much is sourced from other departments within the institution? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment (an exact percentage is useful).

Within the UTIU there are no departments, but Faculties and degree courses. In implementing new programmes we always try to reutilise useful contents from the already-delivered courses. In quantitative it is possible to indicate a value equal to 1 (below 20%).

  • What is the role of student-generated content in the institution's programmes? Use a scale of 1-5 with a comment.

The students, interacting with the tutor and the professor, have the possibility of suggesting how to enrich the training materials. In addition, they realise learning communities in within which the participants in the various groups are encouraged to share their skills trying to attain a shared and common objective. So doing several cognitive processes are set off. Within the learning communities the student-generated content is equal to 2.

Learning and teaching evaluation and quality

  • Describe the quality procedures (a) in general terms and (b) with respect to e-learning.

Progress tests are carried on both in itinere and through a final exam. In itinere the assessment is made by the tutor in a qualitative and quantitative way and by the Intelligent System realised in the Didactic Cyberspace. The platform tracing and reporting system allows to continuously check all student’s activities during the different phases of his learning path: access to a didactic unit, usage of different learning contents, time spent in each didactic unit, frequency of the contributions in the virtual class, evaluation and self-evaluation on intermediate tests, evaluation on the quality of the contributions in the virtual meetings sessions. The information related to the usage time, to the visited didactic units, to the participation to discussion forums and to chats and exercises that are carried on and relative assessments and self-assessments are stored in a database to be displayed later on to the authorised users of the reporting system. The information stored in such a way can be used by the:

  • Tutors to enhance and strengthen, through constant monitoring of the students’ activities and students’ groups, the effectiveness of the solution of the learning problems, carrying on the role of guides and motivation to study;
  • Professors to complete the final assessment process that will have to take into account the results of the intermediate tests proposed to the individual students and to the student’s groups, and also of the quantitative data relating to the use of the training materials and on the participation to collaborative activities and qualitative assessments expressed by the tutors on the occasion of synchronic and asynchronic virtual meetings;
  • Students to check their progress and, by means of an auto-assessment process, ad just one’s own paces in order to attain the fixed training aims.

The didactic approach of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO does not follow a traditional semester plan. Instead, it unfolds as teaching materials are delivered. All of the teaching activities of the Degree Courses at the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO are delivered in modules of a variable duration based on the academic credits of the given course. These are repeated four times each academic year. For each teaching subject the students are divided into classes on the basis of individual profiles that are the result of the Entrance Questionnaire that students fill out at the moment of enrolment. A tutor is assigned to each class, which can contain up to 30 students. This applies to all of the Faculties, with the exception of the Degree Course of the Engineering Faculty where the classes can contain a maximum of 20 students. During the period of time in which teaching is carried out, your tutor will follow your progress as the didactic activity unfolds, furnishing you with ad hoc learning materials and interacting with you through the available systems of communication available on the Tutor Page of the Didactic Cyberspace. During the course delivery period, the tutor carries on qualitative and quantitative evaluations of the learning progress in order to continuously monitor the results of the teaching-learning process and to offer the students a customised tutoring in view of the final exam. The quantitative evaluation of the students participation is carried on by the tutor on basis of the statistics related to students’ navigation on the Didactic Cyberspace, in terms of number and duration of accesses to the various sections of the Internet site. In order to integrate this level of monitoring, the Tutor administers evaluation sheets to all the students (preferably with questions and open answers and/or exercises) in order to check and see how well the student has assimilated the contents of the professor’s lessons. The results of the qualitative and quantitative evaluations constitute the basis for strengthening the student’s cognitive abilities.

The Tutor’s offering of supplementary learning materials serves two purposes: on one hand to strengthen any weak spots in the Learning Process of the single student or group of students and on the other hand to satisfy eventual requests for study in greater depth.

At the end of the course delivery period we organise exam sessions. Students who have followed the study programme as set by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO will be allowed to sit the exam. The final exams of each selected study course are carried on face-to-face, according pre-fixed schedules, at the head office or at the branches of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO. In the Tutor’s page the student finds a section called Exam Guide which includes: the date, time and place of the exam, the members of the exam commission, the exam modes, the requirements to sit the exam: issues to be studied to take the exams, text books, online exam booking modes, documents required to take the exam.

  • Describe the approach to evaluation of programmes (a) in general terms and (b) where such programmes have significant e-learning components.

