The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) began its activities in the academic year 1995/1996, with 200 students on officially recognized courses in Educational Psychology and Business Studies in Catalan. In the intervening years, the UOC has grown and 200,000 people now form part of the UOC’s university community.
The educational model was conceived to adapt and evolve constantly over time, in step with the progress of the internet and the knowledge society. Within this context, it is a model that focuses on the learning activity, offering a diverse range of options to suit the requirements of each student. The model allows students to learn in the same way that they work, and to communicate with one another over the internet.
The model is based on learning environments that combine a variety of resources and working dynamics with support from the teaching team and interaction with fellow students. The students and their learning activity are at the centre of the educational process.
The Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) specialises in research into the network society and the knowledge economy, and the study of specific areas of software and network technologies. The IN3 runs a doctoral programme on the Information and Knowledge Society. Each year, the institute welcomes visiting lecturers, research fellows and visiting scholars.
The student is supported at all times by specialized faculty whose primary functions are to design, guide, drive and assess the entire educational process. There are three teaching profiles (professor, course instructor and tutor) who work jointly to assure quality in the learning process.
The UOC’s Virtual Library forms part of the University’s educational model. It is a key service made available by the University to support learning, teaching, research and management. It is, then, a tool designed in and for a virtual world to meet the needs of its users and those who use the web for research, training and academic documentation.
The UOC’s Virtual Campus is the environment where all these elements converge and become interrelated. The life of the whole university community takes place on the Campus, comprising students, professors, researchers, course instructors, tutors and administrative staff. Through the Campus, the student has access to the virtual classrooms, which are the learning spaces where the teaching staff, fellow students, activities, content and tools for learning can be found.
The qualifications offered by the UOC are endorsed by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU Catalunya) and the Spanish Quality Assessment and Accreditation Agency (ANECA), guaranteeing academic rigour and compliance with the standards required by the European university system.