By Dr. Valentina Volpi (Link Campus University); Prof. José Marín-Roig Ramón (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia); Prof. Mª Asunción Pérez Pascual (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia); Prof. Mª José Canet Subiela (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia)
O-City Learn: An open and free learning resource for creating competences in the Orange Economy
The creation of open educational tools for building digital and entrepreneurial competences aimed to enhance creativity and sustainability in the cultural heritage sector can boost Cultural and Creative Industries economy, as well as meeting the educational needs of future citizens. Indeed, this approach is consistent with the 21st Century metacognitive framework (Fadel, Bialik & Trilling, 2015) that allows learners to think and act as professionals in the current and future scenarios. In detail, the educational model is based on the integration of three different aspects enclosed in a meta-learning space for reflection and adaptation: the acquisition of knowledge, especially across different disciplines, both traditional and modern; the application of the acquired knowledge through specifically-designed activities for the development of creative, collaborative, communicative, and critical skills; and the nurturing of self-empowerment and life skills shaping the character, such as curiosity, mindfulness, leadership, etc. In this framework, digital technologies acquired a crucial role as they support the learning process and, at the same time, are the tools that learners need to master to innovate and promote their professional competences, such as the creation and widespread of multimedia products.
Based on these premises, in the framework of the EU Commission funding programme, O-City Learn was developed as an innovative tool for creating competences in the Orange Economy, in tight connection with a dedicated promotional platform, O-City World, opening to opportunities at cultural, social, economic, and environmental level (Pérez Pascual et al., 2022).
The Orange-CITY: Creativity, Innovation & Technology (O-CITY) project, funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ (Knowledge Alliance) programme, run for three years, from 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2021. It involved 13 partners among universities, incubators, cultural and development entities, and private SMEs from 6 different Countries: Spain (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia – UPV, Instituto Internacional of Competences for Sustainable Development – IICDS, MEUS), Italy (Link Campus University, Materahub), Greece (University of Thessaly – UTH, GM STUDIO), Serbia (Business Incubator Novi Sad – BINS, Novi Sad Foundation), Slovenia (BSC Kranj, Carnica Institute -Layer House Kranj), and Colombia (Universidad del Norte – UNINORTE, I-Solutions Ceipa). The project was coordinated by UPV that is now hosting in its servers the two main platforms (O-City Learn and World) developed by the project and maintained after the end of the funding period.
The two mentioned open access platforms are the core of the learning path designed and implemented to train teachers (and their young students), professionals, and organizations (e.g., CCIs) in entrepreneurship and in the use of creative technologies to promote heritage, with the main goals of:
- Discovering and promoting natural and cultural heritage from cities and territories.
- Actively creating and promoting competences in the heritage sector.
- Innovating teaching methodologies in universities.
- Encouraging the creation of multimedia products, i.e., creative items, about the local natural and cultural realities.
- Boosting the Orange Economy and the well-being of the city through the value generated by the connection between education, digital technology, and heritage promotion sectors.
The O-City open library
O-City Learn is an open e-learning environment aiming at building competencies and innovating learning methodologies that can apply in O-City World or in the larger Orange Economy.
In detail, it is an e-learning platform based on a library of 17 courses about 4 fundamental areas in the creative economy, including the training needs of CCIs along the entire value chain of creative products: Cultural Heritage and Intellectual Property, Technical Skills, Business Development, and Soft Skills, as shown in Figure 1.
All the courses have the same structure, except for the technical courses that allow working on real multimedia projects to be published on the O-City World platform, and therefore they also include indications about the creation and promotion of multimedia products (e.g.: technical requirements; steps for implementing E-Scrum projects based on teamwork approach; rubrics for assessment, i.e., the evaluations grids about multimedia and E-Scrum activities).
All the courses provide a presentation including general information, learning objectives, expected results, translations, and certificates. Then, the platform offers free and open access contents of different formats (video, pdf, slides) for training teachers and students (Teacher to Learn), supporting teachers in delivering practical activities in the classroom (Teacher to Teach) and students in extra training (Student to Practice).
Further resources are an overview of innovative learning methodologies that can be applied in implementing classroom experiences (i.e., Project-Based Learning, Flip Teaching, Blended Learning, E-Scrum and Gamification) and an introductory bibliography.
