Minute from the VIRCLASS leader meeting in Bergen november 2006

23 -25 November 2006

This minute will give an overview of the presentations during the meeting and headline the decisions taken during the meeting. Power point presentations are attached to the minute.

Please draw attention to the information asked for after this meeting:
  • Update the information in the presentation by Bob Sanders on 25. nov: Institutional mission statements related to the VIRCLASS perspectives. Please send your information to r.sanders@swansea.ac.uk before 15. Dec. (the presentation attached to this minute will then be corrected and can be used for presentation at your own institution)
  • Each institution must look carefully into the calculation of teacher cost etc, and give AKL feedback to this by 15.Dec.
  • Each institution will decide who is going to represent their institution in the  Consortium Management Group (see definitions in the end of this minute). Send this information as soon as possible to Anne Karin Larsen
  • Each partner institutions should look for institutional financial support as well as project money to support the future running of the courses, development of research and new educational programmes in the VIRCLASS project
  • A new draft for consortium agreement will be sent to partner institutions by 15. January. Response will be before 12. February.


23. November 2006

City of Bergen: Commissioner Trude Dreveland, Dept director Finn Strand, Section Leader Magne Ervik,
SIU: Group leader ICT: Sigurd Tragetorn,
HiB: Rektor Eli Bergsvik, Study Director Kari Lorenz, international coordinator Elin Kvaale, journalist Elin Hovda Hageberg; media designer Lisbeth Thomassen, Media Centre, AHS: Office Manager Olav Hauken, Institute leader Knut Simonsen, Project leader Anne Karin Larsen, ass prof Kjell Henriksbø, researcher/ass prof Grete Oline Hole,
University of Applied Science; Mannheim. (Prof/ Vice Rector Ulla Törning, prof Ulli Moll, prof em Carsten Otte)
University of Applied Science; Vorarlberg, Dornbirn, Austria. (Prof dr /Head of SW programme Frederic Fredersdorf)
Inholland University, Haarlem The Netherlands (Program director: Ingrid Wegman, prof Remmelt Veerenkamp)
School of Health Science University of Jønkøping, Sweden (Act director Christina Ljungquist, prof Klas-Göran Olsson)
University of Complutence Madrid, (Direcor of SW school Manuel Serrano, prof Andres Arias Astray)
Miguel Torga University College, Coimbra Portugal (Vice President ISMT Cristina Quintas, prof Eduardo Marques)
University of Wales, Swansea UK, prof Bob Sanders.
Knut Simonsen chaired the meeting
Thursday was the reception day with formal opening of the meeting, presentation of the participants and their institutions. At the end two presentations: Information about the possibilities for  international grants – programmes from EU and presentation of the VIRCLASS project
Opening reception by City of Bergen:
Tapas, white wine, Music by Jostein Stalheim, Njål Vindenes and Bjørg Åvitsland,
Welcome speeches:
Trude Drevland, City of Bergen
Eli Bergsvik, Bergen University College.
Presentation by Sigurd Trageton, SIU: Life Long Learning 2007- 2013. Presenting possibilities for ICT programmes in EU (see presented powerpoint attached to this minute)
Anne Karin Larsen: Welcome all. Presented a PowerPoint with pictures of the institutions represented in the project. The present partners presented themselves and their institution very shortly.
Partner Universities not present at the meeting:
University of Parma, Italy, (will continue), University of Warmia-Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland (will continue), University of Vytautas Magnus, Kaunas, Lithuania and Bodø University College (will not be future partners)
Anne Karin Larsen : Short presentation of the VIRCLASS project and expectations for this meeting. (The powerpoint is attached to this minute)
Expectation for the meeting: To agree on a common future for the VIRCLASS courses and to agree on developing a VIRCLASS Consortium.
At the end of the meeting: Music from Jostein Stalheim
Official Dinner by Bergen University College at the hotel Admiral.
24 November 2006
Participants: Ulla Törning, Ulli Moll, Carsten Otte, Frederic Fredersdorf, Ingrid Wegman, Remmelt Veenkamp, Christina Ljungquist, Klas-Göran Olsson, Manuel Serrano, Andres Arias Astray, Cristina Quintas, Eduardo Marques, Bob Sanders, Olav Hauken, Knut Simonsen , Anne Karin Larsen, Kjell Henriksbø, Grete Oline Hole, Lisbeth Thomassen, (till lunch), Elin Kvaale, Eli Bergsvik,
Knut Simonsen chaired the meeting


