Perspectives on the Euro(pean) crisis

This multilateral telecollaboration project which started piloting in October 2013 involves 8 European universities, and has been set up and is being run by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation, a young organization based in the Netherlands which has been set up purely to promote virtual exchange.

‘ Perspectives on the Euro(pean) crisis’ allows universities across Europe to work together in order to present one online curriculum on the Euro(pean crisis. The program gives students the opportunity to collaboratively learn about the political, economic and social challenges within the European Union and the Euro-zone and to conduct research together to gain a better understanding of sensitivities surrounding these challenges.
Moreover, the program stimulates and facilitates the exchange of perspectives on the financial and political crises in the European Union between students and academia across the participating countries.
The exchange is designed to stimulate understanding of viewpoints on issues of the Euro(pean) crisis between participants from different European countries. The aim is to strengthen the common European identity and feeling of European citizenship of the participants by having them discuss the issues that divide them. It is believed this will lead to a stronger sense of empathy and respect for their diversity.

 

Main Focus:

Intercultural Exchange

Exchange institution(s):

University of Padova

Project website:

Sharing perspectives

Language Configurations:

Lingua franca

Language(s) used:

English

Dominant form of language production:

Speaking/listening synchronous

Target Competences:

Intercultural Skills

Replicability:

This project has been set up by an organization, not a university, and they take care of the technical side of things, the facilitating and coordination of the project. It would be impossible for individual teachers to set up a project of this scale, though aspects of the model could be adopted in a smaller scale project. The organization s intentions are to evaluate the project and to seek funding to offer the project and set up new projects of this nature, and offer them to universities as a form of outsourced telecollaboration.

How long did the project last?

This is a 16-week pilot project which started in October 2013 and ends in February 2014and is divided into four periods. Each period addresses a core theme.

How was the project organized?

In each week, different lectures are presented by participating universities. These catchy, inspiring lectures will invite students to engage in an interesting discussion. This discussion between the participants from different countries takes place online using a unique web-based video-conference tool. These discussions are hosted by professionally trained facilitators.

LECTURES ON CORE THEMES
The Sharing Perspectives Foundation has identified three core themes to be studied in order to better understand the Euro(pean) crisis. These themes are:
1. The economic crisis
2. The political / institutional Crisis
3. The socio-cultural crisis.
Every participating university is asked to present one lecture on each theme. These lectures form the core of the weekly online discussions.
PARTICIPATING STUDENTS
Watch 2 lectures each week
Participate in weekly online discussions
Develop conduct surveys

At the end of the project two students from each university are selected to go to Brussels to present the results of the research to members of the European Commission.

 

Tasks:

Task types:

SAMPLE VIDEO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
In the final two weeks of the program ‘ Perspectives on the Euro(pean) crisis’ we look at the future of the European Union.
With all the previous video-lectures on the economic, political and socio-cultural crisis we can start thinking how we want to get out of these crises.
What needs to happen? And how can we make this happen? Can youth all over Europe play a role in this?
SURVEY RESEARCH ACROSS EUROPE
The survey research intents to give students a broader insight into trends within the participating countries and citizens’ viewpoints all over Europe on the issues studied in this program. During every
period a survey is collaboratively constructed by all students, together with the research team of Sharing Perspectives Foundation.
Each student surveys twenty to thirty peers, so that the survey is answered by a representative sample in each participating country.

How were the students assessed?

Sharing Perspectives send university co-ordinators a weekly report with a record of their students’ presence, assessment of each student’ s participation in the dialogue sessions and in the survey research.

Students are also required to write a final evaluative paper.

 

Each participating university is then free to consider this as part of their own assessment. At the University of Padva, for instance, the reports and final paper are taken into consideration by the project co-ordinator who then has an oral interview with the students and decides on a final mark and the awarding of 6ECTS.

Additional resources:

Video lectures are available on the project website

 

http://www.sharingperspectivesfoundation.com/eu-crisis-%E2%80%A2/

 

 

What worked well?

What did students think of the project?

Students who completed the project were very enthusiastic about it. They saw it as an opportunity to get to know and share their views with European peers, to develop online communication skills, research experience through designing and analysing the surveys and more information about the situation in Europe and different perspectives on the crisis.

A couple of students said it was perhaps too long, and repetitive in parts.

What challenges did you face?

It was quite challenging finding funding in order to participate in the project. It was also not so easy to recruit 12 students from the Department of Political Science where the project was initially intended for. The project had to be promoted on the INternational Relations website in order to complete the available places.

What did the teachers think of the project?

Apart from those who made the recorded video lectures, teachers were not really involved in the project as everythign was run by the Sharing Perspectives Foundation. There was just a meeting at the beginning of the project and one at the end with all participants, and availability of a lecturer for support and troubleshooting.

What kind of institutional support did you receive?

At the University of Padova we received a small amount of funding to pay the university multimedia centre for their support in creating quality video lectures. Cmela, the university multimedia centre helped in making the recordings and uploading them.

The International Relations office publicized the course on the university website, so it was widely visible to students from all university faculties.

A couple of degree courses (for instance MA in European Studies) included this project on the optional courses students could take and obtain 6 credits for participation.

 

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