If you are a university professor and you would like to integrate some high-quality online human rights courses in your teaching, the Council of Europe HELP Programme (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals) can help you with that!
There are currently 36 different HELP online courses, available in more than 300 national language versions in the HELP online platform, that you can integrate in your teaching as additional materials to your core curriculum.
While the HELP courses are developed primarily for legal professionals, they can be a very valuable resource for university students, primarily of law, but also of political sciences, international relations, journalism, even medical studies!
Students taking HELP courses have described them as ‘very helpful’, ‘good as a means of variety’, ‘nice change from other online courses’, ‘very structured and organised way’ to present information, ‘quite interactive’, ‘very accessible’, particularly useful in ‘identifying key [Council of Europe] treaties and [EU] directives and regulations’ etc.
Recommendation (2019)/5 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in university education and professional training encourages the use of the HELP Methodology and HELP online courses in university education. But for a comprehensive topical approach, HELP courses cover not only the ECHR and the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human rights. They also cover other Council of Europe instruments, as well as the EU legal framework and the relevant CJEU case-law.
How can students take HELP courses?
- Students can take a ‘self-learning’ HELP course and obtain the so-called ‘HELP statement of accomplishment’, which will attest that they have completed the course. They can bring this statement of accomplishment to the professors, which can in turn accept it for the purposes of crediting the students.
- Exceptionally, if there is a longstanding cooperation between your university and the HELP Programme and if you are a HELP certified tutor, dedicated virtual spaces can be opened on the HELP online platform and run autonomously by the professors.
On 10 December, the Human Rights Day, the HELP Programme held a public information event for university professors. The event aimed at introducing interested university professors to the Council of Europe HELP Programme and the HELP online platform and courses, as well as informing them of the practical ways to include the HELP courses in their everyday teaching.
See here the presentations on the following issues:
- Introduction to the Council of Europe HELP Programme by Eva PASTRANA, Head of HELP Unit, Council of Europe
- HELP in Universities: background and strategy for cooperation by Ana MEDARSKA-LAZOVA, Deputy Head of HELP Unit and contact point for Universities, Council of Europe
At the event, some of the most interesting HELP courses for students were presented by the course authors or the Council of Europe staff members from the entities that participated in the course development.
Which HELP courses are interesting for your students?
- Introduction to the ECHR and the ECtHR: Maria-Andriani KOSTOPOULOU
- Key Human Rights Principles in Biomedicine: Laurence LWOFF, Head of Bioethics Unit, Council of Europe
- Freedom of Expression: Peter NOORLANDER, course author
- Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia, Homophobia and Transphobia: Ana-Maria TELBIS, HELP in the EU Project Manager, Council of Europe
- Human Rights in Sports: Tamara SHASHIKHINA, MGIMO University
- Environment and Human Rights: Douglas MAXWELL, HELP Project Officer, Council of Europe
- Procedural Safeguards in Criminal Proceedings and Victims’ Rights: Teresa CABRITA, course author
University professors from different regions throughout Europe shared their experience in using HELP courses in their teaching (please click below to download their respectivev presentations):
- Jim MURDOCH, Glasgow University
- Ivana KRSTIC, Belgrade University
- Raluca BERCEA, West University of Timisoara
- Alla FEDOROVA, Taras Shevchenko University
Two students of Glasgow University, Kirsty ROBINSON and Ross MACKINNON, shared their experience in taking HELP courses either as teaching materials or in their research endeavours. You can hear more about their experience in the videos below Morning session as of 2:24:00’ (Kirsty on HELP courses on Freedom of Expression and Human Trafficking) and 2:28:30’ (Ross about how to use and apply HELP courses for research as they identified key European Treaties and regulations).
Participants to the event could also hear an update on the developments concerning the Open Council of Europe Academic Networks, provided by Olaf KÖNDGEN, Council of Europe.
Complete video recordings of the information event: