Title: Evaluating and developing international cooperation

Authors: Eeva-Kaisa Linna

Addresses: Project Manager, National Board of Education, PO Box 380, (Hakaniemenkatu 2), 00531 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: Transnationality is a core criterion of the European Community programs. As such it can be regarded as an instrument by which change in policy and practice can be effected at different levels from the local level to the European. Transnational collaboration being hypothetically of synergistic nature will nevertheless have to be questioned. This has been done in the Socrates ODL (Open and Distance Learning) project ||Virtual Multimedia Factory||. The foundations of the Virtual Multimedia Factory project were already laid in 1994 when a group of Finnish training providers identified the need to produce multimedia for adult vocational training and education jointly. As Finland joined the European Community at the beginning of 1995, the programs the Commission had launched availed an option for multinational collaboration. The project was split in two parts, a European Social Fund (ESF), objective 4 funded part and a Socrates ODL financed part. The project covers a large partnership four Finnish Vocational Adult Education Centres and Telecom Finland (which later became Sonera), CITEC Ltd. and AIKE International. The European partners are FAS Training Centre Cabra and the Electric Paper Company EPCO), Dublin, Ireland, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (UPCO), Madrid, Spain, University of Twente, the Netherlands and Post Denmark. International collaboration was evaluated and developed as a part of the Socrates ODL project through two surveys, round table discussions, observations in meetings and the evaluation of project communication methods such as the use of e-mail. The study indicates that successful international cooperation is a result of versatile experience, a mix of expertise via different players, open-mindedness to socio-cultural differences, joint planning and conceptualising, support of the home organisations, transparency of communications and the process, good time management and a sufficient number of face-to-face meetings.

Keywords: transnationality; European dimension; cooperation; transnational teamwork; virtual team; strategic value; organisational commitment; individual; learning process; diversity; synergy; cultural immersion; communication across cultures; benefit.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2000.000354

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2000 Vol.10 No.1/2/3/4, pp.109-126

Published online: 16 Jul 2003 *

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