Fernando Galindo Ayuda
Penal Law, Philosophy of Law and History of Law Department, Faculty of Law, University of Zaragoza, Spain
Pilar Lasala Calleja
Statistical Methods Department, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Spain
Francisco-Javier García Marco
Documentation Sciences and History of Science Department, Faculty of Art, University of Zaragoza, Spain
Keywords: Virtual campus, Law, Information and communication technologies, Lifelong learning, Mobility.
Abstract: An European Shared Virtual Campus on LAW&ICT (Law and Information and Communication Technolo-
gies) has been created to provide an educational technology platform to offer European-wide graduate and
postgraduate level courses and for lifelong learning. In this learning framework, an international Degree,
Bachelor in LAW&ICT, an international Degree, Masters in LAW&ICT, and an international Lifelong
Learning Programme in LAW&ICT are been development, with the participation of ten European Universi-
ties. Also, an Europe-wide network of experts in LAW&ICT has been created to share the knowledge and
disseminate the results and experiences. The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus encourages the mobility of
teachers, students and professionals among countries, sharing knowledge about similar and divergent as-
pects in LAW&ICT.
e-Commerce, e-Government, digital signatures and
intellectual property of ICT products are a vital real-
ity in our society, where the importance is develop-
ing at a faster rate in commerce than in public ad-
ministration. This situation is creating differences
between countries, causing problems for citizens and
consumers, especially in the cross border operations.
Public administrations, on the other hand, are organ-
ized along pre-digital rules of governance with the
new public management appended as an extra re-
In the European Union there exist a number of
directives and common practices knowledge of
which should be shared between the countries using
a common platform, and the knowledge of each
country and the diversity of cultures should be
incorporated in the development of this
dissemination platform, where it will be possible to
include contributions from the different stakeholders
and the personnel involved in the definition and use
of the Law referring to the technologies.
To satisfy these needs, unlike many other areas
of formal education, in the LAW&ICT field there
exist previous attempts at harmonization at
European level, Council of Europe. The most
significant rules in this respect are Resolution (73)
23 (Resolution, 1973), Recommendation (80) 3
(Recommendation, 1980), Recommendation (92) 15
(Recommendation, 1992) and Recommendation (95)
13 (1995).
Since 1999 a number of Universities, belonging
to ten European member states, has been attempting
to implement these Resolutions through working
together in teaching and researching in Law & ICT.
The results are today the content of the Legal
Framework for the Information Society (LEFIS)
studies ( The resultant outputs have
been study programs and courses in the field. Most
of these courses are currently offered to graduate
and postgraduate students and continuing education
in different subjects. The studies are systematized
also from professional competences according to the
TUNING methodology.
Galindo Ayuda F., Lasala Calleja P. and García Marco F. (2009).
In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Computer Supported Education, pages 146-151
DOI: 10.5220/0001846501460151
The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus Project
takes this initial development work and extends it
further, including to Lifelong Learning. The project
uses the resources that the mixture of old and new
methodologies and technologies offers, and the
possibilities that development in the European
reform process of the Higher Education Area has
brought to University structure and interaction.
Figure 1: The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus logo.
The transition to the information society promises
new services, solutions, and products but at the same
time brings with it challenges, issues and problems
in many areas. One of these areas is the joint activity
between Law, Management and Technical knowl-
edge subjects (“knowledge areas”). These joint ac-
tivities comprise an important interdisciplinary field,
especially the intersection of ICT and law. ICT of-
fers solutions to the legal system for new and better
services to the citizens and to improve the legal sys-
tem itself. Law offers balanced solutions to the use
of ICT in areas such as Intellectual Property Rights,
privacy, and security. New technological solutions
offer services such electronic signature, e-
Commerce, e-Governance and e-Democracy, and at
the same time introduce new legal issues. These are
also studied in the use of ICT in the legal system and
law in ICT.
ICT and Law is thus a vital discipline. There is
need for training and education and the sharing of
expertise, experience, teaching and learning, and
best practice. This need is to be found across
Europe. But training and education available in this
area are limited, and the sharing of best practices
and experience and expertise is not widely practiced.
One reason for this is the scarcity of experts in the
field. Another reason is that the field itself is not yet
mature and needs to be defined.
