JOVITAL 2019: Year in Review

For Higher Education Institutions 2019 has been another year in the name of digital transformation, immersive and partecipative learning, social interaction beyond borders and physical presence. JOVITAL has been an active part in that, by contributing to improve the quality of teaching and learning and supporting the introduction of innovative collaborative tools and methodologies in Jordanian Universities.

JOVITAL kicked-off in February 2018 in Dresden, Germany, where Partners agreed on a detailed plan including observation visits by Jordanian partners at European universities, two summer schools held at the Technische Universität Dresden, and a number of workshops and trainings on innovative virtual teaching and learning settings, on adopting and implementing effective ICT-based activities for Virtual Mobility, on opening up teaching to intergrate disadvantaged groups through virtual classroom settings.

We were eager to start! Start learning about Jordanian needs and opportunities, start reflecting on perspectives and practices on virtual innovation in higher education, start designing a training framework for academics. The first JOVITAL activities have thus been gathering and analysing data for the production of the 2018 JOVITAL Needs Analysis Report, and the delivery of the First Academic Staff Training on VCL.

In 2019, the second Observation Visit took place. Jordanian Partners were in Coventry, to observe how Collaborative Online International Learning projects (COIL) are created and delivered at Coventry University. The visit provided essential opportunities for developing cultural awareness for curriculum transformation, and for discussing different as well as reciprocal educational practices. This was an exciting time for the project, with staff and students alike experiencing new and innovative pedagogies for teaching and learning within Higher Education. Testimonials from the visit have been collected: participants learned about vitual collaboration possibilities, how to encourage students to share knowledge and dialogue with peers from other institutions through virtual spaces, about the opportunities and challenges of VCL.

In 2019, 27 students from the five Jordanian partner universities took part to the first Summer School “E-Tutors Training for Jordanian Students” at the Technische Universität Dresden. They learned and practiced how to facilitate and manage online learning communities, particularly in international Virtual Collaborative Learning (VCL) arrangements. The Summer School provided students not only with a set of knowledge and skills, but it was also an opportunity for them to travel to Europe for the first time. They referred to as a great experience, as an opportunity for team work with colleagues from other disciplines, giving them time to think about learning, to see how others think. JOVITAL offered to these students an experience to bring back home and share, a memorable step in their personal life and future career.

In 2019, the Second Academic staff training on VCL took place at Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Amman. The training included a review of learning theories, methods and importance of active learning, the development and modern approaches of technology-enhanced learning, and an introduction to Virtual Collaborative Learning (VCL).

In 2019, JOVITAL was presented in several occasions and kept travelling far and wide:

The JOVITAL project aims to add a significant value to the teaching process in Jordan by empowering academic staff with contemporary teaching competencies. We are proud to share our achievements so far, enlarging perspectives for teachers and students in Jordan. Well explained by the words of one of our Jordanian scholars, JOVITAL “allows us and our students to know more about other students and other cultures and […] educational environments, and what I personally believe is that educational environments are the places were we can build bridges of peace between cultures”.

To keep following us, you can read our blog articles and follow us on Twitter to stay informed on the project developments; and participate in any of our upcoming events. You can visit our events page to find out about upcoming events to attend. We wish you all a great 2020, hoping it will be as successful as 2019 was for us.

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