UPatras in times of covid-19 pandemic

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has caused a global health crisis with significant economic, psychological, and social implications. In the field of education, measures of partial or total suspension of the operation of educational structures of all levels and practices of tele-teaching or emergency distance learning using technology were implemented.

  • According to UNESCO estimates, during the first period of the pandemic, more than 144 countries suspended lifelong learning, affecting approximately 1.2 billion pupils. Research data collected during the pandemic showed that the changes that occurred in higher education had a significant impact on the mental and physical health of students.
    In Greece, lockdown was initially local and started on the 5th of March with the closure of the University of Patras, in the wider region of which the first cases of COVID-19 in Greece were detected. In a very short time, the lockdown turned from local into countrywide one week later.
    It is worth noting that according to the Greek Constitution all universities are public and the possibility for distance education was allowed until the recent crisis only to the Hellenic Open University. Almost all public universities managed in a relatively short time to provide almost all the courses in distance mode.

    • Crisis management
    • Human Resource Management
    • European and international Project Experiences
    • Experiences based on collaboration with Distance Learning Organizations

    University of Patras tried in just one week was able to offer almost all the theoretical-type courses using a system of distance education, based on:
    (i)   synchronous distance education supported by a teleconference software (Skype for Business followed by Zoom, Teams, Webex)
    (ii)  asynchronous distance education supported by a platform already available before the crisis (Open eclass - https://eclass.upatras.gr/ ).
    According to the available data 82.6% of the students thought that the shift to the new system was done in a timely manner and 77.1% of the students were satisfied enough with the new way to attend classes.

    This crisis could be an opportunity for universities to jump-start the use of digital tools for enhancing the quality of learning and teaching. This should be supported by investment in digital infrastructure. Providing high-quality online education is an expensive affair that will need not only further investment but also further evidence to ensure that the new opportunity for digitally enhanced learning is taken up in the right way.
    The experience of the pandemic can serve as a good reason for the renewal and development of teaching and learning in universities, and immediate action should be taken by policymakers and faculty for training educational staff on new teaching methods and developing strategies for improving distance learning in higher education.

UPatras has a specific strategy for the development of infrastructure and platforms for e-learning, since 2002.In recent years it has developed Open Courses and Open Educational Resources available to all citizens. Today it offers 3320 Digital Courses, 347 Open Courses. The Library and Information Centre houses a variety of book collections and e-resources and operates the Institutional Repository and various digital collections.

Immediately after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a committee was established for the organization, the support, and the management of the educational function of the university. All the educational services, courses and activities are offered on-line using synchronous and asynchronous innovative technological tools and methods. The committee was responsible for the educational and the technological framework of the processes of the Upatras.¨

Planning, implementation and Evaluation of non-formal education programs.