The last time I wrote in this blog we had just about all finished the alpha testing phase of our project’s VOOCs (Vocational Open Online Courses) and we were looking forward to releasing the 2nd iterations to begin beta testing. This transition from 1st to 2nd iterations has proven not to be as simple as turning on a light switch. Some VOOC development teams are ready for this next step while others are not quite there yet due to the obvious and lingering consequences of restriction of movements since last spring’s pandemic outbreak. Nevertheless, we will get there very shortly.
This year, 2021, should have seen the culmination of our work in this project as the initial target for releasing the 3rd and final iterations of the VOOCs was to have been mid-November. Prior to that we should have continued our internal train-the-trainer development programme in online pedagogy with transnational meetings in Bremen, Germany and Kazan, Russia but, I’m sure that you can guess that was interrupted too. So, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to finish it – yet. As a consortium we decided that this aspect was vitally important in ensuring the success of the project and therefore we needed to request an extension to our period of eligibility from the EC’s Executive Agency, the EACEA. The request was submitted and approved earlier this year, taking the project’s end point to November 2022.
The great plan is now to conclude the train-the-trainer element, along with sundry other, supporting and consequential actions, by organising transnational meetings in Bremen, Germany in March 2022 and Kazan, Russia in May 2022. Our two final National Roadmap Conferences will take place in Belgrade, Serbia in September 2022 and in Moscow, Russia in October 2022. In terms of our VOOC development process this means that our teams in Russia and Serbia have almost one year to conduct beta testing. Our revised milestone for completing this 2nd iteration phase is now May 2022 when we intend to review the results of beta testing, apply sematic learning analysis that we will have learned all about in Bremen, and instigate subsequent changes during our meeting in Kazan. This is a significant increase in the time available for an important phase in course development which ought to bring huge benefits in level of the quality of VOOCs we produce.
So, what has changed? Well, nothing concrete; the project’s aims remain the same, the deliverables are unchanged, and the consortium is still the same, as is the project budget. The only change we have made in truth is to the timeline; when we will do what we have promised to do. There you have it in a nutshell; all change but no change for Pro-VET. The current year will undoubtedly be a quiet one for some in the Pro-VET family but for others there is still plenty of work to be done.
Graham Burns, project manager, email@example.com
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Professional Teacher Education
Text and photos by Graham Burns