Comanity Project. Getting to know the Greek comunity

In September 20th-21st, 2018, UNIR participated in the second meeting of the Comanity Project. The meeting was hosted by our Greek partner Kethea, the largest rehabilitation and social reintegration network in Greece. It has been providing its services to drug addicts and their families since Ithaki, the first Greek therapeutic community, was set up in 1983.

It was really an interesting and touching experience to meet the parents of some of the kids treated by the centre, and to see how the re-integration and recovery of these kids is approached by this centre.

The meeting was aimed to present and discuss the Comanity IoT (Interactive Online Tool),- designed by UNIR i.e.: the virtual environment for knowledge creation and sharing that will support the learning activities of youth workers and the interaction with stakeholders.  Also, we discussed about the training course for youth workers, to become Community Animateurs. Considering this course will have to be delivered online, with the technical support of UNIR, we focused not only on the content of the course material but also on how it should be organised/planned and presented online.

Next crucial steps are: the finalisation of the IoT, the finalisation of the training course material and the development of the online environment hosting the course. The plan is to launch the Iot and the course at the beginning of 2019. Stay tuned for the announcement!

Final Conference of Comanity project in Brussels

The final Conference of the Comanity project took place on November 13, 2019 in Brussels. The results of the project were presented and discussed in a panel with representatives of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Youth forum and with members of the European Parliament.

The project offers to the community of youth workers and of youth work organisations the possibility to develop a new professional profile, the “Community Animateur”.

The Community Animateur’s role is to bridge the existing gap between young people on the margins and ‘mainstream’ institutions by acting as a “Social Mediator”. Community Animateurs come from the community, and are trusted by their peer group. They act as a point of mediation between young people who don’t trust ‘the system’ and the system itself.

During the conference, the experience of the organisations that have experimented the training programme of Comanity where presented and it was shown how – thanks to Comanity – the involved youth workers could create a stronger connection to the groups of youth at the margins living in the area where their youth organization is located, and how engaging them in the solution of problems related to their community improved their situation and mitigated the risk of exclusion.

In the project, UNIR has developed the Comanity online course, which is part of the training programme leading to the acquisition of the required knowledge, skills and attitudes to become a community animateur, and the Comanity Hub, a virtual meeting place for youth workers to exchange learning, experience and knowledge.

Following a piloting phase in youth organisations in the UK, Greece, Spain and Italy, the online course will be available soon to all interested individuals and organizations, stay tuned to know when it will be launched.

To get access to the Comanity Competence Framework for the Community Animateur click here

To visit the project website click here

To get access to the Comanity Hub click here

For more information about the project and to get access to the course please contact:

Stefania Aceto

Project Manager

Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED)

Vicerrectorado de Proyectos Internacionales

3rd Open Education Policy Forum: Cooperation changes everything

This week I had the pleasure to attend the 3rd Open Education Policy Forum (titled “Cooperation changes everything”), organized in Warsaw by the Centrum Cyfrowe. The event counted with the participation of a number of international stakeholders such as the Open Education Consortium or SPARC as well as of policy makers, advisors, researchers and advocates from a number of European countries.

This event was particularly interesting for me – as well as for the iTED Research Institute at UNIR – because it was an occasion to appreciate “in real life” how Open Education policies are developing across Europe and to get updated after the study we run in collaboration with the European Commission’s JRC mapping OE Policies in 28 EU Member States in 2017. I presented some outcomes and reflections from that study during the event, and happily discovered that many Open Education Coalitions exist in a number of central European countries (such as Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) are using the results of the study to keep on advocating for more openness in edition policy in their respective countries.

I particularly enjoyed the discussions on the 10 dimensions of the Cape Town Declaration (in the year of its 10th anniversary) as well as the reflections presented by the Open Education Consortium and UNESCO Slovenian representatives, and was impressed by the capacity of participants to work around practical policy preparation during the workshop organized by my colleague and friend Javiera Atenas. Last but not least, I enjoyed hearing that the OER Policy Register, created some years ago by Creative Commons, will be merged into the OER World Map, thumbs up for Jan Neuman and his team.

In terms of content, the main message I bring home from this event is that “open” is somehow entering in the mainstream education policy discourse. In more and more countries, specific policies and initiatives focussing for instance on OER or open licenses are fading away, leaving space to a more “srtructural” presence of openness instances in general education policy. This is typically the case of Scandinavian countries but also of many others who are using general policy instruments (such as the OGP network) to instill more openness in their education system. Finally, an appreciation for the work of Alek Tarkowski and his team at Centrum Cyfrowe for organizing this event every year and for keeping these important knowledge sharing dynamics alive. See you next year!

