Russia's war against Ukraine has clearly demonstrated society's great need for secure knowledge about the country of Ukraine. With the project "Sustainable and broadly effective educational offers of the Leibniz Network Eastern Europe on the war against Ukraine", the GWZO is helping to close the existing knowledge gap.
The project, which was funded by the Strategy Fund of the Leibniz Association, involved preparing scientifically validated information and making it easily accessible to a wide audience. From mid-August 2022 to February 2023, eight Leibniz institutes collaborated to create two interactive e-learning courses. The technical implementation was carried out by the Center for Autonomy Experience of Eurac Research in Bolzano, which also accompanied the project in an advisory capacity. In addition, the Institutes of Geography of both the Ukrainian and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences provided generous support by granting the rights of use for the creation of illustrations and maps. The Kharkiv historians' group "Young Kharkiv" also kindly allowed us to use excerpts from oral history interviews with residents of the city that took place a few weeks after the war began. The project was developed by Max Trecker and Maren Röger and coordinated by Stephen Stach, who was also in charge of content creation, with support from Anne-Marie Otto and Daniel Sagradov.
The multimedia, interactive e-learning courses "Ukraine: The History and Present of a European State" introduce Ukraine as a sovereign, European nation and provide important background information on the Russian war of aggression. One of the courses is aimed at students in grades 7 and above, while a second course is aimed at adults. The latter covers many of the same topics, but presents them in more depth. The courses are designed as modules for self-learning and can be used on their own or to accompany school lessons. In adult education and political education contexts, they can be used as a basis and starting point for a more in-depth study of Ukraine or as preparatory material for group discussions, webinars or similar events.
The e-learning courses are multimedia-based. Up-to-date, important information is accompanied by vivid images, exciting maps and graphics, while elements from pop culture and social media have also been thoughtfully embedded in a way that aids understanding and brings home the current, real-world relevance of the material. Various video formats ensure the course is dynamic and not overly text-heavy: In question and answer videos, experts from the Leibniz Network explain complex issues briefly and comprehensibly. Excerpts from oral history interviews with people directly affected by the war offer a close-up perspective on the human costs. A narrative video with graphic background summarizes a thousand years of Ukrainian history. The course is rounded off with a series of quizzes that summarize what has been learned, test, and engage leaners through a lively, interactive format.