January 20, 2021

The express transformation towards the digitized university


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In just one week, Spanish universities have had to transfer face-to-face training to the online format due to the advancement of the coronavirus. A different teaching model than the one they have been forced to resort to in order to maintain the academic training of their students. Since CRUE Spanish Universities They highlight that these educational centers “have reacted in record time to the exceptional situation generated by the pandemic. As the Minister of Universities himself has acknowledged, in just a few hours he has gone from one face-to-face system to another entirely online. And it has been done while maintaining the quality of the training provided ”.

It has meant an effort for all universities, public and private, which according to their resources have been adapting to this new reality. For the smaller centers, the usual proximity with their students has been an advantage, which has allowed them to better monitor these changes. It is the case of Center for Higher Studies (CES) Cardenal Cisneros, a private center attached to the Complutense University of Madrid since 1971, which has 1,300 students. “This change has been a challenge for both teachers and students. We have acted quickly to become an online university with all that this means, “explains Raúl Canosa, director of CES Cardenal Cisneros. He believes that the work done by all the schools has been very important and that “Spanish society must recognize the effort of the entire educational system.”

In the case of this center, they already had a virtual campus, although the new reality has led them to acquire more technical mechanisms to adapt to current needs. “And the most important thing has been the will of the participants, both teachers and students, and they are all very satisfied,” they point out. The schedules of the subjects have been maintained “although they have been adapted since the classroom is not the same as the virtual” and have reinforced «Contact with students». They have also held the seminars and have seen the attendance of people from outside the center has increased, so “we plan to continue using these tools as a complement. It is about learning and we have shown ourselves to be open to improvement. ” The director of this higher education center also values ​​the work done to carry out the online assessment following the instructions of the UCM.

“All the teachers are very well coordinated, we have known how to adapt and the students are very aware”, says Javier Urra, professor of Psychology

At the CES Cardenal Cisneros, Complutense Bachelor’s degrees in Law, ADE and Psychology are taught, as well as the double degree Law-ADE. They also have the Official Master’s degrees for Access to the Legal Profession and Clinical Psychology, in addition to their own degrees. Forensic psychologist Javier Urra has been a professor at this center since 2001, both in the Psychology degree and in the Master of General Health Psychology. “This type of university is very tutorial, because they are very small groups and the teachers are very above the students,” says Urra. When going to the online format, «all the teachers are very well coordinated and in contact with the course delegates who are passing on the concerns and requests of the students. We will provide you with material depending on your needs“, Add. For this teacher there is something that cannot be transmitted in the same way through the devices, “the passion that we put into things” but highlights the fact that “we have all known how to adapt and I see the students very aware”. Of course, there are also cases of students who are afraid of this new reality and anxiety about exams.

Social responsability

Free psychosocial support is another of the bets of this center that, at the beginning of the health crisis, enabled a series of resources aimed at meeting the needs of its students, its staff and their families. Since after Easter it was opened for the whole of society. On the one hand, an online tool has been developed in Google Forms in which, based on the user’s responses to a short questionnaire, they are shown short videos recorded by the teachers, providing specific psychoeducational guidance. At the same time, the CES Cardenal Cisneros Psychology teachers organize group counseling sessions and psychological attention each day focused on very different topics. As Miguel Ángel Estévez, professor of Psychology who coordinates this service together with Sonia Dieguez, «We work on specific themes and the dynamics depend on the number of people who join each day». Through Zoom rooms they have the capacity to reach up to 300 people at the same time, although when doing two sessions a day it is normal to work with small groups. Some of the topics that psychologists address are support in the emotional management of quarantine with children at home, those who are concerned about their elders or those who are grieving for the death of a loved one.

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