By: Manuel Rivera León
Universidad del Rosario, through its Management Centre TIC (CGTIC) has designed, developed and solidified a comprehensive program to incorporate technologies into the classroom and deployed the program throughout the university. The goal was to provide innovative tools in the classroom and to strengthen both independent and collaborative learning both inside and outside of the classroom, and CGTIC built specific plans to meet these technological demands.
Moodle Platforms for Virtual Learning
There are two virtual learning platforms at the Universidad del Rosario: e-classrooms, based on Moodle, and aimed at all students of different programs except those enrolled in Medicine, who benefited from a curricular reform that took effect from the second half of 2013, which created a specific platform, called Mutis designed specifically for medical students. In each case, they appointed mentors to students to help them navigate the academic process, which improved the reception of digital learning on campus. They plan is to expand this initiative going forward.
Rosario launced a mobile application to allow students to visit their e-classrooms anytime and anywhere. It has a directory of user information, a “my courses” calendar and news, and digital content, which increases the use of virtualized programs in each program offered by the university. The application is directly linked to Moodle, and it was branded by Nivel Siete (part of Blackboard) to create a high quality user experience and feel like they are never leaving their e-classroom. In addition, the app uses “push” notifications to keep the user informed of university events, news, calendar, etc.
“We understand the current educational dynamics, so we want to give our students more enriching learning experiences.” (Missing Quote Name)
With all these tools, Rosario needs constant support for its teachers, who, rather than being overwhelmed can find guides and take training courses in the effective use of technology in the planning and development of their classes; they’ve created specific e-caps and professional development courses which are available to all teachers. One of the CGTIC’s goals is to support the teachers, and it has incorporated this into their process for e-learning.
Universidad del Rosario, one of the most prestigious universities in Colombia, has invested heavily to create a culture of technology and innovation, as evidenced by their investment in these programs.
Mutis eLearning Platform
The Mutis platform, which went live in the second half of 2013 (2013-II) as part of a curriculum overhall in the medical program, has 100% coverage, ie all the students are enrolled and use the system daily. Unlike e-classrooms, Mutis platform has ventured into other modes of learning; however, Rosario estimates that both platforms an innovative level of technology adoption.
Recording classes: WizIQ
In order for students entering medical school to have a total immersion in Information Technology, every teacher has the opportunity to record their classes. Therefore, the school of medicine recorded 150 classes in just 10 days, using WizIQ. Also, they have a well-developed process, working with calendars, schedules, and classrooms to assign teachers. In the end, the student has direct access to their classes from the platform.
“We continually impart in our students high understanding of information technology.”
Mentoring supported through Moodle
A cornerstone of the technological reform in the Medicine program was the creation of a mentoring program to support students throughout their university life. The initiative works like this: Each mentor is responsible for about 10 students and their job is to guide and accompany the student in each stage of the academic process. To streamline the operation of this program, they adapted the mobile application to allow mentoring through Moodle.
Now, in the app, each mentor can view the progress of their mentees, the goals for each student, and can even track their academic performance, either by subject or semester.
Universidad del Rosario is a case where pedagogical needs have converged with technology a team which understands the educational dynamics of today’s world. Rosario is open and willing to incorporate all technologies that foster learning experiences.
* Manuel Melendez Andrade, Information Technology Projects Academy – Information Technology Centre for Management Academy, Research and Extension, University of Rosario – CGTIC.
In the photo: Manuel Melendez Andrade.
Photographer: Victoria Holguín.