The ISPEHE project has three main innovative components: Strategic Integration of Learning Models (SILM), Pilot Consolidated Career Centre (PCCC) and Business Education Project (BEP) Platform. The research for each of this component is as follows:
First Innovative Component: Strategic Integration of Learning Models (SILM)
In an era of ever-increasing need for innovative, compatible educational methods and practices, and joint efforts in achieving goals in various strategic documents at the European level, ISPEHE project offers the much-needed spark for promoting innovation and best practices among higher education institutions (HEIs).
The main purpose of the SILM, as first innovative project component, is to establish joint contemporary educational practices and produce a long-term strategic learning model based on the existing curricula adopted and successfully implemented in each partnering institution. The focus is put on creating an integrated approach that will synthesize various pathways in participatory learning like e-learning system, distance learning models, modernized approaches for engaging students, practical case studies, problem based learning etc. These seemingly distinct approaches will be combined in one innovative, modern learning proposal that will raise the quality of the educational services offered by the HEIs and produce an imperishable postulate for further development of collaborative curricular efforts.
The Needs Assessment Analysis is the first element in preparing the SILM. The objectives of this analysis are aligned with the specific objectives of SILM, and support their accomplishment:
- Identify the factual situation in each of the partnering HEIs
- Provide assistance for making needed decisions related to establishing optimal learning models and best practices
- Obtaining a participatory approach in constructing SILM from relevant stakeholders
The research related to the above mentioned Needs Assessment Analysis was conducted during the period of April-May, 2015 in all five partnering institutions. For research purposes two types of questionnaires (for students and teachers) were prepared by mutually the research teams of all partner institutions. The Questionnaire for students/teachers consisted of 12/11 questions, most of which were with multiple-choice answers. The purpose of the survey was to collect information about a) the learning practices applied in partnering institutions b) which common teaching and assessment methods are used and which one are specific, unique and more creative in all 5 partnering institutions and c) what are the opinions of both, students and teaching staff, about such methods.
The questionnaire for SILM Needs Assessment Analysis was conducted on first, second and third year undergraduate students studying in the field of business and business administration (in particular: entrepreneurship, management and business administration), and teaching staff involved in preparing and lecturing courses in these fields.
For determining the sample size, the method for finite populations, using the Finite Population Correction (FPC) factor for systematic random samples when the standard deviation is not known will was used for both populations. Overall 376 students and 59 teachers were surveyed and based on the obtained results five individual SILM reports, one per partnering institution, were created. The overall SILM results are integrated and very thoroughly elaborated in the SILM Needs Assessment Analysis document produced as sixth intellectual output of the ISPEHE project.
Second Innovative Component: Pilot Consolidated Career Center
According the recommendations stated in a number of EU strategic documents HEIs need to strengthen their ability to respond to the dynamics of the business and society. Having it in mind the aim of the second innovative component of the project is to establish a unified Career Center in order to increase the employment opportunities of graduates and to respond to the requirements the business sector regarding student’s practical skills and competencies. Some of the partnering institutions involved in the project have already established a functioning Career Center in each of its facilities. The project aims to build on their experiences and accumulated knowledge, to establish a unified international Career Center, where graduates will get the optimal expertise and advice quality possible. Ideally, Career Centers need to be developed as to help build professional competencies in students, enabling them to participate actively in the workforce, both through internships during their studies, and at latter stages, by providing contacts for them with the business community. However, career centers must be able to precisely evaluate each student in order to suggest the most suitable career paths for them and provide opportunities to take those paths. Therefore, a significant portion of the activities regarding this project component will be focused on the research of the existing career centers in partners, and other institutions throughout Europe and worldwide; outline the traits that successful career centers have, and then create a model for a unified career center, which will be applicable and useful in any higher education institution.
The research on this innovative component should begin in September, 2015.
Third Innovative Component: Business Education Project Platform.
The Business Education Project (BEP) Platform is the main innovative aspect of the project. This new on-line system, aims at bridging the gap between private, public and educational bodies. Every entity will have its profile registered on the platform, separated in one of three groups: educational institution, private business or public enterprise. This innovative approach will take multidisciplinary collaboration and project management on a next level, from the initiative phase of the project to its completion.
Also, a special module will be built to allow quick and effective documents exchange between project partners. Links and connections will be established with existing European platforms for knowledge and experience exchange between the education and industry sectors. The establishment of the BEP software platform will include promotion to chambers of commerce and educational institutions, for combining their needs, skills and common interest in building new products and services.
So far, relevant research for BEP1 version features and functionalities has been conducted, technical specification has been created and seven BEP sub-deliverables, related to 14 specific activities in the BEP component, are defined. In the next period all of the software technical requirements for the BEP version 1, are due to be completed. The progress on each activity can be monitored on the BEP platform (http://bep.ispehe.org).
- IO1 (Intellectual Output 1) – Web-sites of the project ISPEHE
- IO 2 – Communication,dissemination, project visibility plan
- IO3 – Quality assurance and risk assesment plan
- IO4 – Project Breakdown and Incidentals Budget
- IO5 – Inception report
- IO6 – SILM analysis
- IO7 – SILM PIlot model
- IO8 – Consolidated Career Center
- IO9 – Business Educational Platform (BEP) ver.1
- IO10 – Business Educational Platform (BEP) ver.2