Friday focused on different elements of the VIRCLASS project: evaluation, research (by Anne Karin Larsen and Andres Arias, integration of the courses in  the social work studies by (Klas-Göran Olsson, Remmelt Veenkamp and Andres Arias, Working methods in a Virtual Classroom by Bob Sanders and Anne Karin Larsen. Presentation of the Virtual Book by Lisbeth Thomassen.Visions for a future administrative and financial model by Anne Karin Larsen.
Later group discussions and plenary session.

Anne Karin Larsen: Evaluation of the project.  Experiences so far:

(the power point is attached to this minute)
Questions to AKL:
Frederic Fredersdorf why not blended learning? AKL: no summer school, Maybe in future possibilities to include intensive program? Carsten Otte: Virclass important for internalisation for students who can not go abroad, due to family etc. Ingrid Wegman: Does VC open for professionals who not are students at some of the HEI here? AKL: Yes, there were several last course; and also some this time.

Andrés Arias: Future VIRCLASS research; needs and opportunities?

Need for research; VIRCLASS is new, innovative; - digital visual, international comparative, anti-oppressive perspective. Much recourses used; time, human, technological, economic, è must see what we get from this; use it for future research. 
Work in progress; used 2005 findings;-  and developing new questionnaire tools for 2006:
Questionnaire to get information about: cost/benefits, specific profile of students/teachers, need to know facts from students learning profiles, the impact of interaction and collaborating on students satisfaction, the use of it’s learning, the visual element, the role of cooperation and collaboration, the affects of the visual elements on the learning process etc.
A lot of things which are possible to research; but we have to choose: Students: the VC experience on students’ autonomy and self expectations. VC impact on ICT skills, analyse the debates; VC influence on the academic skills of our students, their professional SW competencies, their English language skills and their ICT skills.


And much of these competencies/skills are actually also for the teachers;
Do the teachers use these skills in ordinary work as teacher on campus, what is the best visual element for the learning process? And what influence will VC have at the institutions?


We will not survive without further research; we have to work out how to report results, have valid data to give back, to know what functioned. Get money for research to help develop VC.  Need a global, strategic plan for future research, combined with a flexible attitude to the partners research initiative. A part of this can be actions research!


Integrating VIRCLASS in ordinary bachelor programmes:

Klas–Göran Olsson: Presented the way Jønkøping University has managed to incorporate the VIRCLASS courses.
Jønkøping integrates VC in the third year.
In 3 year there are Applied studies (15 ECTS) and Optional courses: (2 with 15 ECTS and one of 7,5 ECTS), VC is one of these options. Important to integrate VC in ordinary studies, it is difficult to manage VC together with the ordinary courses. Sweden will change the programme for SW to 4 year in the future; due to the Bologna process. VC can be an option in 4 year, but that should be on a more advanced level. Will VC be on a bachelor level, can they use it in the advanced level?
The Social Work programme in Jönköping, an overview.

1:st year

Social Structure and Welfare Policy  15 ECTS
Normality and marginalisation 15 ECTS

Psychology  in a life span perspective  15 ECTS
2:nd year;  From this year the students are entitled to apply for Virclass courses
PsychoSocial Work 7,5 Ects
Civil law
7,5 Ects
law 7,5 Ects
Social law
7,5 Ects
7,5 Ects
Integration of theories and metods 15 Ects
A user per-spective
7,5 Ects
3:rd year
Work 7,5 Ect
Applied Studies
15 Ects  
Courses 7,5 Ects

