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UPR Aguadilla opens $350K Distance Education Center

The University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla has inaugurated its new Distance Education Center and a collaboration space, Tech Collaborative Lab, at the school’s Distance Education Division (DivED by its Spanish acronym) with a $350,000 investment from the institution’s Permanent Improvement Program.

Additionally, the purchase of equipment such as furniture, whiteboards, televisions and presentation system entailed an investment of $20,000.

At UPR Aguadilla, the need had arisen for a physical and equipped place for the professional growth of the faculty and students, where workshops could be carried out in the different technological and academic competencies that are needed for the development of distance courses.

“It is through this Center that the faculty will be provided with training, resources, support and specialized services in the production of multimedia teaching materials for the creation of courses in the various modalities with the assistance of technology,” said Sonia Rivera-González, UPR Aguadilla’s director.

“At the same time, it will facilitate synchronous communication with its students who take hybrid or distance courses,” Rivera said.

The Distance Education Center facilities comprise the Virtual Classroom, the Training Lab and the DivED Studio.

The Virtual Classroom is designed for teachers to provide students with a different and innovative virtual interaction experience. This consists of high-quality equipment that facilitates communication in real time, including computers and interactive and collaborative systems such as a Promethean 86-inch panel with several teaching features.

In addition, it has a video wall with multiple adjoined screens to heighten participants’ experience, a green screen, a teleprompter, Panasonic AG350 video cameras and a Mediabar videoconferencing equipment, which will allow pre-recording and teaching courses or workshops that are more interactive, integrating a camera with motion and voice recognition.

“These facilities that we are inaugurating today at the UPR of Aguadilla have advanced technology, in a modern and at the same time cozy environment, which will make the learning experience more pleasant and effective,” UPR President Luis Ferrao-Delgado said.

“It is my commitment to continue identifying resources and financing sources that allow us to improve the current infrastructure and build new facilities that serve to solidify the UPR as the main teaching center in the country,” Ferrao added.

The Training Laboratory has technological resources, technical staff and instructional design specialists to assist and train teachers in technical areas and in the creation of didactic material for online, distance and hybrid courses.

In addition, there is the recording, production and editing facility, DivED Studio, which is equipped with cameras, microphones and a variety of related equipment.

In the process of completing these facilities, the opportunity arose to create the Tech Collaborative Lab, a concept developed by DivED’s director, Beatriz Guerrero, and associate director, Giselle Mejías-Castro.

“The purpose is to encourage group learning, communication and the exchange of ideas,” Rivera said. 

“The remodeling of these facilities was subsidized by the funds of the Title V Proposal: Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions of the US Department of Education, directed by Jesús Lee-Borges, who was kind enough to welcome the proposal and develop it,” Rivera explained. 

“With this proposal, UPR Aguadilla has managed to develop several facilities that allow and help teachers to adapt their courses to new technological changes and teaching methodologies to meet the needs of current and future students, inside and outside Puerto Rico,” Rivera added.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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