From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, Catalan OU, UOC) supports e-learning and even calls its online system "Virtual Campus".
The mission of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) is to provide people with lifelong learning and education opportunities. The aim is to help individuals meet their learning needs and provide them with full access to knowledge, above and beyond the usual scheduling and location constraints.
The UOC engages people who offer quality online university education and promote:
- innovative education enabling personalised learning,
- technological leadership that facilitates interaction and collaborative work,
- academic research on the information society and e-learning,
- the dissemination of knowledge.
The prime objective of the UOC is to enable people to achieve their learning needs with maximum access to knowledge. To this end, the University employs the intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and offers an educational model based on the personalization and constant accompaniment of the student, beyond the limitations of time and space.
The UOC leads the emergence of the new model of online education of the knowledge society.
The educational model of the UOC facilitates access to learning resources from any place and at any time, in a way that permits education to be integrated in people's lives.
The educational model of the UOC revolves around society's needs and is based on:
- the quality of academic activity,
- research surrounding the ICT,
- the dissemination of knowledge.
The UOC has received international awards in recognition of its educational model and the quality of its academic activity including the Center of Excellence Award from the New Media Consortium (NMC) – a consortium of more than 300 learning-focused organisations that promotes the use and development of new learning technologies.
At the UOC, the student is the protagonist of an educational process, which, thanks to the use of new technologies, is unlimited in both time and space. The student manages their own time, plans how long they take to complete the studies and builds their own academic itinerary.
- The counsellor guides the student through their learning process in a personalised way.
- The tutor supervises the student's progress in each of their subjects.
- The course plan of each subject defines the learning process, the method of working and the evaluation criteria.
- The continuous assessment guarantees the academic process and the development of the course.
- The Virtual Campus is the support and learning area from where the student can access resources and interact with the university community.
- The multimedia didactic materials complement the specific material for each subject.
- The virtual library gives access to all of the information resources.
- The university community services include resources, activities and advantages to assist with the student's integration into the UOC.
- The support centres personalised attention, study resources and a place to meet with other students.
More information on the Open Programmes can be found here: http://www.uoc.edu/portal/english/institut_internacional_postgrau/web/programes_oberts/index.html
The UOC main office and other campuses are located in Barcelona, Spain.
The UOC web site is at http://www.uoc.edu/portal/english/. Its intranet or online system is called "Virtual Campus" and needs logging in to enter, but a demo is available: the UOC Virtual Campus demo.
This institution/programme was discussed as a case study in the Megatrends project in its second report, Megaproviders of e-learning in Europe (PDF - 212 pages - EN), 2007 (ISBN 978 82 562 88184).