A space for innovation: six InnovaT offices already up and running in Latin America

InnovaT Offices are a space that provides technology and quality digital resources to Latin American partner universities for the incorporation of active methodologies and digital resources for online teaching in a dynamic way.

This year, as a major milestone for the InnovaT project, the Latin American partner universities completed the implementation of the Innovative Teaching Offices, led by FH Joanneum University with the support of the University of Lima.

“Six InnovaT offices with state-of-the-art equipment and advisory services were established at each of the Peruvian and Chilean partner universities. These spaces aim to modernize the technical and operational capacities of these campuses developing innovative teaching and learning materials and courses, to disseminate the knowledge acquired in the previous work packages and ensure its replication and sustainability over time,” said Clarissa Maierhofer, InnovaT Offices Project Coordinator at FH Joanneum University.

The establishment of these InnovaT offices impacts not only internally, with a significant change of a more innovative and stimulating learning environment for professors and students, but also externally by delivering, “increased reputation and visibility in local, regional, and international contexts for the universities, generating greater international networking and internationalization opportunities,” said Clarissa.

One of the InnovaT offices already fully implemented is at the University of Lima, developing various activities over the course of this year, “we implemented hybrid classrooms, generated workshops on active methodologies such as a gamification workshop, and offered teachers the possibility of generating content for their classes through the use of the studio,” said Alberto Matsuura, coordinator of Educational Innovation at the Office of Educational Innovation and Quality (ICE), at the University of Lima.

The coordinator points out that there is growing interest among professors, which is linked to the cultural change involved in putting educational innovation into practice, “it is a process that takes time, that is why we are in a stage of disseminating and raising awareness among the university community, the first projects are already being talked about and the office is becoming more relevant,” says Matsuura.

An example of one of the first professors to use the InnovaT space at the Lima institution was Professor Ronald Quesada Córdova, who is part of the General Studies Program, where he teaches asynchronous leveling courses in Mathematics and Literature for new students at the University. From her experience, she considers that the technological tools in the office have helped her to improve her classes, “the dynamism of these tools offers great support in the academic process. Now students have access to the subject matter in advance and the practicality of these tools allows them to understand the contents to be covered in greater depth,” Quesada emphasizes. 

In addition to the direct contribution made by the office to the teaching area, as mentioned above, the coordinator also emphasizes that it has been a direct contribution to the strategic projections of the university in different areas. These are research, by generating material for the dissemination of the scientific production of the different career programs of the University and international linkage, by increasing its visibility, “we were organizers of the International Forum of Innovative Educational Experiences, and we are participating in collaboration with foreign universities in the Gamit! project, a gamification platform,” concludes Alberto.