Universidade Aberta (the single Portuguese public distance education and e-learning university) has recently created a digital space for providing open access to a set of contemporary themes and resources, especially in the areas of its formal pedagogical offer. The Open Class (Aula Aberta) Initiative enables a first contact/new experience with online learning completely free during a week.
The teaching practices of Universidade Aberta are based on a Virtual Pedagogical Model® developed by the University, which privileges the flexibility of the learning process management. The participants in the Open Class Initiative can experience this environment and thus demystify some preconceived ideas.
Universidade Aberta offers brief learning courses that introduce current issues and provide moments of sharing ideas and experiences, in particular through social networks associated with the courses. Participants are free to navigate through the different topics and explore multimedia features, as well as to participate in the proposed activities.
All courses are structured as open learning spaces. Some of them are in MOOC format and participants may ask for a participation certificate.
Through this Initiative, Universidade Aberta has given a significant contribution to open education within the panorama of the Portuguese higher education institutions. Currently, the University stands out by offering the largest repository of multimedia educational resources in full open access mode. It is within this point of vue that the Open Class Initiative must be pointed out as innovative.
The Open Class Initiative contributes to the consolidation of Universidade Aberta’s mission and its role in the context of distance education, pursuing its vocation to expand access to knowledge, culture, the arts, science and technology, and creating educational opportunities for more people anywhere in the world.