Prof. Dr. Ema Maldonado-Simán is a university professor at the Postgraduate Program in Animal Production, Department of Animal Husbandry, Chapingo Autonomous University, Mexico and EQAsce-member. Her academic and research interests focus on Safety and Quality of Livestock Products and Animal Welfare, leading and collaborating with national and international research projects on specific issues and consulting on linkage processes in the production and industrialization sectors of livestock products. Among others, she has been granted the National Researcher Status given by the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT).
EQAsce: How has your world of work changed through the corona crisis?
Prof. Dr. Ema Maldonado-Simán: Facing the coronavirus challenge gave us the opportunity to improve, both communication and information among our work-team and with our students by extensive use of many remote digital communication tools available on the market. As a group we turned our look towards digital tools that were available but, rather away from our all daily activities, however they are now an essential part of our everyday activities. Our Postgraduate in Animal Production, member of the National Catalogue of Quality Postgraduate Programs of CONACYT, has been able to keep teaching, consulting and some research activities due to digital remote communication software that allow us to work together being each of us at our home. Therefore, all these activities are carried out our homes through personal cooperation, and with a close communication between the areas. Training and functional digital infrastructure provided by University have been a milestone to achieve this new scenario for remote communication, which also opens the door to a new horizon for doing teaching, consulting, training programs and follow-up of our students.
EQAsce: In how far does the crisis offer a chance to combine digitalization and qualification more to a lifelong learning concept?
Prof. Dr. Ema Maldonado-Simán: The crisis has put us on a new path to qualification programs, where we have to use digitalization, to set up remote lectures, exams, problems to be solved, case studies and so on. Online trainings, meetings, experience-sharing offer tangible benefits in time and space flexibility for trainers and trainees and might reduce operating costs. At the same time, they provide the opportunity to work in synchrony, as it is undeniable that the rest of the world is on the same path. This means that these two factors, digitalization and qualification, nowadays have driven a cultural change and a new vision that will go beyond the times of this crisis.
EQAsce: How can the attractivity of the EQA Digital Academic Career Card for students and the EQA Qualification Card for trainings be raised in the crisis situation?
Prof. Dr. Ema Maldonado-Simán: First of all, we face a number of limitations in our public and academic life, then digitization is placed at the core. Therefore, a digital academic career that fits precisely to the current demands, with a range of possibilities of online topics, which satisfy the needs of students and diverse actors of the agri-food sectors with international recognition and certification, adjusts accurately to the current requirements. Furthermore, with the advantage of recording all personal information relating to the qualification on a digital platform, it is a relevant benefit for professional development.