Teaching & learning at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

2020-2021 academic year


The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact in all areas, and at University it has forced us to carry out, in a very short period of time, major changes in each of the facets of our activity.
In the period of "new normality", the duration of which is difficult to predict, the obligation to comply with the preventive and protective measures imposed by the health authorities leads us to design a series of action guidelines with the aim of maintaining the highest degree possible attendance that is compatible and respectful with these measures, since we must not forget that the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea is, above all, a face-to-face university.

Furthermore, we cannot rule outthe possibility of a new outbreak, which will lead us to have to take more extreme measures than those originally planned.

Taking into account the above, the guidelines listed in this document aim to preserve, as far as possible, the face-to-face nature of teaching at the UPV / EHU, but adapting it to scenarios of social distancing, limited capacity and adoption of hygienic-sanitary measures.

The adaptation measures for teaching will be modulated according to the criteria established at all times by the health authorities, and will be intensified or relaxed based on their recommendations; for this reason they will be flexible and modifiable. In all cases, they must strike a balance between quality university education and the protection of the health of students and staff.

Students will know in due time and, in any case, before the start of the enrolmentperiod of the 2020-2021 academic year, the general organization ofthe course and the subjects. At the beginning of the course they will have access to updated teaching guides adapted to the "new" normality. Regardless of the learning scenario in which they operate, students will receive the necessary supervision from their teachers through online tutorials.

The guidelines for planning the 2020-2021 academic year introduce an adapted face-to-face training perspective, that is, preferably face-to-face, but which is complemented by onlineclasses and asynchronous sessions.The confinement stage has shown that the university community is capable of maintaining teaching and learning activitieswith the support of distance education strategies and tools, and can take advantage of this acquired knowledge to face the 2020-2021course in a situation of "new normality". The new normality may evolve towards full presence or involve a decrease in it in periods of confinement, if they occur.

This document 2020-2021 IKASTURTEA / COURSE 2020-2021 has been written upon the basis of an initial proposal by the Rectoral Team that has been contrasted and completed with the contributions of members of the Crisis Committee, specifically, a representative of the Student Council and representatives from the decanal and management teams of six UPV / EHU Centers, two from each campus. Subsequently, contributions made by the Dean's teams and directors, students and representatives of the Administration and Services Staff, and of the Teaching and Research Staff have been incorporated.

We must also remember that our university is made up of twenty Centers with very different characteristics and needs, so the planning of the next course should not necessarily be the same for all the Centers, not even for all the degrees of the same Center, nor for all their courses.Additionally, the organisation of the course in the “new normality” scenarioforeseen and described here is reviewable, since, if there were a new confinement, we would be forced to return to onlineteaching, through eGela and the BBC.

If the health authorities confirm the elimination of the disease and Royal Decree-Law 21/2020, of June 9, on urgent measures of prevention, containment and coordination to cope with the health crisis caused by COVID-19 is repealed, we would return to a scenario of full attendance.


In Royal Decree-Law 21/2020, of June 9, on urgent measures of prevention, containment and coordination to deal with the health crisis caused by COVID-19, a general duty of caution and protection is established, which is specified in a series of measures that have a direct influence on the planning of the 2020-2021 academic year at the UPV / EHU.

Thus, article 6 establishes the mandatory use of masks: “On public roads, in open air spaces and in any closed space for public use or that is open to the public, provided that it is not possible to guarantee the maintenance of aninterpersonal safety distance of at least 1.5 meters.”

On the other hand, in article 9, regarding educational centers, it is stated that “the adoption of the necessary organizational measures must be ensured to avoid crowds and ensure that a safety distance of at least1.5 is maintained. When it is not possible to maintain said safety distance, adequate hygiene measures will be observed to prevent the risks of spread of the virus.”

To ensure compliance with this Royal Decree-Law, the UPV / EHU establishes the following conditions, which will be mandatory:

  1. Agglomerations should be avoided. For this, UPV/EHU will implement various alternatives:

    1. Stagger, as far as possible, the entry and exit times of courses and / or groups.

    2. In order not to have more than 50 people in a classroom, the teaching organization alternatives presented below will be taken intoaccount, together with others that each Center designs depending on the particularities of their degrees.

