Innovative Education towards the Needs of the Organic Sector

7 Participating countries:
Start: 01-09-2014 - End: 30-11-2016
Project Reference: 2014-1-PL01-KA203-003392
EC Grant: 202,962 EUR

Programme: Erasmus+
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Summary

Project title: ‘Innovative Education towards the Needs of the Organic Sector’

Development and implementation of innovative, labour market relevant teaching approaches in higher education institutions can enhance the quality of education and, in perspective, improve students’ employability. One of the sectors of the European market characterized by dynamic growth, but still hardly supported by well-educated and skilled quality experts, is organic food sector. Therefore, the EPOS Strategic Partnership supported cooperation between seven European universities to develop, test and implement innovative educational materials and methods addressing the needs of the labour market in organic sector and beyond. The project began with an in-depth analysis of labour market needs, both organic sector-specific and general, followed by the development of innovative teaching contents and by testing them with students and lecturers during teaching/learning activities, including e-learning, Intensive Study Programme and students internships in cooperation with enterprises. Some of the EPOS teaching approaches have already been implemented into teaching programmes of participating universities & have been widely disseminated to higher education institutions and relevant stakeholders beyond the partnership during extensive Multiplier Events and other national and international dissemination activities.

Results

Description

EPOS O2 Intellectual Output comprises of 7 presentations about individual educational initiatives / innovative methods & tools known by the Partner, but new for other project Partners (to ensure transfer of knowledge & innovation). Presentations, prepared to be shown during the II Transnational Project Meeting in Warsaw, may be interesting for all HEI representatives or other stakeholders interested in innovative educational approaches and tools. All presentations are in English. Topics include: Development of sustainable agricultural systems by innovative teaching; Students group work for the elaboration of a crop rotation; Coming back to direct teaching; Interesting website platforms & innovative workshops; Enabling student-centred teaching; Collaborative involvement on Competency-Based Education; Project L.I.F.E as an example of innovative didactics involving enterprises.

All O2 presentations are available on the project website: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=731


Contents
Description

EPOS O1 Intellectual Output comprises of an extensive report on the analysis of the organic sector-specific skills and other competences of graduates necessary to satisfy the employers' needs in the organic sector. The O1 survey was carried out in 2015 with 539 different stakeholders representing the organic food sector in seven countries participating in the EPOS project: Finland, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Spain and Italy. English version of the EPOS questionnaire was jointly elaborated by the EPOS consortium and then translated into languages of all participating countries; both paper version and on-line (Limesurvey) questionnaire was used to collect data. The main goal of the survey was to investigate, at European scale, the needs of different stakeholders towards the skills & knowledge of their potential employees. A research paper summarizing the most interesting results of the EPOS survey is planned to be published soon in an open access journal.


Contents
Description

EPOS O3 Intellectual Output comprises of a Moodle e-learning section developed within the IT environment of the University of Kassel. EPOS Partners put an effort to make use of innovative features of the Moodle system to provide innovative education for the students enrolled for the educational activities of the EPOS project, but also for other people willing to make use of the EPOS Moodle course in the topic of Organic Food and Farming. EPOS Moodle course is divided into 8 sections: Introduction into organic farming; Crop management; Plant protection; Alternative crops; Food quality; Marketing and environmental management; Environmental impact; Ecosystem services. Each section contains (a) e-learning lecture(s), (b) ‘literature basket’ with a selection of references for the studied topic, and (c) on-line quiz to examine students’ knowledge. It is possible to register for the EPOS Open Moodle course here: https://openmoodle.uni-kassel.de/moodle/user/view.php?id=6990&course=65


Contents
Description

EPOS O4 Intellectual Output comprises of educational materials prepared for the EPOS e-learning course, aiming to introduce students into organic farming and food topic. These include 8 PPT-lectures and one video-lecture, ‘literature baskets’ with a selection of relevant literature for the studied topics, and on-line quizzes to examine students’ knowledge gained through studying the provided course materials. All materials have been divided into the following topics: 1. Introduction into organic farming; 2. Crop management; 3. Plant protection; 4. Alternative crops; 5. Food quality; 6. Marketing; 7. Environmental impact; 8. Ecosystem services. All the materials are also available on the EPOS website under the following link: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=733. Materials together with literature baskets and active on-line quizzes are available in Open Moodle EPOS section (registration possible here: https://openmoodle.uni-kassel.de/moodle/user/view.php?id=6990&course=65).


Contents
Description

EPOS O5 comprises of the Curriculum of the EPOS Intensive Study Programme (ISP) on Organic food & farming organised at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in July-August 2015. This includes: Syllabus of the ISP (In Polish & In English); Schedule of the ISP (in English).
Subjects of the ISP: History of organic farming; Nutrient management, plant protection, weed control in organic agriculture; Organic plant breeding, husbandry & animal welfare; IFOAM principles; SWOT analysis; Environmental integration in agriculture; Ecosystem services; Fair trade, slow food, local & traditional food; Marketing in the organic food chain; Quality, safety & health impacts of organic foods.
The EPOS ISP allowed participants to gain international, multidisciplinary knowledge unavailable in standard educational program of a single university, to get a new perspective on the studied topic, strengthen communication skills, built confidence in communication in English, enhance ability to adapt to new situations


Contents
Description

EPOS O6 Intellectual Output comprises of various educational materials prepared by the EPOS consortium for the Intensive Study Programme on Organic Food & Farming organized at Warsaw University of Life Sciences in July-August 2015, in that: 21 lectures; 5 workshops syllabuses; info/leaflets about 5 visited organic farms & enterprises, and 81 final exam questions.
Main subjects addressed in the Programme: History & philosophy of organic farming; Nutrient management & plant protection in organic farming; Organic plant breeding; Organic husbandry & animal welfare; IFOAM principles; SWOT analysis; Environmental integration in agriculture; Ecosystem services; Fair trade, slow food, local & traditional food; Organic sector in Europe; Marketing in the organic food chain; Quality, safety & health impacts of organic foods.
All educational materials developed for the EPOS Intensive Study Programme are available on the project website under the following link: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=50.


