Development of the Academic Guide to EMRA

The profile of the new Masters programme has been shaped by the curriculum, pedagogical approach, delivery methods, accreditation and certification, length and structure, as well as requirements from applicants and regulations, leading to the publication of the Academic Guide to EMRA. 
The Academic Guide sets out in detail the aims and objectives of EMRA, regarding expected educational achievements and professional skills and competences, introducing and outlining the profession of Rural Animator. 
The strong European dimension and intercultural value of EMRA is being stressed, and the joint delivery of credits by the 7 cooperating universities explained. The structure of EMRA as a two year Masters (awarding 120 ECTS) delivered mostly by e-learning, including a face-to-face seminar, a thesis and practical work by placement in rural development settings, is being worked out in detail.  All the partners work jointly for this purpose, to make sure that the terms and conditions of all participating universities in the credit awards are met, and that the role of each university in assuring credits is clear. 
An advanced draft of the Guide has been discussed with the wider academic community of the EU in an International Workshop organised in Warsaw in November 2010, Poland, where partners and invited  experts discussed the academic and professional profile of EMRA. The results of the workshophave helped to revise and finalise the Academic Guide. The  final version of the Academic Guide can be downloaded here. 


Curriculum development

A thorough review of existing post-graduate courses offered by European universities, relating to issues of sustainable development, and an analysis of their curricula has been conducted. The review identified systematically the subjects taught by national and international programmes of related themes and build a documentation basis that informed the development of the EMRA curriculum. For more information on the results visit this page.
The aim of the EMRA curriculum is to equipthe Rural Animator with a basic knowledge of the factors affecting rural development and a more specialist understanding of the different aspects of development that he/she will be called to handle and encourage. The curriculum accommodates the above needs through a core course and eight specialist modules. 
The core course includes an introduction to the integrated and inter-disciplinary approach to rural development, European rural policy and a description of the role of Rural Animator. The specialist modules tackle such themes as:

Sustainable agriculture

Social and Human capital, welfare

Environmental planning and management

Cultural development

Sustainable rural tourism

Innovation and development policies in rural areas

Education and lifelong learning for rural development

Diversification of rural economies

The core course and modules utilize the learning materials developed by Euracademy Association in its 8 Thematic Guides as well as additional materials developed by the participating universities.The Curriculum can be downloaded here.


Development of learning materials and the e-learning platform

The learning materials for EMRA have been created from two sources:

the previous 8 Thematic Guides of Euracademy Association, and

learning material developed by the participating universities.

An electronic library has been mounted, including all learning materials in English.
A dedicated e-learning platform has been created and is available here.
The delivery of e-learning will follow a pedagogic methodology agreed with the project partners, and in principle will be based on the individualized “learning pathway” approach, developed by the EURO-VALIDATION project.


Definition of the certification and accreditation procedures

The necessary procedures are being established for certifying the proposed Masters programme of studies, awarding a recognised qualification, and coordinating the accreditation procedures among the participating educational institutions so that the credits awarded are universally recognised and the qualification offered at the end of the Masters programme is validated. 
The degree will be granted by the project leader, N. Copernicus University, which will also take on the responsibility for  accrediiting the core course and the specialist modules. The credits for the specialist modules that are not taught by N. Copernicus University  will be assured by the participating universities in charge of the modules. All universities will co-sign the degree.
The teaching of  modules by the participating universities is as follows:

Core course, N. Copernicus University, PL,

Sustainable agriculture, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute- MAICH GR,

Social and Human capital, welfare, University BABES-BOLYAI, Cluj RO,

Environmental planning and management, University of Rostock DE,

Cultural development, University of Valencia ES,

Sustainable rural tourism, Szechenyi Istvan University, HU,

Innovation and development policies in rural areas, Estonian University of Life Sciences, 

Education and lifelong learning for rural development, N. Copernicus University, 

Diversification of rural economies, N. Copernicus University, PL,

An Accreditation and Certification Guide has been developed, outlining the granting of credits and the certification procedures adopted by EMRA. The Guide states the terms and conditions for the accreditation of the Modules and the core course and for the certification of the Masters degree by N. Copernicus University. 


Action plan for launching EMRA

An action plan ihas been developed to prepare the way for the implementation of the results of the project, i.e. for the launching of the new Masters programme. The action plan includes preparatory research on the implementation logistics and marketing of the new academic course; a specific plan setting out in detail the course of action that is necessary to start successfully the Masters programme; and a business plan assessing the economic feasibility of the new programme. The Action Plan is dealing with the following aspects:

marketing of EMRA: means, methods, outreach, target groups;

recruitment of students: information points, publicity, procedures for submitting an application, staff requirements;

running the Masters: teaching and tutorial resources per core course and modules, face-to-face seminar(s), thesis, practical work placement, technical and administrative support; infrastructure requirements; communication with students; management of learning materials;

accreditation and certification procedures;

costs and income for the five initial years.

Additional topics covered include the coordination of all participating universities once the Masters is launched; liaison to local/regional authorities, LEADER LAGs and other rural development institutions to secure the placement of students for their practical work; liaison to social partners and public employers in rural areas to promote the profession of Rural Animator and enhance the employment prospects of the EMRA graduates.


Dissemination and publicity

 Dissemination activities include:

The EMRA website

The EMRA brochure in all partners’ languages

An international conference to launch and market EMRA in the summer 2012

The Academic Guide to EMRA, in English

Promoting EMRA during Open Gate Days of the participating universities

facebook page

LinkedIn group

A website facilitating the application and registration procedures for EMRA studies: