Video Dialogue: “Emergency Online Models/COVID-19”
The dialogue, “Emergency Online Models/COVID-19”,brought together Mildred Guinart, director of the UOC eLearn Center’s Teaching Model Transfer Unit; Oscar Pain, Head of Academic Assessment of the PUPC Academic Affairs Directorate and Maribell Reyes, director of Digital Education at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, with Monterrey Tech Observatory of Educational Innovation specialist in educational trends, Paulette Delgado, moderating.
The speakers had ample opportunity to discuss the potential and the drawbacks of taking education online in the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to many changes in higher education, but it also represents an opportunity to take stock of online education and see where it can be improved.
The experts began by talking about the level of online education attained so far at each of their universities. They did so from three different perspectives: the UOC as an e-learning institution, Monterrey Tech with its previous experience of moving online and the PUCP with a recent approach to online learning. They discussed the difficulties caused by the abruptness of the changes, the tradition of classroom learning and the university community’s adaptation to the new environment, highlighting the fact that online education has advantages for both students and the institutions. Students save time travelling, their class sessions are always available and they can manage their own time. In the case of institutions, those with experience, like the UOC, can share their expertise in online learning with universities and governments around the world and continue to help make education increasingly available.
In regard to negative aspects, the panel highlighted how self-regulation of learning can prove difficult if students are not already trained in it. Also, part of the peer interaction and the human relations fostered by classroom learning have been lost.Another negative is the overload generated by uncertainty as to whether the content provided is sufficient to make up for lack of contact in universities that previously taught far less online.
Lastly, the experts commented on the main challenges posed by going online and changes to online learning brought about by the lockdown. They stressed the implications of changing to online assessment and how continuous assessment could be a good way to do this. They concluded that in order to adapt they will have to rethink learning and teaching. They will have to define the objectives to be reached with the new model, adapting as new needs arise and providingcontinual support.