Grete Oline Hole [firstname.lastname@example.org],
Anne Karin Larsen [email@example.com],
Centre for Evidence Based Practice, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Høgskolen i Bergen, Haugeveien 28, N 5005 Bergen, Norway
Through a student-centred virtual learning environment students and teachers in Europe cooperate, exchange information of social work in their own country, and increase their digital literacy. In VIRCLASS students from 15 countries collaborated in their learning process by sharing knowledge with peer-students. Teachers from eight European countries were involved in the course. With a common curriculum, a study-program rewarded with 15 ECTS credits and using A-F marks many of the elements from the Bologna-process are met.
Virtual Learning Environment, Social Work Education, Life Long Learning, Digital Literacy, International Collaboration, Bologna Process.
This article explains how VIRCLASS, the Virtual Classroom for Social Work in Europe can contribute to fulfil the goals of European Higher Education. Through a student-centred virtual learning environment students and teachers from Europe cooperated, exchanged information about social work and increased their digital literacy. VIRCLASS also emphasised student-centred learning activities, focusing on sharing knowledge and exchanging information from the different participating countries; thus promoting increased understanding among Social Workers in a rapidly changing Europe. Therefore, VIRCLASS could be seen as a tool for innovation in the educational field as a consequence of the demands from a modern society.
New demands for professional education and work force training stemming from societies’ need for competencies has led to considerable challenges for Higher Education Institutions (HEI). From 1999 the Bologna Declaration laid down the goals for the HE development in Europe. By defining 6 action lines towards the achievement of a European Higher Education Arena by 2010, the overall goal is to restructure the European HE system in a coherent and cohesive way (The Bologna Declaration). As a consequence, a European Credit Transfer System (ECTS-credits) together with a common European system for marks, graded A-F, and the 3+2 years Bachelor and Master Programmes were introduced. Another important goal is to eliminate obstacles to mobility over national borders, with increased opportunities for student & teacher mobility and an emphasis on academic cooperation at all levels.
The Bologna Process continued with the Prague (2001) & Berlin (2003) Communiqués focusing on Life Long Learning (LLL) and the synergy between the European Higher Education Area and the European Research area (Summit Bologna Bergen 2005, p 4). As a consequence of these processes there have been considerable re-adjustments in the framework of academic work in Europe over the last few years.(leer más…)