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The "New Normality" in Higher Education


The second edition of the Internal Forum took place on the 6th and 7th of May and was dedicated to “Training and Pedagogical Innovation at P.PORTO: Challenges of the 'New Normal'”

In a year marked by the "challenges of the New Normal", in the pandemic context, very demanding times and an enormous unpredictability for the future, The Polytechnic of Porto launched a challenge and the scientific and teaching community responded to the challenge with 87 oral communications and 24 posters. Transversal interventions to the different aspects of the schools crossed with the aim of debating and defining different strategies for the development of an education committed to the dynamics of a society in constant challenge. Now more than ever.

The Internal Forum 2021 is a joint initiative of the Presidency of the Polytechnic of Porto and the Schools' Pedagogical Councils and this year adopted the digital format for the presentation of the different plenary conferences, thematic panels and workshops. With the pandemic context in the background, the forum debated the new practices developed in the teaching activity, reflecting on possible new scenarios in the post-pandemic period.

Rui Ferreira, vice-president of P.PORTO and coordinator of the event underlined the opportune moment of reflection: "If in 2019 we debated pedagogical innovation as an experiment, today we debate its consolidation". "Nothing will remain as before" - he added - "the domain of new technologies, which a year ago constituted alternative strategies, are today the paradigm. At the Polytechnic of Porto, the adaptation to the new normal was carried out quickly, a manifestation of maturity and restlessness that characterizes us and identifies us as a reference institution."

The inaugural conference was held by Almerindo Afonso, from the University of Minho. Entitled “(In)certezas e Transições”: Notes on the teaching profession in higher education the conference set the tone for many of the reflections and debates that were developed throughout these two days.

The integration of new digital technologies, pedagogical training of teachers, the valorisation of interdisciplinarity, inclusive education or virtual mobility were some of the thematic areas that marked this event, an opportunity to learn about innovative projects and good practices, debate the relationship between teaching/learning and research and learn about successful projects in entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer.