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La Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México-Tijuana (IBERO)

IBERO adapts to new models of learning with D2L


Harnessing digital learning to train students in the skills that the labor market needs

With a clear vision for the future of education, IBERO set an objective of refreshing its technology environment. In January 2017, it launched the Brightspace platform, after more than eight years of using a platform that neither provided clear insight into utilization nor enabled the implementation of a technology-assisted educational innovation strategy.

At a glance

Client: La Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México-Tijuana (IBERO)
Learners: 15,000
Platform/Features: D2L’s Brightspace platform
Industry: Higher Education
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Interviewees

  • Dr. Ana María Berruecos Vila, Director of the Department of Teaching and Learning Mediated by Technology (DEAMeT)

Highlights

  • Promotes a culture of digital education within the university
  • Increased the number of teacher training courses from 4 to 60 in one year
  • Provides a mobile app that helps students keep their university career on track
  • Enables teachers to track their students’ progress with analytics tools
La Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México-Tijuana (IBERO) Logo

"We looked for a learning management system that would give our teacher training program flexible access to the full range of pedagogical possibilities provided by digital educational applications."

Dr. Ana María Berruecos Vila, Director of DEAMeT, IBERO

The Challenge

Building digital competencies

The Department of Teaching and Learning Mediated by Technology (DEAMeT) at IBERO sought to promote a culture of digital education within the university. IBERO had officially offered online courses since 2010, but it needed a more integrated strategy that would enable both students and teachers to develop the digital competencies they need to participate in 21st Century society, and to drive the changes in teaching and learning practices required to achieve digital educational innovation within the institution.

These changes included designing online classes in a way that would help to implement active learning methodologies, as well as changing the institutions pedagogical culture and beliefs to enable teachers and students to assume new roles that are better aligned with today’s educational realities. At the same time, it was important to be mindful of the university’s model of education, which is based on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm.

female student showing grade on phone

The Solution

Adopting a digital culture

In transforming to adopt a digital culture, the university started from first principles, with a strategy that focused specifically on teachers. If the teaching team has digital skills and is trained to work in virtual environments and embed digital technologies into their classes, then they will be able to share this knowledge with their students.

As a first step, a team from DEAMeT and a group of volunteer teachers were trained to use the Brightspace platform with support from D2L. Next, this team set up workshops to train more IBERO teachers in the basic use of the platform. Finally, DEAMeT established a permanent program of techno-pedagogical training, which has gradually grown to include courses and workshops on digital teaching skills and trends in educational innovation such as the flipped classroom. These education sessions can be delivered face-to-face, partially face-to-face, or via a hybrid model, and the number of teacher training courses has grown from four to more than 60 in 2019.

“We looked for a learning management system that would give our teacher training program flexible access to the full range of pedagogical possibilities provided by digital educational applications,” says Ana María Berruecos Vila, Director of DEAMeT.

“We didn’t want to be limited to using just the tools that were built into the platform, and we wanted to give teachers a simple, friendly and intuitive way to acquire new skills. Brightspace has been a great help in this process.”

In addition, with the analytics tools built into the Brightspace platform, teachers can track the progress of their students, monitor their performance, and identify any students whose academic results are at risk, so that they can help them by providing additional materials to reinforce their knowledge.

Furthermore, one of the main advantages of the Brightspace product suite is the Pulse smartphone app. Students needed an app that would allow them to review their assignments and assessments quickly, without feeling tied to a computer. With Pulse, both students and teachers can access the platform wherever they are.

Pulse has been a game-changer for students. The mobile app gives them everything they need to keep on top of their university career. From a single screen, they can easily visualize the amount of work they need to do, manage their deadlines, follow class discussions, receive notifications about their courses, and see when their latest grades are available. Moreover, students can view and complete course activities directly from their mobile devices.

"With Brightspace, IBERO has been able to drive its process of educational innovation, through which we seek to promote new ways of teaching and learning that are well-suited to the needs of today’s students."

Dr. Ana María Berruecos Vila, Director of DEAMeT, IBERO

The Results

Setting a new standard for innovation

The adoption of technology-enabled educational processes at IBERO has evolved hand-in-hand with the implementation of the Brightspace platform. The university has seen an increase in the design of online and hybrid courses for its undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and it now shares these materials with other members of AUSJAL, a network of Latin American Jesuit universities that promotes internationalization, interculturality, inclusion and mobility.

Other areas of IBERO have also become interested in integrating these technologies. For example, the Department of Continuing Education, which has a strategic alliance with DEAMeT, now offers online and hybrid courses that focus on lifelong learning and training for the public and private sectors. Meanwhile, the Graduate School has designed online extracurricular courses to augment the skills development of adult students, while other academic departments have chosen online and hybrid modalities to provide courses on reinforcement, language, induction, training and digital skills development for their students.

Ana María Berruecos Vila comments: “DEAMeT has become a strategic asset within the university, supporting the academic departments in general and the teachers in particular by providing personalized assessments in areas such as classroom design, materials and resources for learning, and educational videos from our new audiovisual facilities.”

“Above all, we’ve set a new standard for innovation in digital education.” – Dr. Ana María Berruecos Vila, Director of DEAMeT, IBERO.

She concludes: “We still have many challenges ahead, especially in terms of research and analysis. We want to know how virtual classrooms are being used to support face-to-face learning. And we need to understand the levels of digital competence that our students and teachers are acquiring, so that we can design courses that are more specific to their needs. The challenge that we have as a management team is to put the specialist personnel in place to meet the demand we now have for digital services— and that demand is only going to rise in the future.”

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