The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus objec-
tives are: 1) to teach the topics in a broad perspec-
tive (at all university levels of teaching), using the
possibilities offered by the virtual campus, 2) to cre-
ate an interdisciplinary team of both technological
and law specialists, and 3) to train a number of stu-
dents to research and to develop the knowledge
about these matters in their own country and share
that information with other students of other coun-
tries, developing a common framework and using
that knowledge to create courses to be followed us-
ing on site and e-Learning for citizens interested in
this matter. This will help to the community to
achieve one of the goals focused upon in Lisbon:
making the EU the most competitive knowledge-
based economy.
Also, an initiative like this will reinforce the role
of universities in facilitating access to “knowledge
for all” by creating and disseminating knowledge
and innovation to follow up the discussion by the
European Heads of State at Hampton Court in Octo-
ber 2005. In this case this will be reinforced with a
close collaboration between public and private insti-
tutions and universities and firms.
The specific aims of the project are:
1. Creation of an European Shared Virtual Cam-
pus on LAW&ICT to become:
- A developer publishing new studies and initia-
- A promoter of investigation, research, innova-
tion and dissemination of results.
- An Information exchanger between experts as
well as policy makers and students.
- A Campus Administrator.
- A promoter of new online courses and seminars
to help decision makers to know about LAW&ICT.
- A virtual location for debate and European pol-
icy making.
- A home for editions of Newsletters to exchange
knowledge and good practice.
- Support of an International LAW&ICT Library
and an on-line LAW&ICT Encyclopaedia.
2. Development of:
- An international Bachelor Degree in ICT and
Law (LAW&ICT Degree): 180-240 ECTS
- An international Masters Degree in ICT and
Law (LAW&ICT Master): 60-120 ECTS
- An international Lifelong Learning Program in
ICT and Law: 2 to 4 ECTS Modules
3. Identification of good practices:
- in the teaching of the legal framework for ICT
issues in Europe through the exchange of national
and particular experiences;
- in the teaching of the application of ICT to ju-
ridical aspects of society.
4. Creation of a network of experts in
LAW&ICT all over Europe to share the knowledge
and disseminate the results and experiences. The
network is envisaged to become bigger and to be
periodically updated and improved. It is devised to
be a meeting place and a resource centre for experts.
This network will be the motor of the LEFIS Net-
Figure 2: The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus main
The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus has the fol-
lowing schema:
- Education system: Blended learning with e-
learning and on site courses and seminars.
- Learning materials: Multilingual International
LAW&ICT Library and on-line LAW&ICT En-
- Quality: The objective will be excellence in all
the project outputs.
3.1 Education System
The design and development of LAW&ICT modules
is guided by the social constructionist pedagogy.
This pedagogy consists in the contrasts of the con-
tents of the teaching with other prior knowledge and
culture. It accepts that there is more interpretation
going on than a transfer of information from one
brain to another.
The today basic content of the educational sys-
tem that constitutes the LAW&ICT Shared Virtual
Campus is integrated for:
1.- The learning that the participant Universities
impart in their ordinary teaching with the help of the
learning technical resources that they use, in general
the Moodle system, and
2.- The foreseen learning to teach jointly as an
initial content of the LAW&ICT Shared Virtual
The imparted learning at the present time is con-
stituted by 39 modules/courses on the target matters
of the Virtual Campus: LAW&ICT.
The 39 modules/courses can be studied in
blended format, in the characteristic languages of the
participant Universities or in English.
The list of courses is collected in: http://www.le
We present in the next paragraphs the current
distribution of the offered modules attending to the
language, the number of courses and the name of the
responsible University of their learning:
Finnish: three, two are responsibility of the
University of Vaasa and one of the University of
Lapland, Rovaniemi (both located in Finland).
English: eighteen,
Two are responsibility of the Polytechnic
Institute of Beja (Portugal),
Three are responsibility of the Queen's
University of Belfast (United Kingdom),
Two are responsibility of the Bahcesehir
University located in Istambul(Turkey),
One is responsibility of the University of
La Laguna (Spain),
One is responsibility of the University of
Münster (Germany),
One is responsibility of the University of
Lapland, Rovaniemi (Finland),
Two are responsibility of the University of
Torun (Poland),
Three are responsibility of the University
of Vaasa (Finland),
Two are responsibility of the University
Mykolas Romeris, Vilnius (Lithuania)
One is responsibility of the University of
Zaragoza (Spain)
German: two, responsibility of the University
of Münster (Germany).
Lithuanian: two, responsibility of the Universi-
ty Mykolas Romeris of Vilnius (Lithuania).
Polish: one, responsibility of the University of
Torun (Poland).
