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Invited Lecture
Reinventing the University in the XXI Century - The Internet and the "New Buildings of the University"
Maria Garito
Representative of ICDE ON MEDSE

Brief Bio

Maria Amata Garito is Rector and President of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO. She is Full Professor of Psychotechnologies at the UNINETTUNO Faculty of Psycology and has been Full Professor of “Teaching and Learning Technologies” at the Universities “La Sapienza” (Rome), Salerno (Italy) and Pantheon-Assas Paris II (Paris, France).

She has carried out her research activities in several international institutions such as: the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston; the Center for Educational Technologies of the Harvard University; the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburg; the Central Institute of Technology in New York; the School of Education at the University of Berkeley; Gallaudet University in Washington; the Educom of Princeton; the Educational Testing Service in Princeton; the Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh and the Stanford University.

She was general director of the Med Net’U project - for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean network of e-learning universities-, “RAI NETTUNO” satellite channels and CATTID (Centre for Applications of Television and techniques of Distance Education) University of Rome "La Sapienza" - (University “La Sapienza”).

She is coordinator of the “Italy-Morocco Cultural Cooperation Committee”; member of the EXPO Milan 2015 Scientific Committee; scientific coordinator of the “Euro-Mediterranean Ministers Conference for the Catania Process”; UNESCO 2002 expert in charge of the design of the Arab Open University in Kuwait; scientific consultant for “Teaching and Learning Technologies” and for “Distance Teaching” of the Italian Minister of University and Research (MIUR).

She has been member of the Scientific Committees in several European an International research programs

She has designed psycho-pedagogical models, developed systems and tools devoted to Interactive Satellite TV applications, multimedia teaching and learning processes based on satellite TV and Internet. She has developed the idea of the “telematic university” in several projects such as: MED NET’U – EUMEDIS, EDICT, TEMPUS, Arab Open University Project, “Teachers Training in Europe”, “Training of managers in the US and Japan”, “Research about the Europe of Universities”.

She has been awarded of many prizes such as: the title of “Ufficiale al Merito” of the Italian Republic, for her cultural and scientific achievements; the “La Calabria nel Mondo” International Prize, for her contributions to the Italian culture in the World; the prize "City of Santa Marinella” and the “Marisa Bellisario" prize for her work in the field of Technology Education". Moreover she has got for six times the Hot Bird TV Award “Culture and education” – EUTELSAT, for the direction of the best satellite television channel, RAI NETTUNO SAT, for Europe, Asia, and South America. She has authored more than one hundred publications including books, essays, and contributions on international journals.


The existence of an Internet network, external to humans, consisting of interconnected digital memories, knowledge production and communication processes, research and education methodologies, and is still having impact on the languages for knowledge communication.

Internet is technology of mind, allowing the expansion and amplification of sensory-motor, psychological and cognitive functions through new forms of language that the same technologies allow.

There is a global debate about how Higher Education Institutions changed and are still chainging their role in the context of Internet global network. The rapid development of virtual campuses and the inclusion of video lessons via the Internet, available free of charge from the most prestigious American and European universities, confirms that the university professors and students in the coming years will be working more and more in the context of inter-university networks at a global level.

Today distance and traditional universities often live together. An educational and training space "intra muros" and "extra muros" is actually developing. The new spaces to access knowledge can be anywhere thanks to the Internet: using personal computers, smartphones or tablets anyone can have access to knowledge without limits of space and time. This reality highlights the fact that all "traditional", face-to-face students will become, faster and faster, also distance students, because they will try to gather information in places other than universities where they are formally enrolled. It is definitely clear how a process of real evolution towards a new educational real and virtual community is going to overcome the traditional teaching and learning models.

In this paper we will present case studies of educational psychology and cognitive-connectionist theories application to create Internet-based learning environments that focus on the educational process of the student, seen as active constructor of knowledge.

The specific case is the model created in the didactic cyberspace of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, where professors and students teach and learn in five languages, ​​with students from 140 different countries. UNINETTUNO this year was chosen by the International Council of Distance Education (ICDE) as Operating Node for Mediterraneao and Southern Europe ( MESE). This model allows not only the democratization of access to knowledge, but also the sharing of knowledge and training contents with universities based in countries presenting differences in culture, politics and religion. The example of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO shows that today we can use technology to create an open system of teaching and learning, capable of updating, of integrating all information available on the Internet and to realize a global level knowledge sharing.