A University in your pocket
SD. Although timidly, online teaching tries to gain ground in Dominican territory, where some 10 of 38 universities have already began to use the system, offering classes and degrees over the Internet. In spite of the fact that the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology ( MESCyT) has received requests from entities interested in developing distance – degrees, this method still does not have a program of strategies by the educational authorities in order to support it.
“As the Ministry we agree with the offering of virtual programs, but we do not now have the tools to be able to evaluate and authorize the institutions to develop this method,” confessed Rafael Gonzalez, the Deputy Minister of the MESCyT to Diario Libre.
Goes out as explains that when they created the Regulations for Institutions and Programs of Distance Higher Education, there was no market needing supply and demand regarding virtual training, as now, so that at that now, they plan to contract international experts in order to work up a new regulation, which will permit them to update that which exists in guarantee a distance learning program of higher education according to international parameters.
“We expect that for next year we will have the regulations and be able to say correctly which universities qualify and which do not, in order to develop the online programs and provide answers to all these universities that are asking to offer virtual programs,” the official stressed.
And in order to study a virtual degree, the universities have to have a platform with sufficient broadband which will allow the connectivity of all those who might be studying a program of this nature; provide follow-up online through 2 doors who are trained; use appropriate material in the forums and discussions; use evaluation systems which are adequate, not placing the exams on the website, among other methods.
“Just imagine that at the same time 10,000 students connect to the system, when sometimes simply with the registration process the platform collapses, and this is the case we have had at the U ASD (Autonomous University of Santo Domingo),” he noted.
In the last 3 years, the state University has attempted to use the online system to teach some theoretical subjects.
“What is being done at the U ASD we cannot say that it responds to what is a quality online offering. They have limited themselves to placing programs online. The student can communicate with the professor by email, but the online communication goes beyond that,” González made clear.
A reduction of massive occasion in the classrooms
In the case of the U ASD, Gonzalez assured reporters that offering degrees online (distance learning) will keep the University from continually expansion throughout the country, and contribute with the implications that this has in the maintenance of its physical spaces and its personnel.
“In this sense, the government will support the Autonomous University in the search for a way that she can become in a large part virtual, because it is a University which has become massive,” stressed the Deputy Minister.
For the people, one of the benefits consists in the freedom that the citizen receives, by being able to combine work and study.
“The students that choose to study online say: well professor its that I work, and I have a schedule which does not permit me to go every day to the University,” says Jenny Michael, the executive and academic director of the Open University for Adults (U APA).
“Another type of public which we have are those that work in Bavaro, in the hotels, some who reside in Pedernales, Elias Piña, La Romana, Dajabon, those who find it difficult to attend a university campus,” adds Michael, who also commented that they have students in the United States, Europe and Central America.
According to Michael, in the U APA, the population sector which is most interested in distance learning is the one between ages between 20 and 35, although she confesses that they have had students as old as 70. The program is permitted starting at 18 years of age.
In this university, one of those that according to the MESCyT is close to what they want to offer in the virtual area, has at the present time a student population of 16,618. Of this amount a few more than 2000 belong to the Internet method, while some 1470 have already graduated over the last 15 years, making use of the system.
An option for those who live far away
Angel Guzmán, 42, is one of the students of you APA. He explains that the studies Physical Sciences and Mathematics on the Internet, because he lives far from a university campus.
“I did not know that this method of teaching existed in the Dominican Republic. I immediately decided to register, because I live in Pedernales, so since I live so far away from Barahona which is where we have the closest universities, it is very uncomfortable for me, because of this I opted to do a degree online,” said the young man to the Diario libre via telephone.
Although he confesses that sometimes the platform gets slow, he indicated that he recommends this system of online studies, because of the comfort that it offers to study from your home, office or any place where you happen to be.
“It is pretty comfortable, the schedule is controlled by the student, you are with your family, you’re not exposed to travel, and according to the calculations that I have made, it is more economical because you avoid having to invest in transportation,” Guzmán stressed.
Students can access the platform even from their cell phones.
The future is in virtual education
“we have to take advantage of the new technologies because that is where the society and the world is going. In a not-too-distant future, the universities will be museums for visits which say: look here is where the professionals were trained, because one will no longer go to the University, but rather will be with the University in your pockets, in our country is going in that direction also, perhaps not at the same time that the developed countries achieve it, which already have a lot of these offerings placed on the web, because we have to surpass many obstacles, but we are working on this,” the Deputy Minister of the MESCyT, Rafael González. He said that the offer of programs over the Internet will be part of the development strategy of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology for next year.
Category: DR News |