The Hellenic Open University (HOU) (P6) is a Public University founded by the Greek Government in 1992 and fully operational since 1997. HOU comprises of 4 Schools and offers 31 programmes of study to about 35000 adult students, who are dispersed all over the country. It is the only Greek University that uses the distance learning methodology combined with the principles of adult education. About 80% of its students are working professionals who seek for a further education degree in order to improve or change their career.
The Educational Content, Methodology and Technology Laboratory (e-CoMeT Lab) was established as an independent unit within HOU in 1997. Its primary mission is to support HOU in applying educational, methodological and technological innovation in distance learning and educational content development. In addition, it pursues Research and Innovation activities and participates in national and international consortia and networks of excellence. During the past 5 years, the e-CoMeT Lab employs more than 40 people in research, development and administration activities, having an average annual turnover of around € 1m.
e-CoMeT Lab activities evolve around the following axes:
- creation (development, production, publishing), access and usage (retrieval and sharing) and maintenance (storage, archiving, adaptation) of educational content and material (in printed or digital format),
- development and evolution of distance learning methodologies, by exploiting the contemporary educational and pedagogical theories, as well as the technological developments that ensure their efficient application, and
- development or application of modern Information and Communication Technologies (IST) applications to support education.
Both HOU and e-CoMeT Lab apply the ISO 9001:2008 quality system.
The staff of e-CoMeT Lab has participated in various R&D projects, in the context of which it has developed job profiles, training guidelines, platforms, numerous software tools, databases and educational content and material. As a result, they have developed state-of-the-art know how in distance and lifelong learning methodologies and technologies. e-CoMeT Lab has produced more than 100 eLearning titles to support HOU and has developed several tools, such as Webcast Producer (used to produce web based lectures) and LvS (Learning via Subtitling – used to train in the use of foreign languages via subtitling of movies).
HOU has been implementing various R&D projects funded by national and EU programmes (Leonardo Da Vinci, Socrates, Regional Operational Programmes etc) whose activities meet the necessary capacities, priorities, background and goals of the Project, such as:
- analysing fragmentation and exclusion processes in civil society
- taking up the problems of the shortage of skilled professionals in specific areas of services
- timely assessment of the achievement of learning outcomes, thus supporting the realization of efficient personalized learning paths
- developing and validating harmonized european curriculums based on the principles of ECVET
- developing competences through social games, learning through the construction of models and games
- developing training platforms, integrating social networking applications with adult education methodologies
- study of training needs
- development of digital content and training courses
- evaluation of learning content