INNOVATUR – Peer-learning Activities

The PLAs are expected to serve on multiple purposes such as:

  1. Knowledge Exchange: Peer learning facilitates the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and best practices between the two institutions. This can lead to a richer and more comprehensive understanding of sustainable and smart tourism.
  2. Diverse Perspectives: Collaboration between two universities can bring together diverse cultural, geographical, and academic perspectives. This diversity can lead to more innovative and holistic approaches to teaching and content creation.
  3. Resource Sharing: Peer learning can lead to the sharing of resources, such as research materials, teaching tools, and even faculty expertise. This can enhance the quality of educational content and reduce duplication of effort.
  4. Professional Development: Engaging in peer-learning activities can be a form of professional development for academic staff. They can learn new teaching methods, gain insights into different research methodologies, and expand their academic networks.
  5. Strengthening Partnerships: Collaborative peer-learning activities can strengthen the partnership between the two universities, leading to further joint initiatives, research projects, and student exchange programs.
  6. Quality Assurance: Peer review and feedback from colleagues at another institution can serve as a form of quality assurance, ensuring that the educational content and teaching methods meet high standards.
  7. Incorporating Technology: Given the focus on “smart” tourism, peer learning can also involve the exchange of technological tools and digital teaching methods, ensuring that students are prepared for the modern challenges of the tourism industry.
  8. Addressing Real-world Challenges: Collaborative efforts can lead to the development of case studies, simulations, and projects that address real-world challenges in sustainable and smart tourism, making the learning experience more relevant and applied.
  9. Building a Community: Peer-learning activities can foster a sense of community among academic staff, leading to ongoing collaboration, support, and mentorship.
  10. Enhancing Student Experience: Ultimately, the enriched content and innovative teaching methods resulting from peer learning can enhance the learning experience for students, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field of sustainable and smart tourism.

In summary, peer-learning activities between academic staff of two universities can lead to a synergistic relationship where both institutions benefit from shared knowledge, resources, and expertise, ultimately enhancing the quality and relevance of education in sustainable and smart tourism.

The first PLA was held in the premises of the Faculty of International Relations of Prague University of Economics and Business in March 28-29, 2023.
The first Peer-learning Activity (PLA) was an important milestone in the INNOVATUR project, during which the development of two key intellectual outputs (IOs) were addressed, namely the ‘Sourcebook of Innovative Higher Education Approach towards Smart and Sustainable Tourism (SSmT)’ and a ‘Textbook on Introduction to Sustainable and Smart Tourism’.

At that stage, Sourcebook (IO1) was already 50% accomplished. The PLA focused on progressing the remaining work, such as finalizing the curricular analysis and formulating teaching techniques and tools for sustainable and smart tourism. Brainstorming sessions on curricular reorientation were conducted during the PLA and afterwards. Along with this, the project team assigned to IO1 also undertook a further assessment of potential learning outcomes and elaborated on possible extra-curricular activities centered around sustainable and smart tourism. The PLA was pivotal in finalizing guidelines for academic staff to maximize benefits from the innovative teaching methodologies proposed.

Simultaneously, the Textbook (IO2), which was 30% completed by that time, saw advancements during the PLA. The development of textbook content is a collaborative effort involving authors from both PUEB and USN. The PLA aided in shaping the textbook’s various sections, ranging from an introductory guide for lecturers to detailed examination of sustainable tourism policy frameworks, smart technologies, and change management strategies for sustainable tourism.

This PLA significantly contributed to both the Sourcebook and Textbook’s progress, with a shared aim of inspiring and equipping academic staff with innovative teaching methodologies and resources to improve student learning outcomes in the realm of smart and sustainable tourism.

The second PLA was held in the premises of USN in June 12-13, 2023.

It was a crucial session to further develop the four Intellectual Outputs (IOs): ‘Sourcebook of Innovative Higher Education Approach towards Smart and Sustainable Tourism (SSmT)’, ‘Textbook on Introduction to Sustainable and Smart Tourism’, ‘Book of Case studies in Sustainable and Smart Tourism’, and ‘Analysis of collaborative approach between higher education institutions in the Czech Republic and in Norway with other stakeholders in the context of sustainable and smart tourism’.

By that point, the Sourcebook (IO1) have reached 80% completion. The second PLA facilitated the finalization of the proposed innovative teaching methodologies, guidelines for academic staff, and the remaining sections that enhance the Sourcebook’s value as a modern teaching tool for tourism higher education.

The Textbook (IO2), being 60% complete, was further developed during and after the PLA. The team delved deeper into the outlined sections, including sustainable tourism policy frameworks, the use of smart technologies, entrepreneurship in sustainable rural development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation in the tourism industry, thus fostering a comprehensive resource for lecturers teaching sustainable and smart tourism.

The ‘Book of Case Studies in Sustainable and Smart Tourism’ (IO3) was at 40% completion. During the PLA, the authors from PUEB and USN further delved into case studies illustrating sustainable and smart tourism principles in action, covering topics like conflict resolution, ecotourism, cultural tourism, and smart technology application. This PLA was essential for developing compelling, practical case studies that effectively engage students.

Lastly, the ‘Analysis of collaborative approach…’ (IO4), currently 50% complete, was first introduced and addressed among participants during the second PLA and it has been further developed ever since. The initial findings and insights from preliminary research was presented and discussed during the PLA. This aided in the further completion of the report, including the proposal of a framework to support community-based tourism, defining elements of an analytical framework for inclusive tourism, and the establishment of a framework for Smart Destination and Technology-Driven Tourism for Sustainable Development.

This second PLA did not only allow for progress on the individual IOs but also fostered a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment for sharing insights and feedback. By the end of the PLA, all four IOs were well understood and advanced towards its completion during the second half of the project, resulting in comprehensive resources to drive higher education in the field of sustainable and smart tourism.

The third PLA is planned to be held in the premises of PUEB in Prague in November 2023.

The fourth PLA is planned to be held in the premises of USN in Bø, Telemark in December 2023.