The Italian university line – IUL is a private online university subjected to the accreditation and control system of ANVUR (National agency for the evaluation of the University and research system). This means that IUL’s educational provision must be in line with a specific regulatory framework.
Online learning reaches a wider audience but the educational relationship lacks direct contact. This aspect must be supported by a vast range of technological tools. All the professionals teaching online courses must readapt teaching methods, already consolidated in the in-person training, to the online context, and at the same time, comply with the relevant legal standards.
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits are a standard means for comparing the “volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload”.
ANVUR defines 1 ECTS as “studying time evaluated from the student’s perspective, corresponding to 25 hours of studying, of which 6-10 are taught hours and the remaining part is self-learning time”. Taught hours are divided into online lectures and interactive teaching.
- Audio and video recordings
- Web conference lessons (online synchronous classes)
- Courseware resources (online material provided to the students)
Online interactive teaching
- Learning material provided to the class or to part of the class in form of:
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Students’ participation in forums, blogs and wiki
- students’ single or collective e-tivities and feedbacks:
- Case studies
- web-quest (enquiry-oriented lesson format led by the tutor)
- students’ production of materials
- questionnaires and progressive assessment tests
ANVUR sets the minimum standard of 6 hours of teaching for each ECTS, hoping that this threshold is exceeded.
IUL, aiming at high quality online education, exceeds ANVUR’s minimum standard and includes, in each ECTS, 5 hours of online lectures and 7 hours of interactive teaching, summing up to 12 hours of total teaching.
Now the credits distribution is summarised in the following chart:
||Hours of Online Lectures
||Hours of interactive teaching
- All students are provided with an informative questionnaire in order to gather information about the class composition.
- Tutors and professors set up and submit to the students a specific questionnaire for each subject taught, in order to identify students’ background knowledge of the subject and their expectations in relation to their occupation. This information is essential to tailor the educational provision on the class needs.
- The professor, with the tutor’s collaboration, draws up a detailed course plan adapting the contents, the video materials and the courseware to the students’ needs, in order to lay down the educational agreement.
- Students are asked to set up a project addressing their personal aims in relation to the subject and their professional context. The professor discusses the project ideas of the students in a Synchronous meeting.
- The course starts on the bases of the didactic proposals of the professor and the tutor, availing themselves of synchronous and asynchronous methods to encourage the viewing of videos, the reading of pre-set material, activities and discussions. At the same time, each student develops his/her own project thanks to the suggestions of the professor and the tutor. Students are encouraged to ask questions, expose problems and make suggestions through the forums, the IUL’s blog, and other media.
- The final exam consists of a discussion based on the project carried out during the course. The faculty teaching personnel will have a supportive attitude toward their students, taking into account that IUL’s students are often full time working adults who often return to study after a long break.
IUL offers to students and teaching staff tools and initiatives for orientation and support:
- A reading, writing and documentation course for all students of the first year carried out by Prof. Luca Toschi;
- One or more training sessions for the use of IUL’s IT tools, carried out by Prof. Andreas Formiconi and by Giovanni Spinelli, IUL Programme Analyst;
- Continuous support service via forum in a special IUL class, provided by Prof. Andreas Formiconi and Giovanni Spinelli;
- Contextual help and video tutorials for guidance and self-learning in the use of the IUL online environment.