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Nov 25, 2020

How to run Erasmus+ Capacity Building Project in the Covid-19 times? 

One of the main goals of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Project is to share the experience between partners, specifically from Programme Universities to Partner Universities. The best way to do it is definitely to travel to the university. Before pandemic, we made meetings in different countries, and the they were more than just the discussion of the task, it was a whole cultural experience. While being in a new university, a new country, you learn about the environment, observe how the students learn here and how the staff works. We have nine partners in six countries in Europe, Russia and China, so it is quite a diverse community. There is a huge number of factors which constitute the environment in each university: 

And these factors differ for each university. Even in the same country and the same city, the university operations can vary significantly. Therefore travel let us understand and find ways for more effective collaboration in a quite short time. 

However, now we need to adapt to new conditions and see how we could keep up with the successful running of the project. Our project manager Iuliia Shnai shared the tips about how to manage the project fully online, follow the progress, the accomplishment of the goals and positively impact on the mood of the whole consortium. 

The first thing is communication. Despite the fact, that especially at the beginning of covid in April 2020 all the partners were a bit frustrated, with the ongoing changes and shift to online, we continue communicating and sharing news. We were lucky  that from the beggigning of the project used instant communication channales, like  Slack and Rocket Chat. Initially, it was a challenge for a high percentage of project participants, but changes are alwasy challenging. But when lockdown started everyone in project used the chats for a while.  
The reason to minimize emails is clear, that first of all it take all the precious time which could be spend on work. So, the email to all participants about updates could take 2-3 hours to make. Further, as a manger you would need to follow each answer and reflect on it. So you avoid, answering the same questions again. In addition, different types of groups can be formed, with different participants. We have the chats devoted to each workpackage  and the lead of workpackage can follow the progress. 

Overall it helps a lot that our communication channels were set and running before the pandemic, so the participants do not need to adopt one more new technology. 

This is also one of our existing routines, so we just continue with the meetings online. However, the form of meetings become more than just sharing updates but working on tasks. 

This new format emerged during covid. It became clear that monthly meetings could not fully support the activities in the project and that we do not progress on our tasks as it is expected. Again luckily for us, we are close to the end of the projects and most of the work already done. However, still, we need to finalise activities on creating the courses 

One to one meetings, or chats help still clear monitor the mood in each partner university. 

Write to everyone " Merry Christmas"  ""新年快乐 "  "С Новым Годом!"  "hyvää uutta vuotta" "god Jul" "vrolijk kerstfeest" "Mutlu Noeller"!  is a small geasture which makes us all feel better working together. 

Our project  coordinator Leonid Chechurin has a special talent for that. 

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If you interested to learn more, contact the management team of the project and join as a university or industry partner. Being part of CEPHEI community provide the opportunity to 

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