E-LEARNING COURSES AT UFP-UV – POTENTIAL AND CHALLENGES
This paper deals with the challenges related to the e-learning experiences at Fernando Pessoa University (Porto, Portugal). After approximately 30 years of on-site courses, in 2012, the decision was made at the university to offer distance courses as well.
This decision represented a huge challenge at various levels. Training faculty for teaching at a distance became necessary; thus, a training program was implemented, focusing on methodological, pedagogical and technological aspects. A specific regulation was also set up to clarify essential rights and duties of faculty and students and the assessment rules. This document ensures the application of specific teaching methods. All this takes place in a virtual campus - UFP-UV - equipped with educational technologies. Thus, in a LMS, recorded lessons, learning objects, and synchronous sessions in a virtual room are combined into a methodology that also focuses on continuous assessment, using written and oral assignments, challenging tasks, and regular synchronous and asynchronous contacts between teachers and students in small groups. In order to support faculty and students, a help desk devoted exclusively to this function was also created.
Hence, since 2012, about 300 national and international students have attended e-learning courses at UFP, in Portuguese, English, or Spanish. The dropout rate, one of the most common concerns about this regime, has been, so far, residual. At the end of each term, surveys are sent to students in order to know their rate of satisfaction. Following the analysis of the surveys, we seek to strengthen the aspects identified as positive, and correct aspects identified as less positive.
So, in this paper we will also focus on the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data which helps to critically analyze the process.