The FernUniversität in Hagen (FUH), the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), the Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNL), the Open University of the United Kingdom (OUUK) and the University of Wroclaw (UWr) are a blend of leading European distance learning and campus universities firmly devoted to further the principle of equal opportunity by safeguarding equal access to top quality higher education to everyone, using a methodology based on the principles of modern distance and blended learning focused on the needs of the student.
In 2014, after six years of successful cooperation in the organization of international common teaching activities on the bachelor level, the founding members (FUH, OUNL, UNED) established a Strategic Partnership to further cultural exchange and best practices in the internationalisation of high quality education in law for all three Bologna cycles. Developed within this framework, the EDELNet (European Distance Education in Law Network) Partnership is an ambitious scientific and pedagogic endeavour to further cross-European Blended Active Learning and student oriented teaching in order to facilitate a personal learning path with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and intercultural communication skills as a basis for a better understanding of each other’s legal cultures and practices throughout Europe and beyond.
In 2015, the Partnership was awarded with European Union funding in the amount of 403.555 Euro for the period 2015-2018 by the DAAD ERASMUS+ funding program for Strategic Partnerships. The goals of this project addressed the European need for widening the access to top quality higher education through international academic cooperation, as identified in the 2011 EU Modernisation Agenda (COM (2011) 567 final). For this purpose, EDELNet developed an still functioning concept for the modernization of teaching methods in law with an innovative combination of student-centred blended learning tools and concepts. This combination also draws on intercultural communication and interdisciplinary processes for the production, learning and application of relevant inter-subjective knowledge in addition to the traditional contents of legal education.
Since 2015, this concept has been continuously implemented through an international and cross-cultural cooperation that is devised to broaden access to and participation in international and European education, especially for disadvantaged groups such as students with disabilities, economic, social or geographical obstacles, health problems or cultural differences. The EDELNet concept comprises the development and implementation of virtual and face-to-face teaching and training activities and courseware in key methodological and substantive areas of the law, including language competences, intercultural communication skills and interdisciplinary methods of knowledge production applied to legal practice and scholarship.
In the long run, we hope for students from associated universities and other potential public and private institutions from all over Europe and beyond to participate in our program and benefit from the EDELNet programme results. In line with these anticipations, we expect students and staff to:
- have a high quality international experience that will enrich their learning and professional paths;
- overcome language inhibitions by using English as a common language; and
- cultivate their intercultural competences while operating in a cross-cultural environment.
The programme also grants students easy access to an international network of professionals of the law, both academic and practitioners. All this brings forward our plans to merger different European teaching cultures, traditions and didactic formats to improve teaching practice in the entire European community of law teaching. Through affordable, relevant, high quality and internationalized higher distant learning education in the field of law, we contribute to a sustainable and inclusive Europe.
EDELNet+ extended partnership
In 2020, adding new partners to the network, the EDELNet Strategic Partnership received funding from the DAAD-IVAC programme (International Virtual Academic Collaborations – Project-ID: 57563814) to develop a new additional PhD Training Programme in methods and skills of legal research.
This programme offers a set of online and face-to-face activities that aim to equip participants with the practical and theoretical knowledge necessary to transfer relevant methods and skills to their research and their professional lives in the future. The programme includes two online seminars (Empirical Legal Research and Contemporary Methods of Legal Research) and a face-to-face intensive study programme that take place every year at different locations in Europe.
Both the online seminars and the intensive study programme are based on a student-centered approach and designed to enhance interactive synchronous and asynchronous peer-learning in a cross-European community of PhD students and instructors. The activities also aim to train participants in transversal skills such as intercultural communication, project-management, public speaking, etc.
The network organizing the Programme comprises the University of Hagen (Germany), the Open University (United Kingdom), the University of Bologna (Italy), the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain), the University of Wroclaw (Poland), the University of Miskolc (Hungary) and the Open Universiteit (Netherlands). This blend of campus-based and online/distance teaching institutions allows this PhD Training Programme to combine best practices in traditional face-to-face teaching with state-of-the-art tools and techniques of blended learning and student oriented teaching. These features also present a good opportunity for PhD students to actively participate in a diverse and cross-cultural academic environment and benefit from the access to large pool of experienced legal researchers from across Europe.
Partnership Coordination: Dr. Juan J. Garcia Blesa.