UNIR, which was born more than a decade ago as the first 100% online university in Spanish, is today leading the digital transformation of higher education, at a time when the pandemic has highlighted the need to establish alternatives to education in person.
Technological advances and social transformation have caused society to change very rapidly. Before the pandemic, the university was already facing a revolution aimed at implementing a hybrid model of higher education.
After the COVID19 crisis, this incipient trend has become an emergency, and has forced the world’s leading universities, such as Harvard, UCLA and Cambridge, to consider online teaching as an essential alternative at this time.
Experts foresee that the traditional University, although it will always maintain a very relevant role, will be forced to transform itself and reform its teaching structures and methodologies, to respond to social needs.
This is what Rafael Puyol, president of the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) calls “bimodal teaching”, which the pandemic has precipitated, but which is here to stay.
Puyol foresees that, together with face-to-face teaching, “100% online and bimodal teaching will grow with great intensity. A conservative estimate raises the number of applicants for exclusively online education to about 100 million within twenty years.
Society today demands, therefore, a more open university, without barriers that limit access to knowledge, and that allows continuous education to grow personally and professionally.
Pablo Cardona, dean of the Faculty of Business at the International University of La Rioja (UNIR), affirms that this demand is explained because, “in some cases, the needs and skills required by jobs change; in others, because those jobs disappear, and the people who have held them need to start a process of professional reinvention ”.
For this reason, says Cardona, “continuous training has become essential to advance in any profession.”
UNIR wants to lead this revolution with an educational model that, supported by new online technologies, facilitates access to quality higher education that meets social expectations.
Thus, in just a decade, it has managed to become the benchmark for online teaching in Spanish ; not in vain, its Faculty of Education is the largest in Spain by number of students. UNIR has developed a model that, without losing the essences that have characterized the University over the centuries, is capable of adapting and anticipating what society and the business world demand at all times.
To do this, it relies on a flexible technological platform , adapted to any mobile device, which allows access to training at any time and place, connect with teachers and students and even carry the university in your pocket. UNIR has been a pioneer in adapting E-Learning to mobile devices.
This transformative commitment transcends borders. UNIR collaborates with other Latin American Universities in the development of their models and in the training of their professors to adapt to online teaching. She repeatedly gives seminars on teaching digital skills and tools, free and open to all types of teachers.
“In Latin America, online education is an authentic lever for social progress and transformation of the socioeconomic fabric,” says Miguel Arrufat, director of UNIR.
UNIR wants the collaboration between the educational systems of Spain and Latin America to be at the forefront of the digital revolution. Its objective is for Spanish Universities to become the great benchmark for higher education in the Region, because otherwise, it will be the Anglo-Saxon Universities who will remain with the hegemony in Latin America.
The weight of collaboration between the universities of Spain in this context is important because, the greater it is, the more relevant will be its repercussion on the transcendental decisions that the Region must adopt in this matter.