How did the coronavirus pandemic change university teaching, learning and life around the world – and what is here to stay? We asked four universities within the GLC network for their views. This answer comes from Denise Pires de Carvalho. She is Rector at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Find a German version of the interview here!

LEIBNIZ Ms Pires de Carvalho, what has proven to be the biggest challenge for your university in shifting to digital teaching and learning?

DENISE PIRES DE CARVALHO Our biggest challenges were to train our faculty members and to ensure digital inclusion of disadvantaged students. We made available around 5,000 internet chips and the necessary equipment so that they could follow the online classes at home. Another challenge was holding exams online because there are so many possibilities to cheat.

What kind of support for digital teaching and learning would you like to see at your institution in the future?

We would like to be able to establish high-quality internet access in every classroom and create a hybrid teaching and learning environment. We also need to develop our own digital platforms in order to be more autonomous.

What would you like to tell others about digital teaching and learning? What advice can you give following your experience during the pandemic?

Digital teaching and learning can be even more inclusive, depending on the policies at the institution. Students have to be free to make the choice between in-person or blended learning – based on how well they cope with digital platforms and whether they are in a position to stay on site at the university for long periods of time.

The Global Learning Council (GLC)is a virtual organisation that brings together thought leaders in the area of effective use of technology to provide access to education and improve learning outcomes around the world. The GLC was founded in 2013 and offers a platform for connecting leaders, organisers and innovators from academia, industry and the non-profit sector to foster cooperative processes and advance innovative strategies for digital learning.

Leibniz President Matthias Kleiner is the chair of the GLC. The head office of the GLC currently resides with the Leibniz Association in Berlin, Germany.

How have universities and other higer education institutions around the world reacted to the pandemic? ­– Find an interview with Friedrich W. Hesse, Co-Chair of the GLC and project manager Anne Leiser who coordinated a study about the pandemic-related digitalisation here!