Fabio Nascimbeni
October, 15-17, 2018
Warsaw, Poland

UNIR contributes to the second partners’ meeting of the Keystone Project

Hosted by Mind2Innovate, Keystone 2nd Partners Meeting took place in Athens in September 24th and 25th, 2018. During the meeting, the partners revised the work done since the project started and designed the roadmap for the next working period.

Keystone project is financed by the European Commission Programme KA2 “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices; Strategic Partnerships for youth”. Started on February 2018, it has a duration of two years, and five participant partners from United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The project aims to develop a collaboration programme addressed to young people at risk of exclusion, with the objective of fostering their skills and teach them some of the competences requested by the market. With a minimum of 100 young people participating in the programme, it will be implemented both in person and virtually, in four different European cities: London, Athens, Perugia and Lisbon.

The programme contemplates the creation of Community Lablets, which are physical spaces where the young people, social workers and entrepreneurs work together. On the other hand, TIC dimension is essential in the project, hence different platforms and tools are being developed for a proper implementation of the programme. UNIR is the partner responsible for the digital environment, which provides training to the young people, hosts the learning content and allows the participants to share their ideas, experiences and do the programme exercises.

Likewise, the project involves local partners, including civic authorities, civil society, residents associations, businesses, education and training services and youth groups, which adds value to existing youth services in local neighbourhoods.

Final Project Partners’ Meeting of the European Project Virtual Tours for Business Culture

The final meeting of Virtual Tours project, hosted by University of Padova, was held on October 4th and 5th, 2018, in Padova. During the meeting, the partners analysed the obtained results, laid the foundations for the sustainability and exploitation plan, and defined the tasks to be done for the final reporting.

Virtual Tours is a project financed by the Programme Erasmus+ of the European Commission. Having a duration of two years, it started on November 2016 and finished on October 2018. It counts with seven partners coming from Italy, Spain, Finland and Macedonia. The project aims at increasing and improving opportunities of dialogue between university, students and enterprises, through a training course delivered by a virtual platform developed by UNIR.

The course is addressed mainly to recent graduates in the moment of the transition from the university to the labour market, providing a deeper understanding of the main features of the business culture. It has been implemented in five different languages (English, Italian, Finnish and Macedonian), and has been done in a piloting phase by students from four different European universities, including UNIR.

In the frame of the project, the partners have also organized several virtual sessions in different leading companies from the five participant countries. These sessions consist on online events where the company managers introduce the organisation and processes of their organisation, and answer to questions from the attendees in real time. UNIR has organized two of these sessions, in Telefonica and Adecco Group.

The project has helped the students and recent graduates to acquire competences to facilitate the transition moment from education to the labour market, and as a result, to improve their employability. The companies, apart from their contribution to the project, have obtained a major knowledge of the role they can play to improve the students’ competences, which has permitted an enhanced dialogue with the world of education and attracting appropriate candidates.

Daniele Di Mitri, PhD at Open University of The Netherland, has won the Martin Wolpers’ Award to the most young promising research

In the frame of the Martin Wolpers’ Award, funded by Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), the Institute has presented for the second year an award to the most promising researcher at the Joint European Summer School on Technology-Enhanced Learning (JTEL).

The winner of this year, Daniele Di Mitri, has been announced at the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning (EATEL) 2018. The Prize has rewarded not individual papers nor posters but how the young researchers actively connected and positioned their research to the field and society. The other two finalists, selected by EC-TEL and UNIR iTED, have been Sambit Praharaj (Open University of The Netherlands) and Alejandro Ortega-Arranz (Universidad de Valladolid).

Daniele’s work, with title “Multimodal Tutor: adaptive feedback from multimodal experience capturing” is focused on how multimodal data can be supportive for learning. As Di Mitri explains: “Since my background is in Artificial Intelligence, I am very interesting in using multimodal data not simply for analytics but also to generate adaptive feedback through machine learning techniques. For this reason, I follow the Artificial Intelligence in Education and Intelligent Tutoring System Community”.

