Learning Agreement Online System
Start date: Sep 1, 2015,
End date: Oct 31, 2017
The EU has adopted, within the modernisation agenda for higher education systems in Europe, the very ambitious goal of reaching 20% of mobile students by 2020. While in some member states this number is far from being reached, in other member states, such as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, over 95% of students spend part of their studies abroad. However, the aim of making mobility rather the rule than the exception considerably increases the administrative burden on higher education institutions and the need to remove the obstacles to student mobility.
In the process of organising credit mobility, students and higher education staff members must conclude trilateral Learning Agreements that are the basis for the recognition of academic qualifications obtained abroad. As identified by the PRIME survey, conducted by the Erasmus Student Network in 2010-11, the Learning Agreements are a cornerstone and at the same time one main obstacle to the smooth organisation of credit mobility. The interlocutors are indeed not clearly defined, the information needed to build the agreements rarely available online and the possibility that students change their learning agreement after their arrival at the receiving HEIs lies at 75%. In the same survey, some LLP National Agencies suggested building an online tool to prepare, approve and revise Learning Agreements in an online environment and this is what this project intends to do.
The objective of the project is to enable students to prepare their Learning Agreements within an online system, that will then allow them to liaise with the coordinators of sending and receiving higher education institutions to finalise the document, approve and sign it online. This process is therefore transferring a paper-based workflow, which is reliant on timely postal deliveries for signature purposes, into an online system that will allow students to gain considerable time when preparing their studies abroad, induce a greater degree of flexibility and efficiency when needing to revise the Learning Agreement. The online software will also allow higher education institutions to mainstream the workflows of the management of the learning agreements and therefore render the process of approving and managing them more efficient, and thus freeing up time for the staff members to work on other international relation activities or improve the quality of credit mobility.
The partnership will be based on a prototype developed by the European University Foundation – Campus Europae, hence the activities of the partnership will be based on testing cycles for assessment purpose to best fit the needs of higher education institutions and comply with national procedures. The testing cycles will enable the consortium to produce an operational online software that will be made available to all higher education institutions in Europe. The first testing cycle for assessment purposes will be based on the initial prototype of the software and users’ guidelines, which will involve 20 students per partner university. The second testing cycle will be based on the beta version of the online software and updated users’ guidelines and will involve any higher education institution willing to join the project and at least 40 students per partner university of the consortium. The first testing cycle for assessment purpose will be launched during the kick-off meeting of the consortium where the partner universities will be trained on the use of the prototype. The second testing cycle will be launched with a midterm conference disseminating the results/learnings/improvements from the first cycle and will train new higher education institutions to join the second cycle. The partnership will be finalised by a general release of the software and its users’ guidelines during the final conference, alongside the presentation of a sustainability strategy.
In the long term it is expected that the online tool will potentially benefit over 270,000 credit mobility students per year and will substantially contribute to the goal of reaching 20% of mobile students by 2020 by removing administrative burdens both for students and higher education institutions. It is also expected that this tool will reduce the occurrence of cases of non-recognition of mobility periods by mainstreaming the administrative workflows through the online tool and therefore also training both students and staff members on the purposes of the learning agreements and the key steps to be undertaken in order to prepare and manage them adequately.
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