A tool to prepare young researchers for a successful career in Earth observation applications

Started in December 2020 until May 2023, InnEO Space PhD is a 30-month European project involving 5 partners: ReMedia, Tor Vergata University, Transylvania University, Toulouse University and Aerospace Valley. The aim was to create a series of SPOCs (Small Online Private Courses) and develop Space Academy, a specific e-learning platform. The target group for this set of courses included PhD students and young researchers involved in the field of Earth observation.

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Customer’s request

As WP leader, ReMedia was asked develop and deliver the the following tasks:

  • Docimological research work on best practices in structuring a SPOC course;
  • User’s orientation: support and assist end users on SPOC’s specific content
  • SPOCs design: develop SPOCs content from the early stage information gathering to the updating and reporting of the course content.
  • User’s guidelines: provide PDF guidelines for three different audiences (students, beta testers, teachers), to be shared at the course’s introduction.
  • Extra academic content development: two scorms (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) tests for soft skills (such as a career toolkit provided by another consortium contractor)
  • Feedback gathering development and test implementation

Our solution

Three Small Online Private Courses (SPOCs) were established, focusing on entrepreneurship, Machine Learning, and Soft Skills in communication and teamwork. The content comes from university partners at an early stage of the project.  These SPOCs’ outcome was developed and integrated into the Summer Schools’ second editions, conducted online through our Space Academy platform. Each SPOC includes an introductory trailer outlining its content, the associated skills of European ESCO classification, and a concise version of the instructor’s CVs.

Delivery methods encompassed both fully online content (Summer School) and mixed-mode sessions (Startech), targeting an audience similar to that of Startech and Summer School. These SPOCs comprise diverse modules, including different formats: videos (maximum duration of 15 minutes), PDF graphic materials , and intermediate assessments to facilitate optimal learning experiences. Moreover, the SPOCs modular structure allowed the creation of additional SPOCs within the platform, already used by partner universities involved in the project.

The following features have been added to the platform:

  • User guidelines available to three different audiences (participants, beta testers, instructors).
  • A daily News section, including various RSS feeds related to the aerospace sector.
  • Automatic scoring for almost all tests, and an automatic certification system for all SPOCs.
  • Access job advertisement platforms to create resumes, test Soft Skills relevant to the job market, assess Digital skills, and seek sector-specific advice.
  • 28 recorded hours of recorded Summer School course.

Interactive elements within the platform encompass internal messaging (inbox), cross-sectional and course-specific forums, and user profiles, allowing individuals to share brief information related to their field and links to professional accounts. The platform’s Dashboard provides staff and instructors with a comprehensive overview of the entire course and individual participants, facilitating the identification of immediate bottlenecks and offering the option to download results.

Both the platform and courses were tested by 40 beta testers with course demos. During the ‘Crash courses to prepare a hackathon’ event, nearly 150 users utilized various tools and contents created by ReMedia within a few hours. Feedback from beta testers, initial users, participants, and instructors were positive, emphasizing the user-friendly interface, clarity and relevance of the content.

Throughout the project, ReMedia showcased it at various industry conferences, including:

  • The 11th EASN International Conference on “Innovation in Aviation & Space to the Satisfaction of the European Citizens,” where we presented the paper ‘InnEO’Space PhD: Preparing Young Researchers for a successful career on Earth Observation applications’.
  • The IGARSS IEEE-International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium in 2023 in Pasadena, USA, where we presented the poster ‘Education and Research Projects for Preparing Young Researchers for a Future Career in Earth Observation’.

As of now, the platform for this project boasts over 500 users, featuring three original SPOCs and an additional five SPOCs created using modules from the initial courses.

Client ESA Sector E-learning, SPOC, Earth Observation, Machine Learning Project Name InnEO Space PhD
Project type E-Learning Realization 2023

I am really impressed with this project.