By: Manuel Rivera León
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (UAG) has worked with Moodle since nearly the beginning of the open source project, and has used it to support many different academic processes throughout the university.
Understanding the changing academic landscape, in 2006 the Institute for Research and Development of Software (IIDIS) at UAG implemented Moodle to meet the needs of foreign graduates, in which the student could maintain contact with his back to his face to face class teacher; after seeing the benefits of better connectivity with students, more teachers wanted to leverage the platform and use it to support their classes. They began working with each department to understand the needs, train them on the platform, and help them build learning objects for their courses.
These initiatives consolidated two major projects in UAG:
1) Training Workshops: Over a period of 5 months, Prof. Yadira Esparza trained over 500 teachers in how to use technology to support their courses. These workshops were made available to all teachers in every department as part of the Coordination of Educational Technology project.
2) Development of Online Courses and Programs: This initiative was led by Dra. Silvia Adame, and laid the foundation for today’s e-learning success in UAG.
Once they understood the pedagogical methodology of the platform and how it could be applied to build digital content to support their courses, the platform became deeply integrated at the institution, not just for teachers, but also for students. This allowed them to create solid virtual education programs, including post graduate programs, where they guarantee the students can complete an entire degree without necessarily going to the university, including all of the administrative overhead like registration and matriculation materials.
UAG predicts that in the next 5 years education graduate level degrees (specialization, masters and graduates) aimed at Spanish-speaking students will increase, and all will be offered 100% virtual way, allowing people anywhere in the world to complete their degrees in Spanish. UAG realizes that their will continue to be challenges and opportunities to continue its position as a vanguard of educational technology. They can leverage their work over the past 20 years as a pioneer of using technology for improving learning.
Similarly, the university encourages their instructors to continue pushing the boundaries of Moodle and applying current educational technology trends.
Perhaps the most important factor in this ongoing project is the role of students in digital immersion and training, so that they can be successful in using technology to support their education. For example, they train teachers in how to engage students, for example, in social networks. They launched a mentoring program at the university where the student has consistent contact with a mentor throughout their academic career, which has improved retention.
UAG knows that in today’s academic landscape, these initiatives and investment in virtual education are required to maintain high quality and allowing you to be competitive throughout Latin America.
Pictured from left to right
*Yadira Esparza, coordinator of Educational Technology, UAG / Dr. Silvia Adame, General Coordinator of Virtual Education, UAG.