Portuguese: three, responsibility of the Poly-
technic Institute of Beja (Portugal).
Spanish: eight, five responsibility of the Uni-
versity of Zaragoza, two responsibility of the Uni-
versity of La Laguna (both in Spain) and one of the
Polytechnic Institute of Beja (Portugal).
Swedish: two, responsibility of the University
of Vaasa (Finland).
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The courses are imparted preferably at graduate
level, other courses are proposed for the foreseen
studies of postgraduate and graduate degree that the
Universities plan to impart jointly as soon as possi-
ble. There are several initiatives that propose the
joint use by the students of the different Universities
the offer of the network partners.
The initial foreseen joint offer of postgraduate
level in e learning modality is constituted by the
LEFIS Master, title recognized by the University of
Zaragoza and the LEFIS Diplomas (six in total) and
Courses of Specialization.
The educational load of the Master is constituted
by 60 ECTS, 30 ECTS is the load of the Diplomas
and 5-6 ECTS the load of the Courses. The registra-
tion for this offer is open.
3.2 Learning Materials
The learning materials are constituted by the own
contents of each module and those that form part of
the LAW&ICT digital Library and the LAW&ICT
All the materials are integrated by several kind
or resources (handbooks, presentations, papers, ex-
ercises, links...) developed by the responsible teach-
ers. Another part has been elaborated by the LEFIS
network along their activities period, (from 2003)
thanks to the realization of seminars and conferences
and the elaboration of books: especially the volumes
that integrate the LEFIS Series (six until this mo-
3.3 Quality
A Committee of Approval of the courses and Insur-
ance of the Quality, integrated by five representa-
tives of the participant Universities and two external
auditors, veil for: the new courses proposal and
elaboration process, the approval of the courses, and
the permanent guarantee of quality of the imparted
Members of government organizations and com-
panies are invited to participate in the activities of
the Committee.
The LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus relies on a
set of information tools to ensure a highly relevant
and precise transfer of knowledge among their ac-
In order to ensure maximum customization and
interoperability and also to provide the best transfer
potential of the project to both developed and devel-
oping countries, only free open source software has
been used (Figure 3).
Moodle Greenstone Media wiki
Digital Library
IT tools
Figure 3: A sketch of the system architecture.
The information system is composed of three
different functional and technological environments.
The first environment is an e-learning content
management system to provide basic and advanced
electronic learning features, which is built on
Moodle, well-known open software for digital learn-
ing environments. One of the reasons to choose
Moodle was that most of the partner Universities
uses this Learning Management System.
The second environment is the digital library,
whose aim is storing all the media that is or can be
useful for the e-learning community and can be
stored or pointed to. The digital library is built on
the popular digital libraries software Greenstone.
Finally, the third component is a collaborative
environment with version control —that is to say, a
Wiki— to provide for the development of a shared
conceptual and terminological network, available in
all the languages of the virtual campus participants.
The three system components share a common
knowledge organization tool —the LEFIS Law &
ICT Classification—, whose aim is to provided a
common classification and systematic retrieval tool
for the LEFIS community.
4.1 The Content Management System
The Moodle platform is used to manage the creation,
management and use of all the digital campus
courses. The pedagogical and learning material de-
sign approaches are described in section 3.
4.2. The LAW&ICT Digital Library
Though from their very beginning very different
views and models of digital libraries have existed
(Borgman, 1999; Dabello, Saracevic et al., 2004);
nowadays, they are the unavoidable platform to pro-
vide just-in-time high-quality user-focused, precise
and exhaustive multimedia materials.
The LAW&ICT Digital Library aim is publish-
ing and making available multimedia documents on
LAW&ICT, ensuring all the bibliographic control
features available in a library and also the immediate
online availability of the materials.
Figure 4: The LAW&ICT Digital Library main Webpage.
The LAW&ICT Digital Library is implemented
on Greenstone, a suite of software for building and
distributing digital library collections produced by
the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the Uni-
versity of Waikato, and developed and distributed in
cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info
NGO. Greenstone allows for Dublin Core metadata
cataloguing and standardized storing formats.
The library is including all kind of relevant mul-
timedia material —printed, audio, still images,
video, multimedia—. It is accepting relevant pub-
lished works —academic, professional, legislation,
jurisprudence— and also related grey literature, pub-
lishing free materials with author permission or redi-
recting to copyrighted materials.
One of the main subprojects is the online repub-
lishing of out-of-print materials with copyright re-
covered by authors in the LEFIS digital series.
