Ono Hosts European Union Erasmus+ LoveDist@nce Program

Ono Academic College hosted the LoveDist@nce project participants for a monitoring visit on January 23, 2023. The 3-year project is co-funded by the European Union Erasmus+ program. Nine participants came from Romania, Spain and Portugal in addition to the Israeli partners from Levinsky-Wingate College and Meital-IUCEL from Tel Aviv University. The project’s objective was adaptation of online courses to the needs of special populations.

First of all, it was wonderful to meet what we can already call old friends. This was the fifth in-person visit for the project, in addition to several online conferences. The personal chemistry between the project participants has been amazing and has deeply contributed to the ability to work together and share ideas, leading to the success of the project.

The current meeting included a discussion of students’ and lecturers’ perceptions about distance and online teaching and learning, and the impact of the project on these perceptions. One of the most profound insights was that participants acknowledged the significant change in perceptions since when they began the thought process that accompanied the project development. All have learned new skills that are applied in the lecturers’ teaching.

The coinciding of Covid literally from the project launch greatly accelerated everything to do with distance learning and created an unprecedented urgency. Everyone recognized the relevance of a project focusing on distance learning and were eager to both learn new skills developed within and outside the project and gladly shared and contributed knowledge from their teaching experiences.

LoveDist@nce has been instrumental in changing the mindset of so many. As we move towards the end of this project we sum up by raising ideas for our next project proposal.

Project’s participants from Ono Academic College (in alphabetical order):

Judy Arad, Dr. Naama Katz, Dr. Yaniv Gvili, Prof. Tsipi Heart, Dr. Orit Lahav, Eyal Laifer, Shlomi Mordechai, Dr. Arie Poran, Dr. Ofer Salman-Sagi, Dr. Ofer Zellermayer, Prof. Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid, Prof. Ron Kleinman,  and additional academic and administrative staff who adopted new ideas and teaching methods developed during the project. Many students took time off from their busy schedules and came especially to tell about their personal experiences with distance learning. The Europeans were deeply impressed and enthusiastic about the testimony of the students.