Copernicus 1445 - Flexible and Distance Learning through Telematic Networks



Flexible and distance learning through telematic networks: a case for teaching English and Communication and Information Technologies.


New information technologies applied within all phases of education have a significant effect on basic literacy of a population, permitting a widespread application of

Communication and Information Technology (CIT) in commerce and industry.

Linking to European telematic networks and establishing internationally approved standards on CIT will draw the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries and Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union closer to already developed technologies in many well developed countries. CIT application to flexible and distance learning directly and through pre- and in-service teachers training will cause to rapid integration CEE countries and NIS into European Community.

Both language engineering and the creation of communities of practice through telematics networks need transfer and development of knowledge and technolgy from EC countries collaborating with CEE and NIS countries. In a number of EC countries telematics networks are an important infrastructure for education, particularly higher education and research. In CEE and NIS their application is restricted and the recent Internet connections require extensive development to serve the CEE and NIS.

Both language engineering and telematics networks require the transfer of research with the active participation of the recipients. In addition there is a need for teaching and research staff to develop their English language skills in order to teach and communicate using telematics, because English is currently the common language of the international networks.

This project has five main strands:

  1. Establish Internet connections and working practices between 2 EC (The Netherlands and UK) and 3 CEE and NIS (Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Lituania) countries for collaborative research and teaching (expertise from Universities of Exeter and Twente, and IRTC UNESCO/IIP Kiev; PRIORITY THEME 2.1.1).
  2. Develop model for lifelong, Flexible, and Distance Learning (FDL) in communication and information technologies teacher training, that is appropriate for the CEE and NIS countries, and valuable for EC countries (expertise of Sofia, Twente, Kiev, and Kaunas).
  3. Develop and distribute a range of software to enhance teaching and learning, especially CIT and computer-aided language learning (expertise of Kiev and Twente; PRIORITY THEME 2.2.2).
  4. Develop and disseminate a modular teacher training course in communication and information technologies to support teachers who teach natural sciences and humanities in Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Ukraine (expertise of Twente, Kiev, and Sofia).
  5. Establish and support teachers who teach English as a foreign language in CEE (Bulgaria, Lithuania) and NIS (Ukraine) countries as a case study in the application of telematics networks and services to flexible and distance learning (expertise of Exeter, Sofia and Twente; 2.1.2). This will establish the nucleus of a Trans-European Network for EFL teacher educators.

In addition, the project will provide work towards the development of language engineering standards (expertise from Kiev and Twente; PRIORITY THEME 2.2.3). Also, the English teaching case study will contribute towards the development of applications of systems for professional and personal development in business and at home (expertise from Exeter, Twente and Sofia; PRIORITY THEME 1.4).

Dissemination and collaboration through the traditional channels of publication and conferences will be supplemented with electronic forms using the Internet in its current and future forms. In this way the project will create a community of practice which will continue to grow after the project is itself completed.

The aims and objectives of the Project are reflected in 5 Work Packages(WP):

Project Coordinator: University of Twente, Faculty of Educational Science and Technology


University of Sofia, Bulgaria; Dpt. of Mathematics and Informatics

Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania; Software Department

Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics, Ukraine; International Research and Training Centre

University of Exeter, United Kingdom; School of Education