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The UB faces an academic year marked by bimodal teaching

 

 

04/09/2020

Institucional

The rector Joan Elias explained how the University of Barcelona will face the academic year 2020/2021. A course to be marked by bimodal teaching –that is, face-to-face learning and e-learning–, and the necessary safety measures regarding COVID-19. The rector also presented technological, economic and human resources the UB has in order to guarantee the quality of teaching in this new context.

Adaptation to bimodal teaching: Connecta UB and bkUB programs

“The academic year 2020/2021 will be an exceptional one, to be organized regarding the bimodal teaching methods”, noted the rector of the UB in the press release. Therefore, there will be both face-to-face lessons in small groups in large rooms, and online lessons, with student-lecturer interaction. Attendance will be reduced and conditioned by the needs of the students, the courses and the availability of the spaces together with the instructions from the health authorities and the necessary adjustments in its planning”, noted Joan Elias.

In order to work on bimodal learning, the rector highlighted two measures that were already set during the lockdown in the UB: on the one hand, the aid program Connecta UB, which will publish a new call, and on the other hand, the extension of the grant program bkUB, aimed at bachelor and master’s degree students who are under a sudden situation of economic difficulties which prevents them from paying the total amount of the enrolment.

During the second semester of the last academic year, more than 300 students benefited from Connecta UB, which provides students with access to Internet and the temporary use of computers to follow online lessons. The bkUB program, provided with 300,000 euros, will also adapt to the new situation of the economic crisis.

Face-to-face learning in the centers

Regarding the percentage of face-to-face attendance in the different centers of the UB,  the rector said every degree and every building are different. “Therefore, we gave total freedom so that the centers decide for each degree and courses, on the kind of teaching they should follow”, he noted. However, they are recommended to intensify face-to-face learning in the first year, “in order to give a full attention to those students who enter the University for the first time”. Also, the students will receive enough information when filling their enrolment so that they know under which conditions they enrol. They will also be told about the potential scenarios, which can vary depending on what the health authorities decide.

The information about the faculties and studies is available in the following links: Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Biology; Faculty of Earth Sciences; Faculty of Law; Faculty of Economics and Business; Faculty of Education; Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences; Faculty of Philology and Communication; Faculty of Philosophy; bachelor’s degrees on Physics; Electronic Engineering; Faculty of Geography and History; Faculty of Information and Audiovisual Media; Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; Faculty of Psychology; Faculty of Chemistry.       

 

Laptop purchase, lesson recording and teacher training

During his speech, Joan Elias also commented that the UB started preparing this academic year in mid-May. In fact, on June 2, 2020, the Academic Commission of the Governing Council of the UB approved the document Orientacions per a la planificació de la docència per al curs 2020-2021 (Guidelines for teaching planning for the academic year 2020/2021, in Catalan), “marked by the situation the learning will take place in”. 

The rector highlighted the investment of the UB in purchasing laptops to replace computers and therefore enable employees to work from home and students to learn from home too. “The UB assigned 1.8 million euros to buy laptops for the AdSS and TRS members. This is, about 1,600 computers”. Also, the university invested half a million euros to adapt rooms in the centers to record and provide lessons online.

This goes together with the launching of the training program RIMDA - Docència mixta, which aims to offer support and advice to the teaching staff of the UB regarding the challenges of the new academic year, in the exceptional framework marked by the COVID-19 crisis.

Last, the rector reminded in the press release that the UB has its own Contingency Plan, which comes from the university sectorial plan approved by PROCICAT on June 29, 2020, and which fulfils the health regulations approved by the competent authorities.

This plan will be updated with the recommendations and measures adopted by the health and political authorities during the year. The established measures in the plan are to be applied to the whole university community, which includes all people who access the buildings of the University. Also, specific cleaning and disinfection protocols have been established, as well as facility maintenance. 

Other participants in the press release were the vice-rectors for Academic Planning and Quality, and Teaching, Amelia Díaz and Sílvia Burset; the vice-rector for Students and Language Policy, Mercè Puig, and the vice-rector for Communication, Francisco Esteban, and the general manager of the UB, Oriol Escardíbul.
 

 

 

 

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