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Home Projects Current Projects Developing cost-effective and sustainable network and technical infrastructures in Georgia
Developing cost-effective and sustainable network and technical infrastructures in Georgia

 

Objectives

The main partners, Georgian Technical University (GTU) and Iowa State University (ISU), are charged to design and implement an expandable network to: 1) create a community of professional practice centered on community colleges in both countries; and 2) assist Georgian teachers to develop and deliver electronic learning materials needed in that nation’s new community colleges and vocational education centers. This network will also be used by college outreach staff, academic organizational units and community stakeholders that are members of the regional network of community colleges and vocational education centers being established jointly with the Ministry of Education & Science, US Agency for International Development (USAID), and member colleges of Community Colleges for International Development, Inc. (CCID). 

Project milestones

The project is scheduled to start at the beginning of January, 2008, and will conclude at the end of December, 2009. Milestones and results are listed in the table below. 

Overview of expected results

The main result of this NATO grant will be the overlapping higher education professional communities of practice linking American and Georgian university and community college teachers, administrators, students, and community partners. This network will start by improving the connections between Tbilisi-based GTU’s Teaching Center, Georgia’s first community college in Gori, and a professional education center in another urban center, Zugdidi. It is meant to be expandable to the full network of community colleges, including remote areas such as Alkhaltsikhe and Akhalkalakhi. 

Later, the network will be expanded to include more than a dozen other sites which the Georgian Ministry of Education & Science will put in place during the next decade. Equipment, software, and technical work-arounds described later in this proposal are all important components, but we also include among the results below some of the technical and pedagogical skills which will also have to be in place to operate the network as a professional community of practice.

 

Milestone

Date Completed

Key result

 

Apr. 08

GTU and Gori network managers and technicians will have received training at ISU and Kirkwood. Mickelson and Monahan travel to Georgia advise on equipment purchases, internet capacity at community college network sites, and setting up GTU’s media-enabled classroom and media production center.

 

Jun. 08

A media-enabled classroom in Tbilisi is set up and functioning at GTU to support the CCID-GTU project to create the first Georgian community college. This USAID-supported project began in October 2006 and first classes at the college building in Gori start in October 2007. The GTU classroom will be equipped with high quality network cameras and other equipment necessary to generate live internet feeds to Gori’s classrooms and/or generate CDs to disseminate electronic materials to Gori students.

 

Jun. 08

A media production center up and running with the capacity to edit and copy electronic materials and produce CDs. The media production center will be staffed by media specialists from GTU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) which will operate both the classroom and media production center from its office in the same university building with support from GTU’s Network Management Center.

 

July 08

GTU teachers receive training in Iowa after which teacher teams begin preparing electronic learning materials and CDs. Gori teachers receive training from CETL staff to author electronic learning materials and prepare students to study using them.

 

Oct. 08

A media-enabled classroom operating in the Gori college building will be equipped to receive internet data and serve as a communication link for teachers with counterparts in other parts of the community college network and GTU.

 

Jan. 09

Internet upgrades for Gori, Zugdidi, and GTU teaching center are complete. A “micro-studio” system adapted to the needs of Georgian higher education is ready for use off-site in the Gori community with business and other local stakeholders. The designer of ISU’s “micro-studio” concept, Joe Monahan, and the other members of ISU’s project team presented the project concept in Georgia in March 2008, including with CETL’s curriculum specialists, Gori teachers, and GTU Network Management Center technicians and managers. Micro studio demonstrated to Zugdidi, Akhalkalakhi, and Alkhaltsikhee participants.

 

May 09

Zugdidi vocational education center participating in network. Network development strategy paper drafted by project team for MES, USAID, and NATO. Contents include technical specifications for next college, i.e., network sites, strategies for work-arounds to establish strong internet capacity for colleges in all parts of Georgia.

 

Jul. 09

A program of lectures, seminars, internship meetings, and other professional meetings launched reflecting the college network’s outreach goals. These experiments overseen and results evaluated jointly by CETL officials and by members of an ISU and Kirkwood assessment team.

 

Oct. 09

Individual teachers and teacher teams incorporate electronic learning materials in their classes after adapting DVD and/or internet-based materials supplied by university (ISU and GTU) and college (Gori and Kirkwood) colleagues in the same technical fields, e.g., tourism, construction, environmental, agriculture, and water-related courses.

 

Dec. 09

Final report and updated network development strategy paper updated and forwarded to NATO and other funders.