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Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), have been incorporated into face-to-face education as an important didactic tool, in addition to promoting the emergence of digital education, which is defined as the “educational modality that includes a formal teaching situation -learning, where teachers and students are in a different temporal-spatial dimension, so that their relationship is established through different media and communication models, so that it facilitates the transmission and recreation of knowledge, with the possibility of dialogue and interaction between both actors”.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), among the main objectives of digital education, there are: providing equal opportunities for access to education; cover the educational demand that face-to-face education does not meet due to the lack of physical, academic and economic resources; allow access to education for people with economic, geographical, labor difficulties, among others; In addition to promoting a permanent education that allows people to face the challenges of the changing world with updated information and knowledge through “learning to learn”, and respecting the characteristics, needs, conditions and individual interests of each participant.
In a sustainable society, the use of natural resources must not exceed its renewable rate, so that the areas subject to exploitation can recover their original state naturally, which means using less to produce the same. In this framework, it is where digital education is registered, contributing to the construction of a more sustainable society, where instructional design fosters teaching and learning processes through ICTs with high quality education, without requiring the construction of infrastructure used in the face-to-face mode, in addition to promoting an adequate use of energy, materials, fuels and time for the benefit of the institution and the students.
During 2018, a total of 11,537 students completed university studies enrolled in one of the Digital Education programs currently offered at the UANL, among which are the general baccalaureate in 17 High schools with distance general baccalaureate and 11 high schools mixed general baccalaureate; at the higher level 2 complete programs are offered (Bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Science and in Law and Criminology) and at the graduate level there are 4 complete programs (Master’s degrees in Physical Activity and Sport, in Nursing Sciences, in Educational Innovation and in Teaching of Middle Level Higher).
Additionally, the UANL has an Institutional platform, which promotes the use of ICT and TAC (Learning and Knowledge Technologies) in educational processes:
Nexus: A virtual platform that facilitates collaboration between students and teachers in the teaching and learning process in the classroom, distance and mixed modalities, which in 2018 served 21,025 students.
VirtUANL: It is the online learning system that allows students to choose between different modalities during their career, in the university, being able to combine face-to-face, mixed or online learning units in the same semester, according to their needs and preferences, having access to the assigned courses at any time and place from a computer, tablet or smartphone with internet access.
Environmental benefits of the Digital Education program
The UANL Digital Education (ED) program, in addition to contributing to the training of human resources of high technical and humanistic quality that require the economic and social development of the state of Nuevo León and the country, supports one of the primary objectives of Sustainability that consists in guaranteeing an inclusive, equitable and quality education for all those who request it, regardless of their economic and social status.
Additionally, the ED program avoids the generation of Greenhouse Effect Gases (GHG), thanks to the fact that students enrolled in the program avoid moving, using motor vehicles that run on fossil fuels, to university campuses to receive academic instruction, in addition of generating significant savings of electric energy that is used in artificial lighting and air conditioning of classrooms, additionally generate savings in the use of gas and water.
In 2018, it is estimated that thanks to the Distance Education program, UANL stopped emitting 10,787 tons of CO2 equivalent, which allowed it to lower the carbon footprint generated by carrying out its academic activities. This despite the fact that his student enrollment continues to grow year by year.