The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalunya, UOC) was funded in 1994 to foster Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) opportunities for higher education. It is an innovative web-centric virtual organisation which was born thanks to ICT and whose main goal is that every person satisfies their training and education needs, making their effort as profitable as possible, regardless of where they are and optimising their time. The UOC develops the Virtual Campus as a University community where limitations of space and time are overcome. It also uses an educational methodology based on the complete personalisation and guidance of the student. Students, faculty and staff (over 700) interact and cooperate in the community to create, to structure, share and disseminate knowledge. The UOC has a top quality team of professionals that provide all the necessary higher education services to more than 60,000 students.
The UOC is a cross-cutting Catalan university with a worldwide presence, aware of the diversity of its environment and committed to the capacity of education and culture to effect social change. The UOC fosters cooperation and exchange within its university community and with other universities, institutions, the business community and civil society, whilst at the same time forging international alliances to enable sharing and learning.
Under the auspices of the European Higher Education Area, three transversal competencies were defined for UOC students: English as a secondary language, ICT skills, and entrepreneurship. Besides these specific subjects, the UOC students (over 60,000) as distance learners improve their ICT skills seamlessly and most of their communication with tutors (over 3,700) and other students is done through written text. Their learning environment is a virtual campus that they have to use nearly everyday for their learning process. As a result, the University has been working on designing and developing the best set of tools for online learning. Also, as a distance education, most students are adults with families and full-time jobs that could not pursue an official degree otherwise. Our average student is between 35 and 40 years-old even if we have seen an increasing number of older and younger students.
The Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) of the UOC is the body in charge of designing, implementing, maintaining and developing a state-of-the-art technological model with stable, high quality and innovative services. Its role resides in contributing and adding value to the UOC’s teaching, research and managerial activities. With its multidisciplinary team, its mission is to create the learning environments of the 21st Century for the new digital generations and global citizens. The objective is to go beyond designing for functionality and usability, and to design for engagement and motivation to learn, enriching them as students as well as people. In the recent past, the contribution of the OLT has been focused on collaborative learning, the development of e-learning applications, infrastructures, and standards.
Kenyatta University (KU) is one of the largest public universities in Kenya with a student population of approximately 50.000. The university’s vision is to be a dynamic, inclusive and competitive centre of excellence in teaching, learning, research and service to humanity. The mission is to provide quality education and training, promote scholarship, service, innovation and creativity and inculcate moral values for sustainable individual and societal development.
The main campus is located 16km from Nairobi and services are additionally delivered through eight satellite campuses spread throughout Kenya.
The university has approximately 950 teaching staff and 1500 non-academic permanent staff working in 15 Schools of: 1.Education, 2.Humanities and Social sciences, 3.Pure and applied sciences, 4.Environmental studies, 5.Applied Human sciences, 6.School of Business, 7.Visual and performing arts, 8.Health Sciences, 9.Law, 10.Economics, 11.Engineering and Technology, 12.Agriculture and Enterprise Development, 13.Hospitality and tourism management. 14. Public Health, 15. Graduate School. The Graduate School coordinates delivery of postgraduate programmes in the entire university and is currently overseeing about 5,800 and 495 PhD students.
Teaching programmes are delivered through three main modes, i.e. 1. regular full time residential courses, institutional based programmes usually attended during the months of April, August and December and through Open, Distance and e- Learning (ODeL) delivered through the KU e-learning Portal, a web based open source course and learning management system (Moodle) that hosts course notes. The university as invested considerably in library facilities and runs the Integrated Library System (ILS) – KOHA to manage and make library operations efficient; has a wide collection of e-books, journal and databases available online.
The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) brings together the eight public universities of Catalonia (Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Universitat de Girona (UdG), Universitat de Lleida (UdL), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)) representing a system made up of innovative universities that boost synergies and joint projects in training, research and knowledge transfer. The main purpose of the ACUP is to be the principal voice of the public Catalan universities and to combine efforts to promote initiatives, programmes and joint projects with the aim of improving the university system and ensuring that it spearheads social, cultural and economic development.
The ACUP benefits from experience that makes it a reference university association on the European scene. This can be found in the considerable volume of relations and projects that are carried out at an international level. Based on generating a joint strategy that aims to position Catalonia es a reference university area in the south of Europe, the Association has created a series of activities for improving the member universities and for the entire university system in its different tasks: training, research, knowledge transfer to society and internal management.
One of the five main work areas of ACUP are international relations which include the promotion of university cooperation programmes and projects for development. Since more than five years, ACUP works with different universities in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Haiti, strengthening the capacities of its partner universities. Through the Interuniversity Consortium for University Management (CIGU), formed by 5 African universities (Université de Yaoundé I, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Université d’Antananarivo, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial) and the eight public Catalan universities that are members of the ACUP, the Catalan universities developed different projects in the area of research management. Through the project “Innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa”, for example, ACUP impulsed the development of the platform TECHNIPEDIA (www.technipedia.com) with the main goal to strengthen the economy of African countries by enhancing and expanding innovation and entrepreneurship among young Africans. ACUP also counts on experience in working in the area of doctoral education in sub-Saharan Africa, having developed over the last two years the project African-Spanish Higher Education Management Platform which contributed to develop, in tight collaboration with IAU, the online portal IDEA – Innovative Approaches to Doctoral Education in sub-Saharan Africa (www.idea-phd.net).
The eLearn Center (eLC) is the e-learning research, innovation and training centre of the UOC.
Inspired on a network research model, at the eLC we make work and collaboration between teams, professionals and institutions both within and outside the UOC to find more innovative ways of living and feeling e-learning.
This network of experts responds to the needs and demands of virtual education, promotes models and methodologies of innovative learning and improves the quality of virtual training.
- We are working to maintain the leadership of the UOC in e-learning and to convert the research carried out at the centre into an international point of reference.
- We contribute to the knowledge and social recognition of e-learning.
- We promote good practices in the use of ICT to improve the process of teaching and learning.
- We potentiate training in e-learning through a wide offer of courses (postgraduate, master and doctorate).