Despite the ongoing pandemic, IE University has found a way to welcome 7,000 students from 140 different nationalities back to their physical and digital campuses. Since the start of the crisis, the institution has been working to protect the health of their community of students, professors and staff. They guaranteed the continuity of academic activity through online platforms during the weeks of confinement by incorporating new methodologies and interactive solutions.
“It’s kept me comfortable knowing that IE University has invested time and effort into finding a platform that could deliver similar results to being in person. The school allowed me to view online learning as an opportunity to bring together knowledge from certain parts of the world and defeat the difficult situations that we are going to have to adapt to,” said Maurice Cohen, a fourth-year architecture student in an interview regarding architecture and design students’ online learning experiences.
Now, with the reopening of the campus, IE University has implemented all the necessary sanitary, academic, technological and logistical protocols, starting this new academic year under the appropriate measures for the “new normal.” The campus reopening action plan, as named by the institution, details all the necessary steps required to reopen the campus this fall in a safe environment, while providing a top-quality academic experience and ongoing dialogue among all members of the IE community.
Regarding health protection measures, in the days prior to the reopening of the campus this past month, the institution took preventative steps to provide the safest conditions for the whole community. Students, faculty and staff were asked to fill out a health questionnaire detailing their history with COVID-19, as well as taking an antibody test. Additionally, individuals who planned to access the campus and were traveling to Spain from other countries had to register themselves with the COVID-19 Tracer application 15 days before arriving on campus, complete data regarding health and symptoms, and take an ELISA test between 7 and 14 days prior to arriving on campus.
Overall, the reopening of campus not only requires coordinating and establishing measures to protect health and track possible COVID-19 cases, but also adapting to a hybrid learning model for the management of the campus and its academics. In this world of change, education must remain a constant. Now more than ever, education needs to sustain its critical role in our lives, allowing people to succeed in their careers and therefore support and positively engage in society.
Therefore, IE University has provided a new approach to education that flows naturally like modern life, “I find no obstacles with this new way of learning as we live in a time where most of the projects are represented after being created manually, through 3D programs for modeling and rendering,” said an IE University architecture student.
The IE Liquid Learning model brings a more humanistic attitude to the separation of physical and digital learning, and bridges the divide to make a more natural, holistic approach, providing opportunities rather than obstacles. So, wherever students are or whatever their personal situation is, IE University’s hybrid class model stops them from putting their education on hold and allows them to receive the support they need from the entire university community.
“All the teachers were very flexible with our courses and deadlines, which made it easier to get our work done despite any difficulties we might have encountered,” said Anabela Reyes, a fourth-year architecture student. As mentioned, students from the IE School of Architecture & Design were interviewed regarding their online experience, highlighting the fact that this model makes the experience accessible to everyone. According to Yoko Hwang, a design student, “IE University has helped us overcome the obstacles that the pandemic has presented to us throughout the past months by giving us the opportunity to learn from miles away.”
The situation has been more challenging for some, though. For example, architecture and design students are in programs that are difficult to complete online. Daniella Guevara, a fourth-year architecture student said, “This situation is a huge challenge for architecture; this subject is very physically engaging and the information is not transmitted in the same way through a screen. However, IE School of Architecture & Design has been great; they are very understanding, they work with you and hear your suggestions so that the whole online experience can be easier for us.”
The IE School of Architecture & Design, as well as the whole university as a community, are constantly innovating by adapting their programs to what students need, avoiding uncertainty and guaranteeing a world-class education. After much hard work, IE University is ready to reopen its physical and digital campuses, creating a site that establishes a fluid channel of communication with their community in order to keep everyone updated regarding health protocols, regulations and news. They will also be answering FAQs by students in order to facilitate information exchange, reporting transparently and quickly.