An unforeseen side-effect of the ICT4SMEs project was the development of a close relationship between Noorderpoort College Groningen in the Netherlands and Rogaland Education Center Stavanger in Norway. Both institutes are involved in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and further professional development. Together with the regional job agencies and Eures Cross-border they set up a project to tackle the lack of a skilled workforce in the Rogaland region by developing special training courses for unemployed workers in the Groningen region.
Students are much better at dealing with ICT than most of their teachers. Designing adequate e-learning material is an art, which is not (yet) taught in teacher training programs. Therefore, a lot of "do-it yourself" is going on, which is often the positive initiative of a number of creative teachers who are interested in ICT for teaching purposes. The problem is that there are many different approaches, not all of them of good quality. Although e-learning has a clearly innovative aspect it is still not regarded as a major learning method.
The function of a helpdesk is to act as front office, as contact point for the customers and also to discharge the downstream areas in their communication to the customer as intermediary. The more distinct this task is, the further its processes extend to other core processes of the IT Management. With the aim of being consumer-friendly - offering a fast, friendly and professional solution - the HelpDesk has the important task of dealing with and solving a large number of disturbances and consumer inquiries directly.
In rural areas, the lack of broadband access results in competitive disadvantages for the business community and enormous educational and informational disadvantages for the people in these areas. Efa shows that it is possible to provide rural areas with broadband internet access using standard technologies, even when the major internet providers on the market show little goodwill in this regard.
The idea behind this project is to offer books of vouchers simply and quickly to a broad target group. Interested parties are able to order their books over the company website (www.elbono.de) and they can decide for themselves if they want to print them directly online or if they want a hardback version by mail. The administration of the system, the customers and the voucher suppliers are carried out in the integrated backend system. The company website offers their customers a rating system where they can rate the quality of the suppliers of the vouchers.
The ICT Innovation Center is a centre for innovative learning, based on modern ICT. As part of a Regional Education Center (ROC Noorderpoort College) it develops e-learning material on a broad scale for the College itself as well as outside. Working closely together with SMEs in the North Netherlands region, it develops tailor-made training materials according to specific needs of these companies. Virtual learning environments, web-based trainings, video clips, all these materials are designed by working groups consisting of technical programmers and pedagogues.