UNIR iTED and Adecco Group analyse how to fill the gap between education and enterprises

In July, the 26th, 2018, the online session “How does a recruitment process work in Adecco?” took place. Experts from the company gave the key to increase the employability in the youngsters. The meeting was organized by Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR) in the framework of the project Virtual Tours for Business Culture (Erasmus+). Iria Vázquez Palacios, Director of Service & Quality Department in Adecco Group, and Desirée Montiel, HR Consultant in the company, were invited to the session.

During the event, Vázquez-Palacios described the Adecco Group programmes focused on young people employability like “Redgeneración”, “Factoría de Talento” and “CEO for one month”. As the expert explained, in Spain –where the unemployement rate under 25 exceeds 30%–, there is a big gap between education and what companies demand. In this context, initiatives like Virtual Tours are key to help young people to develop the competences required for the labour market, since finishing  higher education is a complex moment where everybody needs orientation, inspiration and self-confidence.

Adecco Group also gave some clues to complete a recruitment process successfully

As Montiel pointed out, among these competences, those known as soft skills are the ones standing out, as they are more related to the personal abilities and to what can be offered to the company than with previous professional experience. The most demanded soft skills are management, work team, adaptation to changes,  communication, leadership, flexibility or resilience. The HR expert also gave the attendees some tips to complete a recruitment process successfully, from the composition of a CV to the guidance through every step in a job seek.

In the framework of the V-Tors project, funded by Erasmus+ Programme of European Union, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR) among other European institutions, have organized various online sessions to enhance the dialogue opportunities between Universities, enterprises and students. In addition to the virtual visits, the consortium has developed an online course (Open Educational Resource) about business culture where students can get first-hand knowledge of the company’s organization.


Eva Ferreras


A UNIR student sets the image of Keystone European Project

Irantzu García, student of the Bachelor of Arts in Digital & Multimedia Design  in Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), is the winner of the Graphic Design contest for Keystone project organized by Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education of Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR iTED) through the International Projects Office.

The contest, named “Keystone Project – Knowledge, Enterprise and Young People, Supporting youth transitions in the new economy” aimed to find the more representative image for Keystone project, financed by European program Erasmus+. The project works to stablish a collaborative program addressed to disadvantage young people in order to enhance their abilities and skills required by the labour market.

As Irantzu García -who has just finished her first year of degree- explains, the designed logo reflects simplicity and freshness, but allows keeping the attention focused on the important aspect: the work done during the project with disadvantaged young people. The project reveals the talent of young people and makes them participate in social innovations through the creation of four innovative spaces in Perugia, London, Athens and Lisbon. For García, the final image goes hand in hand with the project: it is simple but nice, and uses a stable figure like the square, although it plays with the perception by breaking the stability in order to make the picture funnier.

“The designed logo reflects simplicity but allows keeping the attention focused on the important aspect: the work done with disadvantaged young people”

Any student of the Bachelor of Arts in Digital & Multimedia Design, Digital Graphic Design Master Degree and Online Art Direction Master Degree of Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR) could participate in the contest. The jury, composed by staff of the Superior School of Engineering and Technology, and the Vice-rectorate for Knowledge Transfer & Technology, evaluated in a first stage the work, based on the creativity, the composition and the coherence between the elements of the design. In a second stage, and according these criteria, the European partners of Keystone project selected the final design.

Different European institutions participate in this project, together with Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR). UNIR leads the instructional design and the implementation of the open educational program.

UNIR iTED and Telefónica help you to improve your employability

On Friday 29th 2018 took place the virtual visit to the Telefónica’s Human Resources department about employability and young talent. The online session, that was the sixth in the framework of the european project Virtual Tours for Business Culture (Erasmus+), was organized by Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education of Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR iTED), had Eva Atienza, director of Human Resources of Telefónica.

During the event, Eva Atienza, professional with more than 18 years of experience in Human Resources, spoke about the Young Talent Recruitment Programs in Telefónica –as Talentum Programe–, that today are the key in a company that is making a strong bet on its transition to the digital world. Among these initiatives that fill the gap between University and companies, Atienza highlighted Hack For Good, a hackaton set up every year by Telefónica that gathers together young people who works for giving technoloical solutions to big social challenges. In the frame of Telefónica-UNIR Chair in Digital Society and Education, the Institute UNIR iTED gave three prizes about “Education, Culture and Open Society”.