Every year the students answer a questionnaire surveying theirs satisfaction level as it regards the degree course and the services in general and the e-Learning contents programmes as well. The answers received through the questionnaire are analysed by the Board of Evaluation of the University and the relative results are taken into account in order make any needed enhancements to didactics and to organisation.

Meta Learning and Teaching processes

Communications

  • Describe how the institution communicates good practice in e-learning within itself, focussing on communications across internal boundaries.

The information exchange with internal staff takes place on the UTIU website and thanks to regular direct mailing.

  • Describe how the institution communicates its good practice in e-learning to organisations outside.

The privileged channels are press releases, thematic pages on the website, contributions to public conferences and publication of scientific articles to present more-in-depth- studies and good practice.

  • Describe recent occasions on which institutional leaders or managers have made presentations with significant reference to e-learning.

Recent occasions in which the scientific contents and the methodological approaches and research outcomes have been presented are the international seminars and conferences listed below:

  • National Seminar “Alphabétisation : Savoir pour Pouvoir LIFE - Literacy Initiative for Empowerment” on the occasion of the National Literacy Day in Morocco. Presentation on « Cours télévisé d’alphabétisation : Présentation d’un prototype » Rabat, 13 October 2008
  • Conference “La Città della Pace per i Bambini in Basilicata”

Participation in the Round Table with Betty Williams and Rigoberta Menchù Tum on the theme: “Come collaborare alla realizzazione della Città della Pace per i Bambini in Basilicata” Matera, 27-28 September 2008

  • Study Day – “Bilancio e Prospettive dell’Alfabetizzazione nel Mediterraneo”

Presentation of the Project “I lean Arabic: the Treasure of the Letters” Roma, Camera dei Deputati, 8 September 2008

  • EXPO E-Learning Barcellona 2008

Participation in the Round Table for comparing projects and experiences of Italian universities and Spanish and Latino American Universities. Barcellona, 3-5 April 2008

  • Conference “Comunicazione e Geopolitica: La Televisione Satellitare nell’Era delle Nuove Grandi Migrazioni - IV Incontro Internazionale dei canali all-news. Migrazioni e nuove audience interculturali: il ruolo dell’informazione satellitare”

Participation to the session “I Nuovi Progetti per l’Integrazione Culturale” Rome, 28-29 March 2008

  • II Forum EXPO Milano 2015 – International Conference “Nutrire il Pianeta: Energia per laVita. Lavorare insieme per la Sicurezza Alimentare La Tutela degli Alimenti e Stili di Vita Corretti”.

Participation in the Round table on the theme “Normativa in materia alimentare, nutrizione e educazione a stili di vita sani” Milano, 4 – 5 February 2008

  • EADTU 20th Anniversary Conference 2007 – “International courses and services online. Virtual Erasmus and a new generation of Open Educational Resources for a European and global outreach”

Participation to the Parallel Session: “Stimulating Employability”. Title of the speech: Remote Internships inside Europe: Higher Education and Economy in Transition” Lisbon, Portugal, 8-9 November 2007

  • II Thematic Seminary ePrep –“La communauté de pratique ePrep: quels outils pour quels projets?”

Presentation: The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO Lyon, 5-6 November 2007

  • EDEN Annual Conference 2007 – “New Learning 2.0? Emergine Digital Territories. Developing continuities – New Divides” –

Presentation of the results achieved by UNINETTUNO and on the Italian perspective in the session dedicated to the National case studies - Current Topics in National e-Learning development. Napoli, Città della Scienza, 13-16 June 2007

  • XIV COPEAM Conference - “Mediterranean: another way of communicating” - Presentation of the Open Sky Europe Project

Dead Sea, Jordan, 20-22 April 2007

  • 2007 Cairo International Book Fair – Participation in the round table on the theme “Cultural Specificità and Information Society”

Cairo, Egypt, 23 January – 4 February 2007

  • Forum sulla Cooperazione per la Pace e la Solidarietà, “UNIDO: 40 anni di sostegno allo sviluppo. Investimenti interni ed esteri per imprenditrici nel settore industriale” – Speech on the theme: “Promozione del ruolo svolto dalle donne nell’economia e nella società dei Paesi in via di sviluppo”

Rome, Italy, 16 November 2006

  • Conference “Valorizzare il patrimonio delle tv locali”, organised by Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, with the patronage of the Ministry of Communications. Paper: “La Formazione in TV”

Rome, Italy, 18 October 2006

  • Conference “Investment & Trade Forum – Growing Business in Jordan” – Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre – Participation to the panel on the theme “Young Arab Enterprise Business Forum”, and to the round table on “Distance Learning and Enterprise Training” speech about “The Distance Learning network”

Dead Sea, Jordan, 18-20 June 2006

  • Final EUMEDIS International Conference “Closing the Digital Gap in the Euromediterranean Region” organised with the support the Delegation of the European Commission in Egypt. Paper: “The Distance University with no distance” live connection to Algiers’ Technological Pole.

