The UNITE! community has started a collaborative process in order to put in place a virtual Metacampus UNITE!. This is a challenging process that has to lead to early results in the medium term. The decision of the Alliance to start designing a common digital platform, is a turning point, and at the same time a challenge and an exciting starting path on which the community has enthusiastically engaged, as the need of such a tool is viewed as a key need for the visibility and growing of the concept of a European university.
A Metacampus UNITE! means a technical solution, a digital platform that connects the seven universities of the alliance, to enable mobile access exclusively to the range of programmes and diversity of activities that are offered through UNITE!.
Each university of the alliance keeps its own campus, existing Learning Management Systems are preserved, and therefore, the educational contents and models of all the partners. All partner universities continue with their own student mobility management systems as well.
The designing process of such a complex system is not obvious nor a straightforward task. It encompasses a high quality contrasted methodology able to provide design results that meet the specifications derived from the final users’ requirements and expectations. We are engaged to construct a platform that will be a starting framework with the capacity to evolve and grow with new functionalities.
The Metacampus allows access to educational contents, which are published in the platform. This publication is a simple syndication of the educational content, which means that, in the Metacampus, the educational content is not stored, only metadata of the educational content is stored.
We aim to provide a portal to sort and visualise the offer agreed by UNITE! in a clear and easy to access way. The study offering can be individual of each partner of the alliance, or joint. It can be local courses of each university or joint courses. For students this means facilitation for search and access. For teachers and staff alike, this means flexibility to offer their own content without additional effort.
For all, internal community and external public, this means a clear shared understanding of what is happening together at UNITE!
The Metacampus is a single point of entry for users that:
The platform is based on an Open Source Software advanced platform, able to incorporate available new code libraries and applications. Data protection and IP issues –security, privacy and confidentiality- are key issues that are being addressed. The Metacampus UNITE! is conceived as a technically robust solution, and at the same time, seeks attractiveness, through flexibility and the best possible user-friendly experience.
The user requirements agreed on by the community of UNITE! are demonstrated and validated during the first two phases of the Metacampus design.
Phase 1 : Proof of concept of Metacampus for UNITE!
Phase 2 : Pilot tests, launched with the pilot joint programs and courses.
Phase 3 : Evaluation and expanding with additional functionalities.
The following are the main functionalities that we envisage for the Metacampus in the first stage.
At this first stage of design and first development of the Metacampus, these are the core basic elements that the tool is intended to provide. The platform will be easily updated with new features releases. UNITE! participants are not all experts in virtual tools, therefore we are working on a very concrete introduction to the Metacampus based on close needs analysis and prioritization of requirements by each task force of UNITE!.
We strongly believe that the user experience is key and are committed to develop such a strong tool focusing on the user experience. All the UNITE! community is committed to a prototyping and iterative development of the Metacampus, with the perspective and the goal of constructing community within the alliance.
The process of designing the digital platform is a first step and an incremental project of the UNITE! alliance, towards the concept of a Virtual Campus, to meet the needs of a future European university. In this collaborative process in which we are engaged, the UNITE! alliance is working with UPCnet, the consulting and technology services company created by UPC twenty years ago to optimize ICT management in the university, with the strategic vision of being a link of the university with society through the transfer of knowledge.Source : unite-university.eu
Date of update December 3, 2020