Home » n. 24 gennaio/febbraio 2004

Academia online A Public eLearning Platform for Continuing Education

24 gennaio 2004 | Olimpius Istrate (olimpius@ise.ro) Researcher, Institute of Educational Sciences- Bucharest, Romania

The Institute of Educational Sciences, the Association for Excellence in Career and InsideMedia, partners in the development of the elearning system of “Academia Online”, have launched a new provocation for the XXI century education in Romania. Our previous research has revealed that the new technologies of Internet and World Wide Web will significantly contribute to the development and democratisation of the Romanian society in the near future. Alternatively, the reality indicates a massive demand for open education technology and distance courses added to the growing need for continuing education. The issue arising refers to the increase in efficiency of the existing programmes and the creation of new ones, based on distance learning pedagogic theory. At the same time, we meet the prioritary objective launched by the Ministry of Education and Research regarding quality assurance at all levels. The elearning system of “Academia Online” stands as a model of integration of new information technologies and communication into educational systems, based on didactic, psychoanalytical principals and consequent with the European standards.
“Academia Online” represents the milestone for future virtual education systems. The development process corresponds to the standard paradigm of software development (ADDIE model), intuitively combined with the didactic approach of a new learning method.

The objectives of “Academia Online”, in this primary pilot phase are the following:
- Offering students, companies, educators and non-profit organizations the resources for continuing education, training and self bettering. (www.academiaonline.ro)
- Creating a new efficient platform, based on interoperability standards, accessible to corporations, training and education institutions or individual authors and enabling them to publish online materials.
- Setting design standards, infrastructure, security, didactic planning, support and interaction on virtual media, methods of distance learning, resource distribution and online examinations.

www.academiaonline.ro – The eLearning System Available
Online courses represent more than mere information in electronic format made available to everyone through the Internet. Incessant progress, continuous education, development of personal skills – these are the goals encouraged and supported by the extensively trained specialists of the Association for Excellence in Career through the creation of the best elerning system available in Romania.
Academia Online collects carefully selected contents and support materials, presented sequentially, in the rhythm particular to each student packed with the optimal design for distance learning with visual materials support. The curriculum proposed is subjected to a long process of evaluation, assembly, redesign and validation according to strict standards set up by the team of pedagogic specialists, psychoanalysts and programmers from the Association for Excellence in Careers, the Institute of Educational Sciences and Inside Media.
The methods proposed by the Institute of Educational Sciences have been developed in a constructivist maner. This is the fundamental distinctive characteristic of the elearning system of “Academia Online” among other distance learning systems. Though these solutions support the figurative learning, the knowledge and habit learning process encourages the students’ efforts in the representation conversion, new information creation and operative mental structures. The optimal blend between content presentation, support of an active attitude and cooperative learning stands at the core of “Academia Online”.
The evaluation, an essential factor of a quality pedagogical plan, is present in the system in all its forms. The learning process is supported by a continuous assessment and self-assessment. At the end of a course there is a certification exam made up of two parts: a task carried out by students in teams and secondly, an online content oriented test. Both the collaboration and the online testing methods have been created and developed by Inside Media programmers assisted by assessment specialists from the Institute of Educational Sciences.
Some of the courses end with a face-to-face exam required for diploma certificates authorized by the Ministry of Education and Research.

The success of Academia Online project is already statuated by the number of our students: over 8.000 enrolled in about 14 courses, most of them free, offered by various institutions. By means of working with a system based on state-of-the-art Internet technologies combined with national education standards we have proved the power and accessibility of Internet in distance learning as part of an articulate didactic programme.

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