Confinement has created a hunger for knowledge and perhaps never before has there been so much distance academic offer to satisfy it. However, while it is appealing to sign up for free classes or workshops advertised on various platforms, There are a few factors to consider to get the most out of it.

The first thing will be to cultivate an attitude of eternal apprentice. "The world not only changes very fast, but it also changes towards an unsuspected future", warns Rodrigo Cisternas, dean of the Faculty of Communication at the Casa Grande University. "That is why we must prepare students, at all levels, to address these changes and that implies to be permanently learning and adapting ”.

He also comments that it is important to abandon the previous vision of education where it was understood as a transfer of information and focus on cultivate skills known as 5C: Collaborative work, Connected, Creativity, Critical thinking, and Change.

Overwhelmed by these terms? They are part of the new language that crosses the labor, educational, recreational and all decisions about personal growth.

The next step will be decide between a synchronous course (in real time, with interaction with the teacher, group discussions) or asynchronous (with a repository of information, videos, readings, etc.).

The last modality is usually cheaper, but it will also require a high level of discipline on the part of the student to follow the instructions and the contents and then meet objective tests. In addition, the student must resolve by himself, from his own research, the doubts or questions that may arise, unlike a live course that, in terms of learning, is usually of better quality.

"The main attitude to have is participation, questioning, opinion, that is, getting the juice out of it the instructor and the interaction and learning with others"Stresses the teacher. How to self-evaluate at the end of the course? The name of the unit should tell you the goal of that time and that investment. Cisternas sums it up very clearly: "If you don't know how to do something concrete, you haven't learned".

Once the modality is chosen, it is important investigate the specific field of study in which you want to train. “Today there is a lot of offer in digital development, but if you do not know well what digital area you want to focus on, you can lose a lot of time. For example, measurement and analytics is a great topic, related but different from what is content generation or digital commerce, ”he explains. "Taking the opportunity to take any free or economic course there seems tempting, but I would advise consulting and researching beforehand, not only how the area is configured, but also the learning methodology."

Online teachers, how to choose them?

Another way to select from the numerous online offer is investigate instructor profile. Some of the platforms understand this and are promoted through prestigious speakers and instructors. Masterclass does it, offering "a class that looks like a movie" or simply heard in the car or on public transportation in ten minutes or less. But perhaps a little more attention needs to be paid to the learning style. Does it fit what we are looking for?

Masterclass is promoted as "the greatest" in business, politics, society, culinary arts, film and television, music and entertainment, writing, sports and games, design, photography and fashion, science and technology and lifestyles. And it brings together professionals such as Anna Wintour, Samuel L. Jackson, Gordon Ramsey, Carlos Santana, Jane Goodall, Paul Krugman, Margaret Atwood, Ron Howard, R. L. Stine, Martin Scorsese and Serena Williams, among other names.

The multilingual site is Coursera. Since its birth in 2011, it has created alliances with the largest American, European (including Russian), Latin American, Australian and Asian universities, but also with firms such as IBM and Google, Intel and the Linux Foundation. The paid versions of the courses grant accreditation with academic value, the greater hour load and the independent study are fundamental in the dynamics.

And the option in Spanish is Domestika, focused on art, technology and digital business. You can learn watercolor illustration, web design, handling of software, 3D animation, carpentry, photography or interior design in courses with an hour load that varies between three and fifteen hours.

Guayas Historical Archive: successful online conferences

Sometimes teachers have to go find students instead of waiting for them to arrive. It has happened in the middle of the pandemic, despite the fact that face-to-face study is not recommended. They have been done by the public and private education system, and also The Guayas Historical Archive mobilized, via networks, to convene their apprentices every Tuesday at 18:00 to see the talks that are broadcast live on Facebook.

"It is a success," says Delia María Torres, cultural manager of the Archive, in charge of the virtual chat program. "Usually, in the live conferences we reached 40 or 50 people. In this new modality we exceed 2000 reproductions in each session. For them it is a thermometer that has indicated that people have an interest in history, have questions, want to go back – and go back – to the next conference.

"We had planned the series of face-to-face talks on health in Guayaquil in times of independence: medical institutions, diseases, plagues and epidemics, vaccines, doctors, midwives and healers in the second decade of the 19th century", a reflection between history, art and medicine, including the history of the Guayaquil Hospital, which is very similar to that of the city, with constant transfers and name changes until it reaches the present day.

In order not to give up this type of opportunity (as it did with a history congress that was planned for September), the content had to be adapted to the videoconference modality, a format in which the visual is strongly linked to discourse.

"We wanted demonstrate that the archives are the source of the different areas of knowledge and that even in times of crisis we are very activeBecause we are not only safeguarding what happened, but documenting what is happening, and making comparisons between the past and the present. The presentations, Torres says, acquired greater character, wealth and dynamism.

Now they have the task of building customer loyalty, to maintain the continuity of activities but also of historical research in the city. “We are thinking about the following cycles, oriented to paleography. In Guayaquil it happens that since we do not have careers that are binding to history, we do not have historians by training, but by vocation, self-taught. We want to train people interested in historical research, so that they know how to handle primary sources, such as manuscripts ”. These trainings, says the manager, will be held in September, in agreement with the Municipal Historical Archive of Loja, and will have academic value.

An effect of the presence of the Historical Archive como part of the online offer is the internationalization of its contents. Another is the relationship that they have been able to establish with related entities, such as the Foreign Ministry and the General Archive of the Nation of Peru.

As a result, in August The first activity will be carried out with the latter institution and with the Seville Archive of the Indies, to talk about the courses of the South Sea, a set of documents or navigation route books that were used between the 16th and 19th centuries.

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