Optional course 15 Ects

Optional courses 15 Ects

4:th year
Research and
Science 7,5 Ects
Thesis 15 Ects
Advanced course 7,5 Ects
Remmelt Veenkamp: Presented the way INHOLLAND University has managed to incorporate the VIRCLASS courses in their curriculum.
The INHOLLAND University now implemented M1 in their regular curriculum and plan to integrate both M1 & M2, SW ; INHOLLAND University has a 4 years bachelor program, 4 periods, each of 15 ECTS.  INHOLLAND University offer Virclass in the 3 year as an optional course.
Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period 4
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Practical placement 80% (4 days  week)
20% at school
Can use VC
Practical placement 80% (4 days  week)
20% at school
Can use VC
Practical placement 80% (4 days  week)
20% at school
Can use VC
Practical placement 80% (4 days  week)
20% at school
Can use VC
Year 4
Are now changing the program to Minor/major program (due to the Bologna process). Major 50 % of the curriculum, minor: 2 X 25%. (Remmelt draws the upside- down pyramid).
In the minor students have to choose a ‘specialisation’ (Social Work, Social Pedagogy), and a differentiation. The subjects for these differentiation minors can be programmes from other Schools at the university. Every school have to make some of this “Minor programmes” and offer those for students from the INHOLLAND University. INHOLLAND University will try to include the complete Virclass program in a differentiation minor program.



Andres Arias Astray: how this is done at Complutense University in Madrid:
(but they are changing the curriculum now, due to Bologna, and this is not finished. Not clear how the programme will be…….),
Now; Core subject, Compulsory subject, Optional subject and Free elections subject (shows what characterises, them, what is Compulsory for whole Spain, for the university, and for the school of SW).
Possible to integrate SW in the Free elections subject. This has only to be approved by the rectorship, - and this is done. The Free elections subject is of 260 hour, and VirClass is recognised to be 60 hours of this.
Many students were interested; but lack of English skills hinders them to participate. In the future they will have English courses in the first year; the students will have better language skills, can then participate in VC.
There is no ECTS recognition yet; and VC is seen as 60 hours, but this might be adjusted, sees that VC is more than 60 hours work.
Comments: Remmelt Veenkamp: In Netherlands will 1 ECTS be about 28 hours students work, (GO: then VC would be 420 hours). 

Bob Sanders: working methods in a Virtual Classroom (VC)

He pointed out that methods in e-learning are different compared to F2F (face to face) contact with students. Things you can do and things you can not do. Turn our thinking; not use ordinary classroom as Gold Standard and VC as second best, try to let the VC be as benefit from the possibilities and opportunities from ICT/VLE.
VC is in the interface between traditional and contemporary views of learning:



Traditional  approaches to academic learning
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
Learning in the ICT revolution
What is learned


Information (soundbite eq)
Learning through dialogue and dialectic
How learning take place


Learning through information acquisition (from sources or from others)
Systematic studies. Literature review
The learning process


Fast access, surf the net, internet browsers
Elaborate and lengthy research, detailed presentation
Learning time scale


Quick acquisition  quick transmission
Dept and not breadth (lots of little)
Dept of learning


Breadth not dept (little of lots)
Developed arguments
Assessment of learning


Information retrieval
Essays, dissertations, thesis
Material outcome


Facts, data
More restricted (eg specific time and place for lectures, seminars)
Access to learning
Less restricted. Some of the learning material are available anytime, day or night 


The VLE Dilemma: we try to deliver the methods, processes and outcomes associated with traditional learning BUT trying to use contemporary means. /citing Rita Kopf, 2006: VLE issues: students may be overwhelmed of messages, there might be tension among students, lengthy monologues; dept of messages. Higher level of tutor support, but also higher level of students’ satisfaction. Tutor the newcomers. It takes time for the tutor to create a friendly environment (Gilly Salmon).


Anne Karin Larsen: Module 1, 2006
Shows how the students are met when they enter the Platform: It’s Learning tutorials, with text, teacher presentations, weekly messages, discussion possibilities, divided into 5 groups, Have specific group area, and possibilities to see who is online.


