IO1: Needs analysis in the local communities

The needs analysis in the local communities will consists in three main activities:

  • stakeholder analysis (university-community) that will lead besides to a contact database also to a Stakeholders’ Communication Plan;
  • needs analysis of selected stakeholders;
  • development of a web-tool for community engagement and service learning projects.

This IO is innovative as it creates a new product which is able to match students with community/stakeholder interests. The tool will live on at the partner universities after the project lifetime and will serve as example for HE institutions across Europe interested in developing service learning and USR.

O1/A1: Stakeholder Analysis (M1-M4)
Each university partner will organise an internal kick-off meeting to present the ambition and the calendar of the project to all potentially interested units and staff; after that it will perform a stakeholder analysis, identifying relevant stakeholders in the community and their previous connection to the university (formal, non-formal, topic, contact person, experiences etc.). The stakeholders analysis will start for the ones already identify within the project development phase and will be considered as a continuous action that will last over the end of the project lifetime. The stakeholder analysis will also lead to communication measures for each stakeholder group synthesized in a Stakeholders’ Communication Plan.

O1/A2: Needs Analysis  (M5-M8)
Depending on the results of O1/A1 five main stakeholders are identified by each university and their needs are addressed and researched. For this purpose, a variety of methods comes to life: group discussions with the stakeholder, action research, management talks etc. At the end of the task, a short report on needs and expectations how to meet them will be available for each of the local communities in Bucharest, Vienna, Dublin, Rome, Kaunas and Porto.

O1/A3: Design the web-tool for community engagement and service learning (M2-M8)
As a third step in this IO a web-tool is set up, which will later on be the tool to match students and community partners for service learning projects. Therefore, there will be 3 user group profiles: 1. counselors/teachers, 2. students, 3. community partners.
The web-tool architecture will be developed based on a set of requirements that will be defined by the partnership. Different implementation software solutions will be evaluated in order to choose the optimal one in terms of easiness of implementation and deployment. A special regards will be payed to the possible interconnection with most used social media platforms. The chosen design will be characterized by a high portability that will allow the installation of instances within each partner university that will take the responsibility of its technical maintenance. Moreover, it will be documented by a technical description sheet that will allow interested parties too take it over and use for its initial purpose or for a different one (matching community volunteering needs). The chosen technical solution will take into consideration the need of using a multilingual development platform that will allow the translation of the web-tool once it will be transfered to partners locations and/or to third parties interested users.

The tool will be made available online through the project website and the stakeholders will be actively invited to use it and fill-in an users’ satisfaction evaluation questionnaire. Based on the users’ feedback, the platform will be continuously updated either as functionalities and content. User accounts will be given to the community partners identified in O1/A1 and O1/A2 as well as to all relevant project stakeholders.