MEFANET has established itself as the standard setting body for medical educators in the Czech Republic and Slovakia – two independent countries that once comprised a federation, having similar languages and still managing to retain the same curricular structure for medical education. One of the basic goals of the network is to advance medical teaching and learning with the use of modern information and communication technologies. As an instrument, MEFANET has decided to develop an original and uniform solution for educational web portals that are used, together with a central gateway, to offer and share digital education content. In 2007-2014, MEFANET was being supported by two projects financed by European Social Fund: MEFANET I: standard e-publishing platform, MEFANET II: clinical reasoning. The latter project used several different approaches to VPCs.
The CLEVER project will use the infrastructure and the functionalities of other two projects developed in UMFIASI. The first one is PelUMFIASI which consists of a complex e-learning platform for students, residents, MAs and PhDs. Implemented in 2010, the e- learning platform has all functionalities needed to teach, exercise and asses the students. All these are completed by a significant set of administrative tools for management the non-attendances, the marks, the ratings etc. and a comprehensive group of virtual communication software for the entire academic community (email, Lync, Calendar, Tasks, Contacts etc.), all of them founded on an Active Directory implementation. The second project is MEDICALIS which was implemented in 2011 and which forms the “gateway” to all students of UMFIASI. Based on Oracle PeopleSoft Campus solutions, this second platforms deliver to students all administrative information (scheduler, classes, academic information, administrative information, financial information, announcements, evaluation of teachers etc.). Both projects passed successfully the sustainability period and they continue to prove that they are very necessary and extremely useful within the academic community of UMFIASI.
The CROESUS project within ERASMUS+ programme (2014-2016), which has built a strategic partnership among MU, UPJS and SGUL (St George’s, University of London). The project introduced concepts of problem-based learning (PBL) with the use of branched virtual patients. The CLEVER project will go beyond CROESUS in three aspects: (i) PBL was designed as a problem solving system in the era of low information, whereas in the current information-overloaded society CBL may act better; (ii) branched virtual patients are not always the only optimal type of scenarios – CLEVER will use branched and linear virtual scenarios based on needs analysis; (iii) CLEVER will endeavor to assess the benefits of CBL/VPCs by collecting and evaluating qualitative and quantitative data.
The partners’ experience from European collaborations has strongly informed this strategic partnership, which brings together a diverse range of viewpoints and influences. The lessons learnt from MEFANET, PelUMFIASI, MEDICALIS and CROESUS are adopted here, including the value of interoperability, repurposing, common standards and attractive, up-to-date learning resources.