How are students coping with learning challenges amid the pandemic?

In our special "E-learning in Colombia in times of pandemic" We asked the Universities in Colombia, how have university students faced learning challenges in the midst of the pandemic?

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The challenges that the adaptation of universities to the crisis that covid-19 has implied for practically all sectors of the economy, including education at all levels, have been assumed with great planning and a vocation for service by faculty and administrative departments, such as admissions, welfare, marketing, communications and technology, providing all the conditions for students to have as little and controlled an impact as possible.

Technological infrastructure, software and hardware, have meant important investments in institutions, in this race to adapt to virtuality and educational alternation. All this effort has been received with a great spirit of resilience by the educational community in general, including especially the students.

En AulaPro We invited a group of Colombian universities to tell us about their reactions, actions, perspectives and challenges that they were facing due to the "new normality" derived from the pandemic, by covid-19, and how online education or e-learning can play a fundamental role in the near future of higher education in Colombia.

These are the answers of CESA, Autonomous University of Colombia and the free University, whom we thank for their interest in participating.

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Higher College of Higher Administration Studies CESA

For the students, as well as for the teachers, it has been a constant adaptation process, in which independence and problem-solving skills and flexibility have played a predominant role. It has been a challenge for the students to be able to maintain their level of understanding and concentration. Many have seen it as an opportunity to seek new ways of learning, and for others, the feeling of academic burden and fatigue of being connected to their computers for long hours has caused a heavy emotional burden that has affected their academic performance.

For the students, the connection factor has also been an obstacle that has often caused them problems with their subjects, even though they have been given constant support, especially at evaluation times.

Among the positive points, it has been seen that the students have assumed a greater commitment to attendance and have collaborated by providing constant feedback to make the necessary improvements to the process.


For the second semester of the year, it is expected that many of the students who took the challenge in a positive way will continue their process regardless of whether it will be face-to-face or not. For others, who found a factor of difficulty in the development of their subjects, the decision will be to postpone the 2020-II semester, waiting to return to normal face-to-face classes.

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Autonomous University of Colombia

Likewise, around 40% of the students surveyed consider that they learn better with this methodology, 36% think otherwise and for 24% they are indifferent. We consulted the perception regarding the quality and quantity of the material sent by the Teachers and the vast majority considered it good and sufficient. Likewise, they valued the activities designed for learning as adequate, although they also made important recommendations regarding the methodology used in video calls and the creative use of virtual classrooms.

Some students have seen their commitments to study, work and housework multiplied simultaneously, which has created a feeling of anxiety. Others have been affected by the characteristics of their devices and connectivity conditions.

Recently, the Academic Vice President, Dr. Beatriz Herrera Meza, accepted the invitation made by the Ministry of National Education with its Godfather Plan program to create an alliance with the Catholic University of Pereira, with the aim of developing mutual training for the teachers of the two institutions in the educational use of information and communication tools.

We understand that the change has been abrupt, but the ability of human beings to adapt to circumstances has stood out. Now it is up to us to plan the best way to carry out the classes next semester, improving the mediated pedagogy and with alternation in face-to-face meetings.

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The coupling process has been successful, since from the first week of the start of ICT-mediated classes there was an average connection of 28.000 daily Libre users who used Microsoft Teams.

For Santiago Pérez, a law student, the effort of the University to help them in this process has been noted. He points out that "the University has been very diligent in training us to familiarize ourselves with the tool to develop classes and has been very attentive to solving all the problems inherent in the implementation of new technologies." He added that teachers have been recursive with the use of various tools: "There are didactic aids to make the class more enjoyable, such as Forms surveys that allow the teacher and us to measure our knowledge of a topic, it is easier to evaluate ”.

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