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PENSA: CIVIS celebrates a multingual project for excellence and autonomy in online teaching

16 March 2023
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The project Professionalization of Teachers using Digital Technology to Support Autonomy and Citizenship (PENSA) started in March 2021 and ended in February 2023. This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project focused on two current issues in higher education and society.

  • The first one is the need for training and infrastructure to deliver blended, distant and/or co-modal (i.e. in-class teaching simultaneously streamed to online students) teaching during the pandemic.
  • The second issue is the need to inform people about the implications in the use of social networking websites (Facebook, Youtube, etc.) at psychological, sociological, economical, and ideological levels.

The PENSA project addressed these issues with an overall approach of multilingualism and of openness, both in the direction of open education and open source platforms.

The core of the project is constituted by 30 teachers and teacher trainers in seven universities, most of them members of the CIVIS Alliance with the addition of one academic association and a company. During the project, we provided training for these teachers of the PENSA team and reached 200 supplementary teachers with local training events across the consortium. A teacher training course composed of 7 modules has been produced and translated in 6 languages of the CIVIS Alliance (English, French, German, Italian, Romanian and Spanish). Teachers were trained to integrate blended and co-modal teaching in their classes, with the integration of telecollaboration and virtual exchange on topics related to digital citizenship. The PENSA team implemented virtual exchange adopting either the pedagogy of inquiry, or a collaborative creative writing approach.

Virtual exchanges were set up between the following CIVIS partners:

  • Aix-Marseille Université - University of Tübingen (bilingual French-German)
  • Aix-Marseille Université - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (French)
  • Aix-Marseille Université - University of Bucharest (bilingual French-Romanian)
  • Sapienza Università di Roma - Université libre de Bruxelles (bilingual French-Italian)
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Université libre de Bruxelles (bilingual French-Spanish).

A co-modal course was also delivered for future teachers of French as a foreign language between Aix-Marseille Université and University of Bucharest. Through these actions, PENSA involved 200 students across CIVIS in developing their digital competence, plurilingual competence, collaborative skills, and learner autonomy and offering them an internationalization at home experience. The PENSA project positively impacted CIVIS as it contributed to enhance multilingualism and digital citizenship across the alliance, especially through virtual exchange contributing to virtual mobility.

PENSA produced a report with a literature review on digital citizenship and digital citizenship education, Open Educational Resources both for teacher training and for teachers to reuse with their learners, guidelines to set up co-modal teaching, and a Moodle plugin to facilitate virtual exchange. The project ended with a conference at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, gathering 80 teachers interested in developing their students’ plurilingualism and digital citizenship. After the project ended, most of the virtual exchanges and the co-modal teaching continue, making a sustainable contribution to CIVIS.