LEARNING EXPERIENCES IN HIGHER AND FURTHER EDUCATION IN THE UNAM
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The intention of this presentation is to share my experience as an online teacher in higher level education at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). This has been a long and tedious journey, in which I have experienced a multitude of difficult situations. As a professor, we attend a series of specific training courses, seminars, workshops, etc. During this training I have seen the change of paradigms, different teaching styles and have been exposed to the institutional support that a teacher receives.
On the other hand, it is important to understand in every moment that the students are undergoing the same difficulties that are present to the teacher in transitioning to online education.
For many years, there has been a lot of debate within the education institutions about the benefits and consequences of online education. Many of the challenges are due to a post modern society, whose principal characteristic is the knowledge reconversion, the certification and the social pertinence to which it is obligated.
The thoughtful process that the superior education institutions have taken to implement the online education as a second modality has the objective of allowing the poorest areas of the country a quality education through technology.
Infrastructure, access and technological abilities
Another issue with online learning is the necessity of people’s access to a computer and internet and their ability to use either in order to participate. There are a lot of conditions that must be met in order to make online learning possible. Owning a computer and having internet connection are not the only requirements; they are, however, the first issue that must be addressed.
The infrastructure of technology is the base of virtual learning, in addition to easy access to the computer and internet.
It is here where not only the education institutions participate, but also the government. They play a definitive position in guaranteeing the distribution and availability of these resources through out the country. Also society should be conscious of this issue and recognize the importance of the necessary development of the infrastructure to support virtual learning.
We as teachers need to not only have access to inexpensive and reliable connections, but also be open to the new ways of learning and teaching. UNAM has achieved those two things by not only providing its’ staff with training but by also putting the platforms into practice. Additionally we have the support of specialists. Despite these resources it is essential students and teachers have the initiative and skills to implement these platforms. The students and teachers must be disciplined enough to take on the lectures and homework and to work in groups with other course participants.
• It exists the necessity from the teachers of continue studying and reflecting about their educative practices, so these permit the students achieve the learning.
• It should be recognized the necessity to unify the effort of the group, take them to the classroom and adapt them to the students’ necessities and interests.
• If we want the fully success of the virtual learning, it is required that the programs that are offered must have excellent quality and create a great interest for the students. The students must also get useful learning from the program.
• The online work platform must be easy to access and permit a fluid communication between the participants