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Virtual campus for SMEs in a multicultural milieu

The promoter of this proposal carried out a pilot Erasmus project in a trilingual electronic environment to make the first steps towards the objective of elaborating joint diploma on line courses for SMEs. They also invited SME federations in order to ensure the relevance of the SME curricula. The first promising results encourage the two original partners (without the Belgians who withdrew from the team) to complete the consortium with Essex University, well known for its mastery in comparative international SME research, and with Fachhochschule Wismar, which has a rich experience in SME training with ICT support in the Eastern part of Germany, to put forward the following proposal: All the four institutions have a large student community and also an important target group composed of adult entrepreneurs having interest in Master level courses focused on SME issues. The consortium intends to elaborate a method allowing the development of four equivalent Master diplomas (a joint diploma), nonetheless keeping the local languages for the teaching procedure. A co-developer system by subjects is proposed to be set up and these co-responsible experts – 4 per subject – are supposed to work together in an electronic environment. This experience will also help achieve the other objective: the development of eLearning (actually bLearning) SME Master Curricula in all the four partner institutions. In this virtual joint Master the proportion of the eLearning and face to face elements that is the combination of the delivery modes will be determined subject by subject. This partial electronisation of the curricula will open the access to the trainings for an even larger target group. Diverse combinations of the already existing Bachelor level modules and the 17 Masters subjects (5 inherited from the previous Erasmus project) open the way to different competency courses needed sometimes more than the degree courses. In such a way the project will produce a Multilingual Virtual University of SMEs. The curricula of the 17 subjects are expected to have a 4-country comparative character aiming at the facilitation of the international mobility of entrepreneurs who have received this joint Master degree. All the partners will co-operate with SME federations who are expected to provide feed-back on the relevance of the curricula. The participants of the 4-member module developer teams will analyse the possibility of deepening their subject with the long term objective of creating doctoral level course focusing on SMEs.

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