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ITdesk.info - project of computer e-education with open access

Throughout our work we have noticed that digital literacy is one of the preconditions for being competitive in the labour market. The rapid development of the information technology, which has become a base support of modern economies, caused a great discrepancy between today’s basic work skills and the skills acquired through the formal education. Digital literacy is still unavailable to large groups of citizens and imposes an obstacle to information and further economic and technological advancement of the society.  Investment in human resources has also been emphasised by the European Union as one of the requirements in creating a modern knowledge-based economy. In addition to the positive impact on the market competitiveness and economy development, inclusive investment in human resources provides opportunities for unemployed, poor or otherwise marginalised members of society.

Within our work on active promotion of human rights to education and free information access, we have set up the project of free and inclusive computer education. The webpage contains educational materials which cover the entire curriculum of basic computer education. Education is presented in program packages OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office 2010 Beta, in both Croatian and English.

Who are the e-volunteers?

Wanting to actively contribute to human rights to free access to education and information, the organisers of the project developed and published educational material in the field of digital literacy.

Co-operation with other volunteers stated with releasing call for volunteers for translation, and applicants from across the countries Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia responded. Later we sent call for expert reviewers of our localised materials to e-mails of most prominent IT-related educators.

How many e-volunteers are involved?

Project involved a total of 46 people and institutions from 3 countries; including 14 from Slovenia and Serbia who collaborated on an expert review of localized materials.

Majority is currently engaged since the nature of our volunteering is ongoing and on-demand basis.

2 volunteers (organisers) are involved from the start.

Whom do they address the project to? Who is the recipient?

The project is intended for people who wish to acquire or establish the basic skills and knowledge of the computer use. Target group are all people who, for any reason, have difficulty to access IT education.

How do they verify the e-volunteers’ competences before they start the co-operation with them?

As stated in our volunteer contract, people involved in project development have to have certain qualifications. For example, for translation of electronic material an interested applicant has to have minimum one of the following:

- University graduates – a degree in the language they translate

- University graduates in a country where the language they translate is the official language, or

- University graduates – native speakers of the language

Other voluntary positions we offer require other, specific qualifications.

Volunteers are required to send their CV and are offered a volunteering contract.

How do they ensure the safety and the quality of the e-volunteers’ work?

In addition to the previous answer, we ensure the quality of our material by naming in impressum all the individuals and organizations that contributed to its development. Also, volunteers do not have timeframes to comply, so they can take as much time as they need in order to be satisfied with the results. After they finish working on a document, they send it to the organizers who review it for any inappropriate content and publish it. Volunteers receive a link where that material is permanently published, with their references. 

There is no diffusion of responsibility, and accountability is stated in the impressum (for handbooks, notes, sample exams) or below (for videos and quizzes) each part of material.

In order to confirm the quality of our work, we have contacted experts in IT area, using their official publicly available e-mails, thereby insuring that there is no mistake about their identity.

Name of the organisation: Open Society for Idea Exchange (in Croatian: Otvoreno društvo za razmjenu ideja - ODRAZI)

Project title: ITdesk.info - project of computer e-education with open access

Website: http://www.itdesk.info/