Topic outline

  • Interuniversity Learning in Higher Education on Advanced land Management - Egyptian Country

    Duration: October 15, 2015 – October 14, 2018

    List of Partners

    P1. Desertification Research Centre - University of Sassari NRD-UNISS

    P2. University of Leeds - UNIVLEEDS

    P3. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - AUTH

    P4. Mediterranean Universities Union - UNIMED

    P5. Advanced Computer Systems A.C.S. S.p.A. – ACS

    P6. University of Cairo - UNICA

    P7. Alexandria University, Faculty of Agriculture - UNIAL

    P8. Institute of Graduate Studies and Environmental Research, Damanhour University - IGSER

    P9. Zagazig University - ZU

    ILHAM-EC aims at increasing the professionalism of young students by supporting the development of a new inter-university postgraduate Master on Sustainable Land Management (SLM). The new curriculum will take into account new approaches to tackle land degradation and desertification processes. The new Master will be designed to be student-oriented, based on new innovative learning methods and adjusted to the Bologna process requirements. In addition, a cooperation agreement signed by the involved universities and other stakeholders will establish an international educational network on SLM, thus creating new cooperative opportunities and relationships.

    National Priority: Multidisciplinarity

    Overall objective

    Contribute to enhance capacity building in Higher Education of Egypt ensuring high quality educational curricula that meet professional, employer and socio-economic needs of the Partner Country

    Specific objectives

    1. Update Master curricula and improve the quality of teaching and learning at the Universities of Cairo, Alexandria, Zagazig and Damanhour in line with the Bologna requirements and the Europe 2020 Strategy
    2. Build a multi-stakeholder collaborative and international educational network on Sustainable Land Management


    The project is composed by 8 Work Packages (WP) crucial for the achievement of the two specific objects

    Project flowchart

    Figure - Project flowchart

  • WP1 Needs Assessment

    Lead organisation: NRD-UNISS

    The Scientific Group (SG), consisting of professors of each involved University and UNIMED staff, carried out an evaluation of the offered curricula of the involved Egyptian universities. In particular, the effectiveness of each curriculum in achieving aims, goals and objectives has been examined.
    The evaluation analysis has also surveyed teaching methods, student-teacher interaction, classroom interactions and other dynamics of the teaching and learning processes. The evaluation assessment was developed through a shared process by SG under the supervision of NRD-UNISS, UNIMED and the operative support of the local Egyptian team.
    The evaluation assessment was carried out through:
    • study of existing learning programs and materials,
    • discussion within the partnership in specific meetings,
    • interviews and questionnaires involving several stakeholders (teachers, students, external experts, enterprises, institutions etc.).
     NRD-UNISS and UNIMED analyzed answers and inputs received by the stakeholder’s consultative process and they produced an evaluation report assessing the current curricula status, teaching methods, needs and roadmap to follow to enhance quality of teaching and learning process, modernize Master curricula, update knowledge and skills and facilitate the connection between knowledge and labour market.


    Lead Organisation: UNIAL

    Based on the previous evaluation analysis results, a new high quality Master on Sustainable Land Management has already been defined.
    The new Master course will be in line with the Bologna process requirements and it will involve post-graduate students in the field of agronomy, soil and environmental science.
    A meeting involving the Egyptian component of the SG was carried out at the University of Alexandria to define goals, objectives and the structure of a new high quality Master on SLM. Egyptian components of SG  are now preparing the needed documentation for the accreditation procedures.
    SG with the support of NRD and UNIMED will make a report (a business plan) on the new Master. The business plan will define the design, the structure and the steps needed for the development and implementation of the new curriculum. In addition, the business plan will propose a variety of fund strategies to be put in place to guarantee the continuation of the Master after the end of the project to ensure its long-term success

    Lead Organisation: ACS

    The purpose of this WP is to develop new learning materials by EU partners on the use of multidisciplinary approaches and advanced technologies in the management of land resources. All material, reviewed by external expert and agreed with Egyptian partners, will be implemented in an e-Learning System and used to update specific technical skills of Egyptian professors. The same material will be then used in the new accredited Master.

    Task 3.1 Development of new learning material
    The EU academic partners will develop 10 digital technical modules based on the results of the need assessment, agreed with the local partners (5 by NRD-UNISS, 2 by UNIVLEEDS, 2 by AUTH, 1 by UNIMED) and shared through the e-Learning system. Each course will include several video lectures, slides, pdf files, homework assignments and various quiz. The video lessons will be developed using the ”scribing” technique that converts concepts in a graphic format translating the main ideas of a speech into keywords and graphics. This technique can help to capture concepts that are sometimes lost and it can reinforce the memorisation of thoughts and ideas. The modules will be also tested and evaluated by Egyptian teachers during their training. They will be able to suggest improvements that will be implemented by the EU partners before the starting of the Master. The new learning material will be made freely accessible through the use of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-4.0 International License.

    See online courses

    Task 3.2 Creation and development of the e-learning platform
    The aim of this task is to design, develop and implement the Moodle platform, developed by NRD-UNISS. Several tools will be installed such as discussion forums, instant messages, online news and announcements, online quiz and Wiki to allow teachers to manage and promote learning and increase the level of interactions with students. Internal (teachers and students) and external blogs will be embedded in Moodle in order to promote and realize a valuable place for exchanging ideas, news and information relevant for the project participants and for all those engaged in educational matters and land management issues.
    The e-learning platform will be equipped with the modules prepared on task 3.1 and new ones.
    The same platform will be also used as project web-site.

    Task 3.3 Educational game
    ACS, with the support of all partners, will develop an educational game that will oblige players to operate and take decisions to solve complex and inter-disciplinarily questions by relying on previously acquired knowledge. Through selected actions players will progress and pass step by step to several levels achieving the outcome of a sustainable land management. In this way a player is challenged to put into practice his knowledge and develop different types of skills and cognitive capacities.

    Task 3.4 Design and installation of workstations and equipment
    Each local partner university will be equipped as follows:workstations; a library composed by modern international literature; a portable Raman spectrometer for speditive water and soil analysis; a GPS. These new equipment will be intensively used both for teaching and studying by students and researchers.


    Lead Organisation: UNIVLEEDS

    The Egyptian universities will select 32 teachers (8 from each local HEIs) who will compose the Teaching Group (TG).
    These teachers will attend the training in order to upgrade their technical and methodological skills. The TG will be then actively involved in the implementation of the Master frontal lessons.

    Task 4.1 Modernisation of teaching methods
    The TG and the SG were involved in a 3 days participative workshop on best practices, strategies and methodologies to improve teaching and learning processes coordinated by UNIVLEEDS with the support of NRD-UNISS and hold at the University of Alexandria. Following the 3 days-workshop, UNIVLEEDS and NRD-UNISS were in charge of creating some guidelines concerning best practices in teaching.

    Task 4.2 Active learning
    The TG teachers will attend a training concerning technical and methodological upgrading. The selected teachers will study the web materials provided on the e-learning platform and they will use the interactive web 2.0 tools available in the Moodle platform to contact EU teachers for any question they may have in order to constant follow up the crucial issues linked to each training.

    Task 4.3 Webinars
    Several web workshops will be organized in order to: analyze technical topics not included in the planned modules, examine particular case studies in which the methodologies explained in the module have been used and support local teachers in the use of the same methodology and/or technology in their case studies.


    Lead Organisation: UNIAL

    The Master will be attended by a maximum of 20 post-graduate students.  The  Master on Sustainable Land Management will consist of about 1500 hours composed by: distance learning, frontal lessons, webinars and field visits (involving also the laboratories and experimental fields of all local HEI partner); individual study;  an internship period.  To facilitate the internationalisation of the Master, the students will spend 3 months internship abroad at NRD-UNISS

    Lead Organisation: UNIMED

    Task 6.1 Internal Quality
    UNIMED in collaboration with NRD-UNISS will be responsible to define a Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) containing procedures and specific control checklists related to the process of monitoring and evaluation. A draft of  QAP was shared among all partners and approved by the SC during the first months of the project.
    The internal quality monitoring activities will concern the on-going assessment of performance and progress of outputs, outcomes and objectives of the project. The internal quality mechanism will involve all partners of the Consortium through project meetings, email communication, self-assessments and feedbacks from stakeholders and target groups (mostly students and teachers). 

    See the quality plan  

    Task 6.2 External Quality
    This task will be implemented by external experts who will be responsible for monitoring the quality of the educational contents, reports and public outcomes and deliverables of the project. The results of the external quality monitoring will be presented in 3 annual evaluating reports which will be discussed and analysed during the Steering Committee and Coordination meetings.


    Lead Organisation: UNIMED

    Task 7.1 Dissemination strategies

    Each project partner will be involved in the dissemination of information about the project at different levels. Dissemination will be guaranteed through the following activities: development of project information materials;  creation and maintenance of the e-learning platform (used as project web site);  social media;  newsletters;  organization of local workshops; organization of two conferences (during and at the end of the project).

    Task 7.2 Exploitation
    This task aims to establish an educational network on SLM among involved universities and other stakeholders and project partners to develop a collaborative relationship and internationalisation locally and globally, as well as creating opportunities to attract other funding resources and students. The same social tools implemented in the e-learning platform will offer a suitable environment for exchanging ideas and information facilitating the realization of a virtual but efficient network that will involve not only the project partners but also external potential persons.
    Two cooperation agreements will be signed during a Steering Committee meeting: One agreement between the local involved universities and One agreement between all the partners of the Consortium.
    The signed agreements aim at encouraging scientific cooperation in SLM issue and guarantee the cooperation between the partners also after the end of the project.

    Lead Organisation: NRD-UNISS

    Task 8.1 Project start-up
    The project kick-off meeting was held at the Cairo University during the first months of the project. Following the launching meeting, a Steering Committee meeting took place in order to establish the Steering Committee (SC), composed by the Contact Persons of each member of the consortium, and the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was agreed on and signed by all partners. The SC was also involved in the definition of the members for the Scientific Group (SG), composed by the professors of each involved University and UNIMED staff.
    Task 8.2 Project coordination
    The Steering Committee will meet on an annual basis or more frequently if necessary (also via video-conferencing) to review the project activities, strengthen the best practices within the consortium members, develop annual work plan and budget as well as discuss other financial and administrative issues. 

    Go to the second steering committee Meeting   

    Task 8.3 Administrative and financial Management
    This task includes daily activities of project management such as administration, evaluation and monitoring, financial reporting, purchases and payments. All partners are involved in this task under the supervision of NRD-UNISS.

    Task 8.4 Logistic arrangements
    This task includes all the logistic arrangements and the implementation of procedures needed to support, define and carry out all project activities (preparation of travels, organization of meetings, workshop, accommodation, etc.) as well as logistic and other support needed for the special mobility and didactic activities. All partners will be cooperatively involved in supporting this task under the coordination of NRD-UNISS