    3. Students who are participating in a training activitiesor following subjectsonline, will preferably do soin spaces located outside the Center, to avoid concentrations of students in common areas, study rooms and libraries.

  2. Students must respect a safety distance of at least 1.5 m. And, in those cases in which it is not possible, you will be obliged to use a mask, as indicated in the Royal Decree-Law.

  3. In case the teachers cannot be located at a distance of 1.5 m from the students, they will be obliged to use a mask.

  4. It should be avoided, as far as possible, that the student is more than 2 hours in a row with the mask on, so there will beat least 15 minutes of rest between periods of time that exceed this limit sothat the students can go out to wider spaces in which the use of the mask is not obligatory.

  5. To limit, as far as possible, the movement of students within the Centers, it will be ensured that they use, as long as the characteristics of the subjects and spaces allow, the same classroom and that, within this, they occupy the same position.

  6. All the protection, cleaning and disinfection measures included in the Plan for returning to face-to-face activity, published on April 27, and in subsequent updates, will be applied.

It should be noted that these measures may be modified depending on the decisions made by the health and educational authorities.


The adapted face-to-face teaching/learning consists of combining mostly face-to-face activity with online activitiesand with non-face-to-facetraining activities. The usual work methodology of the subjects is used in their face-to-face format, but someof the students follow them remotely, through BBC, preferably synchronously, which gives them the possibility of interacting with the teacher and their peers. In this way, the student is in a bimodal learning environment, and the contact with the teacher is close, although the follow-up maysometimes be online. This model has the advantage that it allows the usual teaching planning to be maintained without too many changes and at the same time ensure the quality of the UPV / EHU educational model.


When planning subjects and activities with a high practical content, instructors will try to:

  • Optimize the time spent in laboratories: e.g.,carry out the preparatory part and the closing part of the practice in a normal classroom and enter the laboratory the time necessary for experimentation.

  • If there is no possibility of developing the entire practice in person, prioritize what cannot be worked remotely and look for alternatives for the rest.


The curricular external traineeshipswill be maintained in the same terms that are established in the verified memory of the title and in the existing agreements with the collaborating entities.

When organizing external curricular and extracurricular practices, the measures established by the organizational units, companies and entities in which they are to be carried out must be respected at all times.

If it were necessary to limit the number of contact hours in the collaborating entity due to compliance with sanitary measures, contact activities will be combined with an adequate volume of other activities (projects, reports, training programs, etc.) that may be evaluated and that guarantee a sufficient acquisition of skills.

If physical presence in the collaborating entity is not possible, efforts will be made to ensure that the training objectives are maintained with remote activities carried out with the collaborating entity, provided that the entityfacilitates it. The calendar and methodology must be agreed with the external tutors.

If the health situation worsens and the authorities prohibit its implementation, the UPV / EHU would propose complementary learning possibilities.

In the case of curricular traineeships, the acquisition of the competences may be completed through the development of alternative training activities, provided that the appropriate conditions are met. In this case, the internal tutors will intensify their work of monitoring the practices. When it is not possible to adapt them to a non-classroom learning typology, theUniversity may extend the period of completion intensively in those periods where the health situation allows it.

For the long-term external traineeships of regulated professionalizing degrees, the recommendations and agreements reached by the conferencesof deanswill be followed, trying to adopt the solutions proposed by said conferences, so that the skills acquired by students are similar throughout the state.

In the case of extracurricular traineeships, the unfinished practical credits would be validated through the completion of online complementary courses: transversal competences; digital identity; resources for employment.


Whenever compliance with the measures established in the Royal Decree-Law allows it, the Centerswill plan the evaluation in person. In any case, given the exceptional and unpredictable circumstances in which the “new normality” will be developed, it is recommended that all studentstake a continuous assessment approach where there are different tests and exercises that are administered throughout of the lectureperiod and that enable the sequenced evaluation of learning. In addition, in all subjects a non-face-to-faceassessment alternativeswill also be made available should the need arise.