Companies value soft skills like adaptability, team work or passion about technologies

After the presentation, assistants could ask different questions about selection and hiring processes to Telefónica experts Florie Saulnier, Resourcing & Talent Head, and Beatriz Martínez, HR Business Partner. From personal conciliation to tricks to face a job hunting, the main questions were refered to the soft skillscompanies are looking for. As Saulnier explained, companies like Telefónica value the ability to learn and apply the knowledge to new situations, sometimes even more than previous experience. These soft skills include adaptability, creativity, customer orientation, communicational skills, team work or passion about technologies.

V-Tours project, financed by Erasmus+ Programme of European Union, aims to enhance the dialogue opportunities between Universities, enterprises and students in order to promote the acquisition of career development skills and improve the employability of students. Besides the virtual visits, in the frame of the project an online course about business culture has been developed where students can learn the competences that will help them in joining the professional world, and they will have access to activities, videos and lectures that will allow them them to get first-hand knowledge of the companies organization.

Together with Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), in this project participate different european institutions. UNIR leads the instructional design and the implementation of the open educational program.

Eva Ferreras

A cross-cultural study compares the cybervictimization and cyberagression scores between Spain, Colombia and Uruguay

As a consecuence of the revolution Internet has made in the way we communicate, a lot of psychosocial problems have found their equivalence on cyberspace with their own particularities as inmediacy or anonymity. Is what happens with ciberbullying, which prevalence and incidence have increased dramatically in recent years. Although intensive research has been conducted on cyberbullying in the USA and Europe, few efforts are being made in Latin America. Despite cultural similarities between the Spanish and the South American contexts, there are few empirical studies that have comparatively examined this issue.

The study, performed by experts from Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), analyzes and compares cybervictimization and cyberagression scores between Spain, Colombia and Uruguay. Results showed that Spain presents more cases of minor cyberbullying than Colombia, and more cases of cyberagression than Colombia and Uruguay. The study shows that prevalence rates were higher in the 13-14 and 15-16 age groups.

 A lot of psychosocial problems have found their equivalence on cyberspace with their own particularities: inmediacy, anonymity, etc.

Also, the study describes and compares the role of cyber bystander, a figure that is gaining relevance due its potential in preventing or perpetuating bullying. According to data, there is a prevalence of the sub-role defender of the victim and outsider. Data showed a homogeneous distribution across countries, except for the roles of supporter and reinforcer of the bully. The prevalence of these roles was considerabily high in the 10-14 year range in the Colombian sample, where support to the victim was lower.

As Joaquín González-Cabrera, reserach at UNIR, says: “because of the social and cultural violence context in Colombia we though that it would be there where we would find more cybervictimization and cyberagression cases, and also more support to the bully. Only the last thing has been supported by results. We discuss our results in relation to the possible normalization of violence and its lack of recognition as such, that may be because respondents’ inability to recognize that their cyberbullying related behaviors are problematic or a form of cyber abuse. In Spain we have a high awareness about bullying and cyberbullying, what can generate a bigger response”.

Spain presents more cases of minor cyberbullying than Colombia, and more cases of cyberagression than Colombia and Uruguay

In relation with a problematic use of Internet, countries revealed prevalence rates ranging from 4.5% of problematic cases in Uruguay to 6.8% in Spain, which is consistent with previous studies. The dimensions that seem to predict best cyberbullying were mood regulation (for cybervictimization), negative effects (for cyberagression) and compulsive use (for both of them). As Daniela Baridon-Chauvie, researcher at UNIR, says: “There is growing evidence that problematic Internet use among adolescents has a negative impact of their quality of life, as it causes changes in heath habits and interferes with their family, social and academic life”.

The study shows that prevalence rates were higher in the 13-14 and 15-16 age groups

The study sample consisted of 2.653 subjects aged 10-18 years, of whom 50,8% were male and 49,1% were female. Students were recruited from schools from north to south and from east to west of each country. All centers were located in urban areas with a population of low-medium socioeconomic status. “Data about participants conext are relevant and allow us to focus on the lines of action“. Carolina Yudes, researcher at UNIR, says: “Methodologycal diversity have made difficult to perform cross-cultural anaylsis on this subject. This study have homogenized questionaries and scales, which will allow future comparative studies among different countries. This study may serve as a reference for future cross-cultural studies”.

Yudes-Gómez, C., Baridon-Chauvie, D. y González-Cabrera, J. (2018). Ciberacoso y uso problemático de Internet en Colombia, Uruguay y España: un estudio transcultural. Comunicar, 56, 49-58.  DOI:


– Eva Ferreras

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