Alessandria, Egypt, 11-12 June 2006

  • Conference “III Mediterranean Universities Forum” – Participation in the Conference with a speech entitled: “Distance University without Distances”

Malta, 8-10 June 2006

  • Colloque International “L’Université à l’Ere du Numérique” – Partecipation in the Round Table on the theme “La construction des universités numériques :

un éclairage international ” and to the panel on the theme “Les universités numériques dans le monde” - Cité des Science et de l’Industrie de la Vilette. Paris (France), 22-24 May 2006

  • Convegno “L’Orientamento nell’Era della Telematica” – Partecipation in the round table for discussine the Conference Finale paper, organised by the University of Naples “Federico II”, by GEO - Centro Interuniversitario Giovani Educazione Orientamento e da Città della Scienza.

Naples, Italy, 20-22 April 2006

  • Conference Catania 3 – Euro-mediterranean Space of Higher Education and Research – Coordinator of the Working Group “New Technologies and Distance Teaching” and presentation of the results within the Euromediterranean Higher Education Ministers,

Catania (Italy), 27-29 January 2006

  • 6th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates - “Africa Emergency, From Attention to Action” – Coordination of the via satellite debate on “Equal Rights of a Non-violent World” among the Nobel Peace Laureates and the students of the Universities of Helwan (Egypt), Yarmouk (Jordan) and Tunis. Pari Diritti per un Mondo Non-violento” among the Nobel Peace Laureates and the students of Helwan (Egypt), Yarmouk (Jordan) and Tunis.

Rome (Italy), 25 November 2005

  • WSIS 2005 Tunis – World Summit on the Information Society – Participation in the debate organised by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research in the framework of the second phase of Tunis WSIS. Title of the presentation: Democracy of Knowledge - From the Euromediterranean Distance University to the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO.

Tunis, 16-18 Novembre 2005

  • Journée-séminaire « L’apport des TIC dans la rénovation des approches d’enseignement et de formation » - Participation to the Seminar organised by the Université Virtuelle de Tunis as a parallel event within WSIS 2005 Tunis. Presentation on the theme : La Communication du Savoir à l’aide des Nouvelles Technologies de l’Information.

Tunis, 15 Novembre 2005

  • 2005 EADTU Annual Conference “Towards Lisbon 2010: Collaboration for Innovative Content in Lifelong Open and Flexible Learning” – Member of the International Programme Committee and in the Official Opening Session of the Conference with a speech on the theme : “Content Sharing within NETTUNO and Networking between Italian and Mediterranean Universities” in the framework of the Annual Conference of EADTU – European Association of Distance Teaching Universities. Within this Conference she chaired a session entitled: “Lisbon 2010: Prospective Views”.

Rome (Italy), 10-11 November 2005

  • Round Table "E-learning: esperienze e modelli di apprendimento a confronto” – Partticipation in the Round Table organised in the framework of the Conference “Creare, distribuire ed acquisire i contenuti in rete: tra economia e libertà, quale paradigma per il futuro?” promoted by the Commission Education and Culture and the Delegation of the Italian Senate at WSIS-World Summit on the Information Society.

Rome (Italy), 12 July 2005

  • Round Table "La Televisione Digitale-Tecnologia, Pluralismo, Sviluppo Territoriale – Un’ opportunità per il Mezzogiorno” – Participation in the Round Table organised within the Xiv edition of the International Prize “La Calabria nel Mondo”.

Conference Hall of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Palazzo Marini Rome (Italy), 12 July 2005

  • Round Table "Ruolo e Sviluppo dell’Università Telematica”- Participation in the Round Table organnised in within DIDAMATICA 2005, annual conference promoted by AICA – Associazione Italiana per l’Informatica e il Calcolo Automatico.