Bob Sanders: Module 2, 2006
3 themes; 2A Discrimination, oppressions and ethnic diversity as a phenomena in Europe. Anti oppressive approaches to social work, 2B: Poverty and welfare system. . Anti oppressive approaches to social work. 2C: Social Work theories, methods and skill training in Context.  There is a case (a mother with 2 children) which can be developed through the Module for all themes.
Lessons and lectures
Some of the lessons are papers, which are produced and presented at the platform
There are videotaped screen lectures (15 min) also as text for downloading.,
Task the whole program is task-oriented; the students have to do tasks as learning situations (Bob gives examples).
Triggers: audiovisual element, meant to stimulate feelings/thoughts and discussions
Discussion groups,  
Theme discussion, (asynchronous)
Online chat discussion; (synchronous)


Lisbeth Thomassen presenting the Virtual book

Short presentation of Media Centre.
The design: This is an Imagebased design. Wanted to avoid stereotypies of SW; (‘Who needs SW’), give images of people in a changing world; could be everybody
Also: Layer based design the text is placed as a layer on top of the images.
A learning resource; Interactivity, multi-medial as elements – more than a traditional book-texts.
3 main element, 1: Screen lectures, 2: Triggers and 3: the Case
Interface green for M1, blue for M 2.
Like an ordinary book, students have access to all topics – except for the case.
1: Shows the screen lectures. The students can also download and print the lecture, to read it.
Can access the lectures whenever they want in their own tempo…Some screen lectures also have power points, which also are shown.
2:Triggers: stimulate reflection, thoughts, gives examples
3: Shows the Case
About the process making it (Media Centre); and about process writing it, as a collaboration between VC teachers)


How the Media Centre made the book: mostly amateur actors, recorded in one day; but edited for weeks, stage props from Salvation Army; blue screen videos in the studio, pictures behind. All scenes have black-white pictures of the surrounding, to let the persons come in front. The case consists of 12 different scenes; the teachers can choose which one to use. Have to activate each scene when students shall access it. 2 different endings; can choose which one to use.
The film Mrs.K and her Family was showed.

AKL: VIRCLASS New administrative and financial model

The full power point presentation is attached to this minute.
The presentation draw the main lines – starting with the presentation of the existing organisation, financial situation and the continue to presentation of the new model
Discussions in the groups:
Group 1
Kjell Henriksbø, Ulla Törnig, Carsten Otte, Ulli Moll, Manuel Serrano, Andres Arias, Christina Ljungquist, Klas-Göran Olsson, Olav Hauken, Grete Oline Hole


Group 2
Knut Simonsen, Remmelt Veenkamp, Ingrid Wegman, Frederic Fredersdorf , Bob Sanders, Christina Quintas,
Eduardo Marques, Elin Kvaale, Anne Karin Larsen


The following questions were discussed in different ways in the two groups.
1. Group discussions – The use of ICT in international educational programme.                                                  Incorporation of VIRCLASS courses as optional course in the
                                        social work education.
1.1 What is the competence in use of  e-learning in your institution and what are the interest in   
      developing e-learning courses?
1.2 The VIRCLASS courses are they of interest to your institution and your students?
1.3 If  yes, will it be possible to incorporate the VIRCLASS courses as optional courses in the 
      social  work programme in your Institution? In what way and from when?


2. Group discussions – How to secure the future running of the Educational 
                                               VIRCLASS Programme: Social Work in Europe    
2.1       Comments to the presented administrative model. Is the proposal realistic?
·         Administration
·         Financial solution
2.2       Will your institution be interested in developing a consortium agreement?
·         Free student places
·         Student places for sale
·         Number of students from each partner institution
·         Teacher and assessor support
2.3 Comments to the structure of the organisation and leadership of the Consortium        


3. Group discussions - Administrative and financial model for future VIRCLASS
3.1         Is there an agreement about continue the VIRCLASS courses?
3.2         Yes or no till development of a consortium?
3.3         Content of the agreement
3.4         A consortium agreement must be signed by partners March 2007. Discussing the plan for progress – developing and confirmation of a consortium agreement. Planning a strategy for work.


