Docking the Mu.SA Ship

April 30, 2020, 1:55 pm

Message from Achilles Kameas, the Mu.SA project coordinator (HoU)

The origins of MuSA project can be traced in eCultSkills, a small-scale project that mapped the training needs of museum professionals so that they can benefit and take advantage of IT. The importance of the results we achieved in eCultSkills left us with no other chance but to look for an opportunity to investigate the changes caused in the entire museum sector by the increasing adoption of IT and to create learning pathways for the professional development of museum professionals. Hence the idea behind MuSA was born – luckily it also became a project!

We have been sailing the MuSA ship for the past 3,5 years, on a trip that was adventurous and exciting, but also difficult. Nevertheless, the experience was worth every minute we dedicated to it. The ship was big because it had to contain the members of 11 organizations – the project partners – from 4 European countries: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Belgium. During the trip, we became a tightly working team, collaborating efficiently to bring about the project results. We met hundreds of members of the community of museum professionals and we affected, for the better I hope, thousands of them – that is you! We are thrilled!

But above all, we are satisfied, we are full of this feeling that one feels when the mission is completed and the impact is changing the society. We are proud of the results we achieved and the targets we reached.

We started by changing the map of museum employment by creating 4 new occupational profiles: digital strategy manager, digital collections curator, interactive experience developer, online community manager. All of them contain a strong IT component, complemented with transversal skills. Not an easy feat to design them. We decided to adopt a competence-based approach and use the European digital competence frameworks e-CF and DigComp. Of course, we had to dissect them and recompose them and eventually produce a total of 600 learning outcomes tailored to the needs of museum professionals, in order to enable them acquire 64 competences in total (44 digital and 20 transversal). This unique combination gave MuSA a distinction at European level: has been selected as a global practice of particular interest that uses DigComp in a context which has a strong link to the labour market and has been included in the DigComp User Guide (2018)!

Using a competence-based approach proved to be a correct decision, because we managed to design 4 distinct training curricula, one per profile, and produce a training offer that satisfied an equal number of learning paths. Our training offer consisted of three stages: a MOOC, common to all curricula, one blended course specialized per curriculum and work-based learning that allowed trainees to put in practice the new knowledge and competences they gained. We developed a large number of digital training modules (videos, presentations, documents, quizzes) that we made available to the trainees. Our modular approach allows the re-combination of competences and modules, yielding new learning pathways tailored to specific needs.

The MOOC became a huge success, attracting more than 5.000 expressions of interest from 50 countries, leading eventually to 3.800 enrollments. There is such a huge community of museum professionals out there that needs to be served. What is more impressive is that, after 8 weeks and 80 hours of learning, 1.371 trainees successfully completed the MOOC (yes, there were quizzes to be answered and assignments to be completed) – 79% of them were women!

Sadly, we could accommodate only a small fraction of those – only 120 people – in the second and third stages, due to the constraints imposed by the Grant Agreement of the project. Those lucky ones selected one of the 4 profiles and followed the specialization course for an average of 150 hours, complemented by another 205 hours of workplace learning in selected museums and cultural sector organizations during a 6-month period in total. In the end, with the collaboration of their directors and the supervision of our tutors, they all created significant projects that they are proud of!

During these years we went through a unique experience. Together. We built a community of MuSA followers. Together. My gratitude, as coordinator of the MuSA project, extends to my colleagues, the members of the teams of the project partners, and especially to the community of museum professionals. When effort was needed, it was effort that we got. When support and participation was needed, it was support and participation that we received.

The end of the project signifies only a transition to a new phase. All project partners are committed to further support the professional development of the community members. But this has to happen together with the community, for the community.

For the moment, we’d like to thank you for being with us all these years. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did. We are looking forward to welcome you in the next trip – for which we are going to need a much bigger ship. Until then DON’T PANIC and always keep with you a towel and a toothbrush!

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