In this way, the platform offers a pathway to facilitate teacher’s work in training young people in the classroom to let them acquire creative, digital, and entrepreneurial competencies in the heritage sector.
The O-City pathway in the Orange Economy
The O-City pathway in the Orange Economy to Acquire Competences uses the two O-City platforms with two different, but integrated goals:
- Creating competencies about creative economy in the heritage sector while improving traditional teaching methods, for example, by promoting project-based individual or collaborative activities.
- Promoting the heritage by disseminating creative products and creating networks around city natural and cultural assets, as well as educational organizations.
The pathway is made of three main training phases.
- The first step is the training of the teachers through the O-City Learn platform. They can decide which courses to attend, according to their needs. Moreover, they can obtain a certification through the UPV university’s LMS (Sakai-PoliformaT).
- The second step is training the students through skills transfer and possibly creating multimedia products.
- The third step consists in uploading the multimedia (if any) on the O-City World platform that will be validated by the teacher after registering to the platform. In this way, teachers can recognize the competencies acquired by the student by using a schema of competencies connected to the on-platform Student CV.
Although each course allows the development of specific bits of knowledges and abilities, a general schema of ten main competences have been developed for students’ evaluation by the teacher (digital content creation, learning through experience, working with others, planning and management, communication and collaboration in digital environments, sustainable thinking, information and data literacy, spotting opportunities, creativity, critical thinking). Additionally, each competence has a defined rubric based on 4 different levels that students can reach: knowledge, when demonstrating basic understanding of concepts, facts, and techniques, and three ability levels, while creating a multimedia item with different grades of autonomy.
The schema has been built on EU DigComp (Riina et al., 2016) and Entrecomp (Bacigalupo et al., 2016) frameworks for developing and understanding digital and entrepreneurial skills, adapted to the specificities of the heritage sector. Indeed, new technologies can motivate students since they incentivize creativity and critical thinking (Shen, 2020), especially when combined with a project-based approach.
The classroom experiences
The tools offered by O-City Learn support both the online learning (self-study) or the classroom experience.
The O-City Pathway has been applied in different contexts (e.g.: regular courses at university, Erasmus + students’ programs, soft skills and orientation path initiatives) and at different educational levels (e.g.: high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, etc.). Moreover, it has been implemented in different European Countries (Volpi, 2022; O-City Newsletter) and abroad (i.e., in Colombia), further demonstrating the large applicability of the learning resources, also seen as e-learning interactive tools and innovative methods for improving conventional teaching.
O-City Learn allows the implementation of different learning and capacity building activities, while effectively meeting social and educational needs in enhancing the digital, entrepreneurial, and creative competencies of students, teachers, and professionals. Since it is supposed to remain available as an open and free learning resource, students and professionals from different countries can benefit from this ongoing educational opportunity, as well as from the visibility given to their creative products by the O-City World platform. Although the courses were primarily created to facilitate teachers’ work in training young people in the classroom, everyone accessing O-City Learn can enjoy its resources and materials, including CCIs.
At the same time, the assets created by the O-City project generated a multiplier effect between cities, mainly in Spanish regions where the platforms have been used for tourism and cultural marketing purposes. Indeed, it is an easy-to-access system for less known and peripheral destinations or natural and cultural heritage that takes advantage of an International and participatory approach since people from all over the world can enrich and improve it with new information and multimedia. Moreover, it offers an interoperable open database of global destinations and routes for the management and marketing of smart tourism (Marín-Roig Ramón, J. et al., 2022).
Therefore, it is expected to attract further educational, research, and market projects involving different stakeholders, including tourism suppliers and CCIs interested in exploiting data, tools, libraries, and other assets produced and collected during and after the experimentation.
BACIGALUPO, M.; KAMPYLIS, P.; PUNIE, Y. & VAN DEN BRANDE, G. (2016) EntreComp: The entrepreneurship competence framework. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union, 10, 593884.