Potenza (Italy), 12-14 May 2005

  • First EUMEDIS International Conference “Closing the Digital Gap in the Mediterranean Region” organised with the support of the Delegations of the European Commission in Jordan and Egypt. Presentation: “From Med Net’U – Network of Universities – to the International Distance University” with live connections with the structures realised within ghe Med Net’U Project and presentation of the results achieved by the pilot projects funded by the European Commission’s EUMEDIS Programme.

Dead Sea Resort (Jordan), 17-18 April 2005.

  • Catania 2 Conference – Euro-mediterranean Area of Higher Education and Research – Coordinator of the Working Group on Distance University and presentation of the related results in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Higher Education Ministers.

Catania (Italy), 18-19 January 2005

Value for money

  • Describe the annual planning procedure (a) in general and (b) how it handles e-learning aspects.

The Board of Directors carries on the task of planning and general orientation of the University and supervises the administrative, financial and economic-patrimonial management of the University.

  • Describe the decision-making process for a typical academic programme, with particular reference to how e-learning aspects are handled.

In order to be implemented an academic programme has to comply with the guidelines indicated by the MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research). According to these official guidelines you have to specify which are the basic subjects, the optional ones and those at students’ choice. In compliance with these parameters, it is up to the Degree Course Committee to propose to the Faculty Council the implementation of an academic programme. The Faculty Council has to request the authorisation of the Board of Directors, which deliberates its final approval. Once this procedure is completed, the new academic programme has to be submitted to the MIUR for official approval by the body concerned. Once the MIUR has given its go-ahead, the academic programme can be set up. As for e-Learning, it must be highlighted that UTIU’s work is very important in this regard.

  • Describe the decision-making process for a typical large IT project such as selection and installation of a new VLE.

Then the Supervision Area of the Information department of the UTIU that designs and develops IT projects generally identifies new requirements in terms of IT.

  • Describe the approach to budget management with particular reference to the staff versus non-staff issues in budgeting for e-learning.

The entire budget, in direct or indirect terms, is devoted to the implementation of e-learning services and activities. The relative management follows the indications given by the Board of Directors.

  • Describe the procedures in the institution for assigning or negotiating teaching workload to/with staff, taking account of non-traditional styles of teaching as well as classroom teaching and taking specific account of e-learning.

Each class has to refer to a professor-tutor.

Staff

Teachers, lecturers, trainers and equivalent support roles

  • Describe the approach to development of e-learning technical and pedagogic skills among staff, taking account of the different needs of different categories of staff. Set this within the context of staff development generally.

In the proposed psycho-pedagogic model, the student is at the centre of the educational process, guided by the new profile of the professor- telematic tutor who represents a guide and a constant presence during the learning process. Every year, the UTIU, after the tutors’ appointment, organises training courses to make the staff acquire specific skills. Tutors are selected by the area professors and chosen among doctor’s degree candidates, researchers, study grant holders and experts in the subject. Tailored training is aimed at making them acquire a range of skills that can be grouped into five main areas:

  1. Specific disciplinary skills;
  2. Specific professional skills;
  3. Organisational skills;
  4. Communication and relational skills;
  5. Pedagogic and didactic skills.

The use of ICT tools transforms traditional didactic communication. In the new didactic model, the professors have to learn a new way of explaining, synthesising and presenting his knowledge to a virtual student in order to trigger a critical and reflective learning process. The videolesson requires a specific preparatory work and, in order to exploit all the potentials of the tools, the professor has to work with a team of technicians and experts in language of image. We calculated that each hour of videolesson requires from twenty to thirty hours of preparatory work. This, of course, develops in the professors new communication skills and the use of new languages that area used also to store the results of their own research work. This new training experience has an impact on the way they deliver their lessons also in their traditional academic courses.

  • Describe (a) the current level of staff competence in e-learning and (b) the expected level of staff competence in five years time. In each case use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

Staff competence in the field is excellent since the UTIU delivers courses only on a distance model (level 5). This is the reason why the levels expected in the next years are of further professional growth (level 5).

  • Describe the extent to which staff attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

Staff is in favour by 100% (value 5).

  • Describe the way that the institution rewards and recognises staff with competence in e-learning, in (a) monetary and (b) non-monetary terms.

