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Success story

Industrial University of Santander (UIS)

The UIS is a public university that aims to train citizens as integral, ethical, political and innovative professionals.

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About the Industrial University of Santander

About

UIS promotes scientific, technological and social innovation, research, artistic creation and culture, and builds collaborative processes and social trust for the anticipation of opportunities, the recognition of challenges and the construction of solutions for people’s needs and for the environment.
By 2030, UIS aims to be recognised on the national and international scene as an intellectual, ethical and diverse community that educates people to face the challenges of the world, is open to new ways of thinking, and manages knowledge for the advancement and transformation of society and culture to improve quality of life.

Goals

One of the objectives set out by Hernán Porras Diaz, Rector of UIS, is to ensure that all UIS students are fluent in a second language when they graduate by 2025.
Proficiency in a foreign language is considered a comparative advantage of the university; it is a point that positions UIS on the international scene and opens doors for its students to both postgraduate programmes and the professional world. This also attracts international students and ensures a smooth communication process for them with the administrative and teaching staff.
With this as a driving force, the university is planning to start teaching regular classes in other languages, for different disciplines and across all faculties, which means that the whole university community needs to prepare for this.

Why Altissia?

Various language solutions were assessed by different organisations, including the Language Institute, the Language School and the Foreign Relations Office.

UIS wanted to ensure that the chosen solution would be user-friendly, intuitive and fit for complete beginners. Another criterion was that the solution should offer several languages and real-life content. With the aforementioned criteria, the implementation model and the programme-based approach taken into account, Altissia was considered the most suitable option.

Altissia’s Solution

Altissia offered an “E-Learning For All” programme (ELFA) to the whole university, deployed across the 9 campuses and made available to students, teachers, administrative staff, and graduates.

Altissia has deployed:

  • The Language Course Platform

    In 22 languages

  • The Language Assessment

  • A Custom
    Monitoring Service

  • A Pedagogical
    Support Strategy

    For UIS language teachers

  • A Programme
    Management Strategy

    Including a dedicated landing page, communication plan and motivational strategy

The project focuses on different audiences who each have their own objectives. The postgraduate and doctoral students, for example, rely on Altissia’s language assessment to prepare for international certifications. In the case of language teachers, Altissia’s content is used in a blended fashion, to reinforce and complement the content seen in class.

With the help of their Language Institute and the Language School, UIS has also started to offer a Spanish blended learning programme to its international students.

Impact

Throughout the first years of the project, the most popular languages have been English, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.

Every member of the university has the opportunity to access the platform, and some priority audiences have also been defined, including postgraduate students, teachers and international students.

UIS has been able to see tangible results from their language strategy:

  • The university continues to consolidate its position as one of the leading universities in Colombia, with above average results in the Saber Pro exam
  • Their mobility programme has expanded
  • The communication process between the administrative staff, the teachers and the international students has improved
  • Postgraduate students have expressed great satisfaction with the opportunity to train for their international certifications and the number of certifications obtained each year continues to increase

  • “Thanks to the 22 linguistic varieties offered by the platform, Altissia has allowed me to diversify my language learning as the eternal language learner that I am, as a teacher and as the Director of the School of Languages at UIS. For our students of English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Greek, Russian and Spanish (mother tongue, second or foreign language), it has been useful to discover these languages or to improve the level already acquired. Its configuration is easy to use and allows constant self-assessment. Moreover, with the application that can be downloaded to the smartphones, I can practice the languages from anywhere: on public transport, at home, in the street, at the university, etc.


    Knowledge is acquired or reinforced from elementary levels to advanced levels, with the current news part containing real news videos and articles. From the first semester in the subject of Plurilingualism and Interculturalism to the last semesters of the « licenciaturas », in our teaching practices, our students and teachers rely on Altissia for their classes or for improving their level on one or more languages. It has been a great success that the Rector’s Office of the UIS has taken the decision to offer this opportunity to its entire academic community because it has taken it from an official monolingualism to an openness to opportunities, turning its users into plurilingual citizens.“

    Edga Mireya Uribe Salamanca - Director of UIS Language School
  • “The generation, dissemination and application of knowledge takes place, in essence, in an international environment; therefore, the members of our academic community must interact with peers from different countries and cultures. Our Foreign Relations Office is aware of the importance of having a platform that promotes the development of skills, not only in English as a second language, but in multiple languages. Altissia has become a key ally for this great purpose.”

     

    Carlos Enrique Vecino Arenas - Director of the UIS Foreign Relations Office
  • “I used Altissia to study French, and now I’m going to learn Portuguese. I’ve had a positive experience with Altissia as I can review grammar and vocabulary. However, it could be more interactive and have better comprehension activities.“

    Silvia Tarazona, professor - UIS Language School
  • “I’ve used Altissia and I think it’s a useful and strategic tool for language learning. It doesn’t replace the unique experience of teachers’ and students’ interaction, but it helps better understand and practice language form and keep track of the language level according to international standards. Its weakness is oral production as there is no pronunciation recognition. However, students can become familiar with specialized terminology according to their professional profile and practice in specific domains. Its interface is compatible with different technological devices. I think it should give us the opportunity of studying more than one language at a time.“

    Sylvia Villarreal, professor - UIS Language School
  • “As a teacher, I understand that the use of new technologies in teaching is already a fact. Virtuality allows us to offer students quality in the teaching-learning process. With face-to-face learning, obstacles are encountered that, in turn, lead students to develop. With Altissia, used either in the classroom of outside of it, students can receive training that is focused on their specific needs and learning process. In addition to the flexibility of the timetables, students can count on 24-hour access to the platform to continue their studying. Even though the platform contains European Portuguese content, I like to show my students the differences in accents between BR and PT Portuguese. This greatly helps me to broaden their vocabulary and teach them about the culture of my home country, Brazil.“

     

    Suellen Monique, professor - UIS Language School
  • “Altissia has helped a lot with my French learning. This platform gave me the chance to start learning the language from my current level as it has a placement test; therefore, I could set my own learning route. The activities are interesting and well-explained. I want to keep on using Altissia to learn more and then, apply to a scholar exchange in France.“

    David Covar, student - UIS Language School
  • “Altissia provides the right tools for assessing students before, during, and at the end of their undergraduate process. The students’ levels are just a few clicks away at any given moment. It is a convenient and powerful tool, a must for every high-quality university. Altissia makes characterization an easy task. It also supports the process of diagnosis and helps students improve their performance by developing an autonomous learning attitude.”

    Laura Cristina Dueñas Angulo - UIS Language Institute
  • “Altissia has come along with solutions for those who are eager to learn beyond the class boundaries. It lets you select the language or languages that you have always wanted to learn but have not had the chance to. It opens doors to the future.”

    Mary Luz Vesga Rueda - UIS Language Institute
  • “Altissia has made some of the assessing processes easier and quicker. It is possible to know a student’s level in any given language in less than forty-five minutes.”

    José Ramón Tarazona - UIS Language Institute
  • “Working with Altissia has been a new and interesting experience because it provides a whole new world of possibilities for the students in the process of learning new languages, which will help them in their professional lives.”

    Karolyne Dayan Silva Otalora - UIS Foreign Relations Office
  • “Altissia has been a great investment by the university. It is an important support tool in the language learning process and has allowed us to raise awareness in students to improve their level in a foreign language; this, in order to create new research and development paths for the university community, not only in Latin America, but in non-Spanish-speaking countries.”

    Laura Alejandra Prada Vesga - UIS Foreign Relations Office
                     

Contact Us for Additional Information

contact@altissia.org