Results from the group discussion:
During the feedback from the two groups’ discussion the main aspects discussed were:
Discussions about different ways to calculate the teachers costs. Discussions about the structure of the Board and the Management group. This discussion has to continue the next day. So far the partners are positive to the project and would like to continue the process towards a consortium agreement.
Visit to the Edvard Grieg’s home Troldhaugen.
Dinner at Bryggen Tracteursted

25 November 2006


Participants: Ulla Törning, Ulli Moll, Carsten Otte, Frederic Fredersdorf, Ingrid Wegman, Remmelt Veenkamp, Christina Ljungquist, Klas-Gøran Olsson, Manuel Serrano, Andres Arias Astray, Cristina Quintas, Eduardo Marques, Bob Sanders. Eli Bergsvik, Olav Hauken, Knut Simonsen, Anne Karin Larsen, Kjell Henriksbø, Grete Oline Hole.


Knut Simonsen and Anne Karin Larsen chaired the meeting


Signing the letter of intent
Some adjustment to the program since some of the partners had to leave early. Started the day with “Signing the letter of intent” stating an agreement among the partners to make great efforts to secure the future financial situation for the VIRCLASS project by establishing a VIRCLASS CONSORTUM by 20. March 2007. The letter of agreement was signed by: Ulla Törnig, Frederic Fredersdoft, Christina Quintas, Christina Ljungquist, Eli Bergsvik, Ingrid Wegman, Manuel Serrano.
(the letter of intent has after meeting also been signed by Rector at the Warmia and Mazury University in Olsztyn, Poland)
Thereafter Manuel Serrano, Andres Arias, Frederic Fredersdorf and Ulli Moll left the meeting.
Presentation by Bob Sanders: How does the VIRCLASS ideas match the strategic plans for the institutions?
Bob presented “Visions and aims for VIRCLASS, and the visions and aims for each partner institutionsè VIRCLASS will help the partners to fulfil their goals. The power-point presentation will be useful for each partner when promoting VIRCLASS partnership in own organisation.
Some discussion about this presentation and some of the institutions wanted to send new material to Bob to make the presentation more precise. Bob will received correct information from Inholland, and other who wants to supply the given information (before 15 Dec) he will update the PP slides and send the product to all partners.
(the ppt is attached to the minute but will be adjusted)
Discussion: Administrative and financial model for future VIRCLASS cooperation
No need for presenting headlines from last day discussions. Since we were few left, the further discussion of VIRCLASS future continued in a plenary session.
While discussing the Consortium agreements; (draft form AKL).
Continued with Group question 2.2 from Friday (see list of questions above), aspect due to the consortium agreement; (Student places, total, free/ for sale, for each partner institution/teacher and assessor support)
Discussion centred about the need for more student-places than the 75 suggested: When VIRCLASS is integrated in the BA-programmes, there are many students who will apply for the course. Wants for increasing the number of student-places; but limit it to 75 the next 3 years, as suggested.
Arguments for not increasing the number of students;
  • Important to remember the aim of VC, a European comparative perspective benefits with a mixed student-group, should include possibility for 10 east-European non partners students.
  • Student-centred pedagogy in an e-learning environment; need to train the teachers to be competent e-teachers to keep the quality...
These first years there were many drop-outs; need to find out why students leave the course, and may be adjust the course and give better information to students, so they know what to expect when starting! Also adjust were the course is placed in each institutions program, might be the reason for some of the drop-outs.
Each partner will have 8 student places; gives 80 instead of 65 places for partners, allow a certain drop-out the first days.
Same number offered to all partners; -different number of students in each partner institution; but they all pay the same share.
10 places for East-European non-partner students, and if there are available places; offer them for paying students.
A lot of work to administrate VC; if the number of students increase in future, maybe divide administration between partners, each handle max 100 students?
Will need more VC teachers in future; recruit and start training new teachers from all partner institutions, from next course start. Important that the teachers have the same “standard”.
Questions were raised if VC should offer e-teacher -training courses for partners; --some wanted this, but the most had such courses at own institutions. Should VC make a competence-profile due to the teacher’s e-pedagogical skills (“e-competence-profile”)?
Each partner should consider if they can implement VIRCLASS as a project in their own organisation; è increase English language, e-pedagogy etc among staff.
Group discussion 2.3: Structure and leadership of the Consortium.
Continued the discussion about the roles of the VC board(VB); the Consortium management group (CMG), the Partners institutions (PI) and the project leader (PL).
Discussion with different alternatives drawn on the white board
Consortium Management Group
: representing all participants at the institutional level. One person from each institution representing the decision makers at the institutions. The partner institution has the formal responsibilities (is the legal body). Makes the strategic decisions (as deciding if VC should be a world wide VC, not only European, or if VC should work towards an international BA), ensure the quality due to standards, but will not interfere in daily academic work. Project leader is secretary for the CMG. The VB can meet at the CMG meetings to present information and new material.
Participating Institutions appoints members to the CMG; decide themselves who to choose.
The Virclass Board is responsible for the day-to-day decisions, (is the “working / executive”-group) while the project-leader is responsible for running the course.
CMG elect member to the VB, shall have members from both teacher-, the researcher – and the development group. PL is member of VB and secretary for the CMG, - to ensure that CMG keep in touch with the VB/PL when making decisions regarding pedagogy/running of the course.
PL will always meet the CMG, the VB can join the CMG meeting if necessary/wanted.
CMG meet once a year, VB twice a year. F2F meetings with all teachers in future can be done in combination with other meetings and TS-agreements (teachers exchange).
Consortium agreement: 2.4: Working plan for next years
(Numbers here referring to the number at p 4 in the draft Consortium Agreement)
1a: AKl will make a new draft for the Consortium agreement with the amendments due to the discussions these days. Send to all PI for further discussion among PI. Important to let persons with legal /juridical competence go through it. You have to respond quickly, shall we hold the deadlines for course-start in October 2007.
Feedback before 12 February
1b/c: VC board meeting 15-17 February, make the finale agreement together with board members: Klas-Göran, Ewa, Remmelt, Anne Karin, - and maybe Alessandro.
No final meeting to sign the agreement, will go by post.
3a/b/c: VC Consortium board meeting. There should be a teacher meeting first 14-17 June 2007 and then, to give important feedback from experiences with both VC courses so far to the group. Then the first CMG meeting will be 12-13 September 2007 and there will be a VIRCLASS teacher meeting 14-15 September 2007 before the next courses starts.
Important that each partner institution give AKL the name of their member of CMG, (together with the other feedback before 12 February)


