Virtual Seminars: Creating New Opportunities for Universities
Universities nowadays have a mission to provide knowledge not only to their on-campus students but also beyond the "walls" of the institution. Lectures or seminars that have relevance for a wider audience and that go beyond the campus boundaries are often held in public and are open to all citizens. What we are seeing in many universities is a strong desire to open up the campus, to break down the barriers that have traditionally kept out those not directly involved in full time courses and to invite the citizens in to share the academic richness of the modern-day university. This paper is based on the VENUS Handbook, an output of just such an endeavour on the part of a group of European Universities working together in the VENUS Project which was supported under the European Commission's eLearning programme (DG Education and Culture). During the lifetime of the project, the VENUS partners organised seminars focused on issues that are relevant for European Society today. These seminars were delivered virtually and simultaneously at all European locations by means of videoconferencing and live streaming. Each lecture was followed by the interactive discussions at all participating sites as well as online. This paper is intended as a way to share the experience we gained in this project with others interested in setting up similar activities. (original abstract)
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