Staff selection is always made on the basis of their competence as it regards e-learning that should be of excellent level, since the UTIU delivers courses only on distance mode. This is the reason why no awards or prizes are recognised as it regards e-learning skills.

Management and leadership

  • Describe the approach to development of e-learning-related skills among (a) managers and (b) leaders.

Since the UTIU delivers only distance teaching courses, both management and leadership are fully involved and engaged in developing the objectives linked to e-learning.

  • Describe the current level of (a) management and (b) leadership competence in e-learning related skills appropriate to their levels. In each case use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

The management and leadership competencies in the field are excellent since the UTIU delivers only distance teaching courses (level 5). In particular, the Rector, Prof. Maria Amata Garito, full professor of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Rome “La Sapienza” created the Psycho-pedagogic and Didactic Model used by NETTUNO System to produce all videolessons.

  • Describe the extent to which (a) management and (b) leadership attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

Management and leadership are in favour by 100% (value 5).

  • Give details of the job description of the most senior manager/leader in the organisation who spends a significant portion of his/her time on e-learning matters (e.g. the Director of E-Learning).

The UTIU organisation is structured on seven organisms and each of them is under the supervision of a senior manager. They are the administration, personnel, marketing, didactic service delivery, production, technological and research and development structures. All seniors’ activities are focused on issues directly or indirectly linked to the good working of the structure and therefore of the didactics and of e-Learning.

Students

  • Describe the approach to development of e-learning skills among students, taking account of the different needs of different categories of students. Set this within the context of students' more general information literacy and communication skills.

During his learning path, the student’s activities are checked by the system where are recorded all his training performances. The stored information are made available to the tutors to enhance and increase, through a continuous monitoring of the activities of the students and of groups of students, the effectiveness of the measures taken to solve learning problems; to the professors to complete the final assessment process that will have to take into account of the results of the intermediate tests proposed to the individual students and also quantitative data related to the use of the training material; to the students to make them assess their progress and, through an auto-evaluation process, to adjust their own rhythms to achieve their educational objectives.

  • Describe

(a) the current level of student competence in e-learning on entry to the institution

The students’ average level is high. In any case it has to be sufficient to be able to attend online courses and services.

(b) the expected level of student competence on graduation from the institution.

The students’ competences in e-learning on graduation are excellent (value 5).

  • Describe the extent to which student attitudes to e-learning are favourable or not. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

The student opinion survey carried out on the 2006/2007 academic year registers on average a high level of satisfaction with the organization of the degree courses and the online didactics, with decidedly high percentage. Of considerable significance are the evaluations of the videolessons, exercises and efficacy of online tutoring, these representing the specific tools of the University and not usually found in traditional Universities. Such instruments were available in academic year 2006/2007 in already consolidated form. The relevant evaluations are decidedly positive, being around 80-90% in all the Faculties (value 5).

  • Describe the extent to which students understand the demands on them placed by e-learning systems (e.g. for assignment handling).

The level of understanding showed by the students in e-learning is excellent (value 5).

  • Describe the current (i.e. at last survey) level of student satisfaction with the e-learning aspects of their courses. Use a 1-5 scale with a comment.

The student opinion survey carried out on the 2006/2007 academic year registers on average a high level of satisfaction with the organization of the degree courses; more specifically it results that: and the online didactics, with decidedly high percentage

  1. the overall organisation of the degree course registered high levels of satisfaction of the students who expressed positive evaluations as it regards the allocation of study workload of the courses in the reference period, both as it regards the overall organisation of the courses and the flexibility of the educational offer with a rate of positive evaluations of 80% of the received answers (level 4).
  2. In the evaluation of the organisation of the individual course, particularly striking are the positive evaluations of tutors’ activity and of their wilfulness to help reaching peaks of 90% of the positive evaluations expressed; the modes according to which the exams are organised and the online didactic support are considered satisfactory in the 87.9% and in the 86.5% respectively of the answers (level 5).
  3. as it regards training and study activities the student understand in clear way the topics presented both by the professor and by the tutor and again there is a high level of satisfaction on the students’ part as it regards the tutor’s work who is capable of stimulating the interest for the discipline, as indicated in over 93% of the answers (level 5).

The study aimed at contents comprehension level and not only at acquiring information registered positive evaluation among all students; the appropriateness of the tests adopted obtained over 90% of the positive evaluations (level 5).

