Although the global pandemic has changed our day-to-day lives, at IE University we believe it shouldn’t interrupt your learning experience. It was this mindset that helped us become one of the first universities worldwide to safely resume face-to-face learning, as well as on-campus events and activities.
Maintaining this achievement involves a dynamic, ongoing combination of our innovative Liquid Learning framework and We Are Ready protocols to ensure our community gets access to the most interactive education possible—even in these challenging times. It’s a difficult road, but we’re traveling it together. This is a look at our journey so far.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have administered a whopping 40,000 COVID-19 tests (give or take a few) to protect our community. This number includes the incredible 4,333 tests which were given in eight days so that we could return to campus safely after the Easter break. Tests have undoubtedly been an incredible tool in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. But they are far from the only way we continually ensure your safety on campus.
Liquid environments: Embracing the natural flow
Even before the world changed, we had been busy developing our signature Liquid Learning framework, which harnesses the natural flow of how you learn across environments. Launched in May 2020, the Liquid Learning model is the perfect solution for pandemic learning, providing a customizable learning experience that allowed over 7,000 students to continue their studies online at the beginning of the outbreak.
But Liquid Learning goes far beyond the online world. Once we opened up our campus again, this framework was the perfect tool to provide a seamless hybrid experience to both in-person and online learners. Webcams and microphones placed in strategic locations in the classroom allow for easy interaction between in-class and online attendees—with all sessions recorded for those who tune in later.
If that wasn’t enough, each classroom is also equipped with an extra screen so that professors and in-person students can interact with the remote students. Conversation, after all, is a two-way street!
A safety-first approach
For the students who come to campus, we’ve developed a proactive, resilient and supportive approach to ensure the safest experience possible. As our in-person learners will tell you, it’s now entirely normal to see thermographic cameras, sign posts, separation panels, and gel dispensers all over campus. We even installed an entirely new ventilation system to further minimize risk.
Aside from the frequent antigen tests we mentioned earlier, we decided to increase our cleaning staff so that every classroom is sanitized after a 90-minute session is held—paying special attention to surfaces, doorknobs and door handles. These impactful safety measures are further enhanced by reorganized class schedules to avoid congestion, social distancing protocols and mandatory use of masks! And, in true IE University style, we embraced tech innovation to launch the IE University COVID-19 Tracer Web App, which centralizes the data that you update everyday.
Of course, at times members of our community find themselves in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or test positive themselves. We understand that this can be a traumatic experience, which is why we have both a medical team and the IE University COVID-19 Support Office to provide help during this time in quarantine. Even if you have to be transferred to a private room, we do everything we can to ensure no member of the IE University Community feels alone.
Accepting the challenge
Navigating the future of academia during a pandemic may be a challenge, but it’s one that we are ready to accept. Our main focus is your safety, but we also know that attending university is more than just academics. And this is something we take seriously—when in-person classes were given the green light, we also resumed on-campus events. The vibrant IE Experience is just as strong, with our campus having hosted over 600 speakers and 1,541 events with 37,117 attendees in the last year.
Even against this difficult backdrop, we encourage students to join clubs and participate in events and activities across campus. Your time at university is special. So, spark your creativity, embrace diversity and continue carving your own path, while always adhering to the protocols, of course.
Together, we are overcoming this once-in-a-lifetime challenge. Because we are IE University and we are ready for anything. Are you?