What will the next course be like around the classroom? Education Minister Isabel Celaá offered the answer e later this week: «If there is no vaccine, schools will have half as many students in classes.» That is, there will be small groups of just 15 pupils per classroom to avoid the non-compliance with social distance measures. The announcement has put on the table the unquestionable fact that online education will also be essential in face-to-face centres at all levels of education.
In this new pandemic scenario and taking into account that teaching will be either purely ‘online’ or mixed, for Daniel Burgos, vice-chancellor of Unir International Projects, it is clear that learning and implementation time must be shortened and this is where «we all have an important responsibility so that the quality of learning is exactly the same or better by having a different environment and that is what we are working on» Designates. To this end, for two months the online campus based in Logroño provides ideas, methodologies, templates, courses and seminars to research groups, universities, colleges and ministries.
The European Union is no stranger to the concern expressed by the Spanish Minister. Aware of the new reality in which most European countries will also be immersed, he has taken letters on the subject and to contribute to the implementation of digital classrooms has selected the EduHack course, designed by UNIR iTED in the framework of the European EduHack project, as one of the resources to be promoted on the official website of the European Commission. A selection of online resources and tools for students, teachers and educators during the COVID-19 emergency is collected.
Daniel Burgos Vicerrector for International Research at UNIR: «We have a responsibility to ensure that the quality of learning is equal to, or better, in a different environment»
For Daniel Burgos, the selection of the European Commission is due to the view in EduHack of a model that can be used in times of crisis, «that do not necessarily have to be a pandemic», to help teachers integrate more quickly ‘in a more mixed or ‘on-line’ world».
EduHack’s goal is to set up a new active, collaborative and open learning experience. To this end, in addition to online courses, the so-called EduHackathon were implemented. These events – the first one held a year ago in Logroño – are inspired by the hackathon formula of the computer world and consist of participants working in small groups around a set of specific projects for improving teaching through digital means. In parallel, UNIR, as Burgos details, has twelve EU-funded courses on how to use open education in the classroom. «The idea is to convey that open education and open educational resources can be used within the classroom to enrich the learning process and make a more powerful corpus.»
With COVID-19 as a backdrop, UNIR has also been working with Beijing Normal University for more than two months in a manual to help teachers migrate from face-to-face to virtuality.
There is another working group with the National University of Colombia focused on the application of Artificial Intelligence to identify virus outbreaks, how coronavirus will evolve from here to the future and where it can go. It is a question of «working to geographically identify the evolution of the pandemic», Burgos summarizes.
Among others, a third working group is underway with the National University of Palestine. In this case, UNIR has collaborated with them in making the transition from face-to-face to ‘online’ in two weeks. It is a university with 23,000 students and «they have not lost a week of class, they have transformed everything to ‘online’ and we support them with seminars and classes». This transition «has – it affects – an example of good practice and how well work has been done to make it possible in two weeks».
*This article is a direct translation of the original in Spanish, publiched by El Diario de La Rioja, Spain, in May, the 10th, 2020, at https://www.larioja.com/la-rioja/coronavirus/formacion-abierto-aval-20200510234909-ntvo.html