Thursday, July 14, 2011

EFITA 2011 Conference - Impressions

imageThe EFITA 2011 Conference, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic between July 11-14 is officially over. I had the opportunity to be in the Conference from the beginning on Monday and leave after its closing on Friday. During these days I attended a number of interesting lectures, made a presentation for the Organic.Edunet Web portal (User Satisfaction Analysis) in the EFITA – ICT Adoption Session, was responsible for the VOA3R Workshop (with the precious help from Diane!) and made 3 presentations in that workshop (on behalf of my colleagues from Rural Inclusion, Organic.Lingua and my presentation for Organic.Balkanet). Also I attended and participated in the Rural Inclusion Workshop. All of them on the same day. I didn’t have much time to be prepared for all these, as this trip to Prague was the third (and last) of a series of three consecutive 5-day trips (Maribor, Slovenia for the Organic.Balkanet 4th Project meeting and Malta for the I.S.L.E. Summer School).

Presenting the VOA3R Review Process
During the EFITA Conference I had the opportunity to meet new people from various institutes and make interesting conversations with them. It was also an opportunity for me to meet some of the VOA3R project partners for the first time and some of my old teachers and colleagues, like Prof. Sideridis from AUA (Greece) and Prof. Roman with Maria Toader from USAMVB (Romania). The Conference was really well-organized in various aspects, from the transportation of participants to and from hotels to the nice joint events (the latter gave us the opportunity to taste the local beers/wines and dishes – especially the Monastery event on Thursday evening was really nice!). Internet access was available almost everywhere (but it was not always easy to use laptops, as the clicking sound of the keyboard was really annoying!), staff members provided help all the time and the premises of CULS were really appropriate for such event, especially the smaller rooms hosting the Workshops and various individual sessions.
Family photo of the VOA3R partners after the 2011 VOA3R Workshop

Prague is a really nice place to be, full of sightseeing spots, easy access to most places through the well-organized public transportation system and nice places to have a beer/snack/lunch. The existence of the river in the city was really amazing, especially when combined with all these sights around. However, I was in the unpleasant position to have my luggage forgotten in the intermediate stop to Geneva so I arrived in Prague only with my backpack, containing only my gadgets (netbook, digicam, mobile phone etc.), but with no clothes. I had to spent a full day with the same clothes and some complimentary stuff provided by SWISS in a really nice messenger bag (e.g. toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/shower gel, shaving stuff etc.). It was really strange to be at the Conference wearing my bermudas and a not-so-formal shirt!
I found the Conference really interesting and a nice way to promote and disseminate your work. I just wish I had more time to wander around Prague…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

EFITA 2011 Conference

This trip to Prague for the EFITA 2011 Conference will be the last one of the series of 5-days trips during the last month. I am here to make a couple of presentations about the Organic.Edunet Web portal and to support the organization of two workshops (well, mostly the VOA3R one).

The trip didn't start well, as my luggage was left in Geneva, where I changed flight from Athens to Prague. This led to me wandering around the conference with my short pair of trousers and looking really casual... I was really annoyed about that, as well as by the fact that I was informed that there have been two bookings for me at the Hotel!
Some of the giveaways I received from Swiss in order to stand a day without my luggage
The 1st day of the Conference went pretty well, with a wide variety of topics and presentations. Tomorrow I will take some time to work on my presentations and study the organization of the two workshop that I will participate in (VOA3R and Rural Inclusion). Wednesday will be a full, hard day so I'd better be prepared!

vprot next to the Rural Inclusion poster @ the Poster session of EFITA 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I.S.L.E. Summer School - 3rd project meeting

I just got back home from the 4-day (4-8/7/2011) Summer School/ 3rd Project Meeting of ISLE Network. The whole trip was interesting, as it made me understand how far can Malta be from Greece, depending on the flights available...

The meeting, in my opinion, was really successful, as it included not only interesting key-note speeches from people outside the network (e.g. Dr. Niko Roorda from the Netherlands talking about AISHE: Assessment Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education - really relevant to our project) but a nice overview of the status of our work described by each WP leader. There was also a session dedicated to the next project meeting, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal and will be collocated with the Professionalization Fair (including companies involved in the area of Sustainable Development)

In addition, there were some additional tools/methods introduced to the project partners, such as the Problem-Based Learning, presented by the Slovenian team (Dr. Marija Lesnik) and our favorite Learning Scenarios, presented by the Agro-Know team (well, specifically Vassilis and Andreas). Since the time allocated to scenarios was rather limited, after we presented the methodology and templates, we asked project partners to work on their own scenarios and develop a number of them, that could be used later for developing a nice handbook on the implementation of learning scenarios in this specific field. We really hope that partners will correspond to that task...

We (as Agro-Know), in the context of Good Practices in Education of SD, also presented the I.S.L.E. MOLE Course Management Platform, in which we plan to ask partners to upload a full course on SD, as it is delivered in their University (e.g. Presentation, additional relevant files, references, notes, slides etc.) and create a collection/curriculum of topics on SD that will expose differences in the approach of teaching relevant topics in different universities around Europe. We will have to work intensively on that, since it will take time and coordination to achieve a good result.

As WP8 - Dissemination WP leaders, we received a number of comments/suggestions about dissemination options, the use of existing tools and future plans on this issue. We will have to work on some of these ideas (e.g. ISLE newsletter, brochure) and revise some others (e.g. leaflet, ISLE poster and website) in order to meet the needs of the project. We presented revisions in the web site, new links page and the new workspace for the ISLE project, to store Deliverables and related documents.

It was really nice to see people from the previous project meeting in Teramo as well as to meet new faces (e.g. Vanessa from Austria, Manu from Luxemburg, Vesna & Marija from Slovenia, Magdalena from Slovakia etc.). We had a nice time during the meeting and a really interesting time during the joint events (including visits to archaeological sites, museums and traditional restaurants as well!). These were 4 full days of work and social events and a big thanks should go to Louise, Everaldo and Adrian for organizing all these for so many people (more than 40 participants this time!).

Still got lots of work to do and we'll present/discuss more during the Lisbon meeting.