FADEL, C.; BIALIK, M. & TRILLING, B. (2015) Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners need to succeed. Center for Curriculum Redesign. URL: https://curriculumredesign.org/our-work/four-dimensional-21st-century-education-learning-competencies-future-2030/
O-CITY LEARN. URL: https://poliformat.upv.es/portal/site/OCW_CUR1157407_2020/tool/27e5294e-830f-41ee-9679-92b0cb9469a5
O-CITY NEWSLETTER. URL: https://o-city.webs.upv.es/en/category/newsletter/
O-CITY WORLD. URL: https://ocityplatform.webs.upv.es/dashboard/map
PÉREZ PASCUAL, M.A.; CANET SUBIELA, M.J.; YUSIM, I. & MARÍN-ROIG RAMÓN, J. (2022) Biblioteca O-City. Recursos de aprendizaje para la economía naranja. ARUFE GIRÁLDEZ, V. (Coord.) Congreso EDUCA 2022: Ebook de Actas. 5ª Congreso Mundial de Educación. Campus Educa-Sportis, pp. 212–217.
MARÍN-ROIG, J; CIUDAD, M.; ROLDAN-PONCE, A. & VOLPI, V. (2022) O-CITY: Datos Interactivos para la Gestión Inteligente de un DTI. III Congreso Mundial sobre Destinos Inteligentes.
RIINA, V.; PUNIE, Y.; CARRETERO, S. & VAN DEN BRANDE, G. (2016). DigComp 2.0: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. Update Phase 1: the Conceptual Reference Model (No. JRC101254). Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
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VOLPI, V. (2022) Infographic Design Skills Applied to the Heritage Sector: An Experience from O-City’s Pathway in the Orange Economy to Acquire Competences. In: Stephanidis, C.; Antona, M. & Ntoa, S. (eds) HCI International 2022 Posters. HCII 2022. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1582. Springer, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06391-6_40
Valentina Volpi is adjunct professor in ‘Social Innovation and Transformation Design’ at the Master’s Degree in ‘Technologies, Codes and Communication’ at Link Campus University, where she also manages some learning labs about Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and on the ideation and presentation of social businesses. Moreover, she teaches Social engagement and Service design at the Master in ‘Service Innovation and Digital Transformation’. She applies with students methodologies based on collaboration, learning by doing and project-based learning. Since 2014, Valentina has been conducting research activities at Link Campus University in funded research projects and she has been promoting social innovation initiatives connecting the university with the surroundings. She is the scientific coordinator on behalf of Link Campus University of the Open Factory (Europeaid) and the O-City (Erasmus+) capacity building projects, co-funded by the EU, dealing with sustainable fashion and the orange economy. In the past she collaborated on research projects and activities on ICTs and Human-Centered Design with several research centers, including CATTID (Centre for the Applications of Television and Innovation Technologies in the Digital World) at Sapienza – University of Rome and DASIC (Digital Administration and Social Innovation Center) at Link Campus University. Her research topics are: Social Innovation, Human-Centered Design and Design Thinking, with a focus on Co-design, UX/Service Design, and Civic media and participation processes in cities and communities. She holds a Master’s Degree in ‘Publishing, Multimedia Communication and Journalism’ with a curriculum oriented on ‘Digital Communication’ (Sapienza – University of Rome) and an Academic Research Diploma in ‘Interaction Design’ (ISIA Rome Design).
Jose Marín-Roig received his Telecommunication Engineering degree from the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Spain, in 1993. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics at Universidad Politécnica de Valencia since 2002. His current research interests include the design of FPGA-based systems, computer arithmetic, VLSI signal processing, and digital communications.
Asun Pérez-Pascual received her telecommunication engineering and PhD. (telecommunication engineering) degrees from the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, in 1997 and 2002, respectively. She has been an associate professor in the Department of Electronics at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia since 2002. Her current research interests include the design of FPGA-based systems, computer arithmetic, VLSI signal processing, and digital communications.
María Jose Canet received her Telecommunication Engineering degree and her Ph.D. degree in Electronics Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, in 2001 and 2007 respectively. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Electronics at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia since 2005. Her current research interests include the design of FPGA-based systems, computer arithmetic, VLSI signal processing, and digital communications.
COVER PHOTO: Roman Odintsov, Pexels.com (https://www.pexels.com/it-it/foto/luce-tramonto-alba-sagoma-5319713/)