4.3 The Collaborative Environment:
Another column of the LEFIS virtual campus is the
online encyclopaedia. Online collaborative encyclo-
paedias follow the remarkable success of Wikipedia,
and is being more a more envisioned and used in
specialized contexts (v. g. Giustini, 2006) and, of
course, legal education (Noveck, 2007).
Figure 5: The LAW&ICT Encyclopaedia (LEFISpedia)
main Webpage.
Advancing in this direction, the LAW&ICT En-
cyclopaedia (LEFISpedia) is a moderated and super-
vised scientific multilingual collaborative dictionary
on LAW&ICT with a strong concept tree and hyper-
text functionalities.
LEFISpedia is implemented on Mediawiki, the
engine supporting Wikipedia, the famous and popu-
lar Internet encyclopaedia.
The LAW&ICT Encyclopaedia will have ISSN
to encourage and recognize participation. Regarding
motivation, it is considered to be important for sen-
ior scientists to participate in any successful online
encyclopaedia, as it has a serious chance to become
one of the best and most consulted reference tools in
the area. On the other side, junior and postgraduate
researchers can quickly gain visibility and recogni-
tion by participating in such a project.
The editorial organization is formed by a scien-
tific editor, a technical director, a panel of subject
editors -forming together the scientific council- and
reviewers, which in the future will be differentiated
in an editors’ panel and a reviewing one.
It is being considered to hire assistant editors to
include previous definitions by important and rele-
vant authors, from works with free copyright or
gaining permission from authors or editors (with
proper recognition). Assistant editors would be re-
sponsible for interlinking entries among them and
CSEDU 2009 - International Conference on Computer Supported Education
with other external documents. Copyright recogni-
tion is, of course, considered a key quality topic.
All the authors must be identified. They can be
either self-appointed candidates, nominated by any
person or body, or invited by any member of the
scientific council. Their participation is subjected to
approval by the scientific council.
The LAW&ICT Encyclopaedia will be open to
public participation using forums and comments
with standard netiquette.
Classification: A Common
Architecture for IR
The LAW&ICT LEFIS classification is aimed at
providing a shared systematic conceptual mainframe
for the virtual campus. Therefore, it is being used
both at the courses, the digital library and the
It is a faceted (Ranganathan, 1967) and expand-
able classification that has currently 75 classes. The
classification is based on a methodology of faceting
concepts for applied social science domains that has
been developed in previous projects (García,
Galindo, Lasala y Yubero, 2005; García, in press).
It has six trees addressing domains (society,
rights and duties, commerce, and government), pro-
cedures and tools (politic, legal, managerial, educa-
tional, technological and research-oriented), agents
(generic and individuals), perspective (discipline,
ideology), frame (space and time), and form and
media (language, form, media and type of docu-
Each document is indexed for eleven facets and
subfacets: domain, procedures, actors, perspective,
time, place, multinational, national, spatial scope,
language, form, media, and type of document. The
order of the facets produces the citation index or
ordering string for the document. It is possible to
assign more than one term in each facet, though one
has to function as main one for classificatory pur-
One of the problems risen when designing the tech-
nical solution for the LAW&ICT Shared Virtual
Campus Website was the way that users with privi-
leges to access to some of the information and func-
tionalities (mainly teachers and students) would be
identified, remaining a part of the contents for public
Because of the previous works, the research
group already had developed an identification mod-
ule based on digital certificates to substitute the
identification mechanism of Moodle based on the
pair user-password, as well as a Public Key Infra-
structure (LEFIS-PKI), based on open standards
(X.509, SSL, S/MIME), to manage the provision and
maintenance of digital certificates.
For this project, authentication module is been
updated, using webservices instead of the POST/curl
method, as the way to access the AuthMgr PKI sys-
tem of the LAW&ICT Shared Virtual Campus Web-
Also, we want to extend the identification by
means of digital certificate to limit the access to a
private part of the LAW&ICT Digital Library. To
this end, a wrapper for redirecting certified user to
the resources in the digital library is been developed,
this is to say, an authentication module to integrate
LEFIS-PKI and Greenstone, in the same way as LE-
FIS-PKI and Moodle are.
The third tool, LEFISpedia, remains free access
for everybody searching information about Law and
Development and innovation is being carried out in
the integration of e-learning, wiki, digital libraries
and PKI software to provide an integrated environ-
ment for knowledge representation, organization and
sharing in the field of Law and Information and
Communication Technologies.
This research is supported by the European Union,
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