The University of Rijeka and the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts - Institute for Biomedical Sciences in Rijeka organized an interdisciplinary scientific conference „COVID-19 Messages: On the pandemic from five perspectives“, which will take place through five gatherings by the end of the year.
The second meeting in the field of higher education called "Higher Education in COVID-19 Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities" was held on October 6, 2020. SRCE was represented by dr. Sandra Kučina Softić, Assistant Director for Education and User Support of SRCE. Ms. Kučina Softić was one of the keynotes with lecture titled „Going online – Lessons learned from Croatian higher education perspective“. She also participated in a panel discussion „Challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 crisis in HE“.
In her lecture Ms. Kučina Softić provided an overview on the Croatian higher education in response to the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic started in March this year and the support SRCE provided to in the transition to teaching online. The E-learning Centre at SRCE provides and maintain the national e-learning platform Merlin used widely by higher education institutions, teachers and students. SRCE ensured high quality support and assistance to teachers and students all the time enabling them to work successfully in online environment. During the lecture, it was pointed out that this period should be viewed as an experiment from which much can be learned, but not as an example for the future. It is necessary to plan and prepare the system of higher education for the "new normal" and to revise the existing study programs, provide technical infrastructure and quality support to teachers and students to work in an online environment.
During the panel discussion on the topic „Challenges and opportunities of COVID-19 crisis in HE“, the Rector of the University of Rijeka, professor Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, professor Nataša Hoić-Božić from the University of Rijeka, Manel Jimenez Morales from the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain and dr. Sandra Kučina Softić from SRCE once again concluded that it is necessary to ensure high quality teaching and learning and that today, in present conditions, classroom teaching is no longer possible. There is a growing need to move to a blended learning with part of learning in f2f and part in online environment, as well as to ensure that todays’ students leave the university as lifelong learners with digital competencies that will enable them to be employable in the market and able to fully participate in and contribute to the society in which they live and work.