The closure of universities and the move to online classes due to the Covid-19 outbreak have emphasized inequalities in regions such as Latin America. This research looks at the impact of Covid-19 on higher education in this region. Drawing on Colombia’s largest public university, the National University of Colombia (UNAL), this study sets out to understand how Covid-19 has affected students and teachers’ access, usage and skills of information and communication technologies (ICT) to better understand the appearance of new forms of digital and social inequalities. This research asks: (1) In what ways do limited ICT for e-learning affect new online courses and public university students’ decision to remain enrolled? (2) What are the characteristics of limited ICT for e-learning among public university students and professors? (3) What actions should be taken to reduce limited ICT of public university students and professors? To answer these questions this study will collect information using remote methods. The gathering of information includes surveys via email and interviews via telephone calls or virtual meetings with students and teachers at the Medellin Campus. The expected outputs of this research include: On a short-term basis (a) a report for the university’s “Covid-19 emergency program”; and (b) dissemination of the results and responses of Covid-19 in the context of education through the UNAL’s radio station and digital newspaper, both of which have a considerable outreach nationwide. The long-term output entails an article in order to engage with an international community.
Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera
Assistant Professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Johanna Vásquez Velásquez
Associate Professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia