The eLearning infrastructure

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Preface

eCampus Online University is a technological educational environment designed by a group of specialists in pedagogy, didactics, teaching and learning technologies, learning research and issues regarding the reform of scholastic institutions who have decided to apply the skills they have in various university teaching contexts, in the letter and in spirit of article 3 of the Interministerial Decree of 17th April 2003.

Besides providing a general definition of distance-learning, the decree emphasizes how the new ICT technologies give an essential contribution to didactic and educational creativity by introducing significant changes into the teaching-learning system in terms of both the educational offering and its use and distribution throughout the country. The new legal framework is especially stimulating for those who, for some time, have been dealing with didactic innovation applied to the demand for instruction and education expressed by young people and the world of work and the idea of founding a university was translated into the project that is presented here.

The entire structure of eCampus University rests on a complex technological system that manages personnel, structures and processes, providing integrated governance of the teaching, management and administrative functions in such a way that the various activities linked to those functions conform to the following parameters:

  • coherence with the University's objectives,

  • economic sustainability,

  • efficiency of procedures,

  • centrality of users,

  • traceability of users,

  • diversification of targets,

  • control and management of risks.

In particular, the eLearning system that manages the teaching function “derives directly from educational needs” (article 3, paragraph 3, of the Charter). it was implemented based on the specifications of eCampus University's didactic-educational design, which was developed starting from the most recent findings of learning psychology, converted to an organic model by the Learning Research Centre of eCampus Foundation and translated into didactic actions by the eLearning Services Centre required by article 24, paragraph 3, of the University's Charter.

Thus, the eLearning system introduced here does not provide teachers and students with a computerised prosthesis but provides effective methodologies and techniques that allow each to perform its own role in terms of effectiveness and high scientific quality while saving time and money.

In other words, it was designed to respond to real, suitably-identified and measured needs, expressed by the actual demand for instruction from young people, the professions and the workplace. It is a technological system that is not only functional to the needs of its various recipients (educational, administrative, etc.), but also to the organisation and operation of eCampus University in terms of the traceability of the subjects that interact (students, teachers, tutors and administration), the management and evaluation of educational activities and materials, and the production of instructional materials. It is a scalable system in the sense that its data processing and storage capacity can grow with the growth of the student population and services. The architecture and the operational organisation of the services are designed to ensure the maximum reliability and continuity of services.

The system's high degree of integration, its flexibility and pervasiveness do not mean that eCampus Online University is a totally virtual educational environment in which students and teachers lose contact with the reality of study and work beyond the context in which they live. The system is, instead, designed to avoid creating gaps between student and teacher, between student and class and between learning and profession. eCampus Online University intends to provide knowledge but, most of all, competence. In other words, it intends to be highly professional and, for this reason, distance-learning activities are integrated with activities that require a physical presence, seminars, opportunities for common study, apprenticeships at structures of excellence and precise actions to orient the student and help his/her entry into the job market. The eLearning infrastructure, integrated into the global information system, will exploit every useful piece of information for conducting educational activities and managing students, whether it involves constantly monitoring the students' profile and progress or governing the various activities typically present in universities.

In technical terms, our eLearning infrastructure is fully compliant with the standards of the interministerial decree and the accompanying technical annex.



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