Varna Free University from Bulgaria joins the FTA

The FTA Network is maturing. Today the Varna Free University from Bulgaria has joined the Free Technology Academy as Associate Partner. The VFU will start providing FTA courses in Bulgarian and furthermore is planning to set up its own master programme in collaboration with FTA partners.

From its inception, the Free Technology Academy was envisioned as a sustainable effort that would continue after the lifetime of the project. Three of the four FTA Consortium Partners have decided to continue in the FTA Board, while the fourth (UiA) continues as an Associate Partner. The FTA Associate Partner Network is steadily growing, providing a very valuable channel to disseminate information about the FTA and reach new targets, both at the institutional and the individual level.

The FTA offers a unique opportunity for all Consortium and Associate Network partners to lead the inclusion of Free Software and Open Standards in the European Higher Education Area through the use of state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies for distance learning. University partners reinforce each other with shared expertise and best practices on distance learning and improve the mobility of their students. At the same time, they attract FTA students to their own official degrees thanks to the recognition of FTA certifications.

In this light, the FTA is happy to announce the incorporation of the Varna Free University (VFU) in Bulgaria in the Network. VFU is currently translating several course books from the FTA into Bulgarian and will start the courses at their local premises. The university is working to set up a full master programme in Free Technology and the collaboration in the network of international partners results very beneficial: some FTA partners such as UOC and URJC are already running their master programmes on these topics, which enables VFU to stand on the shoulders of giants and make a quick start with their activities.

Prof. Teodora Bakardjieva, director of the VFU's Technological Institute about joining the FTA:

"Signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Free Technology Academy is of great importance for Varna Free University. This step creates possibilities for promoting and realising the use of Free Software within the educational sector in Bulgaria. VFU aims to develop learning activities, tests and exams related to FTA courses and share these with the FTA using the FTA online campus infrastructure."

Wouter Tebbens, director of the Free Technology Academy, says:

"The joining of VFU clearly shows the benefits of software freedom applied to course development: as all FTA course books are published under free licenses, a university like VFU doesn't need any permission to use or translate them. At the same time it also shows the benefit of collaboration in an international network: VFU joins the network to coordinate certain activities and will contribute with the development of new materials back to the commons organised around a shared master curriculum on Free Technologies. All contribute small bits, and together we can enjoy from a rich and expanding programme."

The VFU is also planning to work on the co-development of certain new course modules. More information about the Free Technology Master Curriculum can be found at the FKI and the FTA Campus Wiki.

About the Free Technology Academy

The Free Technology Academy (FTA) is a joint initiative from several educational institutions in various countries. It aims to contribute to a society that permits all users to study, participate and build upon existing knowledge without restrictions. The FTA offers an online master level programme with course modules about Free Technologies. These courses are taught completely online in a virtual campus based on the Campus Project interoperability framework.

The FTA is a collaboration between the Free Knowledge Institute and three European universities: the Open University of Catalonia (Spain), the Open University of the Netherlands and the University of Agder (Norway). The Associate Partner Network adds to the founding base with a network of organisations that share a common interest in offering courses in the area of Free Technology.

About the Varna Free University, Bulgaria

Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar” was established in 1991. With a resolution of the 37th National Assembly from 21 July 1995 the University was given the status of a higher educational institution. VFU counts with approximately 12000 students, approximately 700 teachers and 300 employees. The Faculty of International Economics and Administration includes, beside economics and administration studies, also education in informatics. The department of Informatics provides bachelor and master degrees. The Major Curriculum covers knowledge in data structures, object-oriented programming, languages used in Web technologies, operating systems, computer networks administration, network programming, Internet communications security, wireless and information technologies for mobile phones etcetera.