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Higher Education Innovation in Plant Diversity: flexible learning paths for emerging labour market
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation mission statement “is a catalyst for working together at all levels - local, national, regional and global - to understand, conserve and use sustainably the world's immense wealth of plant diversity whilst promoting awareness and building the necessary capacities for its implementation”. The interdisciplinary co-operation across EU boundaries throughout a strategic partnership involving high education institutions, conservation and research organizations (botanic gardens, gene banks, universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations) may meaningfully contribute to create a better understanding of plant diversity threats and their possible solutions, responding also to current and emerging green jobs labor market. The HEI PLADI project relays on a constructive cooperation and integration between five Universities, research institute and organization all providing strong expertise in the field of plant biodiversity characterization, management and conservation and in lifelong learning. The HEI PLADI aims to support: a) implementation of reforms in line with the 2011 EU Modernization Agenda's priority areas; b) development of an European Area of Skills and Qualifications; c) enhancement of digital integration in learning, teaching, training and youth work at various levels. Indeed it proposes to develop, test and implement an higher education program structured in flexible learning paths on plant biodiversity evaluation, conservation and management. To improve mobility and provide more opportunities for students to gain additional skills on plant diversity the program will integrate, in line with the 2011 EU Modernisation Agenda priorities, ICT in a blended path virtual and physical mobility. The first target of the project will be students involved in the flexible learning path including courses on the e-learning platform and/or the practical activities planned for the physical mobility. Although a number of 20 will be supported by the project for the physical mobility, an higher number of students will benefit the courses on e-learning platform as these courses will be recognized and validated as ECTS. Furthermore, since the main outputs the project foresees are teaching materials that will be available as "open learning objects" in an e-learning platform, a wide number of persons beside students, such as educators, technicians and operators working in laboratories, herbarium, museum, germplasm banks, botanical gardens, natural parks, arboreta, plant nurseries and crop diversity projects etc, at local, regional, national and international level, will be also potential beneficiary. The project will develop seven intellectual outputs: the first is the implementation and use and of ICT for virtual mobility, teaching and dissemination, that can be used and (more important) re-used to support learning activities; the last (OU7) will be used for dissemination on a dynamic and interactive website of the results achieved by students. The other OU (3-6) will be related with packages of learning objective (OER) on: Plant taxonomy; modern methods for Plant taxonomy; in situ and ex situ plant conservation; Plant management: botanic garden; Geographical Information Systems. The project include the organization of seven short-term training activities as part of the “flexible blended pilot program” which will involve field works, field visits, practical and laboratory activities focused on developing skills and deepen knowledge on topics treated in the e-learning courses. The project is organized in three different stages: stage one will be focus on the implementation and organization of the blended flexible path; stage two pilot program starts; stage three evaluation on the results of the pilot course and dissemination. The project will provide the following results: a) the implementation of the flexible learning path on plant biodiversity evaluation, characterization, conservation and sustainable use, and the resulting outputs may be used in the courses of established curricula degree, and/or as optional courses, and to develop new curricula; b) the exchange of the best practices between partners during the cooperation and integration process ; c) strong cooperation and integration between partners, required by the project for the implementation of the program, will allow the strengthen of a consortium of new establishment with wide expertise in the field of plant diversity and teaching that may be used for the development of other LLP or EU research projects; d) the cooperation between partners Universities will promote the establishment of agreements for organizing practical activities (i.e. training schools) and for students and staff exchange and mobility; e) the use of the results of the pilot program as the base for further implementation of joint international courses such as Master and PhD program
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