Technology

  • VLE and/or content repository

Scale: 5 All didactic materials necessary to learning and to the obtention of the study titles are stored in the content repository

  • email or bulletin boards

Scale: 5 All the University’s staff and UNINETTUNO students can dispose of an e-mail account that is used for all communication in the University both didactic ones and addressed to the tutors and of administrative ones with the students secretariats and deanship secretariats.

  • automated assessment

Scale: 4 The University uses an automated assessment system based on the tracing of online activities.

  • Web 2.0 tools especially blogs, wikis and social networks oriented to the institution

Scale: 3.5 It will soon be delivered an option giving the possibility of sharing document through a web-based environment integrated to the platform.

  • e-portfolios

Scale: 4 The online learning environments of the University include a “Student’s Page”. The Student’s Page includes the functions made available for the students and allows accessing to the following area:

  1. Customised didactic planning: this supplies the student with a customized study programme and the didactic activities planning referring to each course. Every student can find the planning of his didactic activities, divided into four didactic periods, on the Internet. The inclusion in the online study classes is structured in such a way as to grant the student the possibility of attending two subjects for each didactic period while being guided by a professor/tutor. The result of the intermediate assessment that can also be checked by each individual student along with the tracking of his Internet-based learning, so allowing admission to the exams Getting through the exams of the attended didactic modules allows getting enrolled and included into the classes of the following courses.
  2. Learning process check: each individual student can check, for each Internet-based didactic activity, his own self-assessment and compare it with that one given by his tutor. He can check by himself if there are some gaps in his learning and develop new learning strategies with the support of not only the professor/tutor, but also of his own classmates
  3. Agenda (planning of didactic activities): This displays the rendezvous fixed by the tutors or by the professor in the Chat-room, Forum and in the Virtual Classroom; it is possible to use the Agenda to include personal memos or ask for the professor/tutor’s support to overcome any learning difficulties.
  4. My lessons on TV today: This displays the video lessons programming schedule being broadcast on the satellite television channel for the subjects being currently delivered


  • laptops - and comment on student ownership issues

Scale: 0 The University relies on web-based platform that can be accessed by any pc; in addition the University supplies Technological Poles that are at the students’ disposal, therefore the use or non-use of a laptop is at the student’s choice, but it not a feature affecting the system.

  • audio or video podcasting or streaming - and comment on student ownership issues

Scale: 4 All videolessons are available online and in video streaming.

  • mobile devices (not laptops) - and comment on student ownership issues

Scale: 0 At present the University does not use training-supporting mobile devices since the use of the videolessons through mobile devices that have too small screens is not profitable from the didactic point of view.

  • Provide a description of any other technologies with significant use in the institution.

Videoconferences

Television – the University has two satellite television channels (RAI NETTUNO SAT 1 and RAI NETTUNO SAT 2) broadcasting 48 hours a day the educational materials produced by the University.

Satellite – It is used to diffuse the lessons on the satellite television channels and the Internet via satellite is used where terrestrial network Internet is not available by means of Eutelsat’s Open Sky platform.

Futures

  • Describe the expected changes as they relate to e-learning within the institution's current strategic horizon (from the institution's strategy documents).

The UTIU strategic horizon has essentially to be projected firstly toward an international dimension. Among other goals there are: cannot be no longer projected

  • Maintenance of high quality of educational contents to be made available in more languages;
  • Improvement and continuous implementation of the learning model through multimedia interaction modes;
  • Realisation of courses for the delivery of double degree courses between the UTIU and traditional universities.
  • Describe how the institution handles the foresight aspects of its operation with regard to e-learning.

We have to highlight the priorities set by the UTIU in a perspective of gradual realisation of the objectives:

  • Quality of the video professor, selected among the best ones of the Italian and foreign universities;
  • Quality of the training structures thanks to full professors, tenured and associate ones, hired according to selection procedures. These teachers are hired by a contract regulated by agreements between the universities they belong to, as provided for by the ministerial regulations in force. So doing we established a stable teaching staff, bound to represent, also in the future, the main focus which assures the quality of the educational paths and of the researchers and tutors engagement;
  • Quality of the computer-based platform, realised on the basis of the already developed psycho-pedagogic and didactic model and continuously enhanced;
  • Accurate selection, targeted training and continuous coordination and monitoring of the tutors;
  • Realisation of Technological Poles and didactic structures in cooperation with Italian and foreign traditional universities and with public and private agencies;
  • Development of cooperation with foreign universities for the realisation of distance courses and delivery of a double title, especially aimed at realising a Euro-Mediterranean Network stably connecting UNINETTUNO to the best universities of the Mediterranean countries;
  • Considerable investments in international-level research and initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the distance teaching methodologies.
  • Describe how the institution handles advanced development oriented to e-learning (e.g. by a "sandbox" lab, innovation centre, etc).

