Last year, when I applied to the Master in Education in Distance Education programme offered by Athabasca University, I could not imagine what this programme could result to a year later. Reading, learning and late night ‘parties’ of studying and writing assignments were among the expected outcomes, yet even in the most predefined experiences, magic things can happen.
On February for the needs of a course, we had to design a ‘new distance education organization’.
That word, ‘new’ was flying in my mind for several days… ‘New’… what can be possibly new, in a world where everything has been already said, written, and made? I don’t know why the word ‘new’ stuck in my mind as ‘innovative’, rather than ‘one more’. Looking around me, inside the house, I saw my husband’s VHF device, that he uses to communicate with the fishermen near by. And that was it! The idea to combine e-learning with fishing occurred.
In my research regarding the current condition of fishermen training in Greece, I found that no specific training is required, but there is an urgent need for local specialized staff, because fishing in Greece, is depended heavily on Egyptian fishermen, who are spending half of their time (or more) in our country, working in Greek fishing boats.
Unfortunately -or should I be less egoist and say thankfully?- I was not the first one who identified a need for training in this field. During my research I found two efforts taking place currently in Greece: the first fishermen school called Enaleia and the SeaofSkills project. SeaofSkills is a European project, which aims to create a curriculum for fishermen training. Enaleia is an awarded initiative, inspired by two young people: Lefteris Arapakis and George Tsolis who had the innovative idea to fight unemployment by offering training in fishing, an industry where people can be quickly absorbed, since the majority of the existing places are covered by foreign people.
In order to gather more information, I contacted Enaleia, to clarify if they offer their training in elearning mode. The reply was “Not yet, but we are very interested in…”
And that was it! On the 24th of July 2017, the first elearning run for the students of Enaleia began and today, 6th of November, the 2nd run begins.
There are five course offered: Communication and Teamwork, Fisheries Legislation, Ichthyology, Marine Biodiversity and Marine Technology. The courses are offered in the mode of asynchronous elearning, utilizing Moodle. The duration of the whole programme is estimated at 120 hours, and the online courses are expected to conclude at the end of the year. After the theoretical part, students will have to complete their practical training in a fishing boat, for a month.
So, here I am tonight (it’s 1:33 Greek time), sitting behind my laptop, tired, spent the whole weekend working, preparing the second run of Enaleia’s courses and also excited to meet the next class and grateful for a dream that came true.