Contents
Description

EPOS O7 Intellectual Output comprises of a programme of the EPOS Problem Solving Projects as well as information about the students and stakeholders participating in this activity & the undertaken study topics. Students Problem Solving Projects have been organized in all EPOS partner countries between January and May 2016. They involved 84 students & 26 stakeholders representing organic sector in 7 countries. Students (in most cases those participating in the EPOS Intensive Study Programme + additionally enrolled) cooperated with stakeholders representing organic sector. Students previously involved in the project became mentors for the newly recruited students (teams of 3 students were created); each team was working with one stakeholder; physical meetings and virtual cooperation were organised. Students’ task was to identify stakeholders’ problems/weaknesses and develop strategies to help solving them. Students were supervised by lecturers from their universities.


Contents
Description

EPOS O8 & O9 EPOS Intellectual Outputs comprise of a presentation reporting the results of an extensive analysis of ‘needs for improvements’ of the two crucial EPOS educational activities: e-learning & Intensive Study Programme. The analysis was done based on the feedback of the students & lecturers participating in the above mentioned activities. Their feedback was collected in the end of the Intensive Study Programme in Aug 2015 with the use of questionnaires designed by the EPOS consortium. As these two activities were strongly connected (e-learning module served as an introduction for the Intensive Programme), feedback was also analysed together for both activities. Such evaluation helps improving the activities and is of great importance for future implementation of similar initiatives into the curricula of partner universities or any other interested educational institutions.


Contents
Description

EPOS O10 & O11 Intellectual Outputs comprise of an extensive summary report of ‘needs for improvements’ of the EPOS Students Internships (Problem Solving Projects) organized in all EPOS partner countries between January and May 2016, based on the students & lecturers (O10) as well as stakeholders (O11) feedback (in English). Such evaluation helps improving the activities and is of great importance for future implementation of similar initiatives into the curricula of partner universities or any other interested educational institutions.

In addition, national reports on the Problem Solving Projects (in English) as well as selected students’ reports from this activity (partly in English, mostly in national languages), have been included in this output.

All the O10 & O11 materials are also available on the project website under the following link: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=747.


Contents
Description

EPOS O12 Intellectual Output comprises of (a) Summary report on the analysis of needs for improvements of educational activities testes in EPOS project (on the basis of Intellectual Outputs O8-O11), and (b) Programmes of the educational activities (e-learning, Intensive Study Programme, Students Internships/Problem Solving Projects) with remarks & improvements introduced on the basis of identified needs. All O12 materials are in English.

All the O12 files are also available on the project website under the following link:
http://epos-project.net/?page_id=752.


Contents
Description

Based on the educational activities tested and improved within the project, and taking into account specific circumstances at each partner university each partner was encouraged to prepare a curriculum/programme, to be implemented in the regular study programme of the university. We can already see the effects of the above mentioned actions – the curricula developed within the project are already enriching and enhancing the attractiveness of the educational offer of partner universities.
Within the O13 EPOS Intellectual Output we report: (a) EPOS Problem Solving Projects syllabus prepared by all Partners (in English) & translated into every Partner language, and (b) Examples of active implementation of EPOS approaches in the teaching programmes of participating universities (existing modules & syllabuses attuned to address requirements of individual Universities).
All the O13 files are also available on the project website under the following link: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=754.


Contents
Description

EPOS O14 Intellectual Output comprises of a set of 20 PowerPoint presentations & a project flyer prepared by all EPOS partners for the Conference ‘Innovative Education towards the Needs of the Labour Market’ organized in each participating country in May-July 2016. Presentations have been prepared in national languages of each Partner. The topics include: (a) the needs for improvements in the educational system, to cover expectations of European employers (on the basis of the research done within the EPOS project), (b) information about innovative educational tools and study methods developed and tested within the project (e-learning, students internships, intensive study programme); (c) briefing about funding opportunities to help organizing similar educational initiatives by other interested parties.

All individual presentations & dissemination materials (e.g. EPOS Flyer) are available on the EPOS project website under the following link: http://epos-project.net/?page_id=756.


Contents
Project logo

Coordinator

SZKOLA GLOWNA GOSPODARSTWA WIEJSKIEGO

Nowoursynowska 166, 02787
WARSZAWA
PL

Organisation type: Higher education institution (tertiary level)
Maria Ewa Rembiałkowska
ewa_rembialkowska@sggw.pl
+48225937038

Partners

EESTI MAAULIKOOL
TARTU
Organisation type: Other
Anne
Luik
anne.luik@emu.ee
HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO
HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO
Organisation type: Higher education institution (tertiary level)
Eeva
Uusitalo
eeva.uusitalo@helsinki.fi
JIHOCESKA UNIVERZITA V CESKYCH BUDEJOVICICH
CESKE BUDEJOVICE
Jihočeský kraj
Organisation type: Other
Jan
Moudrý
moudry@zf.jcu.cz
UNIVERSITAET KASSEL
KASSEL
HESSEN
Organisation type: Other
Peter
von Fragstein und Niemsdorff
pvf@uni-kassel.de
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE MADRID
MADRID
Comunidad de Madrid
Organisation type: Higher education institution (tertiary level)
Teresa
Briz
teresa.briz@upm.es
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DELLA TUSCIA
VITERBO
Organisation type: Other
Roberto
Mancinelli
mancinel@unitus.it

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