EVA, the European Virtual Academy, was an ERASMUS project set up in 2011 and funded by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme. The initial project members were the five European Universities: Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj (UBB, RO), Milano-Bicocca University (UNIMIB, IT), University of Applied Sciences Tampere (TAMK, FI), Sapientia University Cluj (SHUT, RO) and University of Applied Sciences Mittweida (HSMW, DE). EVA was intended to be a platform which would enhance the quality of teaching and learning and which would like-wise increase the amount of European cooperation between universities and boost the overall teaching quality. After the funding period (2011-2013) has finished the partners agreed to continue activities on a voluntary basis.
The EVA platform has been concepted as a digital alternative to a "real", traditional university. EVA partners from European universities offer online course modules in many subject areas in English, focusing primarily on media topics. The basic idea behind EVA has been to facilitate the development and exchange of best practices in education and training as well as to boost the knowledge transfer among universities and teach-ing institutions within the EVA network and beyond. Furthermore, EVA has also become a key instrument to foster international mobility.
EVA has been set up an administration platform helping manage virtual courses and virtual classes. It supports teachers in managing student groups, describing curricula and syllabi and coordinating communication with student groups.
There are no restrictions on course's subject area, offered at the EVA platform. Although not required, it is recommended that modules offered within EVA fit into the study programmes of partner universities. EVA operates on the basis of effective mutual recognition of academic achievements between European universities. The platform has implemented the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) as a commonly agreed means of assessment, thus raising the transparency of the study programmes. The model behind EVA is based on a simple yet effective cooperation between universities utilizing bilateral agreements, approval for the equivalency of the courses offered and accreditation from the partner university. This turned out to be a flexible way for exchanging courses and credit transfer. EVA courses can be attended by any students from the universities within the network and it is the responsibility of the Home University to accept grades and credit points given by lecturers from any member’s University.
Students profit from a diversity of modern online teaching methods with the advantage to study independently of time and place. They are able to o gain international learning experience while studying at the Home University. They also strengthen and develop their language skills in English which may help expand their interest to study abroad.
EVA is not intended to serve as a repository for any teaching material provides tools to help lecturers describe their curriculum and link it to any material and references required. In the simplest case a link to a course available and managed elsewhere might be defined. This helps avoid violation of any publisher's/copyright-holder's exclusive rights or problems with permissions which would have to be sought and acquired to make the required material available directly at the EVA platform.
EVA does not force anybody to use any specific teaching software, platforms, social networks or tools. The platform does not implement any specific tools for teaching purposes and gives professors the full freedom to use tools and teaching methods of their own choice and preference.
Every university is responsible for marketing and dissemination work. The primary goal of both activities should be to inform students about the possibility to enroll in a course of their interest as well as to uptake of EVA strategies by the European universities.
Hosting a course at the EVA platform is treated to be and part of the regular teaching obligations at a member university. Remuneration for teaching within the EVA network, if any, as well as the assignment of honorary contracts, is the responsibility of the Home University. EVA requires no international mobility.
Currently there are no fees due for attending EVA courses. Charging fees may however be subject for future consideration.
All participating universities aim to establish capacities to include EVA in their curricula and contribute to further developments of the platform adapting a mindset to help propel EVA’s success and growth.
In future, EVA may include courses delivered form institutions and private persons specially accredited to deliver teaching for study programmes affiliated with EVA. The prerequisite is the recognition and approval of the academic quality of teaching by one of the partner universities. The teacher needs at least the degree which is being awarded in the study programme the course is embedded in (e.g. Bachelor or Master). Accepting external teachers is possible by recognition of a department which includes a specific EVA course as a module or its substitute in a particular curriculum.
Each university is free to teach online as many of its own students as possible. The number of international students is limited to a maximum of 10 students per university per course. The current model is however subject to further discussions.
International students taking part in the EVA classes are being enrolled at their home universities. Guest universities may enroll students as “exchange students” under the ERASMUS+ scheme to increase the number of international students at home.
Students which successfully finish an EVA course are given grades, credit points and a certificate which need to be recognized by the home university, and accepted as part of the study course. The recognition procedure is subject to further adjustments within the network.