The more than 9,000 undergraduate students at UFRO experienced a different start of the semester last Monday, April 13. This virtual teaching modality will have a trial period of two weeks, so both students and teachers can get used to this new way of learning and teaching.
For the rector of the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO), Dr. Eduardo Hebel, the process of getting used to these virtual classes is a big challenge. It is not only the best way to cope with COVID-19, but also a great opportunity for the university to innovate and modernize the teaching and learning processes according to the educational requirements of today’s world. “Obviously we would like to have every aspect under control, but the contingency forced us to take on this challenge and to adapt our capacities during these times of uncertainty,” he said.
The Vice-rector for Undergraduate Affairs, Pamela Ibarra, explained that the university has taken on the challenge of changing from a classroom-based learning environment to a virtual one during this public health emergency caused by COVID-19. For this purpose, she explained that they have worked on a plan that considers several aspects for the implementation of this measure, such as the technological training of teachers and students and the strengthening of technological support. However, she stressed that the most important thing is that both teachers and students approach the process in a flexible and open way.
FRESHMEN WELCOME CEREMONY ONLINE
The activities for new students of the generation 2020 also took place online, with a high participation rate. For a whole week, they were the protagonists during the traditional welcome ceremonies, but this time online, due to the health emergency. Via the Virtual Campus platform of UFRO they were received with a warm welcome by the rector of the university and by their program directors.
The students had access to different contents that were especially prepared for them, got to know the university and got more information about their respective study programs. They also had access to information on the campuses, services, socioeconomic benefits, the student health service, study strategies and techniques (focused on e-learning), and so on. On this interactive platform, the students have the chance to review contents and to interact with their program directors and teachers.
To assist those students who do not have access to the Internet and to facilitate their incorporation into the virtual classrooms, the Universidad de La Frontera opened a call for the students who need a “Connectivity Grant”, which consists of a financial contribution that lasts three months, to improve their data plan and/or purchase one.
The grant allocation and selection criteria are the responsibility of the UFRO Office for Student Development. They also evaluate the background of those who applied for funding for computer equipment.
QUALITY AND TRAINING PROCESSES
As part of the process, UFRO will also establish a collaborative work group of authorities and student representatives, as well as a technical group of institutional experts in online assessment and methodologies, which will monitor and identify the areas that require improvement. These groups will also have the support of the UFRO Quality Division, so together they will be able to carry out the required modifications and adjustments in order to maintain the training programs´ quality to which the university is committed.
Written by: UFRO Communications Office