Blending Virtual Campuses Managing Differences through Web 2.0 Experiences in Transnational Cooperation Projects

Blending Virtual Campuses Managing Differences through Web 2.0 Experiences in Transnational Cooperation Projects

Yuri Kazepov (University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Italy) and Giovanni Torris (University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch602

Abstract

Starting from the increasingly widespread need to develop effective teaching in complex transnational settings, this chapter presents an innovative blended model with Web 2.0 collaborative learning strategies built in. The model balances pedagogical, technical and content related issues into an ad hoc institutionally designed 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) curriculum of the European Masters in Comparative Urban Studies (E-Urbs). The chapter aims at disentangling the different dimensions involved in the curriculum delivery, highlighting the pros and cons of all dimensions of the model adopted. In doing so the chapter is divided into three sections. The first section addresses the challenges that effective teaching in complex transnational settings has to face, in particular it highlights the crucial need of managing differences. In the E-Urbs project we had 24 students from 14 countries, 5 continents, 6 disciplinary backgrounds, 32 scholars from 9 partner institutions in 8 countries. The second section deals with the way in which challenges and differences have been addressed and describes the dimensions of the blended model the authors adopted, arguing that a sound virtual campus arrangement should address the pedagogical, technical and content related dimensions in a balanced way considering the institutional setting within which they are embedded. The third section addresses the way in which the blended approach has been enriched through a Web 2.0 perspective, promoting p2p (peer-to-peer) collaboration in the generation of knowledge. The main argument is that an increasingly fluid society generates and treats information differently and learning agencies should not only acknowledge these differences but should address them with balanced learning models which take advantage of the new 2.0 paradigms. The authors argue that the result of a balanced blended Web 2.0 approach helps to transform the challenges into a resource for each of the stakeholders involved (e.g., students, scholars, partners, institutions) providing an added value in each dimension of the learning process (pedagogical, technical, content related and institutional).

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