CUC 2004 / New Frontiers / New Techhnologies for New Needs
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Online IT Courses for Students in Higher Education in Croatia - CARNet Pilot Project / C3

Author: Gordana Buhinjak, CARNet, Croatia


E-learning, being one of the most propulsive way of education, is a priority for CARNet Education Center Edupoint.

In May 2004 Edupoint started a pilot project on online IT courses for students in higher education in Croatia.

This project was created by CARNet project team in accordance with strategic plans of CARNet Education Center Edupoint and in cooperation with educational institution Algebra and psychologist Jelena Vojvoda.

In this project Edupoint has been using experiences from different e-learning projects and researches conducted in CARNet and in Europe.

European researches and projects gave Edupoint a framework but unfortunately a very few of them were conducted in the countries in Croatian cultural and geographic close surroundings.

Because of huge differences in economical, cultural and sociopolitical conditions in the countries where the researches and projects were conducted, particular results and experiences are not completely relevant and cannot be uncritically applied in Croatia.

Therefore, these sources can be used only as valuable guidelines for creating and interpreting
our own projects and researches.

CARNet has experienced some difficulties in applying the experience of more developed
countries to Croatia in previous projects. For example, students were reluctant to
communicate with mentors or group. One of the reasons for that is lack of communication
between students and teachers in the universities in Croatia. The purchasing power in Croatia
and cost of Internet is another important pitfall: Internet is still too expensive for many

Edupoint is aware that e-learning projects rely heavily on technology but that technology
should not be in the focus. E-learning projects should be oriented to learners. Therefore, this
project will put emphasis on learning process and course participants.
One of the goals of the project is getting to know participants' attitude to e-learning,
motivation, their values and needs in order to implement the results in new e-learning projects
and in promotional activities.

It is also necessary to adapt particular course in accordance with the participants' evaluation
and performance indicators. Edupoint is expecting from the participants to evaluate course
content, learning environment, communication with mentor and other aspects of courses.
Edupoint also monitors time participants spend on learning, their results, drop out rate and
other performance indicators.

The online courses for students in this pilot project include the following subjects:

  • Course 1 - basic Internet services: basics of Internet and WWW (Microsoft Internet
    Explorer) and Internet communications – e-mail (Microsoft Outlook)
  • Course 2 - development of animations for web – Macromedia Flash

There are four groups of participants in this project: each of two courses attend two groups of
participants. One group is facilitated by mentor, while the other is not. Each group consists of
ten people. The participants had not been attending any online course before and this is their
first experience of online courses.

During the course the participants behaviour is monitored by online mentors, while
performance indicators are monitored by course administrators. After the course, which ends
in July 2004, participants submit their evaluation forms and participate in focus groups. The
results of evaluation forms and focus groups as well as performance indicators are the basis
for creating recommendations for particular courses run in this project and for online courses
delivery in general.

The recommendations for particular courses will be used in CARNet for delivery of those
online courses to the entire student's population, while the general recommendations will be
used in further CARNet's e-learning projects and hopefully in other e-learning projects in

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