4: Also have a teacher meeting in September, to adjust programme/ plan course/ learn skills?
5: start next course in October or January? October best, January will make problems regarding the academic year in Germany/Austria; - (as it is no, will change in the future).
No comments on the other dates, reviewing the agreement in 2010.
Partner’s role
Calculating the cost, looking at the estimated budget in the Annex I:
Remember the discussion of teaching cost. This differs between the countries; Each institutions must look carefully into the calculation of teacher cost etc, and give AKL feedback to this before 08 Dec.
There are some amendments to the calculated costs for each module (please look at the attachment “Organizing the future VIRCLASS courses version 2” where the following changes where made:
  • There is calculated cost to Head teacher for each group of students, but much of the work here will be pr course and not pr group. Messages at the bulletin-board etc can be copied and reused for all groups. This gives 11h/student.
  • There are no (or at least less) teaching costs the last week in Module 1  and the 2 last weeks of Module 2, when students are working on their final assignments.
But important to give a qualitative good course! E-teaching is demanding, takes a lot of time.  Take notice of the workload; how much time used first time, will this be reduced when doing it many times? A topic for the CMG; -after the evaluation in 2 years time?
But it might be an idea to monitor time spent in the platform each week now in Module 2; what are we doing every week, how much time does it take….
Comment to the costs; each partner should look for sources for financial support; foundations, grants, EU-money…
Minute made by Anne Karin Larsen (based on notes from Grete Oline Hole)