Virtual technologies For (4) Universities: Supporting online learning with virtual technologies
Since COVID-19, many universities have been forced to switch to online learning. This sudden change (also known as “The Great Online Pivot”) has been challenging for students and educators. This emergency pivot to online learning has impacted all educational levels. To salvage the academic year, educators with no prior online teaching experience were called to convert their courses to distance learning modules. Adapting curriculum on the fly, educators were forced to adjust student expectations and explore new instructional methods to replicate in-person classes. It was found that such initiatives had different level of success – deciding factors were educator skills and the academic field. Regarding the second factor, fields such as architecture and fine arts, imposed barriers on developing engaging online learning activities due to the requirement of student interaction with physical models. V4U brings together a strong partnership (four universities from Denmark, Greece, Spain and France, one research center from Greece, and one SME from Spain) targeting the requirement for both educator competencies with online digital learning and for interactive online tools. The project aims to develop an innovative e-learning platform to accommodate a pedagogical approach for distance learning and to facilitate the training process of architecture and fine arts students in virtual technologies. Moreover, it will develop a training plan and material for the development of skills in virtual technologies. Such skills will also aiming to increase architecture students chances for a faster and better insertion on the labor market by improving their skills in immersive technologies (VR). The project will investigate employers, students and teaching staff perspective on the gap on skills in immersive technologies and collect existing best practices in the field at EU level. The project will improve the capacity of universities to deliver courses regarding skills in virtual technologies by training teaching staff and increase the collaboration between universities and business sector/employers. Moreover, The project will also increase the awareness on the importance and application possibilities of virtual technologies. All partner universities will include the training course in virtual technologies developed in their facultative / extracurricular curriculum with an expected 350 participants trained over a 3-year period, after the project’s end.