Current events

UOC sees 26% rise in the enquiries it handles in Latin America

  Foto: UOC

Foto: UOC

Helena Loaiza
Just a year after the UOC centre in Colombia opened, the figures show a 26% increase in the number of enquiries for the university's Help Service

Bogot and Mexico City have become important support centres for Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) students and graduates in Latin America. Through each centre's Help Service, the student community is able to receive faster, closer and more accurate responses regarding university procedures.

Colombia has the second highest number of UOC graduates and students after Spain. Interest has also spread to Ecuador, which in 2017 included the UOC in the lists of universities supported by the Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT). Similarly, Chile, Mexico and Peru have recorded rising figures.


Quality of online higher education in Latin America

E-learning is gaining ground in Latin America, thanks to its power to bring education to all and promote inclusion in the region. The UOC has been working closely with governments, universities and institutions there to mentor them in the digital transformation process and ensure that what is finally rolled out is of the best possible quality. This idea of increased access to inclusive, quality higher education is in line with the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. That is why the UOC is making a concerted effort to contribute to achieving Goal 4, “Guarantee inclusive, fair and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

In recent years, the UOC has stepped up its commitment to higher education in Latin America. Currently, the president of the university, Josep A. Planell, chairs the lnter-University Development Centre (CINDA), where more than 35 Latin American universities work towards boosting higher education in the region and building inter-institutional agreements that translate into benefits for students and graduates.

In Colombia, several institutions have placed their trust in the UOC, as a pioneer in fully online education, to start the debate on quality online higher education.

Universities such as UNIMINUTO have run e-mobility programmes, which allowed 706 students to follow courses in UOC classrooms for a semester in 2016. In 2018, 389 students and teachers from the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia (UCC) studied seminars and master’s degrees at the UOC. Since 2016, the University of Antioquia and the UOC have offered joint master’s degrees in Telehealth, and students on the master’s degree in Information Management at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) study some courses at the UOC.

In addition, the UOC continues to co-publish the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE), devoted to research into e-learning, with the University of Los Andes. In this vein, Professor Josep M. Duart from the UOC has led a research project into the effect and impact of technology applied to higher education in Colombia.

In the last three years, 175 people in Latin America have benefited from scholarships to access UOC official master’s degree courses thanks to the Colombian Institute for Educational Credit and Technical Studies Abroad (ICETEX) and the Organization of American States (OEA).

In Mexico, the UOC has offered its expertise to the quality rating agencies and the central government to create a reference framework for assessing, and thus improving, the country’s online programmes.

In Ecuador, the government, along with five public universities, is rolling out ten online bachelor’s degree programmes, for which it has requested mentoring by the UOC through the SENESCYT. Similarly, the officials of the Higher Education Quality Assurance Council of Ecuador (CACES) are studying on the UOC University Master's Degree in Quality Management and Evaluation in Higher Education.

In 2018, the Duoc UC in Chile, a professional institute affiliated with the Pontificia Universidad Catlica de Chile, launched the first course of its new e-learning model, in which the advice of the UOC played a key role.


A global university with a local presence

After a year of being closer to the academic community in Latin America through the Bogot office, the UOC has firmly established itself as a centre for global skills development, adapting its internal processes and tools to become a global university with greater social and local impact.

In 2018 in Bogot, the UOC led the Conference on ICT-based Health, an event jointly organized with eight other institutions to publicize some of the advances in telemedicine and promote e-health in Latin America.

This year, the UOC and Colombia's Universidad del Norte have jointly organized the seminar “Societies in the Face of the Digital Challenge”, as part of Ctedra Europa, which brought to the table the debate on boosting the potential of quality online higher education in Latin America.

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