The objective is to find in the application of the technologies in the teaching and learning processes a balance between the technical-engineering components and the cognitive, cultural and educational ones linked to the development of the information technologies. These projects involve international-level experts in several disciplines (technicians, computer scientists, pedagogists, learning psychologists, experts in various languages). The research activity carried on by the UTIU is, at the same time, theoretical-experimental, pure and applied.

  • Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account present and future markets for its offerings.

The UTIU constantly monitors reference markets through its networks and relations at national and international level as well.

  • Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account present and future competitor suppliers for its offerings.

The analysis of the competitors is carried on through a continuous monitoring of the websites and through public documentation available on the Internet.

  • Describe how the institution analyses and takes into account the views of other stakeholders, including but not restricted to employers, local authorities and the social partners (unions).

The reference stakeholders have continuous exchange with the UTIU through many communication media. In the first place, there are the secretariats of the faculties’ deanships through which the students, professors and tutors can submit their requests and proposals. Other stakeholders, such as local authorities and social partners, have continuous exchanges with the University’s management and leadership. Cooperation is reciprocal and particularly lively and exchange on new ideas is free and always very active.


References and reports

  • Garito, M.A., Anceschi G., Botta M., (2006). L'Ambiente dell'Apprendimento - Web Design e Processi Cognitivi. Milano: Mc Graw-Hill.
  • Garito, M.A. (2005). “Towards the Euro-Mediterranean Distance University”, in LlinE - Lifelong Learning in Europe - European Adult and Continuing Education Journal, vol. IX issue 1, pp. 47-49.
  • Garito, M.A. (2004). “NETTUNO-The University to Watch, Browse and Surf on” Die Rolle des Telelearning: Europäische Erfahrungen, Materialien, Nr. 87, July, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, pp. 141-149.
  • Garito, M.A. (2004). “La Perspective Internationale. Une collaboration Europe-Pays de la Méditerranéee », revue Savoirs, N. 5, novembre, Paris : L’Harmattan, pp. 97-103.
  • Garito, M.A. (2004). “Zmierzajac ku Wirtualnej Edukacji” in e-Mentor, Internet Magazine, Warsaw: Warsaw School of Economics, N. 1 pp. 51-53.
  • Garito, M.A. (2003). “The Euromediterranean Distance University” in Public Service Review: European Union, Newcastle-under-Lyme (UK): Public Service Communication Agency Ltd, Autumn 2003, pp. 129-132.
  • Garito, M.A. (2003). “Going the Distance with e-Learning” in Public Service Review: European Union, Newcastle-under-Lyme (UK): Public Service Communication Agency Ltd, Spring, pp. 146-151.
  • Garito, M.A. (2001). “The University for the New Market of Knowledge”, in World Futures, The Journal of General Evolution, edited by Ervin Laszlo, Special Issue no. 1, Volume 57, n. 4, London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 373-393.
  • Garito, M.A. (2000). “Globalizzazione e Innovazione: Le Nuove Opportunità di Istruzione e Formazione”, in Viaggio tra i Perché della Disoccupazione in Italia, Milano: Giuffré Editore, pp. 177-196.
  • Garito, M.A. (1999), “La Universidad del Futuro. Hacia un Proceso de Ensenanza-Aprendizaje Integrato y Abierto”, in Global Networking into the Future, Veracruz: FESI Mexico, pp. 69-77.
  • Garito, M.A. (1998). “La Télévision dans les Processus d'Enseignement et Apprentissage”, in Images and Scientific Education in Europe-European Science and Technology Forum, Paris: CNRS.
  • Garito, M.A. (1997). Tecnologie e Processi Cognitivi: Insegnare e Apprendere con la Multimedialità, Milano: Angeli.
  • Garito, M.A. (1997). The Creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society: Communication, Education and Training, Research, Firenze: Giunti.
  • Garito, M.A. (1996). (a cura di) La Multimedialità nell’Insegnamento a Distanza, Roma: Garamond.



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