New post-COVID-19 education model: digital, flexible and hybrid

The global pandemic has completely transformed the traditional educational model and has demonstrated the great contribution and all the possibilities that technology offers in this field. Presumably, in the medium term, education will become more digital and flexible to adapt to changes in the environment, combining the face-to-face format with the advantages of online education.

In this article we discuss the keys to the effective transformation of education and the role of the electronic signature as a tool to facilitate change.


Present and future challenges in the education sector

▪️ Technology

In the process of technological adoption, three particular challenges stand out in the digitization of the sector, which we will address below:

The first challenge is content management, requiring technology with high functionalities for content and document management. In the new model, student and educator portals become an essential tool to ensure access to content and relevant information for the development of training. 

Multidirectional communication is key in the field of education. Now and in the future, ensuring fluid communication and knowledge transfer is one of the main challenges. This will require resources that enhance collaborative capabilities, such as collaborative intranets.

Improving the digital experience, personalized and adapted to new needs, and omni-channeling is also a challenge. Therefore, it is also a priority to implement solutions that enable personalization and segmentation, in order to nurture each group with specific resources. 

▪️ Capacity Building

In the digitization process, it is vital to provide teachers with the tools and training necessary to manage and know how to take advantage of new technologies. Digital literacy will be more important than ever, redefining the roles of teachers, with greater prominence of multimedia content and digital communication, as well as the teaching process and methodologies employed.

In the new educational model, the best teachers will not be those who have the best technologies, but those who discover what new methodologies can be applied in this new educational model.


The transition to a new educational model: keys to transform education post COVID-19
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF EDUCATION BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

In the new educational model, digital transformation and the incorporation of technology is not a commodity measured in terms of productivity, but a strategic element for educational institutions to improve society through knowledge.

As we will see in the next point, an evolution towards a hybrid model that alternates face-to-face and telematic teaching is presumed. This will undoubtedly entail the need to provide adapted and accessible technological tools, as well as digital competencies for teaching staff, students and administrative personnel.

Although technology is so necessary in the new digital education, it is important to clarify that not all technological solutions are valid. It is a matter of finding those that have the potential to generate value and facilitate processes: vertical solutions such as the electronic signature that, as we will see below, are beneficial in both face-to-face and distance environments. Moreover, being a highly versatile tool, it can be used in different processes, from administrative procedures to facilitating the onboarding of new students. 

MOVING TOWARDS HYBRID MODELS

Hybrid models are based on the integration and complementarity of face-to-face and distance learning processes. To achieve success, there are some aspects that must necessarily be taken into account, such as the diversity of models that can be developed, adapted to the specificity, circumstances and capabilities of each educational institution. 

Another factor is the coordination of the different platforms and non-face-to-face educational resources with face-to-face training. Likewise, it is also important to strengthen the competencies of students and educators, enhance some aspects such as connectivity in educational centers and also at home, and enable public platforms that ensure the democratization of their use and opportunities for educators to develop, share and validate training materials.

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM: SECURITY, FLEXIBILITY AND SPEED 

Education has been one of the the most affected by the health crisis. The social distancing measures adopted to deal with the pandemic distanced the educational community from the campus, which was forced to adopt urgent measures to adapt to the situation.

In a scenario marked by social distancing, the electronic signature stood out as one of the main technological tools that ensured the continuity of educational activity in a non-face-to-face environment. But beyond the barriers brought down by the electronic signature, educational centers have discovered the opportunities and advantages derived from the use of electronic signature solutions adapted to education.

In this area, given the official nature of some of the documents that must be signed and presented at educational centers, such as official minutes and diplomas, security and legal backing are two characteristics that the signature system used must have. 

Therefore, when choosing a signature solution it is necessary to assess the particular guarantees offered by the provider. In this regard, we highlight the support offered by Uanataca as a Qualified Trust Service Provider in accordance with the European Union Regulation No. 910/2014. Through its integrated and audited services under the eIDAS Regulation, the documents will have the maximum confidentiality, security and protection guarantees. 

"For us it is very important that the signature is legally recognized and secure, that is, that it does not allow subsequent manipulation. Uanataca, as a Qualified Trusted Service Provider, offers us a series of guarantees with which we can rest assured, highlighting the security and protection of its services." Javier Sánchez, Head of the ICT Department at CUNEF

Similarly, by using an electronic signature to comply with regulations such as eIDAS, educational institutions will be prepared to receive more students from different countries, facilitating administrative processes

In addition, and in order to achieve maximum legal guarantees, it should be remembered that not all electronic signatures offer the same level of security. Of the three types of electronic signature recognized by the eIDAS Regulation, only the qualified electronic signature is the most secure and the one that provides maximum legal guarantees.

>> Related post: Simple, advanced and qualified electronic signature. Types of signatures and their differences


Use cases of Uanataca's services in the education sector

There are many use cases in which universities and other educational centers can integrate electronic signature, time-stamping and digital certificate solutions. The following are the most popular ones: 
- Signing of Minutes, University Degrees and records.
- Sending of telematic requests.
- Guaranteed digitization of daily data flows (teaching and research staff, administration and services staff, students).
- Implementation of online teaching.
- Student experience as the exclusive center of the training process.
- Continuity plan for new measures and recommendations.
- Time stamp in the delivery of online tests or quizzes.

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