Maria Amata Garito

"Cooperation Patterns between the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and the Universities of other Countries of the World" (English Versione)

M. A. Garito  Place/DateMosca, 10/10/2012

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Background: the challenges to the University in the knowledge society

New technologies allow a direct connection between the university and the user, by means of a simple PC, a tablet or a smart phone: lessons, multimedia products, databases, self-assessment systems, exams organisation and other training materials can be quickly forwarded and this promotes collaborative learning processes inside dynamic virtual environments. In the "virtual" classrooms, it is possible to reproduce teaching-learning activities as it happens in actual classrooms, but it is also possible to significantly increase the amount of information and start up multiple interactions in real time among individuals belonging to different cultural levels, having different traditions and experience and coming from educational environments of different countries of the world. Physical distances are overcome and the communication global system allows to delocalise the delivery and use of a globalised knowledge. In this context the idea itself of education and training is changing and this requires targeted public policies.

The cognitive society creates new educational needs as well as the tools and solutions to meet them. The challenges that educational institutions, and the University in particular, are called to face are linked to the fact that classrooms or lecture halls are no longer the only places where one can follow study courses: anybody from anywhere, if he has the required technological equipment and the appropriate materials can build his own environment to carry on his own educational and self-learning process. In order to educate and train citizens, together a new model of social ethics, it is necessary to establish new systems, new public policies and also new organisational models for universities at local, national and international levels. These can integrate presence with distance; if this is not achieved, I believe that we risk a progressive decay of traditional educational structures.

We will witness an uncontrolled process that will lead us towards a more and more de-schooled society; it will be up to the agencies separated from the educational institutions and software designers to create for tomorrow’s citizens the new competences that society requires. Therefore the problem is no longer whether education reproduces social inequalities or not, but rather today’s question, common to all universities worldwide, is how to adjust to this system and create, in the framework of globalised economy, systems that could develop integrated teaching and learning processes, since they use different languages to communicate knowledge. These should also be open processes, since they should have no spatio-temporal limits. Educational and training policies should guide this process and this should happen by starting a stable dialogue among different environments, since the entire world is involved in great changes that are still in progress.