Even though technology was already being used in a broader scope in the academic field, both in the classroom, as a means of educational support for lecturers and teachers, or even in the teaching of courses in their entirety, in a new scenario of social isolation and extreme health care being implemented in all countries, we were forced to accelerate this process to ensure continuity in remote learning.
In coordination with Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, Region 9 conducted exploratory research between March 30 and April 7, with the aim of assessing how universities and institutions had been preparing for academic continuity. We surveyed 95 institutions.
The main findings of the study have been summarized below:
- 95% of universities stated that their campus has entry restrictions.
- 88% confirmed that there was continuity of face-to-face lectures with the transition into remote classes thanks to the aid of technology.
- The most used technological tools for lecturing, according to the sample are: Microsoft Teams (75.7%), Zoom (66%), Own Development (21%) and Moodle with 6.2%.
- Most of the universities rated the quality of the activities carried out as “good” and “very good.”
- The most widely used assessment methods are practical work, to be carried out individually (81%) and in groups (62.2%).
- 61% thought that the educational framework provided by their university is useful but saw opportunities for improvement.
The results of this research revealed that, with the technological support available today, institutions in Latin America have been responding to this new scenario, with remote learning alternatives, some with more prior experience than others.
Undoubtedly, this process is facing challenges on various fronts:
- For faculty members, who need to get used to a new teaching environment and technologies.
- For the quality of education, which could be affected until the learning curve reaches adequate levels of efficiency.
- For the necessary supply of equipment, infrastructure and internet access, which is required for both students and teachers.
- For the need to rethink a new educational framework, with a high technological component.
- For the new competencies arising from the new methods and productive sectors in which professionals will perform.
- For the leadership styles required to manage processes and people in a remote scenario.
In Region 9, we had scheduled training in the new standards, which had to be suspended due to the pandemic. However, we reevaluated this decision and, in coordination with Universidad del Rosario, decided to offer the workshop remotely, with sessions in three blocks of three hours each, over two days. An invitation was sent to every institution in Region 9. We were pleasantly surprised with the response to this initiative. With the participation of 260 people from 13 countries, the workshop was carried out smoothly and with a high degree of satisfaction. Caroline Mendoza from UNID, Myrna Pinto from the University of Puerto Rico, and I presented.
The workshop with a presentation of the accreditation process and the principles of the accreditation model. Core aspects of each standard were explained, followed by a demo of the online reporting portal. Important aspects for the upkeep of accreditation standards and for a successful preparation were detailed, culminating in a highly relevant topic: The Management of Change. In each case, best practices were shared and the questions of the attendees were answered.
These past few months have introduced a new way of providing training and a new way of staying close to member institutions, but more importantly, it prepares us for the upcoming ACBSP Virtual Conference 2020, June 22-24, where we will see each other again, this time interacting remotely.
Keep moving forward!