The Interuniversity Master in Economics was ready for a lockdown

UVigo professor Eduardo Giménez, who is also member of the RGEAF group and coordinator of the Master in Economics at the UVigo, highlights the quick teachers adaptation to the changing requirements of the situation.

“Covid-19 pandemic had no incidence neither in teaching nor in the final exams of the Master in Economics”

Over the past few months, hundreds of students have had to stop face-to-face classes due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. In most cases, the classes continued through different telematic methods, but with several difficulties. However, the Interuniversity Master in Economics, which is taught together with the University of Vigo, Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña, it has hardly been affected. Its coordinator at the University of Vigo, Eduardo Giménez, explains that, as it is a program that was already being taught online, they were able to continue teaching it the normal way.

A Master program with a cutting edge methodology

“The Master pivots on two elements: Students have a teaching platform available where teachers place the materials and tests. In addition to that, teachers are available to solve any question through a teaching platform forum, individual coaching or even by e-mail. On the other hand, the master classes are broadcasted live through the E-meeting video conference platform, an Adobe Connect development carried out by the Campus do Mar of the University of Vigo. Classes are recorded, so students have access to them whenever they want. All actions can be done from a PC, a tablet, or even from a mobile phone.”

As Professor Giménez indicates, the master program was already adapted to the online methodology, so there was no problem to continue with it during quarantine. All the students who had the necessary resources, and had a good internet connection, have been able to follow the course from their confinement at home.

The students evaluation is done through Faitic platform

As it has been done since the Master in Economics began in 2018/19, students continuous assessment is also carried out virtually using the Faitic platform. Students perform different tasks or upload their homework to be evaluated via this useful tool. In case of real time presentations, they have always been telematic, so there has been no change. Before lockdown, some exams were made face to face and teachers from each university were in charge of monitoring the test. These type of exams have been replaced by virtual exams where students are forced to have their computer cameras on.

Final project presentations will be also virtual

Final project presentations were already virtual due to the court is made up of members from the three universities so with this method nobody have to move. As it is an interuniversity program, in one of the itineraries, professors and students from the three universities take part. In order to facilitate teaching and waste of time they use this system.

“This year we would like to attract foreign students”

The teacher highlights the possibility of a 100% online methodology of the program as an advantage to be taken by students around the world. “Given the teaching characteristics of the Master (the Faitic platform, and the Emeeting videoconference system), we have the possibility of recruiting students abroad. If a teacher from the University of A Coruña teaches a student who is 150 km away from him, he can also teach another one that is 5,000 km away. Master’s features allow students to follow the courses regardless of their  location on the planet. This fact allows us to recruit students from anywhere on the Globe.”
He also underlines that this modality will be the same as is currently taught, and the only difference will be local time.

 Having sponsors would increase the number of students

In Professor Giménez opinion, the master’s degree does not have many students within Galicia currently, largely due to the fact that there is no funding for them, which makes it difficult to attract good academic records. “My impression is that if it had funding, there would be a greater demand from students. An example could be that  sponsors pay the master’s degree to brilliant students in exchange for doing the internships in their companies.”

“The previous online experience has helped teachers with other online programs during lockdown”

Most of master’s degree teachers already had knowledge on virtual methodology and they knew the tools, so they were able to adapt other online classes better than other teachers. This was an advantage for them, since during the lockdown many teachers have had to face systems they were totally unaware of, and they have to dedicate many hours to it. Despite the experience, Professor Giménez points out that the situation has also helped them to become aware of the necessary improvements in their online teaching. “Teachers have explored new ways of testing students and making the most of the videoconferencing system. They have reinvented their methodologies in order to be more effective and efficient. One of the most positive thing we can learn from this current crisis is realizing that the Master Commission Academic was not mistaken when betting on online teaching. All teachers have been much more prepared to adapt to this situation. I do not find anything negative about this situation: we don’t even have more administrative burden than we had last year! “